How to Help a Pregnant Friend
Don't just ask them how they are.
Welcome to the WTF lists. Being pregnant and being a new mom is super confusing. People tell you that you need a million things. You don’t even need most of those things. Let’s explore what you actually need and what’s a giant waste of money & time.
I’m pretty horrible about asking for help. I’d rather try to do everything myself than ever accept an offer from someone to step in and take things off my plate to make life easier.
Which just goes to show you how scared I am to be a mom because for the first time in my life, I traded in my stubborn “I have everything under control” persona in to became the kind of person who says “yes please” when someone reaches out to be there for me.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but sometimes I even ask for help on my own.
I went through the address book on my phone and texted every single person I know who has a kid.
Give me your best piece of advice.
Most of them wrote back and I took their response as an open invitation to bombard them, randomly, with more intricate, personal, and absolutely necessary questions.
In life, when you’re going through things, you have to accept help.
The problem is, you don’t always know what kind of help you need.
For most of my pregnancy, I needed help in the form of advice and knowledge.
When I have the baby, I know i’ll need a different type of help that might come in the form of a friend sitting with the baby so I can shower or another friend coming over to force me outside for a walk.
Either way, here are some really awesome ways people have been there to help me during this pregnancy. I hope this list is helpful if you want to either be there for a pregnant friend or you’re pregnant and want to know how your friends can be there for you.
Ask if you can research stuff for a friend
There’s so much stuff to learn when you’re on your way toward becoming a mom. It’s overwhelming and it honestly sucks. One BIG thing you can do for a person is offer to research something for them and write them a recap. Things like this:
A ranking of the top strollers and why
The top recommended items on their registry
A list of local doulas, postpartum doulas, nurses, pediatricians
What the heck can go on a birth plan
Local birth classes and prenatal classes they can attend
The best FB groups or online communities they can join
Really anything. Ask them what’s on their list to research or learn this week and take something off that list for them and do it. This is way more helpful than just texting “how are you” or “here if you need anything”.
They need everything - more specifically they need help learning.
Call without strings attached
I will forever be grateful for my friend Molly. She’s a mom of three and a few months ago, she texted me that she plans to call me every single Sunday - no strings attached. I don’t have to answer, I don’t have to even pick up the phone and say much, but she will call, and if I do answer or want to talk, she will listen, she will help, she will be there for me.
Having this kind of ongoing support allows a self-conscious person like me know that a friend really wants to be there for me and they aren’t just offering, they are actually showing up.
I look forward to our Sunday calls. Sometimes we don’t even talk about baby stuff. Most of the time we do and I end the call smiling.
Offer to do a meal train
I haven’t done this yet but when my friend Michelle gave birth, her friends organized a virtual meal train for her. Each person picked a day and sent food. As I get closer to giving birth, I’m starting to see how the little tasks in my life will feel gigantic once a baby arrives.
Letting friends send food every day, or a few times a week, can be a huge relief.
This is a great free website that helps you organize that easily.
*This one is hard for me because I don’t love when people spend money on helping me out but think about it - it could be $15/$20 that a person spends and wow, what a long way that will go.
Claim a part of their lives
Think about what you’d honestly want to help the person out with:
Walking their dog
Taking the person on short walks to get out of the house
Spending an hour a day/week with the baby so the person can nap/shower/etc.
Sorting through mail/email/phone calls/text messages
Entertain their BS
While it’s on my to-do list to get back on my therapist’s schedule, I have to say that a big help during my pregnancy have been the friends who take me for coffee, go on a walk with me, or sit beside me and just let me vent. Sure, there are times I want advice, but there are also times I just want to rant for 5-minutes about how scared I am, and when I’m done, talk about something else - like mascara or ankle socks.
Ask a friend to meet. Ask them about their pregnancy. Let them feel open to rambling. Ask if they want advice or just want you listen. Then do that for them…please.