No matter one’s stage of life or personal circumstances, the experience of facing an actual unexpected pregnancy can be overwhelming and disorienting. How do you encourage and support someone whose life is suddenly about to change drastically? Here are some tips to assist her through this time of great upheaval and help her to appreciate this beautiful gift of new life.
Respond Positively and Encourage Her
The reaction of the first person she tells about her unexpected pregnancy might set the tone for her decision making. As her confidant, it’s important to remain calm and sympathetic rather than responding with panic. Reassure her that it’s going to be okay and that you’re there for her.
The media and society tend to focus on the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy which could add to her anxiety. It may help to balance the perspective by pointing out the benefits and joy that a baby brings. Remind her that she’s capable of doing hard things. Affirm that every life, including her own and her child’s, is precious regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.
Be Available, Listen, and Fill in the Gap
Let her know that you’re there for her when she needs you, and make sure you follow through. Take the time to really listen to her concerns without pressure or judgment. She might be dealing with rejection from her partner, family, and friends, so you may need to step in to fill the gap and be that pillar of support for her.
Reassure Her That She’s Allowed to Celebrate
She might not feel she has permission to be happy about a pregnancy that people around her may judge as ill fated and irresponsible. Showing your delight in her pregnancy could encourage her to embrace her own excitement about it. Express your interest in her and her baby throughout her pregnancy by sincerely checking in on her and asking her how it’s going.
Offer Her Specific Help
Identify areas where she might possibly need help and offer support. Be specific in your offer; for example, ask if she needs assistance with grocery runs or a hand to hold at her doctor’s appointment.
Connect her with the many organizations that can provide her resources for before and after the baby is born. The Pregnancy Help Center provides free pregnancy tests, limited obstetric ultrasounds, options consultations, and more, while our partners offer mentorship and other support services.
You can also help her take care of her mental health by encouraging her to continue doing the things she enjoys and planning relaxing activities with her.
Always let her take the lead in deciding what assistance she needs to avoid being overbearing.
Share Real-Life “Success” Stories
There are many women who have unexpected pregnancies and continue to thrive and follow their dreams after birth. Many of our clients have come to find that even though their life did not go according to plan, their new path turned out to be better and more beautiful than they could have expected. Sharing these stories with her can give her hope that an unplanned pregnancy isn’t a dead end.
Supporting a friend in crisis is challenging and you might not know the right thing to say or do. That’s okay. What your friend needs the most from you is sincere love and support, letting her know that she is not alone. Be patient with her as it is an emotional time of upheaval and remember that your support may be the only support she has. Your care and compassion make a difference.