How to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting

Posted on December 5, 2022 by Published by

An unexpected pregnancy might be confusing along the way, but life—though at times difficult—is ultimately beautiful. Perhaps one of your friends has become pregnant unexpectedly. As someone who has been there, I encourage you to support your friend in her new journey of being a mother. Not sure how to help or what to say? Here are some tips:

Be available.

An unexpected pregnancy can send a woman into crisis mode. Be aware of how she is responding to you. Listen to her and let her know you love her and are there for her any time she needs you. Don’t pass judgment on her either interiorly or through words or body language.

Respond positively.

Avoid responding with shock or alarm, and be calm and understanding. Let her know you’re there for her and that it’s going to be okay. Pay close attention to her emotional state, and act accordingly. For example, it may or may not be helpful to congratulate her at that time. However, it is always important to affirm that every person’s life—including her child’s and her own— is precious and beautiful no matter the circumstances.

Offer specific help.

Try to make specific offers to help. For example, you might offer to help with cleaning, finding a good doctor, or running to the store to pick up the one food that won’t make her feel sick. But remember to read her cues, and make sure you’re not being overbearing.

Set up a support system.

In addition to the standard baby registry, you can help her get other kinds of support by lining up much-needed, practical help. Take advantage of websites that allow friends and family to sign up to make meals, send food deliveries, or simply donate money.
Some websites organize other assistance like rides to the doctor, babysitting other children she may have, or helping around the house. You can also look into what programs and assistance may be sponsored by your local diocesan pastoral care or Respect Life offices.

Tell her she is beautiful.

She may be feeling physically, spiritually, and emotionally drained with this pregnancy. Take the time to reassure her of her beauty, both inside and out, especially when morning sickness might make her feel otherwise.

Help her recharge and relax.

First-time mothers may have difficulty crossing that threshold into their new life as a mother. Your friend may be fearful that her life is “over,” so help her see it’s okay—good, actually—to still focus on herself. Even though she is a mother, she will still continue to be a woman, so affirm that it’s healthy and important to take care of herself—not only physically, but emotionally, as well.

Reassure her it’s okay (and good) to be happy.

It can be hard to be happy about a pregnancy that many people see as unfortunate timing at best and totally irresponsible at worst. Even if your friend wants to be happy about her bundle of joy, she may not feel she “deserves” to show that happiness. Get excited about her pregnancy in front of her, and she may just feel comfortable enough to share her own excitement with you. Ask questions about her developing child. What is she learning at her doctor appointments? What names is she considering? Ask her what she thinks her baby looks like. Does she think they will have her eyes?

Encourage her.

Society tends to focus on ways that an unexpected pregnancy can be challenging. Help your friend to think of the benefits. Remind her of the fluttering kicks her son or daughter will be rocking once they grow a little more. With moms’ groups and opportunities for play dates, there’s a whole new social world to explore.

Point out some real-life role models.

Point your friend to some of the many websites, blogs, and social media accounts dedicated to supporting young mothers. And let’s not forget Mary, whose “yes” to bearing Jesus affected the course of history. The Blessed Mother is a great person to pour her heart out to, and she’s a powerhouse of intercessory prayer.

Although the tips mentioned can be helpful, don’t forget the most important thing is to pray. Even if it’s just a quick two-second prayer, prayer is the most effective way we can help. Pray for her, for her child, and for guidance on how you can give her the best possible support.

Taken from 10 Ways to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting (USCCB)

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