(Header image via nicolehennessy2 on TikTok.)
On July 11, this TikTok mom shared the story of finding out her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant. In what began as a normal “story time” style TikTok, Nicole Hennessy’s video soon blew up as viewers praised her for how she handled the situation with her daughter.
A calm approach
After finding a pregnancy test wrapper on the bathroom floor, Hennessy was caught off guard but calmly approached her daughter. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Nicole had this to say about her reaction: “The moment I saw the pregnancy test wrapper, I knew it was my daughter's. My immediate reaction was, 'Angelina needs me, so don’t react!' I said, 'Do you need a hug?' And I hugged her tight and told her I would help her figure this out."
So instead of acting in anger, fear, or frustration, Hennessy comforted her daughter and sat her down to talk about her options. Though she talked and cried with family and friends, Nicole remained a solid rock of support to her daughter.
Two days after the original video was released, Nicole posted a video explaining what options she discussed with her kid, and why she decided to talk about those options with her. “I respect that everyone has different opinions. We’re humans, and we have that right. My daughter is also a human with that right.” She then goes on to say that she made her daughter aware of three options: abortion, adoption, or keeping the child.
Angelina ultimately chose to keep the baby, saying, “I felt that keeping the baby was the right choice for me, knowing how supportive my family is, especially my mom.” Though Axis is deeply saddened that abortion was one of the options Nicole provided, we do think this shows how her decision not to react out of fear or condemnation, but to be supportive and speak life to her ultimately helped her daughter to choose life also.
A message of support and love
There’s a beautiful, important message to highlight in this story: Angelina chose to keep her child because she knew that she’d be supported and loved no matter what happened. It’s because of her family’s unconditional love that she felt safe enough to move forward with the pregnancy. Angelina is now seven months pregnant, planning future motherhood with her own mother.
Our kids are human, and even when they’re raised in the best of homes, with the best intentions, humans are prone to stumble. Are we ready to support our kids when they mess up? To offer guidance and nonjudgmental wisdom in the face of heartbreak or disappointment? If something similar to this story were to happen in our homes, how would we react?
As parents, we need to reaffirm in our kids that they’re neither a sum of their failures nor a sum of their successes; their value rests only in the hands of their loving Father, a Father who accepts the widows, the orphans, the adulterers, the righteous, everyone. And while a situation such as an unexpected pregnancy is scary, something we hope not to face with our teens, it’s hardly too much for God to accept, redeem, and love us through.
We encourage you to look at this story with a view of amazing love and hope restored for a scared, worried child. Had Angelina not been given the support that she needed from her mom, her baby may not be alive today. Our kids need to know that we are a safe place for them, a place where they can let their guards down with ease, and know that they have unconditional love on their sides.
Open up a conversation with your teen
This is no easy topic. Thank you for taking the time to read through this family’s story. Before you bring this conversation up with your teenager, we encourage you to think through some questions on your own. Feel free to discuss your answers with a spouse, friend, or privately in prayer.
Personal reflection questions:
- Is my home a safe place? What can I do to make it a safe place?
- Does my child feel comfortable talking to me about anything? What are some steps that I can take to make my child feel comfortable in talking to me about sensitive topics?
- If my child was faced with a serious problem like this, would they come to me or would they try to hide it?
- How would I react if my child told me they’re questioning their sexuality or about abortion/suicidal thoughts/rape/etc.?
- How can I best prepare myself to love my child through anything they face?
- How can I better rely on God’s peace and wisdom when/if tough situations like this do arise?
- How can I offer love, support, and grace while pointing my children toward preserving life?
Discussion questions to ask your teen:
- Have you seen the mom on TikTok who went viral for sharing her teenage daughter’s pregnancy story? What are your thoughts on it?
- What would you do if you were in that situation?
- Do you feel like you can tell me anything? What might hold you back from sharing something personal or sensitive with me?
- What would make you feel seen, heard, and supported in our home?
- How can I better love and support you when you are going through something difficult?