When a woman discovers she’s pregnant, many emotions, questions, and thoughts can run through her mind. She may feel shock, disbelief, despair, anger, confusion, or excitement; and she might feel many of those emotions all at once. She now faces challenges like:
- Internal and external pressures
- Emotional turmoil
- Making the decision of how to move forward with the pregnancy
As a friend or partner, you might feel overwhelmed and unable to help while she’s in this situation. While dealing with a pregnancy is something your friend or girlfriend may have to go through, there are several things you can do to let her know she doesn’t have to go through it alone. Here are some ways to support and reassure her during this stressful time.
As your friend or girlfriend is sorting through her emotions, it’s important to be there for her and simply listen—this goes a long way in helping her feel supported. You don’t have to worry about saying the right thing or finding solutions; instead, choose to listen and be present with her in what she’s going through.
When it does come time to give your input, be as empathetic as possible. Rather than belittling her or the situation, you can simply say something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry. This is a really tough situation. Let’s face it together.” This shows you understand the gravity of what she’s dealing with and want to understand the emotions she’s feeling.
Help and guide her in her decision
Ultimately, it is her decision on what to do with the pregnancy. But many men confuse ambivalence with support; telling her, “I support you in whatever you decide,” is good in theory, but sometimes it can have the unintended consequence of making her feel alone in the decision.
You can truly support her by listening to her, asking her to share her fears, concerns, and feelings, and then share your honest feelings and concerns, too. Seek out information about all the pregnancy options and be willing to think through the effects of any decision you make on your relationship—the goal is to come to a decision without regrets, but that requires having the courage to lay everything out on the table. If you disagree about which decision to make, consider seeking advice from someone whom you both love and trust, and weigh that as you work through the decision-making process and formulate a plan.
But don’t pressure her into a decision
You may have different opinions about how she should handle the pregnancy, but remember that legally, it is her decision. Don’t pressure her or rush her to make a decision she’s uncertain about. It’s a decision with life-long consequences, so all options should be thoughtfully considered.
Understand your role in the pregnancy
Whether you’re her best friend or boyfriend, your biggest role in the pregnancy is to make sure she feels cared for and supported. Look for ways to alleviate the physical and emotional stress she’ll be experiencing. Take on physically strenuous tasks and/or do something special for her—like treating her to a prenatal massage, surprising her with her favorite dinner, or throwing her a baby shower. And always try to be patient, gentle, and understanding, knowing that she’s going through a lot and may not be entirely herself for the next nine months.
Visit CAPS to hear about pregnancy options
If she’s unsure of what to do next and how to care for herself and the growing baby, offer to go with her to any appointments. The pregnancy resources and guidance at CAPS Pregnancy Clinic is free and confidential; our Patient Specialists can give you the resources and information your friend or girlfriend will need as she goes through this process. Our team can answer any questions she (or you) may have about her pregnancy options, the symptoms she can expect, nutritional guidance, and programs that may be helpful to her in making a decision.
When you have questions about how to help your friend or partner through her pregnancy, our team is here to provide answers. If she’s facing an unplanned pregnancy and isn’t sure of what her decision should be, schedule an appointment or call us at 619-337-8080. Together, we can help her take her next steps.