If you have a friend who has become unexpectedly pregnant and who is looking to terminate, there are things you can do to help her deal with the stigma of abortion. While many know that abortion is a common medical procedure, there are some who still cast aspersions upon those faced with making the decision, creating a lot of shame and secrecy. This might be especially true if your friend is not ready (in one form or another) to be a parent or simply does not want to be one.
But as friends, it is our job to provide support and help navigate these difficult times. To do so, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of what behavior is appropriate when providing assistance to our loved ones faced with this difficult decision.
Offer To Listen Without Judgment
Being there for our friends when they need to talk to someone is one of the most important things you can do for them in any situation. A willingness to listen without passing judgment or making assumptions can make a difference and alleviate some of the stress and anxiety they’re already experiencing.
A friend in this situation needs to know that she is not alone and that there is someone who cares about her and is willing to lend a listening ear. When she opens up to you, it is a sign of trust. She is entrusting you with her thoughts and feelings, and she needs to know that you will treat her with care and respect.
In return, your friend will likely feel more comfortable confiding in you along the way, and the same may become reciprocal for you. Understanding the importance of listening without judgment can help us become a better support system for all our friends.
Be an Informed Ally
There is a lot to learn when it comes to unplanned pregnancies, abortions, and the stigmas associated with both. It’s important that we are all informed allies, so that we can provide relevant and helpful information to our friends in need. Research what an abortion actually is versus what preconceived ideas you may already have of the procedure.
Also understand the legal landscape surrounding abortions where you live and at the federal level. This way, you can be better equipped to answer any questions your friend may have. Even researching facilities, costs associated, or organizations that help ease the financial burden could mean the difference between your friend having the procedure done in a safe and comfortable environment versus one that adds more stress to the situation. Being informed will also help you dispel any myths or misconceptions that your friend may have. By educating yourself, you can also have a better understanding of what your friend may be going through.
Help Them Find Resources and Information
When a friend is dealing with the stigma of abortion, she may feel alone and lost. As her friends, we can help her by connecting her with various resources, education, and support systems geared toward unplanned pregnancies, so she has some peace of mind and doesn’t become so overwhelmed.
As above, you can start by doing some research online or talking to your local Planned Parenthood facility by phone or by stopping by a clinic. These organizations can offer resources and referrals, as well as education and counseling services that can help your friend make the best decision for her situation.
Respect Their Decision, Even if You Don’t Agree With It
It is important to remember that this is your friend’s decision to make, not yours. Even if you disagree with the decision she has made, it is important to respect her wishes and treat her with dignity.
This can be a difficult thing to do when we don’t agree with someone about something so important, but ultimately it is up to her to decide what she wants to do with her body and life. Our job, as friends, is to be there for her, no matter what decision she makes. Keep in mind that respect is the most valuable gift we can give our friends during difficult times such as this. Be there for her by showing respect if she feels like she needs to talk.
Offer Emotional Support
It can be challenging to know how to offer emotional support to someone who is going through a tough time when we haven’t lived the same experience they’re going through. You might feel like you need to say or do the perfect thing to make them feel better, but the truth is that sometimes just being there for someone is enough. Just letting them know that you care and are there for them can do a lot of good. Here are some other ways you can offer emotional support:
- Be her crying shoulder: Sometimes, a good cry is all someone needs to feel better. Just being there for your friend and letting her know that she can cry on your shoulder can be a big help.
- Hug her: With consent, nothing can beat the feeling of a good hug, especially when you’re feeling down. Sometimes all your friend needs is that show of affection from you.
- Give her space: After your friend has had some time to process what’s happened, she might want to talk about it. But if she doesn’t, that’s OK too. Give her the space she needs and let her know you’re there when and if she’s ready to talk.
Don’t Pressure Her Into Anything
If a friend is considering abortion, it’s because they feel like there aren’t other feasible options. The last thing they need is someone trying to control their decision or casting guilt or shame upon them for having to make it in the first place. Instead, be there to support whatever decision she makes. Let your presence be a calming influence during what is already a complex and confusing time.
One thing you will want to keep in mind is to avoid being harsh, condescending, or passive-aggressive in whatever you say or do. No matter what you think about abortion, your friend is going through a challenging experience and deserves a supportive friend. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can help them get through this difficult time in their life. If you still feel a lack of knowledge about the subject, get the support you need at alignpregnancyservices.com.