Support For Family
So your loved one is pregnant?
What a surprise! Suddenly your family structure is looking different with the prospect of a new addition. Whether the pregnant loved one is your daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter or niece, you are in a privileged position. She shared with you. You’re blood. And the baby growing within her is tied inexorably to you. As a family member, you are part of the community surrounding this child – however surprising, unplanned or even unwanted the pregnancy.
Whatever the circumstances, you have the opportunity to embrace the change and move forward with her. It may be a surprise pregnancy, but if you’re a parent yourself you will also know that babies bring surprising joy!
Did you know that 70 per cent of women who have had an abortion said they would have kept their baby if one significant person in their life offered meaningful support? You can be that one person.
Hold the judgement.
Go crazy with the love.
Judgement is what she fears. We challenge you to meet this unexpected pregnancy with unexpected love.
Pregnancy is an unpredictable landscape to any woman, let alone when she is facing it on unplanned or crisis terms. It’s not going to be particularly helpful to add to the stress of her situation by condemning her actions or choices.
The conception is the past, the pregnancy is the present and the baby is the future.
The sooner you can accept this, the sooner you can get busy supporting her; starting with love. Hug her, cry with her, ask her for the full story, listen to her. It’s amazing how these blips on life’s radar bind relationships tighter than ever.
Actions speak louder than words.
Giving meaningful support.
Words of support are hollow when they aren’t followed by action. Now, more than ever, your daughter, sister or niece needs you. Here’s your chance to be practical.
- Offer to attend appointments with her.
- Help her access support services, to find a great GP and decide her preferred antenatal care.
- Perhaps you can help her financially with setting up the nursery, pram, car seat, clothing etc.
- Arm her with information (her baby size according to fruit and vegies, What to Expect When You’re Expecting through to your own or other women’s experiences of pregnancy, labour and motherhood).
- Connect her with great info tools like the Baby Center website or Brave Foundation and just be available as someone she can vent to.
Basically, be her wingwoman (or man) and champion her in this journey. With you beside her, the fear will slowly dissipate and you can both view pregnancy and motherhood as the great adventure and delight that it is.
Your family is expanding.
Time to celebrate!
When you’re faced with a big shock – like an unplanned or crisis pregnancy – it’s natural to go through a period of grieving. You’re disappointed, worried about whether she will cope, sad at what she might miss out on and upset by the turmoil of feelings. But there comes a point when we must press forward and embrace the change. Scrap that, CELEBRATE the change! Because in this instance, the change is a little life with their own distinct DNA and personality, a person who will bring new fullness and joy to your family. What title will you be to this baby? Grandmother? Uncle? Cousin? Have you considered how wonderful that is?
The sooner you move from the shocked, grieving place to an excited, celebrating place, the more help you will be to mum as she too grapples with the changes happening in her life. Why not throw a baby shower? Women love to gather ‘round an expectant mum and bolster her with gifts, love, advice and stories. It’s a wonderful demonstration of support – rising above the circumstances of conception.
She had an abortion.
I’m worried for her.
Sadly, many medical professionals fail to acknowledge the risks associated with abortion, let alone pass information on to their patients. A study into the effects of abortion revealed that:
- Women who had undergone abortion experienced an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health problems.
- Nearly 10 per cent of all mental health problems in women were shown to be directly attributable to abortion.
- Abortion is linked with a 34 per cent greater chance of anxiety disorders and 37 per cent higher possibility of depression.
- Women who have had an abortion are twice as susceptible to alcohol abuse, have a three times greater risk of cannabis use and a 155 per cent greater risk of trying to take their own life.
Read more about the risks of abortion HERE.
Help and healing is available to your loved one. As a trusted family member, you might be able to gently suggest she makes contact with one of the services we recommend.
1. Meta analysis of 22 international studies on the effects of abortion, by Dr Priscilla Coleman (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2011).