Are you facing an unexpected pregnancy today? You may or may not be experiencing this stressful situation for the first time, but you’ve probably noticed patterns in other people’s behaviors during other challenging seasons of your life. Does it seem like, during the hardest of times, your family and friends feel especially motivated to give you advice? If the answer is, “yes,” chances are, some of that feedback has been unsolicited and/or unhelpful. Perhaps they’ve said things like, “You should have done this differently,” or, “Here’s what you need right now” without considering your own thoughts and feelings. Maybe this has been a particular source of irritation throughout your pregnancy experience so far. Read on, if so!
Our team at Avenue Women’s Center gets it. We’ve been partnering with individuals facing similar circumstances since 1981, and we understand the unique challenges that come with navigating an unexpected pregnancy. We offer no-cost early pregnancy support to help women from our Chicagoland community and beyond move toward confident, autonomous pregnancy decisions.
Learn more about our free first-step pregnancy services!
Understanding the Motives Behind Advice-Giving
When we offer advice of any kind, I think it’s safe to say that our intentions are usually good. We’re often trying to provide support. We’re just not understanding (at least, not in the moment) that listening can be more impactful than speaking. Advice-giving can also be driven by ego. Some of us feel more valuable when we’re sharing our input with others. Chasing this feeling can sometimes get prioritized over supporting a friend in need, whether we’re conscious of this or not.
It’s human nature to give unhelpful advice from time to time, although some of us make this misstep more often than others. Sitting quietly with people in their pain just isn’t a skill that comes naturally to the majority of us. And the truth is, not everyone has the knowledge and experience to speak to every subject. Unhelpful advice-giving is worth addressing because it’s such an easy pitfall, and can be harmful on the receiving end. How do you feel when the people in your circle give you counsel that just falls flat? Probably slightly annoyed at best, discouraged or belittled at worst. This is a season of your life when you need encouragement and empowerment more than ever.
Countering Negative Feedback with Positive Support
Receiving some unhelpful advice during a pregnancy journey may be unavoidable. But there are ways to cope effectively, and prevent that negative feedback from influencing you and your pregnancy decision. One effective way to do that is by finding a support person who listens well and offers encouragement. This may be someone like a mentor, a counselor, a faith leader, or a pregnancy consultant. Our expert team at Avenue Women’s Center is here to be a part of your personal support network. We aim to help women pursue confident, well-informed pregnancy outcomes by encouraging them to explore their own emotions, desires, values, and beliefs. We believe it’s important for any person facing an unexpected pregnancy to look inward (at these key components) as well as outward (at the resources and genuine sources of support available to her).
Absorbing an unexpected pregnancy test result and beginning a decision-making process can be extremely challenging on its own. Unhelpful reactions from others are bound to add stress to an already stressful situation. But you’re fully capable of breaking through the noise and leaning into your own best pregnancy outcome. Our compassionate, knowledgeable team at Avenue is here to support you in that process. We believe that listening well is vital to providing real support, and we’d love to hear your story.
Reach out to connect with a staff member and learn more about us! We promise to meet you with respect and empathy, never judgment.
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.