I had a child at 16. I am now 32 and my daughter is 16. She is not sexually active (I, of course, have let her know that though I love her dearly, getting pregnant does indeed take away the freedom to find yourself, get a real education, find a career that you love and be rightfully selfish as you live your life, explore the world, and become who you are.) You can salvage a good life and do your best, love your child deeply and be the best parent you can be. But it is infinitely harder than a teen might imagine, and requires an enormous degree of selflessness. No one should become a parent before they are mature enough and have learned how to take care of themselves. And you just aren’t there at 16. I barely felt ready when I had my second at 25! (And some people never are!)
The main thing that stands out is that in all of it, I never really felt like I had choices. There is always a weight in your heart with the burden of responsibility. And the shame, and the fear of failure. And of course the day to day tasks of caring for a child aren’t easy, and kids are expensive! I never regretted my choice because of who she is, and what she has meant to my life. But she knows how hard it was, she was there.
So to answer the question. If she became pregnant, I would be devastated, knowing fully how this would impede her life as an incredibly intelligent, empathetic, and driven young woman. I would encourage her to have an abortion. If she was adamant, I would encourage adoption. Again, this may seem hypocritical, but it still doesn’t mean I regret my choice. I don’t even want to imagine my life without her in it. But I wouldn’t want it for her. Parents always want a little better for their kids, right?
Below is a picture of us in February on her 16th birthday.