An unexpected pregnancy can be a frightening time. Even the most life-affirming, child-loving woman may feel confusion or dread about becoming a mother before she feels ready. Here are five ways to support a friend who confides in you about her unplanned pregnancy.
- Be available.
Listen carefully to your friend as she opens up about her feelings. Thank her for confiding in you and let her know that you love and accept her. Make a point of saying out loud that you want to be part of her circle of support.
- Offer specific help.
There are many reasons why your friend may not ask for help. Perhaps she isn’t sure what she needs, or maybe she feels hopeless or doesn’t want to pose a burden. Instead of saying, “let me know if I can help,” tell her specific things that you are happy to do. For example, you can say:
-“I’ll feed your cat while you go out of town to talk to your parents.”
-“I’d like to buy your prenatal vitamins.”
-“Please let me wash your dishes so you can rest.”
- Encourage her.
An encouraging word can make a world of difference for your friend, especially if other people have responded negatively to her unexpected news. Remind her that she is worthy of love and that she is strong enough to face the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood or adoption. When appropriate, invite her to talk about some of the positive aspects of pregnancy and childhood.
- Respect her decisions.
Your friend has decisions to make about everything from adoption to diapers. Even if you disagree with her choices you can show that you respect her right to decide by helping her gather information so that she can make informed decisions.