The most important conversations are often the hardest ones to have. So it can be helpful to get an outside opinion on how to approach them.
In a popular post on the Relationship subreddit, a mom asked how she should approach her potentially-pregnant teen. She wrote:
As you can tell from the ages I had my child 'Casey' (non binary they/them) very young. I've been a single mum their entire life and while I've never let them know how hard it really was when they were little, they're definitely aware that it was a bad situation that I didn't want for them when they grew up.
I know that I am a success story because I was able to go to university and build a comfortable life for us, but I didn't try to glamorise it because I wanted Casey to have a life of their own before taking care of another one. When they were a young teenager I really preached safe s*x, telling them 'You have a uterus, you CAN get pregnant, if you're going to do it please just be safe'.
We are incredibly incredibly close and there's very little we don't share with eachother (I keep more to myself as the parent obviously). Casey has always always confided in me if something was wrong or even if they just wanted to talk. As soon as they started struggling with their identity they came and told me and I was just so happy that they knew they could trust me with it.
I've been there through all their school struggles, I know all their friends, I met their significant others. This is a long way of saying that there's no reason for them to hide this from me and I don't know why they haven't told me. I've had thoughts that Casey could be pregnant on and off for a couple of months, but it only really hit me in the past few weeks that I could be right.
The only early sign I can think of was what we thought was a really bad food poisoning in September, they were actually hospitalised for dehydration but we'd had a takeaway the night before and Casey's had been a bit questionable, as far as I'm aware they weren't sick after that.
I started questioning it properly when I noticed that we weren't running out of menstrual products as quickly but I thought they were probably using the ones at their sixth form since they're spending so much time there prepping for exams. I finally had the realisation about a week ago.
Casey is an oversized jumper person but we were going somewhere nice for my birthday so they were wearing a dress and I thought their tummy looked a bit bigger. I didn't say anything because I don't want to spark eating disorder behaviour, also we're both quite thin but maybe they gained weight and they just carry it differently.
I think a few days later they were playing on the floor with the cats and their top rode up and my heart just plumetted when I saw a definite bump and the line you get on your tummy when you're pregnant. If they noticed that I noticed, they haven't acted any differently since then. The only way I can describe it is that I felt my heart sink. Not even because they're probably pregnant, because they didn't tell me.
I will support them no matter what, it might be too late to terminate but if they want to keep the baby or give it up I'll be there for them. I just can't think why they wouldn't come to me, is it somehow possible that they don't even know? What if they're somehow not pregnant and I just wreck our relationship by asking them. I don't know what to do.
I just want them (and baby) to be safe and get the right care and for them to know I love them.
TL:DR - I think my child is pregnant and I don't know how to tell them that I know.
I think you need to find a way to bring it up. Just start with reminding them that you love and care for them and will support them no matter what just as you always have. Then ask them if there’s something they’d like to tell you?
Hopefully they will, If not, I guess you can admit that you’ve noticed a few changes with their body recently and can’t help but wonder if they could be pregnant. Again reminding them that youre just concerned and want to be sure they are supported and cared for.
I'm worried about bringing up their body because a lot of people carry weight on their stomach and I would hate to trigger something in them, especially if they're already dealing with a food/weight problem I don't know about.
Maybe approach it more broadly to encompass both potential issues? like “i’ve noticed some changes in your body and that can be a normal part of adolescence, but i just want to make sure you’re safe and healthy and know you can come to me if you’re struggling with anything.”
My guess would be that if they are pregnant and know about it they don’t want to tell you for fear of disappointing you, esp if you’ve talked about wanting better for them. Maybe try to find some ways of gently reassuring them that you’ll always be there to help them face whatever life throws at them.
Also, just wanted to add as a nonbinary adult whose single parent definitely wouldn’t have been supportive of it (but died before I even came out to myself), it fills me with so much joy and gratitude to see parents like you who help their children transition and embrace themselves as who they really are. It matters so much, even to strangers like me, to know there are parents like you out there.
OP added a small comment/update as well.
This might've been something I just made up now that I'm putting everything together but I'm sure I saw it. The other day after I noticed the weight gain they were asleep next to me on the sofa and there was movement in their tummy, not just from breathing.
I remember what it looked like because seeing them kick when I was pregnant is such a vivid memory and they could be far enough that you can see baby from the outside, but I might've been tired and my brain is filling in the gaps wrong, I don't know.
You could bring it up in context of the menstrual products not being used. You told them to be safe if they have s*x, but have you discussed actual birth control? Do they go to the gynecologist, at all yet? If they're s*xually active, they should.
Maybe it would be a good idea to make an appointment? Even if they aren't comfortable with you going in with them, they can at least talk to the doctor about the possible pregnancy.
We talked about birth control, they tried the pill for something completely separate as a teenager but couldn't cope with the side effects (also we both have ADHD and struggle with remembering meds). I told them about condoms and plan b and I think they decided on the implant but didn't have it yet.
They haven't been yet, over here you don't really start going until your early 20s (unless you have a problem) so I'm not sure how I could convince them to go.
Is your child on testosterone? That could cause the decreased cycles.
No, they didn't want HRT, only top surgery in the future.
Thank you for all your comments. I'm glad I posted because I really needed the outside perspective. Also, I did ask Casey and they said 'isn't reddit for trading stocks?' so do with that what you will. My kid is much funnier than I am. I ended up going to Casey right after I posted and just asking them.
I said something like "I've noticed some changes about you, is there anything you aren't telling me? I promise I will support you no matter what happened but I just need to know what's going on," not mentioning the pregnancy specifically because I wanted them to open up by themselves. Casey broke down in tears and we had a long cry and cuddle before they told me everything.
I won't be disclosing some of the details about how they got in this position for their privacy. They are pregnant and weren't sure how far along but knew they were quite far now. I thought they looked 6-7 months, then we did a home fundal height test and felt the uterus high up on their tummy (over halfway) and measured 29-31cm which was a shock to them since they thought they were only 5 months.
They've known for a while but tried to ignore it knowing that early miscarriages are common and they might not have to tell me. They said they knew they had to do it soon because they couldn't hide their bump anymore and they were really really scared now, so I'm glad I asked them when I did.
We managed to get an emergency midwife appointment because they're so young and so far along without any prenatal care, and they got a scan straight away for dates etc. I'm glad they did because a lot of the fear just evaporated when we heard the heartbeat and saw her wriggling around. We found out they're 30 weeks (!!!) with a normal, healthy baby girl.
We both cried during the scan and then again in the car. I felt incredibly guilty that I didn't notice my child was SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT and apologised for not asking them sooner so they were hiding it for longer.
Now that they aren't hiding it I don't know how I didn't see it because their bump is quite big and not easily hidden, I keep telling myself that they were trying very hard to hide it from me and spending lots of time at school but I don't know. I'm just trying to reassure myself that Casey and baby are both healthy and think about all the million things we have to do before she's born.
I made sure they knew it was their decision and I would help them with whatever they chose, and they told me they wanted to keep the baby. I knew this was going to be the answer and was already coming to terms with it before I even talked to them. Baby is probably going to arrive right before their final exams so I'm going to fight to make sure they have the best chance possible at school.
They're deferring a year before university anyway so it could be a much much worse situation. My baby is about to have a baby no matter what but I'm going to make sure they're OK. So it's been a surreal day for both of us.
Seeing your child suddenly being very pregnant and knowing you're going to be a grandmother at 35 is a lot to process. I'll update if anything major happens and will probably keep using this account for other support, but I think we're going to be alright.
TL:DR I suspected my 18 year old was pregnant after noticing weight gain and movement in their tummy, so they'd been keeping it from me for a while and I didn't know why. Now there's a LOT to do before baby arrives in April.
Interesting you didn’t think to ask sooner given you yourself must have been a teen mom. You’ll know what she’s up against and the best way to help her. (I was also a teen mom.)
I know I should've asked sooner, it sounds silly but I really didn't think it would happen to them since they know how hard it was for me when they were little. I wasn't strict about birth control like the pill or implant because I didn't want them to think I didn't trust them to make safe choices, because I DID trust them. At the very least I wish I'd asked at the first sign so they could've had care earlier.
Don't beat yourself up about it too much. You know that as teens we were pretty good at hiding sh*t from our parents. And the truth is, it is much harder to see things when you are in the middle of the relationship than when you are out of it. Slow daily changes are harder to notice and easier to dismiss. And weight gain is real.
A lot of people put on enough weight to potentially look pregnant, even teenagers in high school. So I really think there are a bunch of ways that make it understandable why you didn't ask sooner. God forbid they had just putting on weight, and you made it out like they were pregnant.
I love this post...except there is no mention of the damn father. It boggles my mind that these parents fully support their kids when they don't even know who the dad is...effin' sad.
I do know who the dad is, in fact I know him so well that I can understand why my child doesn't want him involved at all. I'm not saying why for my child's privacy but he is part of the reason why they hid it for so long.
Enjoy your baby's baby. You're a sweet mum. So glad you love them through it all. They will never forget this. Love you.
Life is hard, you showed them love and compassion and a safe place to land. You are a good Mom, be kind to yourself.
I was a grandma at 36. Now I’m 45 and soon to have grand baby #10. They are the loves of my life. I can’t imagine a life without them. I’m still young enough to be an active part of their lives. Congratulations!!!!
It's great that OP was ultimately able to talk with her kid, hopefully everything moves smoother from here on out.