10 WAYS TO SUPPORT HER When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting
I had been brought up to believe that life is always a gift, but it certainly didn’t feel like one when I gazed in shock at a positive pregnancy test. As a mom who had my first baby in college, I know that an unexpected pregnancy can sometimes bring fear, shame, and doubt. However, I also know that an unexpected pregnancy can bring joy, excitement, awe, gratitude, and deeper love than I knew was possible—not to mention the little bundle who inspires these sentiments! About nine months after looking at that pregnancy test, I received the very best gift I have ever been given: my daughter, Maria*. An unexpected pregnancy might be confusing along the way, but life—though at times difficult—is ultimately beautiful. Perhaps one of your friends has become pregnant unexpectedly. As someone who has been there, I encourage you to support your friend in her new journey of being a mother.
Not sure how to help or what to say? Here are ten tips:
1. BE AVAILABLE – An unexpected pregnancy can send a woman into crisis mode. If your friend just found out she is pregnant, she may not be thinking clearly, and she may feel she has no control over anything at the moment. Be aware of how she is responding to you. Listen to her and let her know you love her and are there for her any time she needs you. Don’t pass judgment on her either interiorly or through words or body language.
2. RESPOND POSITIVELY – When a woman experiencing challenging circumstances confides she is pregnant, the reaction of the first person she tells tends to set the tone for her decision-making. Avoid responding with shock or alarm, and be calm and understanding. Let her know you’re there for her and that it’s going to be okay. Pay close attention to her emotional state, and act accordingly. Depending on where she is emotionally, it may or may not be helpful to congratulate her at that time. However, it is always important to affirm that every person’s life—including her child’s and her own—is precious and beautiful no matter the circumstances.
3. BE HONEST – The journey through an unexpected pregnancy is not easy, and it’s okay if you don’t know the perfect words to say. Just be honest. Let her know you are there for her, and ask her how she is feeling and how you can support her. It’s a good way to open the door to communicate, and she may be grateful for the opportunity to talk freely with someone. She might become emotional at times, but be patient—let’s not forget hormones; the struggle is real.
If you would like to read more, visit their website at www.respectlife.org/support-her
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