You have a friend who announced that she’s pregnant – YAY! If you’ve been pregnant before, you already have an idea of how you can be supportive. However, if you haven’t been pregnant before or haven’t really had anybody else close to you get pregnant, you may not be entirely sure how to show your support – especially if you live far away. You want to be a great friend and you want to say/do the right things. I’ve had several friends get pregnant, but my closest friends have been far away and my local friends haven’t been very close. As a result, I never knew what to say or how to be supportive, particularly because I was so not at a stage where I wanted kids. Or if I’d been having baby fever and wanted kids but had been unsuccessful so far, it would have been hard knowing how best to support my friends. So, if you don’t live near your pregnant friend or don’t know how to support her, here are some easy ways to show your support!
Tell her you support her. This first one might seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. When your friend tells you she’s pregnant, be happy for her and then tell her that you support her and want to be there for her. A few of my close friends who have never been pregnant said that to me and it meant the world to me. They were so happy for me (and my husband)
Ask for bump pics. This one’s pretty easy. Send her a text and ask, “How’s it going? Can I get a bump pic?!” She’ll probably happily take one for you to show off her growing belly. I didn’t know this was a thing until after I got pregnant.
Keep up with her doctor appointments. She’s going to the doctor at least once a month, where the doctor or nurse will check on how she and the baby are doing. At each appointment, she is weighed, tested for sugars and proteins, and listens to the baby’s heartbeat. Now, she might not want to divulge her weight, but she’s probably more than happy to report on how well the baby’s heart is beating if it’s beating well or maybe she’ll need someone to listen to her in case something isn’t going quite right. So, send a text asking when the next appointment is, then follow up the day of asking how it went.
Check in with her. There is a lot going on in your friend’s life right now. Plus, her body is changing in ways she never knew possible. She’s probably freaked out, excited, terrified, overwhelmed, and elated…all within 5 minutes. For me, I’ve mostly been overwhelmed (see my last post). My husband is also really overwhelmed and I don’t want to always burden him with my stuff (we still communicate a lot, but he also has his own stuff), so it’s been helpful to have a few friends who aren’t in the middle of my craziness and who can give me additional support. So, call her and just listen if she needs to think something through or vent about how she can’t stand the smell of something she used to love or how she’s breaking out worse than a teenager and it’s annoying because you aren’t supposed to use any acne products on your face.Or, listen to her talk excitedly about how the nursery is coming together as she prepares to bring someone new into her family.
Don’t give her more things to think about. Your friend’s head is probably full of what she has left to do before the baby arrives, what she has left to do before the baby shower, all the things she needs to research on baby products, the baby classes she should take, wondering/worrying about what’s going on with the baby, and all the other stuff that filled her head before she got pregnant. So unless she specifically asks you for help or advice (particularly if you haven’t been pregnant), don’t offer any. She’s already getting enough from her doctor, her husband, her mom, her mother-in-law, coworkers, and anybody else who sees she’s pregnant. The last thing she wants is one more thing to put on her to-do list or one more thing for her to forget (pregnancy brain is real).
Share your life with her. You also have a life that you are busy living. She’s still your friend and still wants to support you. Plus, she might even like the distraction from her own life. So, tell her what you’ve been up to. If it’s good, share it! If you’re struggling too, share it! Just because her body is busy creating a new life doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear about you.
Offer to research something for her. There is SO.MUCH.INFORMATION out there about everything baby and that has easily been the most overwhelming aspect of this baby thing for me. There are so many options for cribs, car seats, strollers, breast pumps, high chairs, baby toys, feeding products! So many lists out there of what every mom needs! Maybe your friend really enjoys researching this type of thing and she wants to do it herself. Maybe your friend could care less whether or not she gets a Graco or a Chicco pack ‘n’ play. Maybe she really cares about getting a good jogging stroller but doesn’t really care about the high chair (other than durable, washable, and easy to clean). If you have some time, offer to help her with the research and then present your top 3 choices. If she’s trying to buy secondhand off Facebook marketplace, ask if you can keep an eye out for anything. But here’s the key thing – offer your help BEFORE you do the work. If your friend already has something in mind for what she wants, she’s probably already done the research and will just find your advice annoying. But if she hasn’t done the research, offer away.
Ask for a courtesy baby shower invite, even if you know you can’t attend. Your friend might feel awkward sending you an invite for fear that it’ll look like she wants you to come and/or that she’s asking for a gift, when really she just wants to include you in celebrating. If you ask ahead of time, she’ll appreciate that you want to be included to help celebrate her baby. And, the hostess will appreciate that she won’t have to feed someone else or make room for someone else.
Hopefully these tips help you support your long-distance pregnant friends and family, especially if you’ve never been pregnant yourself and don’t know what to do. Everyone is different, so these tips might not apply to every pregnant woman, but they’re a good starting place. And congratulations to any of your friends!