When someone experiences an unplanned pregnancy, it can be difficult and stressful for the entire family. This is especially true for close-knit families who support and want the best for each other. While the one experiencing an unplanned pregnancy needs ample support, so do the family members close to the situation. And each unique situation needs different types of support. Throughout this section you'll find situation-specific information that can help you and your loved ones through the difficult times of an unplanned pregnancy.
Your Daughter or Son's Girlfriend is Pregnant: No matter the age of your daughter or son's girlfriend, if she experiences an unplanned pregnancy, it can be hard on the whole family. This can be especially true if she is not in a stable financial or emotional state. Depending on the current situation of your daughter or your son's girlfriend, you may need to consider grandparent parenting. Before you do, make sure you research grandparent rights in your specific state. In this section you'll also read first-hand accounts from grandparents who've had to parent their grandchildren because their children weren't emotionally, physically, or financially ready to do so. Whether or not to grandparent parent is a big decision to make. It will require a lot of research in order to make an informed decision about your rights and what would be required.
Another issue you may run into when you decide to parent as a grandparent is unestablished boundaries. You have the option to adopt your grandchildren or become a guardian. After the finalization, you'll need to establish and agree upon appropriate boundaries for all involved parties. These boundaries could include types and amounts of contact with your daughter or the father of the child. It could also include expectations and goals of the relationship. If you need help navigating through the legal parameters of parenting as a grandparent, consider working with an adoption or grandparent parenting professional.
Your Girlfriend is Pregnant: Discovering that your girlfriend is pregnant can be a scary situation in which to find yourself. You may not feel prepared or ready to become a father. During this time, you and your girlfriend will need to make a lot of decisions. And the best decisions you can make are informed decisions. Take the time to fully understand birth father rights as they pertain to your specific situation. If you're interested in parenting the child, talk to your girlfriend about co-parenting and what you need from that relationship. Also discuss financial responsibility of each person and how visitation would work. Discuss all of your options with your girlfriend thoroughly, and if you can, decide together.
No matter in which situation you find yourself, remember that there are counselors, therapists, and support groups available that can help you through these hard times. Don't be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. It's important to get the help and support you need, so that you can continue to healthily progress through your life. Even when you feel alone, remember that you have support resources around you; you just have to know where to look.