Our 20-year-old daughter is pregnant and my husband told her to leave the home. This is a drastic shift on the part of my husband because she was his ‘sunshine’. She completed S6 and did very well in her examinations. My husband would boast to relatives and friends of how well she did in school. He was delighted that his daughter did better than his friends’ children. He was very supportive of her. Once her laptop was malfunctioning and instead of fixing it he bought her a new one. He was also very supportive of her extra-curricular activities and would attend all her sports matches. He was very protective of her, in fact, the one boy who he approved of is the one that got her pregnant. The boy is not in the position to help her financially. She is our only child and I do not want her to leave our home. I want her to finish school. I am now the go-between because they are not talking to each other. She will not accept that she made a mistake and he is not willing to look past the disappointment. Both claim I am on the other’s side. What am I to do? Sophie
Pregnancy doesn’t mean the end of a girl’s academic pursuit. Although her father may be overwhelmed with shock, disappointment, anxiety, anger and maybe even a sense of guilt, this experience might turn into great motivation for the girl to study hard and become a successful woman in the future. Your husband had plans for his only daughter. Her pregnancy stirs disappointment and shame, especially considering he used to boast. It’s a tough time for both of them and they both need your support. Although it’s common that fathers tend to push blame to the mothers for not guiding the daughter, leading to such, you need to stand strong and own up to this situation and settle things because motherhood and sacrifices go hand-in-hand.
First, you need to teach your daughter about being remorseful, especially after hurting a parent. The power of an apology will open the door to forgiveness, allowing her father to have empathy for her.
The girl needs to recognise that her pregnancy is ill-timed and so should apologise to her father. Your husband too should be taught the value of forgiveness because it transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. He’s approaching this issue from the wrong angle by kicking his daughter out. We owe our children when we bring them to this world much more than just food and clothing. We owe them understanding and support during difficult times. Forgiveness in this case will help him overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as conflicts. It is about making the decision to let go of disappointment and offer the necessary support the girl needs to make the wisest choices that concern her life, especially during this critical time because she’s already scared. Giving birth will ‘shake’ her and she will come out of it completely changed and ready to take steps to resuming school and pursuing a career.
You should convince your husband to inspire and educate her, and seek professional guidance if not strong enough. He should encourage her to receive medical care and avoid risks of anaemia, labour complications or maternal death.
Your husband should understand that, this is his biological child and despite the disappointment, he’ll never erase the DNA they share. She should be helped to better her life or else, he will push her deeper into trouble. At this time, you need to support her rather than scold her. It is important that you make arrangements for your daughter to complete her studies. She is not the first and with the right support from family and, she will do better. Don’t give up on your daughter.
How can Sophie reunite her husband and pregnant daughter? Readers offer their advice.
Help your husband adjust
ur husband probably got overwhelmed by the situation; find a family member who can talk to him and help him understand the situation. Also, listen to your daughter’s concerns so that your decision as parents doesn’t affect her.
Agnes Uwimbabazi, Businesswoman
Protect your daughter
As a mother, don’t let him kick her out, instead, be on her side because she needs you now more than ever. Although it’s hard to convince your husband to accept the situation, it’s worth trying, for as long as possible.
Emmanuel Kagera, Motorcyclist
Don’t do anything irrational
As a parent, your husband should respond to this situation with a clear mind, instead of reacting irrationally. Talk to him, after he has cooled down; try to make him understand that it has happened and that what is needed now is to support her.
Emmy Zigama, Farmer
She’s only human
You should both let your daughter know how disappointed you are in her. After that, I suggest that you all have a conversation on what next. You can as well plan on how she will continue with her studies after giving birth; after all, it’s not the end of the world.
Vanessa Umutoniwase, University graduate
Anger won’t fix the situation
Parents should learn to talk to their teens about sex and the repercussions. But in this case, you have a real situation to deal with; so tell your husband that regret and resentment won’t make it a better experience for any of you.
Joan Bigirimana, Fruit vendor