But Doesn't Know How to Tell You
If you were maybe unaware, a lot is going on in her life. Not just physically - cause yeah, nausea sucks and she's never been more tired in her dang life. But emotionally - she can't control the fluctuating of her hormones, when it hits, it's like being on her period x10. And mentally - she's dealing with a whole new set of questions, road blocks, etc.
So I compiled a list from one pregnant mama to those of you that want to love on your pregnant friend but have no clue where to start or how to best be there for her.
For starters, she doesn't want to be forgotten. While she will probably bury her head in books and worry only about baby day in and day out, she doesn't want you to join her in that. She's still that one friend of yours that you've always known and this new baby doesn't suddenly override her identity or importance. She understands the excitement and how easy it is to ask about baby all the time, but she really just misses catching up on daily life and struggles beyond just pregnancy. Her doctors ask her about it all the time. She wants (and needs) her girl friends to be just that - her girl friends. She needs your support and encouragement and listening ear more than ever.
Secondly, she's tired and she can't help it. She wants to go shopping with you and spend hours out for lunch and girl hangs SO BADLY, but she can't and she'll need you to understand and encouragingly say, "ya know what? Lets just go home and put pjs on and watch a movie." One of the hardest things for me throughout pregnancy thus far, has been the fear of letting people down. Whether that's getting back to emails later than I wanted, or breaking down in the car when we finally got dressed up to go shopping and now all I want to do is lay down. As her friend she'll love you forever if you can be that enthusiastic smile that says, "hey, it's okay, lets do something else."
Thirdly, she'll get that "pregnancy brain" and legit forget things; birthdays, scheduled calls, you name it. It'll be frustrating and embarrassing for her and she'll truly just need your grace and patience and understanding.
Alsoooo, she does not need any advice that she isn't asking for. I'm not sure how this comment didn't get brought up until the 4th paragraph, but this is one I can promise you she wants everyone to know. If she needs a recommendation on something, she'll ask. Otherwise, it's her marriage, her baby, her life, and I can promise you she's not doing anything to harm her baby out of sheer ignorance. She doesn't need to know about some article you've read, some class you took in college about baby development, or some horror story about birth that your friend shared with you. This is a very personal and intimate season of her life and if she's willing to share it with you that means she trusts you with it. The last thing she needs is to feel attacked or belittled for drinking an occasional Coke or wiping down her counters with a Clorox wipe.
She's going to fight a ton of silent battles on her own and she probably won't voice them often because she may struggle to find solidarity in you, unless you too are going through a pregnancy. Some of the battles will look like:
- Body changes that she can't control and struggling with feeling beautiful (I had a dear friend send me adorable nursing friendly dresses early on in pregnancy and it made me feel so seen and loved and beautiful).
- Being extra sensitive to things you say and the way you approach her. Have difficult convos with grace and a knowledge that she's extra sensitive right now.
- Feeling lazy, like she isn't doing enough, or that she doesn't have time for/doesn't deserve a nap. Hype her up and remind her SHES GROWING A LIFE and deserves to take daily naps to take care of herself.
- In par with that is the fact that she's not going to have the energy all the time to make dinner, make lunch, etc. but she needs to eat cause hello, she's now eating for 2. If you know she had a rough day or is exhausted, Door Dash is a saving grace. (I had a friend order pasta salad and pizza for Avery and I after a rough, long, emotional day and it was the most thoughtful thing ever.)
- Her whole life is going to become consumed with baby; doctors appointments, checkins with her mid wife, baby books to read, everyone asking about baby, etc. Remind her of the things that make up HER from time to time. Let her know it's okay to buy something for herself and not the nursery from time to time. And remind her exactly why she's going to be the best mom ever.
Your girlfriend just needs her village of people around her right now that she can trust, lean on, turn to, and count on. And you, as one of her best friends are the exact person she needs right now.
A first time pregnant mom who's been blessed with some of the best friends and most support during this weird, wonderful, trying, and rollercoaster of a time.