An unplanned pregnancy can be shocking and stressful. The mother has some choices to make, and she may be considering adoption.
As her friend, she will likely come to you for advice and support as she makes her decision. If you’ve never been in that role before, it can be difficult to know what to say or do during such an emotional time. Here are a few tips for supporting your friend as she navigates her journey.
Instead of offering advice, first listen to your friend and what’s important to her. Chances are, she’ll want the opportunity to talk about all of her options. Remember – what she would do is not necessarily what you would do. This is about her and the baby, and although it’s tempting in any situation to say, “I would do it this way, you should do it this way,” keep in mind that no matter how closely your lives are linked as friends, the way she sees the situation might differ from how you’d view it.
She could have a number of reasons for considering adoption: finances, a difficult living situation, a poor relationship with the biological father or her extended family, other children who are already exhausting her time and resources, personal issues, or anything else that she may or may not share with you. All of these reasons are valid.
Go with Her
Offer to accompany her to doctors appointments and agency visits to help ease her anxiety. Research the process with her, so she understands that every adoption is different and she can choose a semi-open or open adoption according to her wishes, and so she knows that financial assistance is available to birth mothers who choose adoption.
Help her choose an agency that offers unwavering support to the birth mother, both during and after the adoption is finalized. When she is ready to place the baby for adoption, help her study the profiles of the adoptive families who are waiting for a child. Help her imagine what her baby’s life will be like with one of those families.
Use Positive Language
Instead of saying your friend is “giving up” or “giving away” the child, say she is “placing the baby for adoption.” Avoid the word “unwanted” as well – the child is very much wanted by a family who is waiting for him or her.
Furthermore, it’s not necessarily that the baby is unwanted by your friend. Your friend has simply recognized that her situation is not ideal for raising a child, and that could be for a wide variety of reasons. She knows the baby will have more opportunities with an adoptive family.
Remind Her of Her Strength and Courage
Even though raising a child is challenging, the decision to place a baby for adoption is not an “easy way out”. It’s a selfless choice, not a selfish one, and you can remind your friend of what a gift it is for the child to have such a strong, resilient birth mother, who put her child first.
Focus on the Child
In the end, this decision comes down to one person – the baby. What’s best for the child? This is the question you can come back to if doubts start to arise. Which choice gives this baby the best opportunity in life?
Stay in Touch
The experience is different for every birth mother, but even after the adoption is finalized, your friend might go through an emotional period. She still needs to know that you’re there for her. Keep checking in with her in the days and weeks following the birth. She might need some assistance as she recovers from childbirth, as well, so you could offer to help her with chores, or go on walks with her as she recovers her strength and is cleared by her doctor for exercise.
If you have any other questions about how to best support your friend through her unplanned pregnancy and decision to place the baby for adoption, feel free to contact us.