Pregnant teen


Pregnant teen


your avatar   Ellen, 16 years old

I turned 16 on May 10th and just recently found out that I am pregnant. I want to keep the baby but I am scared. What if I die during childbirth? I'm only a child myself. I have told my mum that I am pregnant and she was angry at first, but then she said whatever choice I make she will help me no matter what. I want to have this baby but I don't know if I will die while giving birth or after I had the baby. That is the one thing I am scared about.

My Dad hasn't been around in my life at all so I don't want him to know that I am pregnant. My mum said that it is my choice to tell him or not. If I tell him I am scared of what he might do and say. If I choose to tell him I want him to be a part of my child's life but I choose not to because he has not been around in my life - even when I was born he was not there at all, so why should I tell him that I am pregnant? I think I will not because if he wasn't around in my life then maybe he shouldn't be around my child's life - that is fair.

Should I tell my school that I am pregnant so I can leave, or do I leave now because as it goes further along I am going to get bigger, and I won't be able to finish my year 10. We are halfway through the year. Should I stay and finish my year 10 until I have to leave or should I leave now and not finish my year 10? We have our High School Certificate coming up and I don't know what to do about school. Can you please help me about the school/work please? What should I do?

Yours sincerely,



    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Ellen my dear,

First, let me reassure you: whether you choose to have an abortion or choose to have the baby, you are unlikely to die or to suffer serious, long term health issues. You are safe either way.

Once upon a time, a girl who got pregnant without being married was looked on in scorn and people, including doctors and nurses, were very harsh with her. Thank heavens this is no longer the case. You can do one of two things:

  • Have a legal termination of the pregnancy as long as you do not leave it too late. In that case, it would be good to have a ceremony for the little potential person. People have varying views on how ethical or unethical an abortion is. You, with your mother's advice (and the input of the boy who was responsible, because he has a stake too) need to make up your own mind and not be influenced by what others think.
  • Keep the baby, and raise it with love. Your mother said she will support you in this choice. But again, the baby's father needs to be consulted too.

One advantage of an abortion is that no one outside your immediate circle needs to know about it. Life can just go on. The interruption is no more than if you caught the flu. However, you may well feel a lot of grief for the potential person. But then, my mother had two abortions before I was born, and life went on fine for her. We get over grief like that. So, I'd like to focus on how to handle other people if you choose to keep the baby.

If you act with guilt and shame, people will make fun of you and abuse you. But if you hold your head high, feel good about yourself and act with dignity, then most people will simply accept things the way they are.

Think about how your mother reacted. First she was angry. Then she came around and has been a support for you. Teachers at school and other kids may have a similar reaction. They may react negatively at first, but then, if that has no visible effect on you, most of them will simply accept your pregnancy, and then your baby, as just a fact of life. Some kids have pimples, others don't. Some wear glasses. Some are good at sports, some are not. Well, Ellen is having a baby.

If you are open and up front about it, smile confidently and look people in the eyes, you can ride over any temporary negative reactions, and convert most of them into acceptance.

By the end of this school year, you will be about 4 months. It is perfectly possible for you to continue going to school, as long as you do it this way. If anyone tries to give you a hard time, you can tell them, "Actually, it's none of your business."

You will need to leave school next year, but then there is nothing against catching up later on. Many people do that. When I was lecturing at university, some of my best students were mums whose kids had got to school age, and so they returned to study.

Now, about your father. He has been staying away, and not been a part of your life. This could be for one or several reasons. If you now want to give him a chance to be in your child's life (if you choose to have the child), or to be in your life even if you choose to terminate the pregnancy, you can contact him. Just write a carefully worded letter. If you like, you can write a draft and email it to me so I can help you to make it as good as possible. Send it to Then send it off. I have a rule: I can ask anyone anything, as long as they are allowed to say yes or no. So, if you want to build bridges with him, send out the invitation, but accept whatever reaction you get. This could be the start of a loving lifelong bond. It could be a short period of contact with both trying that fizzles out to nothing. It can be a rejection or no answer at all.

The nature of the reply says something about him. It says nothing bad about you. If you have made the approach, you can feel good about that, regardless of the result. Just to come back to your original worry. If you terminate the pregnancy early, it is a minor medical procedure that's no worse than a slight illness. If you choose to have the baby, chances are everything will go fine. Your body as a woman is designed for this. And if things go wrong, modern medicine is very good at making sure the impact is minimal, both on you and the baby.

If you feel that you are still a child, then it would be best not to have a baby of your own. If you feel that becoming a mother will make you into a more mature, stronger, more loving person, then it is fine to become a mother.

With love,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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