Life is full of tough conversations, and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy can trigger some of the most difficult. This is especially true when a friend, family member or loved one is considering an abortion. There are so many swirling emotions – on all sides – that trying to have a calm, rational, productive conversation can be a real challenge. This is a life-altering moment, and deserves proper preparation.
Following these four tips can put you in the best position to talk with a loved one who is considering abortion…
1. Listen and Be Supportive
This is a difficult time for your loved one. Even if she doesn’t show it on the outside, she likely feels extremely scared and confused. Abortion is probably more of a last resort than a preferred choice. Hear her out. Listen to her fears and concerns and why she’s considering abortion. Ask how she feels in the moment, and how those feelings evolved since learning she was pregnant. Avoid judging language, and replace phrases like “you should” or “you need to” with “have you thought about” and “have you considered.” Body language means a lot during this talk. Even a simple hand on her shoulder could be an important demonstration that you’re there to help.
2. Be Informed
While compassion is your best ally in this conversation, knowledge is a close second. Your loved one likely came to you as a sounding board, but will also ask for your opinion. An opinion supported with information is more likely to be compelling. Consider sharing something from your own experience, or convey stories from other women who faced unplanned pregnancies. Understanding the risks and potential side effects of having an abortion can also help you present valid health concerns your loved one should consider. Most importantly, you’ll want to be prepared to shine a light on all the abortion alternatives available to your loved one.
3. Present Alternatives
While your loved one may not see it at the time, there are always other pregnancy options to consider. You may be just the person to help her recognize that. Most people would agree that in an ideal world, the mother would be willing and capable of delivering and raising her child herself. Talk through that possibility. Could additional support from family make this work? Would a relative be willing to help co-parent? Sometimes, unfortunately, physical, emotional or safety issues may preclude that. Then, what about adoption? There are currently 2 million couples in the U.S. waiting to adopt a baby. These people are carefully screened to ensure they can provide a healthy, loving home. There are different types of adoption to allow the birth mother as much or as little access to her child as she sees fit. Abortion is never the only available option for an unplanned pregnancy.
4. Give Hope
The one thing your loved one needs in this moment more than anything else is hope. She needs hope that she can make a decision she can live with for the rest of her life. She needs hope that others will be by her side to support her. She needs hope that she can find the strength to do what’s best for her and for her baby. Through your conversation with her, you play a critical role in providing that hope, and Sira can help.
At Sira in Gainesville, we believe hope is the greatest gift you can give. We provide women a safe place to share their pregnancy concerns, to explore all the options available to them and to get honest answers. We are led by caring individuals and staffed by women who have been in circumstances similar to your loved one’s. We are here to provide help for today and hope for tomorrow.
If we can assist you or someone you love, please contact Sira today at 352-377-4947.