Friday, June 27, 2008

How To Survive Your Teen's Pregnancy

No! Neither of my teens are going to have a baby! Just to get that immediately out of the way. :) The publishers of How to Survive Your Teen's Pregnancy by Linda Ellen Perry sent me a copy and asked me to review it, because while I haven't been a parent whose had to face this, I was a teen mom myself. I'll never forget the way I had to tell my parents that I was pregnant; I had hoped to procrastinate as long as possible. But Mom had made an appointment for me to get my MMR booster shot the next day, and I was afraid that there may be birth defects if I went ahead with the shot, so I had to drop the bomb on them two weeks before school started. I wish now that they had a book like this to turn to for advice, and that we had a better support system through our church and community. While Dad tried to remain calm and talk sensibly, Mom was broken and couldn't bear to discuss the details.

If I could go back and change things, I wouldn't change the big stuff (getting married, keeping my baby), because if I did, I wouldn't have the two beautiful older kids I have, but I would change the way that my parents and I interacted in the two weeks before I was quickly married and moved out. Perry has years of experience counseling teens and their parents, and she uses that knowledge to create a workbook for parents that takes them step by step through the first discovery through the birth of the baby with stops along the way for forgiving their daughter, the baby's father, and the themselves. She encourages with Scripture and uses different Bible stories and some Christian fiction to help bring deeper understanding to the situation. Perry urges parents to really listen to their daughter to help her come up with a viable plan for her and her child. She supports both adoption and parenting with the pros and cons of both laid out neatly. This is a Christian book, so while abortion is mentioned, she encourages every other option and includes statistics about possible outcomes if a teenage girl has or is forced to have an abortion.

The book includes resources for parents with places to find Christian and pro-life doctors, adoption agencies, pregnancy resource centers, and more. While some of the activities for dealing with the emotions were a little artsy for me (I can't imagine drawing pictures or making a collage to express myself), for others it may be just what's needed. It took my parents and I several years to repair the damage done by my pregnancy and my attitude toward them during it. While a parent can't change their child's reaction to the pregnancy, mothers and fathers can change how they react, hopefully bringing healing and growth. This book is a fantastic resource for helping them to work through the grief, anger, and guilt that follows a teen's pregnancy.

About the big change I mentioned on Tuesday: we should have an answer by Monday, so please say a prayer for us this weekend that all will go according to God's will, and that we can have peace with the outcome, no matter what it is.


Lynellen said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Christy! And thank you for your honest review! Art therapy isn't for everyone, is it :)