So your friend just announced her pregnancy. (Or, his wife’s pregnancy) to you. They are first time parents, and you aren’t; you’ve had a child, or maybe more. So, naturally the first thing that pops in your head is that it is your duty to tell them everything they should and should not do when pregnant. Over a short amount of time, say a week or two, you notice this friend isn’t in touch so much. Is it because they are consumed with the pregnancy, or want to be alone?
Maybe, but not likely. A more probable cause for the withdrawl is that you overstepped a boundary.
Of course experienced parents have a lot to offer, but it is always offensive to a newly expectant couple to be overwhelmed with advice when announcing their pregnancy. You’re not only taking dampening the fun of the surprises of this exciting time, but it is inevitable that you’re going to make these parents to be feel incompetent.
So, before you begin with, “be careful of what fish you eat, don’t take hot baths or stand in front of the microwave, and begin playing Mozart now,” think back to how you felt by all of the unsolicited advice when you were expecting.
The best thing to do when people announce a pregnancy is naturally to first congratulate them. And, resist the urge to include with that congratulations the “I have experience but you don’t” statement like, “just wait till you _______” or, “you’re really going to enjoy _____.” Becoming a parent might be old hat for you, but it’s new for them! It’s their very own unique experience at that, and it will be different than the experience you had. Every person experiences a situation differently and from a different perspective. Keep that in mind, and let your friend own their own pregnancy.
Secondly, it is a good idea to offer whatever baby gear you have that you no longer need, because having a child, as you know, is expensive! Even things like the baby monitor or bottle warmer are hand me downs that will be received with gratitude. However, if your friends want to buy their own new stuff, don’t be offended. It’s like a family buying a new house and wanting all new furniture for it. Some people just value “new start” approaches more than others. If this is the case, don’t take it personally.
Last but not least, offer advice or help whenever your friends decide they want it. Offer to them your availability for this, when they care to solicit for it. More than likely, you’d be the person they come to when you handle the situation like that.