A friend is someone you can laugh with, spend time with, make memories with, and also someone you can trust and whose support you probably value. To be considered someone’s friend is to have a special place in her life and to be part of her support system. One most important time this may be the case is if a friend comes to you to confide that she thinks she may be pregnant.
Whether your friend is in high school, college or already married with children, an unexpected pregnancy may be a source of stress, anxiety and fear for her. As her friend who cares for her, you may find yourself a little bit anxious too or may wonder what you can possibly say and do to provide the type of support and encouragement she needs.
Here are some tips for being the type of friend every woman dealing with a crisis pregnancy deserves to have:
Be A Listening Ear
The most important thing you can do is to be a listening ear. If your friend has come to you in person, find a quiet place to talk that is free from distractions. Sit down and hear her out, whether she’s angry, upset, sad, excited, or fearful.
Assure her that you are there to support her, that you love her and emphasize that she is not alone in this. Some questions you may consider asking are how she’s feeling, who else she has told and whether she has had the pregnancy confirmed with a lab quality test.
Take A Deep Breath
When you talk to your friend about her pregnancy, take a deep breath and know that it’s okay to say “I don’t know”. It can feel overwhelming to be a confidant in such a situation but you don’t have to have every answer or be the one to provide a solution for everything or “fix” things.
Instead, walk beside her and assure her that she has someone who will be there with her as she makes decisions moving forward.
Help Her Find Reliable Resources
There are many Pregnancy Resource Centers out there and it is critical that you help your friend find the right one for her. A good Pregnancy Resource Center will:
- Provide medically accurate and honest information
- Allow her to bring someone with her for support
- Hold her privacy in the highest regards
- Have licensed, professional counselors
- Have a judgement- and pressure-free environment
- Have reputable resources that will meet her needs
Offer to call with her to set up an appointment to confirm her pregnancy with a lab grade test at a Pregnancy Resource Center, such as Birthright St. Charles. Confirming a pregnancy can feel like an intimidating and overwhelming step to take for your friend and having someone beside her who cares for her can alleviate some of that stress. If you’re able, offer to attend her first appointment with her if she would like you to.
Help Her Reach Out
If she is a minor, encourage your friend to pinpoint her “safe adult” and to reach there for further help. A safe adult may be a parent, teacher, counselor or other authority figure. Again, you can offer to call or go with her to speak to this person. It is important to respect her confidentiality by only sharing information with those directly involved in trying to help her.
No matter the situation she finds herself in or the decisions she finds herself facing, a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy deserves to have the support of a loving friend—that person just may be you.
Take a deep breath and know that you are capable of being the support that can help see her through a scary moment and ultimately empower and strengthen her.