If you have a friend experiencing a crisis pregnancy, you may feel overwhelmed and have no idea on how to best support her. Here are six tips to help you help her.
1. Don’t judge her. She doesn’t need your disapproval or your comments on how she should have done something different. Whatever your private feelings on her pregnancy, keep them to yourself. Make your friendship a safe place where she knows she can sort through her future without judgment.
2. Listen without trying to solve. Let her talk and grieve and mourn and be sad and be excited and be nervous. Let her start and finish that cycle over and over again. Don’t put plans into place or brainstorm unless she asks. Just sit with her and let her experience all the emotions without feeling like you are trying to fix her. When she is ready to make plans, she will let you know.
3. Don’t forget she was your friend before she was an expectant mother. Don’t always ask about the baby. There will be times when she wants to talk through her changing body and future, but there will also be times where she just wants to go back to the friendship she had with you pre-pregnancy.
4. Offer to accompany her. She is going to have lots of appointments, and they can be terrifying to a new mom, especially if she is young. Ask if she would like a support person, and maybe plan a date afterward to get lunch or hang out. Bonus—you might get to see the baby or hear the heartbeat, which is a really cool experience!
5. Don’t force your ideas on her. Maybe you think she should raise the child herself, maybe you feel like adoption is the best option for her. It’s great that you have opinions, but keep them to yourself unless she specifically asks you. It may seem like she isn’t focused on the future, but I promise you she has racked her mind over every possibility. When she tells you her decisions, respond with love and support—even if those decisions are not the choices you would have made for her.
6. Be patient. She is under an inordinate amount of stress right now, plus her body is filled with those pregnancy hormones that can make even the calmest woman into an emotional nightmare. Be patient and remind yourself that your friendship is worth some deep breaths and forgiveness.