Surprise! Your friend is pregnant, and unless you’ve been pregnant yourself, it can be hard to know how best to relate to her as she goes through this major life change. Where do you fit in with all this and how can you support her as a friend, even while you have no idea what it’s really like?
Nearing the end of my first pregnancy, here are 3 ways my friends have helped me…
1. Be Excited
Whether the pregnancy was planned or unexpected, your enthusiasm will help your friend to be excited about the pregnancy as well. Ours was a bit of a surprise, leaving me in shock at first and struggling to adjust to this big impending life change. The joy my friends expressed from the very beginning helped me to get excited about what was happening.
You may be feeling any number of other emotions, such as fear for what this will do to your friendship or wishing it was you, but the best thing you can do at the beginning is be excited. There will be a time and a place to express your concerns and work through them as friends, but first your pregnant friend needs to know you’re in this with her.
2. Be Flexible
It was humbling how many people were willing to come to my side of town, to adjust their schedule around how I was feeling, and to make any number of accommodations for my changing body, appetite, mood swings and energy levels.
Your friend is going through an enormous amount of change physically and emotionally, much of which she is unprepared for, no matter how many books she reads. If you think having PMS 3–4 days a month is bad, try it for 9 months straight. Being pregnant feels a bit like you’re at the mercy of your ever-changing hormones: one minute you’re fine, the next you’re in tears, you’re excited about the baby, you’re wishing you could put off the delivery forever, you love everyone, you snap at the slightest thing…you get the point.
Giving your pregnant friend some grace, and going the extra mile to spend time with her in a way that is comfortable for her will speak volumes. This is a transition time for everyone, including the friendship. You’ll be more likely to come out the other end still friends if you can learn to adjust and be flexible right now.
3. Don’t Forget About Mom
A baby is so exciting! But as a soon-to-be mom, I started to feel myself fading into the background as people stop focusing on me as a person and care only about the impending bundle of diapers and spit-up. It’s all people notice and all they want to talk about, making me feel at times like I’m simply the incubator for the baby.
Women in the 21st Century pride themselves on being multi-faceted, having a vibrant career, great relationships, and passions and hobbies that keep them engaged and energized. While having a baby can add another exciting dimension to a woman’s life, it can also start to feel like it’s the only dimension.
By making a point to expand your conversations with your friend beyond the topic of the baby, by asking questions about how she’s feeling emotionally or what is going on in her life, you’ll help your friend not feel forgotten in all of this and give her the support she needs in her friendships.
A baby is a gloriously exciting event for everyone involved, but also one that brings an enormous amount of change. By loving and patiently supporting your friend during this change, your friendship will be all the stronger and better survive the transition.
Image via Pinterest