Do you know a teen mom? Does your daughter? Your son?
Chances are, with the Internet and the means to stay connected with so many people, you probably do. And if you don’t, you likely will at some point in time.
These young mamas are showing up in all of our social circles, looking to find connection and love, grace and understanding. They are in need, and we need to show up. I know this because I was one of them.
So how do we show up for these moms who are often in unique or challenging situations? What are the best ways to love them and encourage them as they walk this brave journey of raising their babies?
Here are my ideas:
1. Talk to her!
A lot of times, she will experience separation from friends, family, peers, or others in her life. People may shut her out or reject her. So stand in that gap and just strike up a conversation with her. What an impact it could make to just know she’s still worth a conversation!
2. Get to know her.
This girl that you know is so much more than just a teen mother, and she needs to know that! Find out about her likes and dislikes, the things she loves to do, her friends and family. Don’t push her, but be willing to hear what she has to say about her life.
3. Get to know her baby.
Most likely, a lot of people will be avoiding the subject of her little one. Feel her out, because there are some moms who don’t want to talk much about their babies, but a lot of moms are just brimming with pregnancy/birth/baby stories to tell to a willing ear. Help her know that you love to hear about her baby!
4. Do life alongside her.
Whether that is inviting her over to your house for dinner or inviting her to the park with your own kids, let her see your life and how you live it. This gives her examples of how other mothers interact with their kids, and a chance to see you on the same level as her. Of course, if you have older kids, this looks a little different. But creatively find ways to do things with her that cultivate friendship and common ground. Even a mutual trip to the grocery store can be fun and an opening for good conversation! I know for myself, this was one of the ways that I felt most special and loved by the women who were investing in me.
5. Live out your faith.
This one is maybe more personal to me, because when I was a teen mother I was very hesitant about anything church-related after some of my past hurts. Having women who walked the walk of a faith in Jesus was what really showed me so much about who He is. Most of these moms have heard a lot of talk about Him, but maybe not a lot of it applied in real life. So just be yourself, as you live for Christ, and she will see it!
6. Gently invite her.
Following right in line with the previous suggestion, I think this needs to come next and not before in most situations. Whether it’s your MOPS group, your church, or your bible study, gently invite her. Be aware to the Holy Spirit’s movement as to the timing, and if she’s resistant, don’t push. Help her to trust that you are invested in her whether or not she joins you!
7. Be available.
If the mom you are investing in doesn’t have a lot of support, you have a great opportunity to be a resource for her. So make yourself available to answer questions about motherhood, baby care, relationships, and even your faith. And if she asks a question you don’t know the answer to, tell her that you will look into it and actually do so! She doesn’t expect you to have all the answers, but she will be delighted to know you’re invested enough to follow through.
8. Find practical ways to love on her.
Is there a need in her life that’s not being met? Is she struggling in some area that you could ease her burden? This does not have to be a huge financial or time commitment, unless you choose it to be. Maybe she needs a ride once a week to her prenatal appointments, or is running low on diapers. Stepping in to meet needs when things get tough is something that she will remember and be grateful for. Of course, be discerning though about what the best course of action is. There is a time and place for allowing her to figure things out on her own.
9. Be there on the hard days.
Most likely, there will be days that will be especially hard for her. Showing up to just be there when the going gets tough can be so helpful and really help her feel loved. Whether that’s just allowing her to vent or stepping in to take action when something more serious is going on, be prayerful and follow God’s leading. But being there as a judgement-free presence in her life could make a world of impact on her.
10. Pray for her.
Now really, this should be the first thing on the list, but either way, it’s so important. I know that I am in the place I am now because of the prayers of some women who were deeply invested in my life. Your prayers can move mountains in her life, and they will make a difference.
Now this is not an exhaustive list (though it may seem like it! I know it’s long!) but it’s also not necessary that you do every single thing on here either. It all depends on your relationship with her and what she needs from you. But if you’re lost for a place to begin, these might be some helpful ways to get started.
I had a few women in my life who each did a few of these things for me when I was pregnant with my son, and into the months after he was born. I was deeply impacted, in my mothering, in my self-esteem, and most importantly, in my faith. You have the power to make a huge difference in the life of a young mom, and it doesn’t take much! All you need is a willing heart, a humble spirit, and some love to share.
On behalf of those mommas, I thank you.