5 Ways to Support Someone Who Is Unexpectedly Pregnant
An unplanned pregnancy can bring about a whirlwind of emotions. While they can be a time for celebration and excitement, they can also be a time of worry and concern for many. After all, the pregnancy was unexpected and took you by surprise, meaning there are some very important decisions that need to be made in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
As the friend or family member of someone facing an unexpected pregnancy, you might find yourself wondering what it is you can do in terms of support and help. Below, we break down 5 ways you can support someone who is unexpectedly pregnant.
1. Offer Words of Support
One of the greatest things you can do for someone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy is to offer your words of support.
The expectant parents are likely experiencing an array of complex emotions.s. One such emotion that many expectant parents face is concern and doubt about their ability to transition into parenthood. As their friend or family member, you can help to mitigate these self-doubting feelings by lending an ear and offering kind, supportive words. What does this look like?
Here are a few examples of phrases and comments that can help to dispel any self-doubt and provide comfort to your friend or family member:
- "There's no doubt in my mind that you will make the best choice for you, but if you ever need advice or a listening ear, I am here for you."
- "You are handling this so gracefully and I admire your strength."
- “You are strong, brave, and capable, and I know you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.”
- “You are not alone in this; you’ve got a whole army of support behind you.”
2. Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice
Seeing as the pregnancy was unplanned, there is a strong chance that the expectant parent(s) don’t have a set plan in place. It takes time to determine the best path forward for them and their family, and while they ask for advice or support, be cautious of overstepping your boundary.
Unsolicited advice often rubs the recipient the wrong way, as they did not ask for your opinion on the matter to begin with. In fact, any advice can come across as judgment or criticism, especially if no one asked for your input.
While you might have many thoughts on the situation, it ultimately is up to the expectant parent(s) to make their own decisions regarding their plan of action. As a friend or family member of someone experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, the best thing you can do is create a safe space where the expectant parent(s) know they can come to you for advice if they so choose.
Remember that it is important to respect the privacy and boundaries of the expectant parent(s). They may choose to ask for advice and involve you in the process, or they may not. Either way, you need to be supportive of the decisions they make.
3. Be Honest; Don't Overextend Yourself
Your initial reaction to finding out your friend or family member is unexpectedly pregnant might be to offer your unrelenting support. And while offering to help out and support them along the way is a great idea, be wary of overextending yourself or making promises that you can’t keep.
Honesty is the best approach when offering your assistance to a friend or family member who is facing an unexpected pregnancy. Be specific in the ways you can (and plan to) help along the way. For example, instead of saying something like, “I will be there to help you all of the time,” you can say, “If you ever need a ride to an appointment, I may be available to help on weekday afternoons.”
The reality is that there will be times when you are not able to be around to help the expectant parent(s). Unless you’re living with them and around them 24/7, this kind of generic support rings hollow. In the latter phrase, you’re offering specific help and committing to the level of support that you are capable of providing. This gives the expectant parent(s) something they can rely on and expect down the road.@NEChildrensHome says honesty is the best approach when offering support to someone facing an #UnexpectedPregnancy. See how else you can help them during their journey:Click To Tweet
4. Help Keep Their Spirits Up
It is important for both the expectant mother and father to keep their spirits up and stay healthy during the pregnancy. This applies to their physical, mental, and emotional help. As a friend or family member of someone facing an unexpected pregnancy, do what you can to help them stay positive and offer them an outlet to relax and recharge.
Some ways you can do this include:
- Lend them a positive book or wellness book
- Gift them with a certificate to a spa or relaxation treatment
- Bring over dinner for a night, so they don’t have to cook
- Schedule a walk together to get some fresh air and exercise
- Treat them to a gift certificate for a night out to dinner or the movies
- Take a wellness class together
There are countless ways you can help expectant parents to keep their minds and bodies healthy during this time. You can always offer up some quality time together, but be mindful of their limitations and boundaries.
A common feeling among unexpectedly pregnant women is alienation from their previous lifestyle. In a matter of an instant, their world suddenly shifted, and it can be especially alienating when friends and family distance themselves or exclude them from activities. Keep this in mind and make an effort to include and incorporate them into events; just be respectful of their new situation.
5. Seek Out Resources While Reserving Judgments
As we’ve talked about at length, there are dozens and dozens of resources, community organizations, and support groups for people experiencing a pregnancy. Likely, your friend or family member is feeling overwhelmed trying to determine the best way forward and come to terms with their unexpected pregnancy. As a supportive friend or family member, you can provide some support by researching resources and community connections for them.
It can mean a lot to the expectant parent(s) to see that you care enough about them to seek out what support is available. But, be certain that the resources and support you’re researching are free from judgment or bias. The last thing the expectant parents need is to feel judged by those closest to them.
The best approach is to offer unbiased, judgment-free support, regardless of their decision or situation. That’s the same approach we take toward all of our services and programs at NCHS. We’re not here to pass judgment; we’re here to help connect you to the outlets and resources you need to make the best decision for you and your family.
We’re proud to have helped thousands of women navigate unexpected pregnancies and gain connections to the resources and support they need to make a plan for their family’s future. Our supportive community is free of judgment and offers a safe space for you to voice concerns and educate yourself on the options available to you. To discover more about how we can help connect you to the tools and resources you need, reach out to our team today.