When your friend confided in you about her unexpected pregnancy, you may have been at a loss for words. It can be difficult to know what to say when someone shares something so personal. And the conversation may be filled with conflicting emotions. Your friend may be sad, worried, surprised, excited, perhaps even all at once. If she’s let you in on this news and is seeking advice, then this is likely a sign that your friend trusts you. You may appreciate that she reached out. But you also may not know what to say. Knowing how to navigate this challenging time with your friend can be hard. What sort of thoughts might be running through her mind right now? How can you be there for her without saying the wrong thing?
Has your friend recently shared her unexpected pregnancy news? Do you wonder how you can help her? Avenue Women’s Center has six DuPage County centers that provide women with reliable information and support. Your friend can have the opportunity to chat with one of our caring pregnancy consultants about her options, and express her concerns through a nonjudgmental environment. She will receive relevant services and compassionate support, all at no cost.
Contact us today for a free, confidential appointment!
Be Careful With Your Response
Each woman’s unexpected pregnancy situation is unique. This means there typically isn’t one size fits all answer. The way your friend feels about being pregnant can be determined by her personal experiences or her relationship with her partner and other people in her life. Try to be mindful of what kind of emotional state she may be in. And if the situation seems too complex for you to handle, ask her if there’s anyone else that she’s spoken to about this, such as a trusted adult or trained professional.
That being said, while you can certainly walk your friend through this time, there may be a few responses that perhaps you want to avoid saying.
“How Did This Happen?”:
Understandably, the question is not necessarily meant to be taken literally. But your friend’s news can be just as much of a shock to you as it probably was to her. Questioning how the pregnancy occurred can land the wrong way. Your friend may be feeling embarrassed about being pregnant. And she might perceive this as you scolding her. Listen to all she has to say before commenting on her news. Once you’ve given her room to share, try asking how she’s feeling right now, and how you can be there for her. This lets her know you’re willing to help. And it gives her space to tell you what she may need from you at the moment.
“I think you should…”:
It’s normal to want to help our friends when we see them struggling. And after listening to her situation, perhaps you have some ideas about what you think she should do. But this type of answer is usually not recommended. First, sometimes when people share a problem, they’re not looking for a solution. Your friend may just want you to listen to her. And it can upset her if she thinks you’re focused more on the circumstances instead of what she’s feeling.
Second, the advice you offer might be how you would respond personally. So, what happens if after taking your advice your friend is unhappy with the results? Will she blame you? Instead, hear what she has to say. Then try to avoid giving her direct instructions about what you feel she should do. Asking clarifying questions is usually okay. But it’s recommended you avoid doing so in a manner that pushes her into a specific decision.
“I Knew He Was Bad News!”:
If you have a strong opinion about your friend’s partner, it’s probably not a good idea to make that evident in the conversation. This can this potentially lead to her shutting you out if she’s inclined to defend her partner. And she might have been hoping the pregnancy would lead to a positive outcome for their relationship. Hearing you say something like this is not exactly uplifting. And it’s also a good idea to avoid encouraging conflict between your friend and her partner at this time. While it’s possible her partner is not supportive, and that’s why she’s come to you, it still might be best not to make assumptions about their relationship.
What You Can Offer to Do For Your Friend
A friend who has found herself faced with an unexpected pregnancy may feel as if she’s in a crisis. In situations like this, it can be hard to organize your thoughts. She may need your help. But there might be insecurities about asking for it. What your friend likely needs to feel valued and supported.
By offering to drive her to appointments, run errands, or just sit and talk with her, you can remove some of the pressure she may be facing. Let her know you’re there for her and willing to do what you can to make her life a little easier. Chances are, that’s something she needs to hear from a friend now more than ever.
Are you wondering how to help a friend through an unexpected pregnancy? Avenue Women’s Center can serve as an additional form of support, offering free consultations and resources to clients. Our expert staff can walk your friend through each of her options, answering her questions about available resources and each of her three choices.
Reach out today for free counsel and compassionate services!
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.