After I had my own wedding I realized I could have been a much, much better wedding guest in my ‘past life’. (Same goes for bridal showers, bachelorette parties…. the whole wedding ‘thing’.) Now I’m realizing the same thing about pregnancy. At this point (well into my pregnancy) I’m feeling totally convicted that I was not a better friend to my pregnant friends who went before me in this whole life-creating-adventure thing.
Darnit, things always seem so much more obvious in retrospect!
It’s understandable, really. I mean, I didn’t know what the heck my pregnant friends were going through (and granted, I’ve only had one or two pregnant friends so far… I’m one of the first people in my group of friends to get knocked up), so I will admit that I was completely clueless about how to react and respond to such news.
If I’m being honest, my first thoughts upon hearing a friend was pregnant (in my early 20’s, especially) were probably along the lines of ‘Noooooo! Now everything will change! I’m just not in that stage of life right now! I have my own stuff going on….Who will I go out with and drink with now?!’ and other equally not-so-supportive sentiments. I know, I know, this is not good.
I think I also used to believe that pregnancy was super-personal and that women probably didn’t want to discuss all aspects of their pregnancy. However, I’ve found this to be completely untrue, as a lot of women (although definitely not all women) LOVE discussing their pregnancies and changing bodies and everything new that is happening. Who knew?! (Possibly, everyone knew this but me.)
Anyways, I’m going to take this opportunity to let you in on how I wish I would have acted towards friends who underwent this life transition before me, after seeing similar behaviors exhibited (or not-so-much-exhibited) to me and the Husband over the past few months:
- Display a lot of excitement. A ton. Like, take what you feel like expressing and multiply it by 100 and express that level.
- Ask her often how she’s feeling. OFTEN.
- Seriously, reach out and just send some quick texts every once in a while saying you’re thinking about her. Ask her about the latest pregnancy milestone. Know the baby’s nickname and ask how he/she is doing in there.
- Buy a card. Make a card. Send a card.
- Gifts are even better.
- Ask to see belly pics (if you can’t see the belly in person).
- Write down the due date so you don’t have to re-ask that question in every conversation.
- But it’s okay to ask what week she’s on. Just don’t ask about months, that gets a bit more confusing since pregnant women track weeks.
- ‘Forget’ all judgments you have about pregnancy and pregnant women. (Meaning, keep them to yourself or tell other people just not your pregnant friend!)
- Be prepared to hear a lot more about pregnancy than you probably ever wanted to know, unless you yourself are pregnant or just had a baby and are fascinated with the topic.
- Make plans to hang out a few times with your friend or the expectant couple before the baby is born, especially if it isn’t a friend you see often.
- Don’t worry about asking ‘stupid’ questions. Moms-to-be generally love answering pregnancy questions.
- Offer lots of prayers / positive thoughts / etc to be sent her way.
Take this list as you will. Feel free to follow any or all of these tips, or ignore it completely.
However, I’d strongly encourage you to take the initiative and reach out to your pregnant friends or family members (if you have any), today. They’ll appreciate it!
Of course, this doesn’t mean you only have to discuss pregnancy with a pregnant friend! Just ask how she’s doing and then hopefully the conversation will move right along and you can talk about YOU. Just don’t forget that your loved one is busy baking a human and this may or may not consume 90% of her thoughts every day. At least if she’s anything like me.
… And that’s my unsolicited advice of the day.