Marriage, Pregnancy, recommended reads

How to Help Your Relationship Survive Pregnancy

Continuing the topic of “How to Help Your Relationship Survive,” today I’m addressing How to Help Your Relationship Survive Pregnancy. Yes, before you survive the new baby phase, you must first survive pregnancy.

Pregnancy is different for every woman. Some couples may find that there is very little adjustment needed during a pregnancy. Others will have to make drastic adjustments. In my case, helping my relationship make it through pregnancy was just as hard as the newborn phase.

For the first three months of my pregnancy, I felt bipolar. There would be days where I could function as I had pre-pregnancy, and there were days I spent curled up in a fetal position for hours. The days I felt good I would be happy and cheerful, but the days I felt bad I would be withdrawn and depressed. It was very hard for my husband to adjust to this “new me.”

While some women experience cravings, I had “anti-cravings.” Everything sounded disgusting. My husband would suggest all sorts of food, including things I used to love, and it all sounded like vomit.  This meant that while we used to enjoy cooking and eating meals together, my husband was now eating alone. I would usually sit in another room (depending on the smell of dinner) or watch him eat because I felt too nauseous.

Please imagine for a moment what that must be like for a husband. His wife, with whom he usually enjoys spending time, is suddenly depressed and withdrawn. She won’t eat. She isn’t really up for anything because she is too sick. What do you do?

Over time, we agreed to do some things differently to help resolve tension:

  • My husband would stop suggesting food. If I wanted something, I would get it myself or request it.
  • If I was crying (which happened a lot) and my husband wanted to help, he could hold me or rub my back. A lot of times guys just need a task to do to feel like they are making a difference. One of my friend’s husbands would hold her hair out of the way while she vomited into the toilet. It sounds disgusting, but it meant a lot to her.
  • We would not compare my pregnancy to other women’s pregnancies. Some men may have a certain expectation of pregnancy based on what they saw their moms/sisters/aunts experience. As emphasized above, every pregnancy is different. Don’t expect your pregnancy to be the same as other women, or even the same as your last pregnancy! Letting go of preconceived pregnancy notions helped us to not get frustrated with what I had to go through.
  • We would make the most of the good days. We still were able to have fun that summer. We went to a water park, we hosted group dates, we created and filmed a pregnancy announcement. When I was finally feeling better, we went on a “Baby-Moon.”
  • I would do my best not to resent my husband for being healthy. I would not blame him for “getting me pregnant”, since it was a mutual decision. I dislike hearing woman accuse their spouses of “You did this to me!” as a way to justify their peevish behavior towards their husband. I don’t think husbands plan to make their wives miserable by getting them pregnant.  They probably don’t know exactly what their wives will suffer while pregnant. Sometimes women don’t even know what to expect when pregnant.
  • We would be flexible with our sex life. In case you didn’t know, a woman’s sex drive changes throughout pregnancy. In the first trimester women usually don’t want to have sex because they feel so rotten. Many women experience increased libido during the second trimester. And then when you get to the third trimester, you’ve got a ginormous bump to work around.  One thing that really helped us was listening to YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner’s Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy on audio tape as we commuted to work. They have a whole chapter dedicated to sex.
  • We would be flexible with our sex life. In case you didn’t know, a woman’s sex drive changes throughout pregnancy. In the first trimester women usually don’t want to have sex because they feel so rotten. Many women experience increased libido during the second trimester. And then when you get to the third trimester, you’ve got a ginormous bump to work around.  One thing that really helped us was listening to YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner’s Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy on audio tape as we commuted to work. They have a whole chapter dedicated to sex.

While my post has mostly addressed the issues arising out of the first trimester, I feel like a lot of the principles apply throughout pregnancy. Women will experience different physical changes, all which may affect their relationship with their husband. That’s why it’s important to be open with your spouse about what you are going through, so you both can adjust accordingly.

Pregnancy was rough on our relationship, but we survived! And you can too.

1 thought on “How to Help Your Relationship Survive Pregnancy”

  1. This is so good and something I feel like all pregnant women should read!! Things change and that’s a good thing! Even though it can be a little scary at times. I love how you talked about not “blaming” your husband. I know hormones are crazy but it was an agreed upon adventure! 🙂 Thank you so much for your awesome insight!

Comments are closed.