General Question

Blonderaven's avatar

Should I tell her parents she's pregnant?

Asked by Blonderaven (387points) May 12th, 2010

Ok, so this is going to be a long explanation…

Anyways, yesterday my friend told me she was getting nauseous, just in the mornings. i suggested jokingly that she was pregnant, and she got this horrified look on her face, and realised that she could be. According to her she had sex two weeks ago (yes, i realise its early for morning sickness) and her period was late. I suggested she get tested at the pregnancy resource center, and she did.
Today she told me it’s positive, she’s pregnant, but with a high risk of miscarriage. She’s excited, already picked out baby names.
This is the problem: Her parents have no idea. She doesn’t want to tell them because she’s afraid they’ll make her abort the baby because she has many health problems.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. This girl is extremely naive about pregnancy. She had no idea, for example, that drinking coffee was bad for the baby, until I told her.
2. I dont really know her that well. but,I’m her only friend, and one of only three people (the lady at the pregnancy resource center and a random guy who overheard our conversation) to know
3. telling her parents wouldn’t actually be telling her parents. I don’t know how to contact them so I would probably be asking her siblings for help or talking to a school counselor.
4. I have considered the possibility she’s making this up for attention

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36 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

How old is your friend? Personally, I would urge her to tell her parents, but I wouldn’t tell them myself. Most people aren’t aware of what pregnancy truly entails until they go to the doctor’s and the doctor fills them in on the dos and don’ts.

cfrydj's avatar

I agree with Seaofclouds. I think you should talk to her about talking to her parents, but you’d probably be overstepping the bounds of your friendship by going to them yourself. Talking to a school counselor is a good idea, though.

Silhouette's avatar

She should tell her parents, you should stay out of it.

lilikoi's avatar

You are such an awesome friend for caring.

I agree that you’d be overstepping if you went to her parents – even indirectly – after she told you she didn’t want to tell them.

Agree that talking with a counselor could be helpful.

If she’s living at home, her parents are going to eventually find out anyway. She’ll have to tell them sooner or later.

You could ask Planned Parenthood what the laws in your area are for abortions. If you found out that your friend has the legal right to make the decision on whether or not to abort and the parents don’t have any legal say, it may make it easier for her to tell them knowing it is 100% her choice.

If she is making this up for attention I would seriously reconsider my friendship with her!

CMaz's avatar

I think you should hold off for a few months. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you might think.

tranquilsea's avatar

A high number of pregnancies end in miscarriages (edit: higher then most people realize). But that being said, it is up to your friend to tell her parents. You can encourage her to, but ultimately it is her decision and she may have very good reasons for not telling them.

So far as her being naive about pregnancy, she would join a very long list of women who are. If she wants to keep the baby, get her some baby books like, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and encourage her to eat right and get moderate exercise. She should go to see a doctor soon as they will be able to council her on the dos and don’ts.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Unless you’re the father (expectant father), then there’s at least one other person who’s somewhat close to her who should have a hand in sharing news of this import.

If she has significant health risks, then the parents will probably be involved sooner or later anyway, and I vote for “sooner”. This shouldn’t be an emergency medical surprise some night when they see her walk into a room bleeding… or worse.

robmandu's avatar

Is she a minor? Are her parents responsible for her?

You’re not a doctor… you’re not bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. If you think her parents really need to know, and you believe that’s in her best interest, then you should consider telling them.

If you believe her life and well-being are in jeopardy, and you inform her parents after giving her adequate time and notice to do so herself, then you’re not overstepping the bounds of friendship. You are being a friend.

Realize though, that if you go against her wishes, she may no longer consider you to be her friend. Which then would you rather have, a sick/dying “friend” or someone you care about living a healthy life without you?

Plone3000's avatar

YES. I saw some responses up top that say she should do it, but personaly I think you both should, that way it shows your both in it together.

Blonderaven's avatar

Thanks for all the answers, you’ve definately made the situation clearer. To clarify some things, she’s fifteen, the father doesn’t know, and the two of them aren’t actually dating

marinelife's avatar

This goes beyond the acceptable secret category. Yes, tell her parents.

MissA's avatar

Suggest to her that her test result may be a false positive…then, purchase a test for her to use, so that you may see the results first hand.

Why do you think she may be doing this for attention? What about her personality would suggest that?

Don’t tell her parents…at least not yet. Something doesn’t sound right here. No need to get everyone upset over what might not come to pass.

RedPowerLady's avatar

She needs a resource! If you can’t find her one other than her parents then tell her parents. If she will sign up for help with a counselor, regularly see an OBGYN, talk with another trusted adult then don’t tell her parents.
Because she is so naive about pregnancy and because she has so many medical problems she needs a resource to make sure her and baby are healthy.
Keeping a secret or “overstepping your boundaries” are not concerns that trump the health of that baby.

And yes it does need to be done now because the first trimester is the most important in terms of baby’s development. So if she is faking she will just have to face the consequences.

deni's avatar

it’s just not your place to tell them this huge news, if in fact she is pregnant. you should of course urge her to tell them, but i don’t see any good coming of you telling them yourself, especially because you said you don’t know her that well. and it’s way too early—she might not even really be pregnant. what if her parents don’t even want her having sex? it would open up a whole new can of worms (so to speak).

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Caring for a friend is great. Getting between a friend and their parents is so often a huge mistake. Support your friend by encouraging her to confide in her parents. Come along as silent moral support when she first tells them. Do not take sides in the discussion that follows. It becomes an internal family matter. It things go badly off the rails, you may be able to help your friend access other support systems in her community.

mollypop51797's avatar

big no no! It is so great that you care for your friend, but getting into her personal life and telling her parents is not the way to go. First, she doesn’t want them to know, so respect that. But second, I see where you’re coming from, her parents should know because they can help. I absolutely agree here. Once you know that she is out of the danger zone and is certainly, undoubtedly pregnant, then encourage her to share the news with her parents (she’s going to have to tell them sometime or later) Now, don’t go into her personal relationship with her family. Your helping her is great, but this isn’t the thing to do. Just encourage her and support her with her pregnancy. If she decides to tell her parents and calls on you to be there when they hear the big news, then be there supporting her. Don’t offer to tell them for her because it is her baby and she should be the first one to tell her family. But good luck!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I fail to see why people are looking at friendship and moral “no no’s” over the health of the potential baby. The asker is very clear that this potentially pregnant young woman has no idea what is and what isn’t healthy. Apparently she has her own health problems as well. Sometimes a person’s life trumps moral standards.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@RedPowerLady If she tells her friend’s parents that the friend is pregnant, the friend could deny it and her parents could believe her. Then, she would no longer be friends with the asker and there would be no one to look out for this girl and her baby in the time it takes her to tell her parents (or start showing).

JLeslie's avatar

Wait a couple of weeks. She is so early that all of her options will be open even in a few weeks. If she miscarries it all goes away. If it is a good pregnancy and she is morning sick it will get more and more difficult to hide. The only thing I would do is ask her to start taking pregnancy vitamins in case she carries to term. Since she is confiding in you, as she gets more freaked out you might be able to urge her to tell her parents.

I didn’t see how old she is?? Is she thin? Usually by the second month I can tell if a friend is pregnant by her boobs, but if she is still near puberty it might be hard to tell, because her breasts might be getting bigger anyway. If she is fat she will be able to hide the pregnancy better.

So she wants to keep the baby if she is pregnant? Does she have a steady boyfriend? Does he know?

As a side note, “they” have decided that it is ok to have some caffiene during pregnancy. The recommendations go back and forth on that.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Seaofclouds That is a lot of “what ifs”. And the asker could still tell someone else even if they aren’t friends.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@RedPowerLady Yes, but it would be the girl’s word against hers until she could no longer deny it. It is a lot of “what ifs”, but I always plan for the worst case scenario (and to me, that’s the worst case scenario of her telling her friend’s parents).

Randy's avatar

She’s only fifteen but, without trying to sound like a dick, who are you to police this girls life? She may not be prepared but she still has rights. There is no reason that you should be telling anyone if she’s asked you not to. Now, if her parents allow her to go out and be in situations where she can get pregnant, then they need to deal with the consequences just as she needs to for doing the things that have led to her position. I know that sounds harsh but… facts is facts, is facts. She’ll eventually have to tell them. Either that or they will notice that she is gaining weight like crazy and start asking questions for themselves. Either way, it’s really not any of your business.

I would like to commend you though. I get that as her friend, you want to do what is in her best interest but, think about it… If you spilled the beans and she found out, the trust would be gone. Friendship, or any relationship for that matter, isn’t much of anything without trust. You’re free to do what you want, but I suggest you keep it to yourself.

sawyergirl's avatar

I agree with @Randy. Hold off on doing anything. And as you have stated, you don’t really know her all that well, and don’t know her parents at all. Plus you think she could possibly be making it up. Just play it by ear for the next couple of weeks and if she is pregnant, she may just end up telling her parents herself, which is what should happen.

casheroo's avatar

Hm. My biggest concern is her parents then forcing her to get an abortion. I don’t see the harm in letting her tell them in her own time, which will probably occur around 3 months pregnant.

also, coffee is not that dangerous. in the beginning, it can have a higher increase in miscarriage..but a pregnant woman can safely have a cup of coffee or soda a day.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Seaofclouds The worst case scenario is this girl not getting the best care for the baby or for her medical condition and thus something bad happening.
“one persons word against another” sounds like you are trying to come up with drama when there doesn’t have to be any, if the girl denies it to her parents then the poster doesn’t have to keep arguing, at least she tried

RedPowerLady's avatar

Okay I also think we are all missing one point the OP suggested. And that is the pregnancy is likely to end in miscarriage b/c of the girls medical conditions. Is this something she should have to face alone? A miscarriage is devastating on many levels.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@RedPowerLady The girl is 15 and doesn’t want to tell her parents, her denying it isn’t a major jump from the realm of possibilities. It is the girl’s responsibility to tell her parents. I understand what you are saying about the girl getting the best care for her baby, but her friend telling her parent’s doesn’t mean that will happen. There could be a really good reason the girl is afraid to tell her parents, and since @Blonderaven admits she doesn’t know them well, I don’t think it’s a good idea for her to get involved by telling her parents.

The girl not getting the best care for her baby can happen even if her parents do know. We do not know the family dynamic. We only know that @Blonderaven is trying to be a good friend and isn’t even sure that her friend is pregnant.

As for facing a possible miscarriage alone, right now she’d not facing it alone, she has her friend. If her friend betrays her by telling her parents, she will be moreso facing it alone. Obviously this girl doesn’t have the best relationship with her parents since she is afraid to tell them. Do you think that will suddenly change just because she has a miscarriage? Also, the OP never said what kind of health problems her friend has. Not all health problems cause an increased risk of miscarriage.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Seaofclouds but her friend telling her parent’s doesn’t mean that will happen. There could be a really good reason the girl is afraid to tell her parents,

Now that is a good point. As I suggested above telling her parents would be my last choice. I would suggest encouraging her to seek help elsewhere and telling someone else trusted first.

Now let’s get a bit serious. This isn’t a close friend of hers, so we can’t assume this friend will be there for her through a miscarriage.

I don’t understand the argument “The girl not getting the best care for her baby can happen even if her parents do know.”. We know that the care is not happening now for sure. So we shouldn’t try other alternatives because they might not work?

Obviously this girl doesn’t have the best relationship with her parents since she is afraid to tell them Well as you said we don’t know her parents. This isn’t necessarily true. Lots of teens would be afraid to tell their parents no matter the quality of the relationship.

Really I only understand the first argument in this post. The rest make no sense to me.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@RedPowerLady I think my professional experience has a lot to do with my opinions. I’m a nurse and as a nurse, we can’t tell a 15 year old’s parent’s she is pregnant without her permission. So I put a lot of value in the girl’s rights for her parent’s not to know if she doesn’t want them to. I think it should be up to her to tell them. She should go back to the resource center where she got the test and go from there. She does need care, but most OB doctors won’t see you until you are 8 weeks anyway, so she has time to figure things out.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Tell your friend you’re concerned for both she and the baby’s health and will tell her parents if she doesn’t on her own. If she’s comitted to keeping the baby and will need their support then she must go to them now, the first few months of pregnancy are important in terms of the mother’s stress and nutrition. If you both are worried her parents would urge her to abort then that’ll just have to be an issue when and if they react that way but give them a chance to help. It’s not about how old your friend is or isn’t or the circumstances of her getting pregnant, it’s about the baby she says she wants to keep and so her health must become paramount.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Seaofclouds That makes sense in regards to your profession. I, on the other hand, do Social Work. So whereas I have the same confidentiality standards as you I take a different perspective on the issue.

Anyhow I can agree that going back to the Pregnancy Resource Center is probably the best option.

JLeslie's avatar

I am curious why she thinks she is likely to have a miscarriage also. Miscarriages early in pregnancy are bad periods typically, the worst part of them is being sad about the loss of the pregnancy. She wasn;t trying to get pregnant it seems, and she is only 15, so I don’t think a miscarriage is going to reck the girl.

I agree with @RedPowerLady that plenty of teens don’t tell their parents things even if they have a good relationship with their parents. Teens many times think the guildelines their parents give for right and wrong and what is acceptable, is a guideline for what parents will be very angry about. What I mean is the rule or expectation in the house might be not to drink, but if their child gets drunk one night, and has no way home except for with drunk friends, parents want their child to make the better choice of calling them, parents would be glad that at least after showing some bad judgement their kid showed some good judgement, but children feel like their parents would never understand. If the expectation is not to have teen sex and don’t get pregnant, a child might be afraid to tell, but the truth is the parents are more likely better equipped to handle the situation than the teen alone. But, of course this is not always true, there are crazy parents out there.

@Blonderaven Is she afraid of the abortion, because she is afraid of the procedure? Or, because she wants to keep the baby? If she decides early enough she can just take the “abortion pill.” Also, do they think she will miscarry because her HCG is low?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Seaofclouds, @RedPowerLady: Jumping in here, I’ll give my perspective as a physician. I think we need to let the 15 year-old decide what to tell her parents and what not to tell them. Otherwise, the girl may bolt and not seek any medical care at all. Then we lose any chance to help.

For this reason, I oppose “mandatory reporting laws.” (These are laws that mandate reporting of ANY underage sexual activity, not just abuse.)

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I agree 100%. I hope my last answer did not imply I think the parents should be told by a third party such as a physician, I was only agreeing that children are sometimes afraid to tell parents, even when the parents would be helpful in the end, and understanding. I know you were not directing your comment at me, I was just clarifying my answer after seeing yours.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I also oppose mandatory reporting laws.

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