As a new Mum you’re likely already used to becoming a go-to resource for friends who are either trying for a baby, newly pregnant or just starting to navigate the path of motherhood themselves. “How did you get your figure back so quickly?” “How do you find time to sleep?”, “What are cravings like?” “Have you got any maternity clothes I could borrow?”. You’re probably used to getting those questions and a whole lot more from friends and colleagues. It can get tiresome, for sure, but it’s hard not to take it as a compliment. After all, if so many are coming to you for help, tips and advice then motherhood must already be a great look on you. Still, it’s one thing when a colleague asks you for advice in passing on your lunch break, and another thing altogether when someone close to you like a best friend, sister or close cousin falls pregnant.
When someone close to you starts down the path of motherhood you can expect to play a much bigger part in their journey, rendering sagely advice now and then, sure, but also digging deep into your reserves of kindness, patience and love to help them through the path of pregnancy and childbirth… Along with all the anxieties and uncertainties that can come with that journey. While you may be regarded as a sage when it comes to all things parenthood, even you might need a helping hand as you prepare to help someone you love who is about to start down a road that’s all-too familiar to you. Thus, I thought it might be nice to compile this guide to helping your best friend (or anyone else who means a lot to you) through her first pregnancy…
Remember the two most helpful words in the English language… “That’s normal!”
As you no doubt remember, a woman’s body changes a very great deal during pregnancy. Your bestie can expect to endure lot of physical and psychological changes while her baby grows inside her. She can expect everything from cravings and morning sickness to mood swings that could make her doubt her sanity… Not to mention pain and discomfort which she likely never even thought possible prior to becoming pregnant.
Another thing you will likely remember is the constant feeling as though you are the first woman in recorded history to experience these things… Or at least to experience them in this way. We human beings have a propensity for catastrophising, especially when things are new and unfamiliar to us. Every bodily change can seem as though it’s a symptom of something gone very, very wrong. That’s why it’s so important to remember those two most helpful and important words in the English language for a pregnant woman… “That’s normal!”.
You may need to bite your tongue every once in a while
As well as thinking long and hard about what you say, you’ll also need to give some serious consideration to what you don’t say to your pregnant friend. It doesn’t take a great deal of empathy to remember all the things you heard from pretty much everyone when you were pregnant.
“Oh my goodness, your bump is looking so big!”. Yeah, no kidding. I’m pregnant!
“Wow, you look ready to pop!” Yup, I’m pregnant.
“You’ve gotten so much bigger since I last saw you!” Thanks for that, did I mention I’m pregnant?
“Can I touch your bump?” Ew, go back to your desk Pete, I barely know you!
People have a weird habit of forgetting their boundaries around pregnant women, and your beloved friend may have gotten used to seeing the human race at their least considerate by the time you next see them. You might need to bite your tongue if you find yourself about to say something that she may have already heard a lot (and been less than thrilled about). Tell her she’s beautiful, tell her she’s glowing, but maybe don’t remind her that she looks like she’s digesting a bowling ball.
Related Post: Our Humorous Guide To Pregnancy
Help her feel like she’s in the loop
If you also work with your best friend this brings with it its own opportunities to help. It’ll be a little while until your friend is ready to come back to work and considering what to wear for her first day back. When she is off work pregnant and / or enjoying her maternity leave she may feel isolated and out of the loop. Therefore, don’t be shy when it comes to dishing out the gossip. This will remind her that she has a life, friends and a social sphere outside of pregnancy… And we all remember how important that is!
Take her for lunch… But help her make good food choices
If you find that you’re able to make a lunch date, this can be a great talk to catch up with her and talk about something (anything) other than babies, pregnancy and childbirth. However, what you may or may not know from your own experiences is that the food choices she makes at lunch (or any meal) can go a long way toward ensuring that she has a happier, healthier and more comfortable pregnancy. It might be worth mentioning the nutritional benefits of…
- Ginger- A great antidote to morning sickness. Encourage her to take a flat ginger beer with lunch or a hop cup of ginger tea.
- Beans- Remember that seemingly ever-present feeling of bloating and constipation that you had while pregnant? Delicious fibrous beans are the perfect way for her to offset this. Broccoli and berries are also great for this!
- Spinach- It’s very common for pregnant women to feel anaemic and as though they are constantly on the verge of fainting. This is because pregnant women are often iron deficient. Loading her plate with iron-rich spinach can give her the energy she needs to get through the day.
Always make sure they have something to look forward to
Your friend is slowly but surely coming round to the fact that it will be a long time until she gets to be the centre of attention. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women and new Mums to feel overshadowed by their babies no matter how much they love them. Thus, you can help out a great deal by ensuring that she always has something nice to look forward to. It may be a big event like a party or a baby shower or it may simply be something as simple as a lunch date. Pregnancy is a joyous experience but it can be a lonely, confusing and scary one too. When she always has something to look forward to, she can associate the future with fun and love rather than fear and uncertainty.
Encourage her to see a chiropractor
It’s impossible to completely mitigate the pain and discomfort of a body which is changed by pregnancy. However, recommending a good chiropractor to your friend could be the best thing you do for her in keeping her body as limber and pain free as possible. Chiropractic care is extremely important during pregnancy. Your friend’s spine is an integral part of her nervous system and the immune and endocrine systems which are dependent upon it. A healthy spine is essential in ensuring that her organs are able to carry out integral functions while her baby grows. What’s more, chiropractic care is essential in keeping her joints limber and her back and pelvis properly aligned helping to ensure that she has an active, comfortable pregnancy and a healthy birth.
Keep the above in mind and combine it with your own knowledge and experience… And just think about how lucky she is to have you!
If you’re pregnant, or know someone who is, why not use our pregnancy calendar? Fun, factual and full of tips; it’s the perfect bump companion!