If a friend chooses to confide in you about her unexpected pregnancy, a lot can be going through your mind. It’s easy to think you need to have all the answers, but the reality is that you probably don’t need to say much at all. Here are some tips on how to support a friend who tells you she’s pregnant.
This is probably the most important but overlooked thing you can do. Your friend is probably experiencing a lot of conflicting and confusing emotions and needs a safe person she can confide in while she tries to sort it all out. It’s an honor that she wants to talk to you! Focusing on listening frees you of the pressure of needing to know exactly what to say and also allows you to give her exactly what she needs — someone who will listen without agenda.
As you listen, here are some helpful questions you can ask to help her sort through the unexpected news and connected emotions:
- How are you feeling?
- Do your parents know?
- What did your boyfriend say?
- What do you want to do?
As you listen and ask questions, you’re allowing her to open up and explore exactly how she’s feeling. Refrain from making judgments or accusatory statements as this could cause her to go on the offensive and shut down. It’s important to let her process everything and to help her do that by asking open-ended questions.
Remind Her She Has Options
As you listen and ask questions to help her process everything, an important thing you can do is to remind her she has options. It’s common for women to feel pressured into an abortion when that isn’t really what they want. If her boyfriend is willing to be in the picture, it’s a decision they should talk through together, and she needs to know and feel like she’ll be supported on whatever path she chooses.
She might also feel like she needs to make a decision right away, but this isn’t often the case. It’s important to examine all emotions she’s feeling, which is probably why she came to you for your help! By listening to her and reminding her of what’s true (her life isn’t over, she has options, you’ll be there to support her no matter what), you’re already giving her a great gift.
Offer Specific Support
In times of crisis, normal everyday tasks can feel overwhelming. Offer to support her in specific ways instead of saying something like, “I’m here if you need me” or “Call me if you need anything!” Instead, consider offering any or all of the following:
- To go shopping with her
- To bring over ice cream or chocolate and let her cry
- To take her to dinner (or bring her dinner)
- To help with homework
- To give rides to and from school or other activities
You can also ask her what you can do to help her feel supported during this time. You don’t need to have all the answers, she just needs to know you’re with her and are willing to support her however you can during this time.
Encourage Her to Seek Help
Make sure she doesn’t slip into isolation. As you follow up with her and offer your own support, encourage her to seek professional help and support as well if she’s struggling. At Palm Beach Women’s Clinic, we offer confidential counseling about all options and can talk through the resources available for each option. All of our services are free of charge, offering a quiet place free of judgment and agenda for our clients to sort through all of their emotions and process all their options.
Whether you prefer her to Palm Beach Women’s Clinic or another counselor, make sure whoever she goes to doesn’t financially profit off of her decision. The goal is for her to make a decision free of pressure and judgment, so try to find somewhere that will offer information and resources on all of her options.
By following these tips, you’ll be a tremendous help to your friend as she walks this road of uncertainty and fear!