My 19 year old daughter has been attending a specialist college for almost a year as a day student. She has a learning disabilty and has the intellectual capacity of an 8 year old. Have now discovered that she is pregnant and that this happened in a toilet at the college. Worse still is the fact that the pregnancy is so far advanced - baby is due in 6 weeks! I never noticed because I wasn't looking for it - she never goes anywhere alone and I thought she was safe at college. It's all such a mess and my head is spinning. She wants to keep baby but will not be able to care for her (it's a girl) and Social Services are saying either I take responsibility or baby goes for adoption. I am 50 and was looking forward to a bit more 'me' time as have had to adjust our lives constantly around her care needs. My head says no but my heart is breaking for her and for me. Any suggestions anyone?
Thank you for sharing your experience with us at what must be a very difficult and emotional time for you and your family. Finding out about your daughter’s pregnancy must have been a huge shock, especially as you have had little time to come to terms with what has happened and to plan for the future.
There are a few resources that we can signpost you to which might provide some useful information and support at this time.
The Disabled Parents Network (http://www.disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk) and Disability, Pregnancy and Parenthood International (www.dppi.org.uk) both offer support services and have information and resources available on their websites.
CHANGE have also produced a publication called 'My pregnancy My choice' for parents with a learning disability, which may help you to support your daughter through the rest of her pregnancy. You can order it online at http://www.changepeople.co.uk/productDetails.php?id=1731
However, as well as the practical decisions you currently face, you and your daughter no doubt need some emotional support too.
You can contact the Learning Disability Helpline and speak to one of our advisers who will be able to go through your options in more detail and tell you more about the support that is available. Someone will be available this week and in the New Year.
You can either call them on 0808 808 1111 or email email@example.com
I hope this is a start and wish you and your daughter all the very best for the next few weeks.
Hi, I just wanted to say that your daughter has clearly got a mum who cares about her a lot, despite the shock and upset that you are both facing and this will help you both get through this. I haven't been in exactly the same situation myself, but I have had major worries at one stage with one of my teenage daughters who didn't have a learning disability.(I do have a son with severe learning disabilities ) I found it really helpful to talk to a helpline- in this case- I rang Parentline Plus and I also rang Samaritans.It just helped take the heat out of the situation to talk to some-one who could be objective and who could see that the most important thing was to keep my daughter safe.It also helped to feel that I could talk to some-one who wasn't judging me or my daughter.The Samaritans lady was really good- she had agreed with me that she would ring back and say that it was a friend calling , in case some-one else answered the phone and they are available 24/7.
My other thought, because I have a friend who fosters, is- could you explore the possibility of fostering, so that it will give both you and your daughter time to adjust to a such a stressful situation- the one that worries most parents of daughters with learning disabilities.If the baby is fostered, you can think about whether you can take on this challenge to support your daughter and it also gives you all time to see how your daughter copes with the baby.It may mean that you still all decide that it would be best for your daughter and for your grandchild and yourself to adopt but at least it would be a decision made after time for reflection.
Another friend of mine has her son, who has severe learning disabilities, in long-term fostering, so she can keep in regular contact with her son and yet it gives her the time she needs to look after her other children and work part -time.
I don't know how helpful your social services department is- or how helpful the midwife is at the hospital but it might be worth asking someone you feel you can trust to talk all these options through.I think it might be worth exploring about depa-provera contraception too, as it will keep your daughter safe from unplanned pregnancy even if she would not remember to take a pill regularly.It was a solution that worked for my daughter at a time she was not mature or organised enough to cope with the consequences of her actions.
I'm aware that everything I say may seem like it is too slick and easy, and I know I am not personallly facing the heartache that you are both living with, but I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you both, and I feel that that you will make the best decision you can , in circumstances that most people can only begin to imagine.Just don't do this alone- get others you can trust and confide in, working with you both.
Hi, sorry to hear about your circumstances. One thing that occurs to me is that the college involved has a duty of care to students during the time they attend. Given the circumstances they could possibly be found guilty of neglect ( or something similar ) as they should have taken measures to prevent harm or distress etc. As we're all aware there are lots of legal eagles around who specialise in this type of scenario. I think it could be well worth taking some legal advice from an educational / family law solicitor. If you're a union member ask for an appointment via their members legal service section. Best of luck, I hope the future is kinder to you.