Each year around 40,000 young women become mums and most of these pregnancies are unplanned. It's not an unusual thing to happen so there are lots of places to go for help. Some days, you’ll feel as though you know exactly what you want to do and how you’re going to get there. But sometimes, you might feel completely overwhelmed by everything that’s happening. Remember, you’re not alone.
Connexions is a good place to start and there are lots of other people who can offer advice and support. Your Connexions Personal Adviser can put you in touch with all the right people during your pregnancy and afterwards. We won’t judge or criticise. We’re here to find out what you want and give you the help and support you need to get you there. We've got special Advisers who support young parents. Call us, or come into your local Connexions Centre to find out more.
Most of the time workers will not share any information about you with anyone else unless you tell them they can. This is called keeping your information confidential. However, if you tell them that you or someone else are in danger or being harmed in some way they will pass information on to others in order to protect you.
Breaking the news
Your baby’s father
Think carefully about how you tell your baby’s father your news. Try to make sure he doesn’t hear it from anyone else - mates you’ve told, for example.
Some dads can be a real help when it comes to supporting you through your pregnancy and telling your parents. Some may take a bit of time to come round to the idea of being a father. You’ll both need to think about your responsibilities as parents, so it’s best to keep talking.
Your parents or carers and your boyfriend’s parents
Think carefully about how and when you tell your parents or carers. You can’t really guess how people will react, but they might be upset at first and you should prepare yourself for this. It’ll help if you’re clear about what you plan to do.
Most parents will offer support and will want to help. Young parents are often surprised at how helpful their families, particularly their mums, were prepared to be. Most wished they’d told their family earlier.
Your friends can be a huge help, so think about the people you are closest to and tell them. They might not always understand what you’re going through, but they can help you talk about it.
Pregnancy and parenthood can be happy, proud and enjoyable times, but they can also be emotional, worrying and sometimes lonely. You will be surprised how important it is to share and discuss all of these feelings.
The relationships you have with others can change when you are pregnant and after the baby arrives. You may not have the same time to spend with other people and you may feel tired from the lack of sleep and all the extra things you have to do.
Talking to others about how you feel can help you get more support, take a break, get things off your chest, or get advice about things that are worrying you. Every new parent has different support from different people:
- Your Connexions Personal Adviser or Midwife can tell you about what support is available to you
- Parents and carers can be a great source of support, advice and encouragement and because they have been through the process of raising a baby may be able to put your mind at ease about the things that are bothering you
- Friends can also be a great help - they can give you a break and time to be yourself. Many will have known you before the baby and it can be good to have time to talk about other things - you don’t stop being you when the baby arrives but time for yourself can get lost along the way
- Your partner, if you have one, can be an excellent support; they are probably feeling some of the same things you are. The new responsibility you both have and the changes to your lifestyle can put you both under pressure, so it is very important to talk about how you are both feeling and help each other through
If you are pregnant or have a baby and feel that you don't have enough support from these people, or you would like more people to speak to, you may benefit from meeting other parents, to share concerns, benefit from one another’s experience and help one another.
Dads need extra support too. You might need advice about continuing to study, getting a job, your entitlement to benefits and housing or just about the way you’re feeling. Becoming a dad is a big step - worries about your own childhood and wondering what sort of a father you will be, how being a parent will affect your relationships with your girlfriend, family and friends and being responsible for a young family bring their own stress. Talk to your Connexions Personal Adviser if you need extra support.
During pregnancy and after the birth you will come across lots of professionals who can give you advice on a range of issues. Never be afraid to ask questions and if you need more help let them know. It may be that they can’t give you everything that you need but they will usually help you find others who can.
Children's centres are for children under five and their families.
Each children’s centre is different but they all provide a range of support and activities aimed at getting your child the best start in life:
- Gateshead Council Children's Centres
- North Tyneside Children Centre Services
- South Tyneside Children's Centres
- Sunderland Children's Centres
- Sure Start Children's Centre Newcastle
For more information
Brook provides free and confidential sexual health advice and services specifically for young people under 25. Brook is a registered charity with 40 years' experience of providing professional advice through specially trained doctors, nurses, counsellors and outreach and information workers to over 200,000 young people each year.
BabyCentre offers help and advice for new parents and anyone planning a pregnancy or expecting a baby.
Bpas - the British Pregnancy Advisory Service - offers family planning services and counselling specifically for young parents. Telephone 08457 30 40 30 24 hours a day.
Gingerbread offers services to single parents and the people who help them. Call the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline on Freephone 0808 802 0925, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Wednesdays 9am-8pm. Calls from all landlines and all major mobile networks are free.