Therapist Anastasia Pollock shares ideas on surviving pregnancy as a couple.
Pregnancy is an exciting time full of changes. Big changes happen with the expectant mom’s body, emotions, and life as she prepares for baby. Big changes are also happening for the expectant partner, who is often trying to figure out where he fits into the changes of pregnancy and having a new baby. Because both parents experience big changes, so does the relationship. Pregnancy can be a time that creates more tension in a relationship as both partners try to navigate through pregnancy. However, if partners are willing to become aware of the potential pitfalls and put effort into attending to each other, pregnancy can be a time of coming together and strengthening the relationship. Below are some steps that can help to help your relationship to survive and strengthen through the pregnancy process.
Start a Conversation
This may seem obvious but you may be surprised at how much you may not know about your partner’s experience with pregnancy. Ask each other questions like:
How is this process for you?
What changes have you noticed?
What are you most excited about in being a parent?
What are you most scared for in being a parent?
How do you feel we are doing as a couple?
What is one thing I can do to show you my appreciation for you?
These questions and others can be great conversations starters and can open up the space to talk about issues you may not otherwise bring up. This helps you to keep a pulse on where your partner is during pregnancy. This should happen frequently throughout the pregnancy as things change quickly from week to week.
Nurture Your Relationship
It can be hard to connect intimately during pregnancy, physically and emotionally. As we prepare to nurture a baby, we often lose site of nurturing our relationship. The best thing you can do for your unborn baby is to nurture your relationship with your partner. The more solid the foundation of your relationship, the more stable the baby’s environment will be when he or she arrives. This means go on regular dates, give each other massages/foot rubs, etc, (this goes both ways), do things that are fun, laugh together, and remind yourself of all the things that drew you to your spouse in the first place.
Involve the Non-Pregnant Partner in the Pregnancy and Birth Plan
Non-pregnant partners can sometimes feel like bystanders when it comes to pregnancy. They often report feeling as though they feel helpless, wanting to help, but not knowing what to do. Non-pregnant partners need to be reminded about their important role in pregnancy. They are support for mom and that support can make all the difference in helping an expectant mom to feel supported calm and loved during pregnancy. Babies pick up on and experience mom’s emotions so the partner’s support also impacts baby in a positive way. Moms, ask your partner to be a part of doctor’s appointments, share your experience, and ask your partner to share in the milestones each week by sharing information about your baby’s development. When you develop your birth plan, make sure your partner knows it is a birth plan for the two of you. Decide as a couple how your partner would like to be involved in the birth and then communicate with your doctor and the hospital. Remember you are a team. Developing a team mentality during pregnancy will help continue a team mentality as you venture into parenting.
You can get more information from Anastasia here.