Families and friends

Finding out that your daughter, sister or friend is unexpectedly pregnant can be a huge shock. It is likely to be a very emotional situation for both of you, and can be very difficult to handle if she is turning to you for advice.

Your emotions

In order to support her, you may need to first take a step back and get your own thoughts and emotions in check. You may be angry, disappointed, ashamed - a whole world of emotions - but this doesn't change the fact that your family member or friend is in a very stressful situation and needs your help.

In order to support her effectively, you may need some help and support yourself. Try talking to a trusted friend, or call our helpline (020 8892 8483) to talk things through with a trained, objective listener. You can also get answers to any questions you may have this way, eg. about her education, whether she can have an abortion etc.

Supporting her

Try imagining yourself in her situation to get a sense of what she is feeling and going through. Allow her to talk - and just listen, much as you may want to jump in. She needs to be listened to in order to sort things out in her own head. If you treat her with love and respect, she will be far more honest and open with you, and willing to listen to your views.

Help her to find out what her options are. It is a good idea for you to both visit a pregnancy counselling centre, such as ours, or one near where you live (Pregnancy Choices Directory). This way she can discuss her options with someone removed from the situation, with your support.

What not to do

Whatever you do, try not to force your opinion on her. Deciding what to do about a pregnancy is a momentous decision for any woman, regardless of age, and can have a long-term impact. You should aim to allow your daughter, sister or friend to reach her own conclusion - with your support and that of a trained listener.