Your friend, daughter, sister, neighbor or coworker has just confided in you about one of the most difficult experiences she’s ever faced: not only has she recently learned of an unplanned pregnancy, but she is thinking about placing the baby for adoption.
It can be overwhelming to receive such big news from someone close to you, and you may not know how to react or how to help her. As your friend or family member navigates her pregnancy and the adoption process, here are five ways you can support her:
1. Listen. As simple as it sounds, sometimes the best thing a friend can do for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy is to be there and available to listen, without judgement and without interjecting advice. Let her know that you will be there for her when she is ready to talk, and that while you may not fully understand what she is going through and you may not know what to say, you can lend a caring ear.
2. Stay unemotional. It can be difficult not to let your own feelings get in the way of helping your friend or family member. If your young daughter is facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may feel anger, sadness or disappointment. If your friend is pregnant, you may be excited about the baby and disappointed that she won’t be keeping him or her if she chooses adoption. Remember that however you’re feeling, her emotions are likely even more intense and overwhelming. This is ultimately her choice, and the best thing you can do is express your love and support, regardless of how you’re feeling.
3. Learn. As your friend does her research, you can learn about adoption (as well as her other options) along with her. Help her find the accurate information she needs, and familiarize yourself with unplanned pregnancy advice and adoption process information. The extra effort will let your friend know that you’re dedicated to helping her through every step of the process, and she will feel less alone when she needs to talk to someone who has some knowledge on the topic.
4. Offer your involvement. Let your friend know that you will be there for her through every step of the process, and ask her what you can do to help. Offer to accompany her to doctor’s appointments, help her find an adoption support group, or simply ease the burden of an everyday task by cooking a meal. She will appreciate the gesture of support — just be sure to follow through on any promises you make.
5. Keep her busy. When a woman is facing an unplanned pregnancy, it may feel like the rest of her life stops and her whole world revolves around her adoption decision. Take time to relax, have fun and laugh together. Treat her to a ritual or activity you enjoyed together pre-pregnancy, like shopping or going to a favorite restaurant. Remind her that her life isn’t over, and that while it will be difficult, you will get through this together.