When your friend says, “I’m pregnant. I’m overwhelmed.”, how do you respond?
“I’m Pregnant. I’m Overwhelmed. I Want an Abortion”
What would you do if a friend or family member confided this to you? How would you respond? What could you do to help your friend through this challenging time?
Start by taking a deep breath.
Then remember 3 things NOT to do and 5 things to do.
First, 3 Things Not to Do:
- Do not overreact. Many people have faced unintended pregnancies.
- Do not speak rashly or say things you may regret later. Silence is OK.
- You may consider thanking her for having the courage to tell you and letting her know you are there for her no matter what.
- Do not tell her what to do and what not to do. She is looking, at least at first, for a listening ear and a compassionate heart.
- This may only serve to put up walls.
- Listening and asking questions will likely go much farther in helping her make a good decision than telling her what she should and shouldn’t do.
- Do not blame or condemn her. Be Jesus for your friend.
- She trusted you to share this news with you, even knowing that it could be a difficult conversation.
- This is not the time to discuss who is at fault.
And the 5 Things to Do:
- Listen without judging.
- Many women who are facing an unintended pregnancy expect that some around them may look down on them for how they got into this situation. A listening ear is invaluable and can be rare.
- Remember your active listening skills: Maintain eye contact, keep an open body posture and refuse to interrupt.
- Say, “It sounds like you’re feeling…” so she knows you have heard what she said – or can add to it or modify her words to more clearly articulate how she is feeling or what she’s thinking.
- Don’t pressure her.
- Woman facing unintended pregnancies often feel pressure from their boyfriend, parents or friends.
- Support her and let her know you care without adding pressure.
- Let her know there’s a place she can go for help in Care Net’s First Care Clinic. Offer to go with her and help her make an appointment. (She can even make an appointment via text.)
- We offer compassionate and nonjudgmental care – and everything is free of charge and confidential.
- At our clinic, your friend will find a listening ear and a consultation on her options. She will be able to sort through her thoughts, feelings and values and learn about abortion risks and procedures, making an adoption plan and resources and support for parenting.
- We can provide pregnancy testing, obstetrical ultrasound as indicated, referrals to resources, pregnancy and childbirth education and practical support.
- Be there for her.
- Invite her to join you for coffee or to call you whenever she needs to talk to continue the conversation.
- Offer to pray with her and for her. Pray for her right now if she’s open to it.
- Encourage her to do her research: First Care Clinic would be a great place to start. We can help her
- Text or call her to check in and see how she’s doing.
- Keep the news to yourself.
- Don’t share the news with others even in terms of a prayer request.
- Keep her confidence unless there is a dangerous situation which should be reported.
It’s not easy to learn that a friend or family member is pregnant, overwhelmed and considering an abortion. Your friend, daughter or relative has come to you because she trusts you to listen and to be there for her. Walking with your friend while she’s making her decision — and long beyond — can strengthen your relationship and deepen your faith. Through your compassionate, loving support, you have a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the life of your friend or family member. And Care Net is here to help.
To find out more about what not to do and what not to do when a friend or family member tells you she is considering abortion, download this free eBook from Care Net National: 10 Things Not to Do When a Woman Tells You She Wants an Abortion.