Grandma, I’m pregnant

An 18-year-old letter writer has some difficult decisions ahead. 

I was once in the same situation, says our elder. Talk to your grandmother.


Dear EWC

Lately, I’ve been feeling sick: throwing up, not eating and feeling really tired. One thing popped into my head: I’m pregnant. I took a test and it came back positive. I told my boyfriend and he’s being supportive. But what I’m scared of is my grandmother. I grew up in a Native American family on a reservation and I’ve always been taught to be a good woman and not to mess up my teenage years. My grandmother always told me if I ever got pregnant young, she’d want nothing to do with me. I’m frightened. I live with my grandmother. What can I do? How?? I’m scared. I’m 18, just graduated and barely got my first job. I feel like I’ve messed up my whole life. I just want to know or hear that everything will be OK, whoever sees this, God bless.


Linda replies

I am very sorry for the predicament under which you find yourself. It is not fun to be just 18 years old, pregnant and alone. I don’t just say these words to you, I lived them. I have been where you are oh so many years ago.

At this point you have a few options to consider although I would assume that time would be of the essence for at least the first option. If you are still in your first trimester, depending on your personal beliefs on this subject, you can consider terminating the pregnancy. 

You could also decide to bring the pregnancy to term but give the child up for adoption to a couple who might otherwise never have a family. This option ensures your baby will be properly cared for and nurtured throughout his or her life.

Of course, the last option is to keep your baby with all this decision would entail. Raising a child is probably the single most important thing any of us will ever do. It is a monumental responsibility. Although a child is a blessing in every way, they also demand all of our patience, fortitude and emotional commitment. There is also the financial aspect of raising a child from birth to adulthood. At 18 and just barely out of school this is definitely something to ponder while making this critical decision for your future.

These are the options you face at the moment. Now for the matter of your grandmother who has made her position clear about an unwanted pregnancy in your teen years. Understandably this has you terrified to admit to her that you’re pregnant. The problem is your condition will eventually give you away even if you don’t find the courage to tell her. I hid my own pregnancy for six long months. I can tell you from personal experience this is not an easy road to travel. Not only did I hide it from my mother but from my teachers and classmates as well. I was in my last year of high school. By the end of six months, I was near a complete and total emotional breakdown. One night at long last I hysterically told my mother of my plight. Although she did let me know under no uncertain terms how much I had disappointed her, in the end she rose to the occasion and was there by my side through all the difficult choices that lay ahead. In retrospect I wish I had told her long before I did.

I can’t tell you this experience won’t alter your life on many levels no matter which path you ultimately take. I can assure you that no matter how dark things feel right to you right now you can get through it. At times I thought surely it would break me… but it didn’t. We each possess a strong inner spirit and sometimes that spirit gets mightily tested. This is one of those moments in your life. It is from our most traumatic events that we experience our greatest personal growth. It doesn’t feel like it now but as you navigate through your life you will look back one day and realize what was gained from the worst times you experienced. That is when we build our courage and inner strength which causes us to dig deep to our very depths.

I don’t know how supportive your boyfriend is but hopefully he can be of some strength to you as you make these very critical decisions. This is a personal choice that only you can make although he certainly should have some say in the outcome. In the end, however, this is your body and so you must do what feels right for you at this moment in time.

All I can assure you  is you must tell your grandmother, likely sooner than later. Procrastination is not your friend because inevitably she must know the truth anyway. Putting it off doesn’t make the telling of it any easier. Please trust me on that.  I know very little about the Native American culture so I can’t predict what your grandmother might say or do. What I can assure you is your grandmother loves you very deeply and so ultimately forgiveness for this breach in your culture is likely possible. 

Sometimes the choices we make have a profound impact on our lives. You, like me, made a conscious choice to be sexually active without proper protection. The fruits of that choice have come to bear and now you must decide what’s in yours and the child’s best interest. This problem is not insurmountable but it will not be easy no matter which decision you make. Be strong, trust in yourself and let your grandmother know how much it hurts you to disappoint her. Hopefully time will be the great healer for everyone. I sincerely wish you the best and I will pray you get through this difficult time in your young life. Remember that no matter how bad things may seem today they can and will get better. The human spirit is very resilient. Rely on that as you move forward.

Here is a website that might prove helpful to you in some way:

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