GUEST BLOG: Align Pregnancy Center
When a close friend tells you they have accidentally become pregnant, you may want to offer them support, but you may not know exactly what that support should entail. After all, learning that you’re pregnant can be extremely overwhelming; what can you say to comfort someone in that situation?
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is just be their friend. However, knowing what else you can do to support them through this time can make all of the difference. Here are a few ways to support your friend who is facing an unplanned pregnancy.
KNOW WHAT TO SAY
Your friend likely feels a range of intense emotions immediately following their positive pregnancy test. They may feel scared, alone, confused, or even ashamed. As their friend, it is important to be there for them emotionally. Listen to them without judgment, and let them know that you support whatever decision they make about their pregnancy. In addition, avoid giving them unsolicited advice or making assumptions about what they are going through.
Here are a few things you can say to your friend:
- “I’m so sorry to hear that this wasn’t what you were expecting. I’m here for you no matter what you decide to do.”
- “It sounds like you’re feeling really overwhelmed right now. Can I do anything to help?”
- “Thank you for telling me this. I know it wasn’t easy for you to share and to trust me with this information.”
- “Don’t worry — you’re not alone. I’m here for you, and we’ll get through this together with the help of your support system.”
KNOW WHAT NOT TO SAY
Knowing what not to say is just as important as knowing what to say to your pregnant friend. As their confidante, it is crucial to be mindful of the words you use and how they might affect someone that needs support and compassion. In general, avoid making any statements that could come across as judgmental, dismissive, or hurtful. The way you respond to your friend’s news can either make them feel supported or further isolate them during a difficult time.
Here are a few things you should avoid saying to your friend:
- “You should have been more careful.”
- “Aren’t you happy?”
- “I don’t know how you’re going to handle this.”
- “This is going to be a lot of work for you.”
- “You’re not the first person this has happened to, you know.”
HOW TO BE THERE FOR THEM
To provide the best support to your friend, it is crucial to know that you don’t need to be an expert in this situation. You need to be supportive, but you don’t necessarily need to provide solutions. It is your friend’s pregnancy, and they will ultimately make the decisions about what is best for them and their baby. However, you can still be an excellent support system with the following tips:
- Acknowledge their feelings
By simply listening to your friend and validating their feelings, you can help them feel supported. It is okay for them to feel happy, overwhelmed, or even scared about the pregnancy — let them know that it is all normal.
- Educate yourself
To be the best support possible, you must educate yourself on all of the aspects of pregnancy. This way, you can provide your friend with accurate information and help them make informed decisions.
- Be a reminder
It can be easy for your friend to forget about their own needs when they’re focused on their pregnancy. Be a reminder for them to take care of themselves — both physically and emotionally. Help them make doctor’s appointments, get enough rest, and eat healthy foods.
OFFER PRACTICAL HELP
Think about the question, “what pregnancy help for my friend can I offer?” and brainstorm a list of things you could do to help your friend in this situation. The type of support they need most can vary with each week of pregnancy. A pregnant woman often needs emotional support more than anything else, but practical help is always appreciated, especially if your friend is considering raising the child by themself.
The best way to offer valuable service is to simply ask what they need and then follow through. It can be as simple as offering to babysit their other children so they can have a break or picking up groceries for them. If you want to do something more significant, you could offer to help with the cost of baby items like a crib, car seat, or stroller.
DON’T JUDGE THEM
Judgment can push someone away when they need support the most. If your friend is confiding in you about their unintended pregnancy, it’s important to be there for them without passing judgment. They are already facing enough judgment from themselves and others, and they need your understanding.
In this situation, it’s not about you or your opinions, it’s about them and what they are going through. It’s best to realize that your role is to be supportive instead of judgmental.
LET THEM MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS
While you may have strong opinions about what your friend should do, it’s important to let them make their own decisions. This is their pregnancy, and they are the one who will need to live with the consequences of whatever decision they make. Offer your support and help them to weigh all of their options, but ultimately let them make the best decision for themselves.
It can be easy to want to offer advice or tell them what you would do in their situation, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t about you. Your friend is the one who has to make this decision, and they will do what is best for them.
CONNECT THEM WITH A PREGNANCY CENTER
Having a better understanding of what your friend is dealing with will help you be a more supportive friend to them. Now that you are aware of the challenges and issues they are facing, you can be there for them in whatever capacity they need. Whether your friend decides to parent, place their child for adoption, or have an abortion, know that you are a valuable support system for them. Your friendship and love will make all the difference during this special time in their life.
To provide your pregnant friend with additional resources, you can connect her with a local pregnancy center. Pregnancy centers like Life’s Choices and Align Pregnancy Center offer clients a variety of free services. At Life’s Choices, clients have access to a free confirmation ultrasounds, our Baby Bundle, prenatal and parenting classes, and much more.
Contact Life’s Choices today for more information about our completely free and confidential services.