“I know a young woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy. She is young and for the most part, on her own. The father isn’t in the picture. How can I help her? I think adoption is the best decision for her, but I don’t want to push her into something she doesn’t want. What do I say to her?”
I Know What Is Best for Her
Want to help someone facing an unplanned pregnancy make the best decision she can for her and her baby? Do you think adoption is her best option and hope she seriously considers it? Wondering how you can help guide her to the most mature decision? If you find yourself in this situation, you are among many who love a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Talking to a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy can be incredibly difficult to navigate. The lack of clarity she has about who she might be and what she might do puts those who love her in a very sensitive position. While you want her to make the best decision, you also don’t her to shut down on you and clam up when you try to approach her. She may feel resentful and trapped when faced with a reality she may or may not be ready to face. Ultimately, she is the one who must find acceptance with her decision, whatever that may be.
I Have Faced an Unplanned Pregnancy
I remember when I was amid my unplanned pregnancy. I felt very afraid among a complicated web of other emotions as well. I felt guilty and ashamed that I found myself in the position in the first place. I felt pressure from many people who I knew loved me to make specific decisions. I had pride involving my situation, and didn’t want to admit that I was scared. I kept most of these feelings to myself. On the rare occasion that I was open regarding how I felt, such emotions were not typically received well.
What Are We So Afraid Of?
I think that this society fears the unplanned pregnancy. I think most people are afraid of the unknown. I think it is easy to judge a situation when you are not in the middle of it, but instead on the outside looking in. The first step in loving someone facing an unplanned pregnancy, and deciding how to be helpful, is to find your compassion.
The Answer: Compassion
Compassion wars with judgement. I think judgement may be an easier option than compassion, because it allows us to distance ourselves from situations that we may not understand. It takes a lot of courage to be compassionate in situations that we don’t understand. It’s not courageous to judge, but it takes boldness to be compassionate. Compassion entails attempting to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and imagining how they must feel. Judging a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy will never help her. Such a simple thing as compassion may be exactly what she needs to come to a mature decision regarding how to move forward.
When interacting with a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, my best bit of advice is to listen to her. Listening to what she is feeling is probably the most productive way to help her. You won’t have the magic words, so don’t search for them. Remember, this is her decision to make. While you may have her best intentions in your heart, don’t assume you know what she truly desires. Deep down, she is experiencing emotions she may not be ready to process, and by being a listening ear, you are helping her process what she is feeling.
Become Her Safe Person
If you are not someone she already trusts, then perhaps you could become that for her. Perhaps you could let her express herself in a safe place. If she asks for your advice, then give it to her, but only after she has asked. No one likes unsolicited advice, especially when it comes to the most personal of situations and circumstances.
If you are struggling to find compassion, and the urge to tell her what to do is great, then I suggest you think of a time in your life when you were struggling. Have you ever felt judged? Have you ever known the right answer but just desperately needed someone to listen to you? Have you ever just wished that you had someone you could trust to be unbiased and non-judgmental? I’m sure you have, and now you can be that for someone else.
The best gift we can give someone we love is to empower them to make their own decisions. Trying to get others to make the choices we think are best is not a way to help an individual learn to make mature decisions. Consider a child: we raise them and train them up in hopes that they will make healthy and mature decisions. When we grow up, it is up to us to take what we have learned and apply it to our lives.
So how can you help a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy? Listen to her, and do what you can to help her make the most educated and mature decision that she can. Empower her through compassion to make a mature and healthy decision regarding her life and the life of the unborn child that she is carrying.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.