When I experienced my unplanned pregnancy, I was the first one in my friend group to have ever become pregnant. There had been scares. There had been talk about what they would do if two lines appeared on the test. But I was the first one to ever see those two lines. Figures. As such, I had to go it alone on a lot of decisions. No one had valuable, first-hand information to add to conversations. It was really somewhat difficult to navigate on my own.
True, it would have been much easier if my partner, my child’s father, had been involved in the situation. At least at that point I would have felt as if I wasn’t completely alone. To make matters all the more interesting, as I was choosing to place my child for adoption, I often felt as if I was speaking an entirely different language from what my friends could understand.
Through my experience, I learned a few tips for making it easier not only for you but for your friends. I thought I would share them with you.
1. Let your friends know that they can ask questions. Whether you are planning on aborting, parenting or placing, they are likely to have questions about the experience in general. Maybe they want to know about the physical aspects that you are feeling. Perhaps they want to know about the emotional turmoil going on within you. Maybe they need to know a bit more about the processes to understand what you’re even talking about. All the same, if you leave the door for communication open, they will find it easier to understand your plight.
2. Invite one of your closest friends to be your support person. For me, as my child’s father was not involved in the pregnancy, I wanted someone I trusted to be in the delivery room with me. Similarly, friends of mine who later went on to have abortions wanted someone calm and supportive to be their driver on the day of their procedure. Inviting someone you love and trust to be that kind of person for you will create a bond.
3. Share ultrasounds and journal entries with them. Letting them experience what you’re experiencing through pictures or words will give them valuable insight.
4. Lastly, when they eventually become pregnant (planned or not), be supportive. You’ve been there, done this. Offer to share maternity clothes, hold their hand or buy them a pregnancy journal. Whether they’re excited or scared out of their minds, validate that feeling and remind them that if you survived, they can as well.
In the end, being the first pregnant one out of your friend group, planned or not, doesn’t have to be a totally lonely and scary experience. Simply asking your friends to be involved or making ways for them to feel like they are not being “left behind” is a great way for all of you to learn something through the process.