May 5, 2017
had been brought up to believe that life is always a gift, but it certainly
didn't feel like one when I gazed in shock at a positive pregnancy test. As a
mom who had my first baby in college, I know that an unexpected pregnancy can
sometimes bring fear, shame, and doubt.
I also know that an unexpected pregnancy can bring joy, excitement, awe,
gratitude, and deeper love than I knew was possible. About nine months after
looking at that pregnancy test, I received the very best gift I have ever been
given: my daughter, Maria.* An unexpected pregnancy might be confusing along
the way, but life—though at times difficult—is ultimately beautiful.
one of your friends has become pregnant unexpectedly. As someone who has been
there, I encourage you to support her in her new journey of being a mother; it's
important that she knows you are thinking of her and supporting her.
unexpected pregnancy can send a woman into crisis mode. If your friend just
found out she is pregnant, she may not be thinking clearly, and she may feel
she has no control over anything at the moment. When a woman experiencing
challenging circumstances confides she is pregnant, the reaction of the first
person she tells tends to set the tone for her decision-making.
responding with shock or alarm, and be calm and understanding. Be aware of how
she is responding to you. Listen to her and let her know you love her, you are
there for her, and it's going to be okay. Pay close attention to her emotional
state, and act accordingly.
on where she is emotionally, it may or may not be helpful to congratulate her
at that time. However, it is always important to affirm that every person's
life—including her child's and her own—is precious and beautiful no matter the
attention to what might make her feel most loved. One person might appreciate
encouraging words, while another might feel more supported if you help with
specific tasks. Don't be afraid to ask her if she needs help with anything or
to make specific offers to help. For example, you might offer to help with
cleaning, finding a good doctor, or running to the store to pick up the one food
that won't make her feel sick. (But remember to read her cues, and make sure
you're not being overbearing.) Simple things—letting her know that you care and
are always ready to listen, that you are available to help her, that you are
praying for her—can give hope and courage when she might otherwise feel alone.
most important thing, though, is to pray; it's is the most effective way we can
help. Pray for her, for her child, and for guidance in how you can give her the
best possible support.
support might be the only support she receives. Even if we never know how, the
smallest things we do can change someone's life. You can make a difference in
her life. Will you?
*Name changed for privacy.
This issue of Life Issues Forum has
been adapted and shortened from "10 Ways to Support Her When She's Unexpectedly
Expecting," originally published in the 2015-16 Respect Life Program. Please
visit www.bit.ly/10WaysRespectLife for the original version. A directory
of pregnancy services can be found at www.heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide-directory.