Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Friend is Pregnant

Today's question gets two answers . . .

Q: I just found out that my best friend is pregnant. It was a total shocker to me. She just turned 18 and is in her senior year of high school. I really don’t know what to say to her. One side wants to wish the baby well and the other side wants to tell her off. I’ve seen girls pregnant before in our school, but not a friend. How do I talk to her and say the right thing?

A1: If you are being a friend to her, you are doing and saying the right things. If she is not scared yet, she probably will be at one point during the pregnancy, and she will need the support of a good friend. One thing I have learned is that people don’t want friends to fix their problems; they want to be able to voice their problems and concerns with someone. She knows there are plenty of people who are already talking about her and thinking badly about her, it would be nice to have someone there to support her. What is done is done, we can either dwell on the situation or we can help make it better. You already know how to be a friend, which is what she needs more than words. You may have to be the one to initiate the conversation, but let her know that you are there for her and then let your actions and attitude back it up.


A2: First off, try not to worry about saying the right thing. At a time like this, the only thing your friend needs is someone who isn’t going to be judgmental or mean. She needs someone who is going to be a friend. Imagine yourself in her place – having to tell your parents, struggling with mixed feelings of fear and shame, listening to the whispers in the high school hallways. Finding out you are pregnant is never an easy thing to handle when you’re single, and it’s that much harder when you are only eighteen. Try to understand that, although you may not agree with her choice to have sex, she is dealing with a heavy consequence of the mistake she made.

With that, the best thing you can do is be supportive. Let her know that you are here for her whenever she needs to talk. If you feel comfortable doing so, maybe even offer to be there when she tells her parents – that is probably one of the hardest things she may ever have to do, and it may be a little easier if she doesn’t have to do it alone. Also, talk to her about what she is thinking in terms of the baby’s future. Does she want to keep the child or offer him or her up for adoption? Has she been to the doctor and gotten everything she needs to keep her and the baby healthy? Make sure you also talk to her about how she is doing. What is she thinking? How does she feel? Is she worried? Upset? Anxious? Happy? Try not to reprimand her or tell her off for getting into this situation – the mistake has already been made, so screaming and yelling will do nothing but ruin your friendship. By this point, the only thing you can do for your friend is be there, which is probably one of the most important things she needs right now.

Maureen D.