Do you know a teen mom? I was one. Through my own experience and years of ministry here’s what I believe are the 5 things teen moms need the most.
5 Things Teen Moms Need Most
When I was 17-years-old I found myself pregnant. It was a second pregnancy actually. The first ended in abortion when I was just fifteen-years-old. Making the decision to have an abortion is something I regret. It left a hole in my heart, as many women who have had abortions have experienced. It’s no surprise that I kept looking for something to fill that hole and I found myself pregnant again.
Then, during my pregnancy, something happened that I didn’t expect. My mom and grandma’s Bible study group reached out to me. They invited me to the Bible study and they gave me a baby shower. During a time when I was dumped by my boyfriend and abandoned by friends, they were there.
I didn’t want their attention at first—I tried to push it away. But eventually, I accepted the love that they offered. I also accepted their words of encouragement. They believed in me and my future. They encouraged me to pray for my future husband and answered my questions about being a mom. These women didn’t let me think for one minute that my life was over. Instead, they led me to believe that I had a new starting point, and if I turned myself over to God He would make something beautiful out of my situation.
They were right. He has.
My son is twenty-six years old now. He’s married and has two young toddlers. As for me, I’m an author, speaker, and mom of ten kids (seven of which are adopted). I’ve been married to a wonderful, Christian man for 25 years.
Many people believe that what teen moms need is a wake-up call. They think they need tough love and since they got into this situation they must handle their problems on their own. But that’s seldom the most redemptive approach. Love made all the difference to me, and I see it making a difference to young women every week. Not only was I a teen mom, but I work with them on a weekly basis in inner-city Little Rock.
Teen moms need a lot of things, but here are 5 things teen moms need most:
1. Respect—When a young woman becomes pregnant, she is often disrespected by friends, family, and strangers. Yes, choosing sex outside of marriage is a mistake that can come with difficult consequences, but a young woman needs respect for choosing to have her child. She also needs respect for all she’s trying to juggle. Many young woman have to balance high school classes, ob-gyn appointments, work, and extracurricular activities, all while trying to plan a future for their child.
Your respect will tell a teen mom that her sacrifice is worth it!
2. Emotional support—A pregnant teen has a multitude of worries, and it doesn’t help when everyone around her thinks she’d ruined her life by becoming pregnant. It’s important for caring adults to spend time listening to a teen mom and offering sympathy and care. The heaviest burdens are those we carry alone.
Be the person to help lift the burdens by walking alongside a young woman.
3. Space and Time—Teen mothers need time to sort through all their issues and problems. They have to make hard decisions, and these decisions can’t be made overnight. For example, the decision to parent a child or choose adoption may take months rather than days. Space and time are often needed.
Don’t try to push her into your idea of what would be the best choice.
4. Grace—During my pregnancy, and after I had my son, I wanted to be the perfect mom … talk about stress! Let a teen mom know that she doesn’t have to be perfect. EVERY mom messes up and makes mistakes. When a teen mom is given grace by others then she can give grace to herself. It also opens up the opportunity to share the grace that God offers, which is what we all need most.
5. Perspective—Teen moms often think that because they had a child that they’ll now never get the things they’ve dreamt about—like a good marriage, or a chance to go to college. Let a young woman know that her life doesn’t stop when she’s a teen mom. Tell her that she can start from where she’s at and turn to God in prayer.
A baby doesn’t close the door on a young woman’s potential.
She can find a godly husband, with God’s help. She can go to school and follow her dreams. Teen moms need to know that the months of pregnancy are just a tiny segment of the timeline of her life. There are still many years to grow into the person God has designed her to be.
I’m so thankful for those women who reached out and offered me these five gifts.
Yes, the baby blankets and the burp rags that I received at the baby shower were helpful, but respect, support, space, grace, and perspective pointed me in the right direction and impacted me for life. Those are the best gifts I was given, and the ones I like to offer others as much as I can.
If you minister to teen moms, won’t you join me in sharing these compassionate, hope-filled, and helpful gifts?
Being a mom is hard. Being a young mom has unique challenges. From a teen mom herself, Teen Mom speaks to your heart, sharing insight, encouragement, and practical advice to help you create a better life for yourself and your child.
Everything changes the day you discover you’re going to be a mom. It’s not just yourself that you think about–you have a child to care for, too. While you wouldn’t trade your child for the world, some days are just hard. Baby-daddy drama, dealing with your parents, and worries about school, work, and your future slam you. Your friends can’t relate to your little family, and you wonder if God has turned His back on you, too.
Tricia Goyer understands. A mom at age 17, Tricia remembers what it felt like to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, and she’s here to help you through it too. In this book, she pours out her heart and shares practical advice on:
- Making decisions about work and school
- Dealing with changing relationships with friends
- Finding support as a single mom
- Relating to the baby daddy
- Handling hard days
- . . . and more!
You are the great mom your child deserves! And you are stronger than you think. Go to Teen Mom.