If you have a friend, family member or loved one who is pregnant right now, then it goes without question (I’m sure) that you want to be as supportive and kind to that person as you possibly can be! However, as a culture we are programmed to talk so negatively about birth and pregnancy that often we find ourselves putting our proverbial foot in our mouth without realising it.
What Is The Wrong Thing To Say?
You know your friends best, and there is every chance that your pregnant friend may well not care if you say something less than supportive, however unintentional, but it’s also possible that things which would never have bothered her before will do so now.
To give you an example, I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and throughout my whole pregnancy people have told me that they reckon I’ll be having a massive baby! Now, they’re usually saying it as a joke, or just as something to say, and of course I know they don’t want to worry or upset me…but that is the unintentional consequence!
You see, one of my only fears in this pregnancy is whether or not I’ll tear during labour. Having done a lot of hypnobirthing work I have come to the conclusion that I will be fine if that does happen, but being told that my baby is going to be some kind of mammoth infant just feeds more and more into one of my key fears. Not helpful!
Other examples of what the wrong thing to say to your pregnant friend include:
- “WOW! You’re so big now!” – this might seem like a simple comment on the size of her bump, but she’s probably feeling a bit self concious about her changing shape.
- “You’ll probably need an induction if you go past your due date.” – again, this is something that will feed into her fears around labour and delivery.
- “My friend/mum/sister/work colleague had an awful pregnancy/labour! Here’s what happened…” – I talk about why negative birth stories can be so harmful to your pregnant friend in this blog post, but sufficed to say they are not helpful!
Positive Things You Can Say to a Pregnant Friend
Whilst you shouldn’t feel the need to tip toe around your pregnant friend just because she is growing a tiny human, it does help if you take a moment to think before speaking!
1. Instead of telling her she’s looking ‘huge’ or ‘big’ try complimenting her bump when you see her!
2. Stop freaking her out about inductions and let her know her baby knows what it’s doing and will more than likely come when it’s ready.
3. Give her some positive encouragement! She’s probably feeling nervous about all sorts of things, so let her know she’s strong enough to cope with anything that comes her way!
4. There’s every chance that your pregnant friend is feeling worried, freaked out and even a bit lonely at this intense point in her life! She may be putting a brave face on (being pregnant is amazing and she might not want to make it seem like she’s not enjoying herself!) but she might need a shoulder to cry on or just someone to voice her worries to. Be that person!
5. Whether it’s picking up something she needs for her hospital bag so she doesn’t have to waddle out to the shops, or coming around with a cheeky takeaway because she just doesn’t have the energy to cook, find out what she needs and give her a hand! Being pregnant is a strange time for any woman and I for one feel guilty asking for help…after all I’m pregnant, not disabled…but I need it sometimes and it’s great when people ask what they can do.
6. It’s an oldie but a goodie! Telling your pregnant friend that she is glowing will give her a boost, even if it’s a little bit cliche. Pregnancy has drained my energy levels in so many ways and some days it’s hard to feel like the sparkly unicorn I know I am, so a little reminder every now and then doesn’t go a miss…
Basically…just be kind!
Whatever you do, just make sure you have a laugh, a joke and give her some encouragement! Pregnancy is a wonderful time but it’s full of worries and stresses that your friend may well not feel like sharing or shouting about. Giving her an outlet, or just a bit of positive reinforcement will go a long way to making this crazy time a little bit easier for her.
Being positive about pregnancy and birth is something we need to get better at as a society, so if you’re stuck for how to make your friend feel good, then show here these positive birth stories! Trust me, they do wonders for a worried mind!