I’m going to guess that if you’re reading this, your world probably feels a little upside-down right now.
But in the midst of all of that, I want to congratulate you. And if I could see you, I’d give you a huge hug. Whether or not you can see it now, you are about to be blessed immensely by a wonderful, if unexpected, little life.
I want you to know that I’m writing this to you from a place of personal experience, not from where you are, but where your daughter is. And having ministered to young mothers, I can tell you that your responses and actions have the opportunity to be the greatest influence on your daughter during this time.
At eighteen, I found myself pregnant, terrified, living away from home, and having ended my relationship with the father of my baby just days prior. I had no basis of faith, but something inside of me screamed of life for my child, even though many outside influences said the opposite. All I knew was that there was a baby growing inside of me, and I was going to be its mom.
I know that this story is likely not what you imagined for your little girl. I know that you probably had aspirations of college and marriage and many years passing first before she became a mom. I know my mom had envisioned those things for me. Maybe your daughter walked away from you as a teenager and decided to live a life of her own apart from your family and faith. Maybe she has been strong in her faith and family all along, but made choices that led her here. Or maybe there are other elements to your story that I just don’t know.
Regardless, your daughter is now a mother. The moment that sweet baby was conceived, all of her choices and all of the circumstances took a back seat. And as her mother, you now have a beautiful opportunity to love her and care for her in this season of her life.
I’ve often thought of what I would say to someone like you, someone who’s going through this season with her daughter and wondering what the best things are to do. And while there are so many things I could say, I believe these five things are the most important:
1) Congratulate her.
Often. Encourage your family/friends/coworkers/everyone else to do the same. Affirm her in how excited you are to be a grandmother and that she is going to be an amazing mom. There may be moments where you don’t deeply feel these things, but they are of utmost importance when building her up in preparation to be a mom. The last thing she needs to hear is “I’m sorry”, “That sucks”, or bearing the weight of your (or others) disappointment and anger. I know that when I was pregnant with my son, I really just wanted someone to congratulate me like any other pregnant mom.
2) Support her.
I know sometimes the young man who is in this with her will be wonderfully supportive and helpful, and other times he may not have any involvement at all. I don’t know if your daughter’s situation lies on either end or somewhere in between, but I can almost guarantee that she will be desperate for your support in some way or another. Offer to do birthing classes with her, plan a baby shower for her, offer to be there with her when she has her baby. While she may not want any of these things at the beginning, as the months go on she might change her mind and decide she wants you with her after all. Most of all, let her know that you are willing to stand alongside of her through all of it. Be open to questions and choose a non-judgmental stance. Simply be available for her.
3) Pray for her.
Oftentimes, when something happens in life that we aren’t expecting, we believe the lie that God had no control over what happened or didn’t care enough to make it go the way we hoped. But I can promise you that God, in all His sovereignty and power, allowed that sweet baby to form for a specific plan and purpose. He has a plan for each of us, including your daughter and yourself. He has desires for the way He wants this to shape her and help her grow. So pray for your daughter to know these truths, pray for her health as she endeavors through her pregnancy, and pray for the health and safety of her little one.
4) Love her.
I know that may sound silly, because of course, you deeply love your daughter. But I encourage you to find practical and impactful ways to love her as she walks this journey. Write little notes of encouragement for her, send her emails or text messages that uplift her, and be available to her for hugs and handholds if she needs them on those rough days. Verbalize your love for her often. Even if she’s not receptive, she is hearing you and being affirmed that she is loved. She will remember these things as she goes forward into motherhood, and you are shaping her view of herself in a time when she is likely struggling with her own worth.
5) Take care of yourself.
You cannot pour wholeheartedly into your daughter’s life if you are not being poured into as well. Make sure to create space for yourself for physical, emotional, and spiritual self-care. Spend time in the Bible, seeking God’s truth and promises for your own life. Make an effort to invest in your friendships and interests. Allow yourself to grieve and deal with all the changes that are coming and how life will look differently than you expected. Enlist some trusted prayer warriors who will pray for you and uplift you, but who will also encourage you back into life when you’re tempted to withdraw. Ask for help and accept help when it’s offered to you. This may not be a season to take on extra projects or over commit yourself. Rest. Rest. Take a bubble bath, and then rest a little more.
I know that in the midst of all of this, those things are easier said than done. But as a mom who was once in the same place your daughter is now, I can assure you that I am forever changed because my own mother did many of those things. Her support carried me in many ways when I was not strong enough to carry myself. Her availability and transparency allowed me to feel safe to ask her whatever questions I had, and her unconditional love affirmed to me that I was lovable in a time when I felt the opposite. In my own situation, she walked every step of my pregnancy with me. And while I know that not all of you will have that same experience, her willingness to be there shaped me and prepared me for motherhood in wonderful ways.
I want to leave you with this. While I don’t know how far into this journey you are, I can tell you that you are giving a true gift in this act of ministering to your daughter. In a culture that will tell her that this baby is an inconvenience and will dash her dreams, you have the opportunity to show her the truth. You can show her that although her journey might have started earlier or differently than expected, it in no way negates the impact she can have on her son or daughter. You can help equip her and uplift her, and impact the generations to come through your words and actions. This calling on your life, although stretching and draining, is one of great importance.
On behalf of all the daughters, and your future grandchild, I thank you. What you are doing now matters.