“Single Expectant Parents,” Counseling Resources (2020).
“Single Expectant Parents,” Counseling Resources.
Single Expectant Parents
Single expectant parents may experience unique challenges. You may become aware of this situation at any stage in the pregnancy, and the single expectant parents may have varied concerns and levels of understanding of the consequences they are facing. They face the task of deciding a future for their child as well as their own future. Some will marry, others will place their child for adoption, and some will decide to single parent. Reach out in love to comfort, encourage, and care for the single expectant mother or father. Express your desire to help, and thank the individual for his or her willingness to involve you.
Family Services provides free consultation for single expectant parents and can also provide information about marriage, adoption, or single parenting. Encourage the single expectant parent to meet with his or her bishop, who can connect him or her to Family Services. If Family Services is not available, the bishop may have access to additional counseling resources.
Seek to Understand
As you talk with single expectant parents, make sure to show love and empathy as the Savior would. Because every situation is different and each person’s circumstances vary, prayerfully consider asking questions like these in a kind and sensitive manner to help you better understand the single expectant parent’s concerns and needs.
What are your greatest concerns or worries right now?
What are your plans for your future?
What are your plans for your child’s future?
What is your current relationship with the other parent of the child?
What is your relationship with the grandparents and other extended family members of your child?
If you become aware that this situation was a result of abuse or sexual assault, contact civil authorities. A help line is also available for your bishop to call when dealing with this issue.
Help the Individual
As you help the single expectant parent as he or she makes decisions about the future, consider using some of the following ideas.
Help the single expectant parent find hope and healing through the Savior and His Atonement.
Help him or her understand that redemption and strength come from the Savior Jesus Christ.
Help the single expectant parent see his or her identity as a child of Heavenly Parents and recognize his or her own individual strengths, talents, and abilities.
Help the single expectant parent feel God’s love for him or her and to know that God is a partner with whom he or she can counsel for this child’s earthly journey.
Encourage the single expectant parent to meet with the bishop.
If appropriate, invite the expectant parent to review her or his patriarchal blessings for direction and comfort.
Help him or her identify and consider options such as single parenting, adoption, or marriage, if appropriate.
Church leaders and friends should avoid encouraging or pressuring the expectant parent to choose either to keep the child or to offer the child for adoption.
Encourage the single expectant parent to write the positives and the negatives associated with each option and to prayerfully evaluate and weigh the consequences of each option, especially for the child.
Advise the single expectant parent to seek counsel from those who can help him or her to carefully consider these options.
Encourage the single expectant parent to seek a priesthood blessing.
Help the member understand that he or she can receive personal inspiration, impressions, and guidance from God.
Support the Family
A single expectant parent’s experience also impacts the lives of his or her family members. Determine the impact on the family, and encourage the family to discuss those issues.
Encourage all ward council leaders to actively serve the expectant parents and their families.
Encourage the family to counsel together about the decision and to ultimately respect the single expectant parent’s decision.
Some family members may not agree with the decision the single expectant parent makes. Encourage the family to discuss the impact of the decision on family members and help them address those issues, if necessary.
Use Ward and Stake Resources
Consider asking ward leaders or other trusted individuals to provide continuing support, guidance, and assistance. Request the individual’s permission before discussing the situation with others.
Identify a trusted person to be a mentor for the single expectant parent, and encourage the two of them to meet regularly.
The mentor should be someone the person is comfortable with and could be a ministering sister or brother.
Identify local resources that provide services in harmony with gospel principles.
Resources may include professional counselors, programs or centers, and other agencies.
If the single expectant parents are considering parenting, encourage them to read or participate in the Strengthening the Family, Marriage and Family Relations classes or to read the associated materials if the classes are not available.