Pregnancy is an exciting time for moms-to-be, as well as their family and friends. While everyone may be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new bundle of joy, there is only one person who is carrying it: the mother. Pregnancy is a joyful time and also a very personal one. Each mama is unique and will experience her pregnancy differently. For this reason, it is important for those of us who want to be supportive of our pregnant friends and family members to always be sensitive to their feelings, privacy, and personal space. Here is a quick guide on How to Support a Pregnant Friend:
Follow Her Lead
There are so many facts, statistics, and ideologies that come with childbirth, but some women find pregnancy to be an extremely personal endeavor that they don’t feel comfortable discussing openly with everyone, even people they are close to. Because of this, it is best to follow her lead on pregnancy and childbirth conversations. Only discuss in-depth scenarios if the mom brings them up first. Don’t force unsolicited information on her that will most likely leave her feeling more overwhelmed than comforted.
Wait For an Invitation
While we all want to share in the wonderment of pregnancy, it’s important to respect pregnant friends’ personal space. Even if she seems open and comfortable, asking to touch her belly is can make some women uneasy. Worse still is touching her without asking. You wouldn’t do it to someone who wasn’t pregnant, so don’t assume it’s acceptable to touch someone who is. Instead, wait for her to offer for you to feel the baby kick. This way, no one is left feeling awkward or with hurt feelings if she declines your request. This is important when you are trying to Support a Pregnant Friend.
Don’t Make it Personal
Each pregnancy and childbirth experience is one-of-a-kind, but so many friends feel the need to share every gory detail of their own stories with pregnant women. While they undoubtedly come with the best intentions, these situations can often make expectant moms anxious and unsure of what to really expect when their own “labor day” comes. Try to stay light and positive when discussing her pregnancy, leaving out the particular details of your own unless she specifically asks. Hearing about your c-section recovery, hemorrhoids, and stretch marks can wait until after the baby is born.
Perhaps most importantly, avoid commenting on the size of your expectant friend’s belly or the weight she has gained. Mentioning her big tummy could make her self-conscious while trying to compliment her by stating that her belly doesn’t look very big could lead to unnecessary worry about the baby’s health. If you feel compelled to compliment her appearance, tell her how lovely she looks or what she’s going to be a beautiful mother. Less is definitely more when it comes to commenting on the ever-changing body of a preggo!
No one means to make pregnant women uncomfortable but sometimes even the best intentions can backfire. With this in mind, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when showing support. Whisper an encouraging word to her, offer her your seat when in a public place, or surprise her with a freezer meal prior to her due date, but remember, personal space and a bit of privacy is the best gift you can give her. She’ll remember your graciousness and thank you for it. If there are any ideas on how to support a pregnant friend that you think we missed, please let us know!