Your best friend is pregnant.
Maybe she shows up on your doorstep, scared and shaking or she might seem almost disconnected as she announces, “I’m pregnant” over lattes at a busy coffee shop. Or she could just blurt out, in the middle of the two of you chatting about your day.
Chances are, the confession leaves you blindsided, but know that it likely blindsided her too. And regardless of how cool and calm she is acting; she is probably nervous at the very least. If the pregnancy is unplanned or the circumstances aren’t great, there’s likely an element of fear as well.
So, there you sit, pondering this new piece of information and trying to gauge how you are supposed to feel about it and how you should respond. Should you be excited for her? Scared for her? What do you say?
It takes a moment to recover from the shock, then you simply say, “Really? How do you feel about that?” She sighs, “I don’t know. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to do.” That’s when you catch a glimpse of the uncertainty, the stress, maybe even fear and you want to be a good friend. You want to help her – here’s how to do it.
Don’t Freak Out
No matter how shocking the news is, keep your cool. She is probably already feeling an onslaught of emotions and the last thing she needs is the one person she turned to for support falling apart. Just pause, catch your breath and mind the words you speak to her. Be her support, hold her hand, and let her know that you are there for her.
The truth is, anyone can offer advice, but what she really needs at this time is counsel from those who have a true understanding of how to navigate an unplanned pregnancy. It is hard-earned wisdom that is invaluable in these situations. What she is going through is not easy, and there are no simple answers. Just being there for her is enough for now and together you can find the answers she needs to make informed decisions regarding how she will proceed.
Verify the Pregnancy
If she only suspects or has taken a home pregnancy test, then she needs to talk with professionals who can officially verify the pregnancy. This does two things, she will then know that she is indeed pregnant, and she can begin getting the appropriate counseling to learn about her options.
Pregnancy Care Clinic is staffed with licensed nurses who will confirm the pregnancy is viable and estimate how far along she is. We’ll also give her information about all her options. We are here to help her make a decision that is best for her. Fear in an unexpected pregnancy is resolved when your friend can see the vast resources that are in place to help her through every step.
If your friend is considering having an abortion, PCC can provide a pregnancy verification and perform an ultrasound to determine how far along she is. The gestational age of the baby will determine what type of abortion procedure she would need. Our nurse can discuss this with her and explain the risks associated with the various procedures.
Put Your own Feelings Aside
Regardless of how you personally feel, remember that this is not about you. It’s about her. Put your feelings aside and give her room to make her own decisions. However, if she does ask for your opinion, give it. She probably already knows how you feel so asking for your advice or opinion is really a verification of what she already knows or suspects you are going to say.
But resist the urge to tell her what to do.
Telling her what to do or what she needs to do can backfire and harm your friendship. If you tell her to choose a certain option and she does what you say then later regrets that decision, she will likely blame you. Help, guide, support, but don’t tell. You don’t have to live her life – she does.
Let Her Dictate the Level of Support She Needs from You
It is hard to see your friend hurting. You want to fix it, to take her pain away and make her feel safe and happy again. This may lead you to “mother hen” her, hovering over her and trying to take care of every little detail. It can feel smothering to some people.
Instead of just jumping in and taking over, let her tell you what she needs from you. Does she want to completely lean on you for a while as she thinks about the next steps? Or does she just want you to hold her hand and let her cry on your shoulder? Let her decide and know that it will probably change from day to day. Just be willing to be there for her in whatever capacity that she needs at that moment.
10 Ways to Show Support
Helping a friend through an unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming and exhausting. Remember to practice self-care and take care of yourself while you are supporting her. You are little help to her if you are exhausted or emotionally wrung out, so be good to yourself while you are being a good friend to her.
If you aren’t sure what exactly to do to help her and show you support her, our list of 12 practical ways to be supportive will help.
- Give her a hug
- Reassure her of your friendship and concern
- Listen as she talks about her feelings and plans
- Discuss the options
- Pray for her and with her about what she is facing
- Affirm your confidence in her
- Avoid blame or having a condemning attitude
- Encourage her to remain calm so that she is better equipped to make decisions that are rational and well thought out.
- Respect whatever feelings she has about the father of the baby – regardless of how you feel about him yourself
- Help her take mental breaks and just have fun, laugh, and relax
- Help her make a list of pros and cons for her options
- Find out if she has had her pregnancy verified by a medical professional. Encourage her to make an appointment at Pregnancy Care Clinic and offer to go with her.
Call Pregnancy Care Clinic at (619) 442-4357 or text (619) 442-0389 to make an appointment.