Navigating a relationship while you’re pregnant can be difficult. So here are some tips to help you work through any troubles you may be having.
Being pregnant has been the most amazing and awe-inspiring journey of my life; what makes it even better is that I have an incredible, supportive husband by my side to experience it all with. When we found out we were expecting, my husband immediately took on the role of father-to-be and has been incredibly involved and supportive.
Despite having such a supportive relationship, I would be lying if I glossed over the many ups and downs that have come with this journey for the two of us. It is an exciting time but it is also a stressful time with lots of change and challenges. For me, personally, body image has been a major struggle as well as rapid mood shifts and changes. These struggles have led me to feel extremely vulnerable which at times has really challenged my relationship. While I don’t pretend to have it all together and I am still learning, I figured that I would pass along some of my personal experiences and tips to help other couples going through this journey for the first time.
For all of my fellow pregnant mamas out there, here are some helpful tips for navigating your relationship during this time.
Prioritize Quality Time
When you’re expecting a baby, many thoughts go through your head, from picking out the safest crib to coming up with a birth plan to share with your doctor. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but try to make a conscious effort to prioritize quality time with your partner during this journey.
You’re both busy people, so don’t stress yourself out trying to clear your entire calendar. Instead, set aside an hour before bed to watch your favorite TV show together, or simply find 30 minutes to go on a quick walk and catch up. It’s the little moments that matter and will make you feel connected to each other.
This has been one of the greater learning lessons in the second trimester. This past week we found ourselves much more relaxed during the holiday and accompanied by laughs. I think getting wrapped up in to-dos and the day-to-day struggle can make you forget the power of having a good old laugh together. Watch your favorite comedian, and make a date night out of it. Laughing is a great form of self-care so of course, that applies to helping your relationship too.
Check In With Each Other
Whether it is holding weekly check-ins or if it’s a quick “How are you feeling?” at the end of the day, don’t overlook the power of checking in as far as communication goes.
Know Each Other’s Love Language
You can read more about what love languages are here if you aren’t familiar with them. But for those who are familiar with them, remind yourself of what your partner’s love language is and keep this in mind throughout the pregnancy. Also, acknowledge that there are different ways in which others communicate their love. I know personally that my love language is quality of time but during my pregnancy, words of affirmation have been crucial in feeling love and expressing it.
Communicate and Use “I Feel” Statements
Communicate using “I feel” statements to avoid accusatory language when one of you may feel misunderstood, hurt or frustrated. Let your partner know when you need a hug or a talk or to voice your concerns, worries, and fears. Using “I feel” statements has significantly helped my husband and I during this trying time. It is always best to communicate rather than hold in your feelings. However you feel is valid and so is the way that your partner feels. Be open to hearing each side and acknowledging how each other is feeling and dealing with these changes.
Educate Yourself on Relationships
The book The Seven Principles For Making A Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver was a requirement for one of graduate classes in social work and I am so thankful that I was introduced to it because it is not just for professionals in counseling, it is also helpful for any human being since we all have relationships. This is so informative and it comes from doctors who dedicated their entire lives to studying relationships. You’ll learn that the amount of fights is not indicative of the success of marriage, but that stonewalling is the ultimate no-no when it comes to healthy, happy marriages. This is helpful for both you and your partner to help communicate effectively, especially during a challenging time with so much change such as pregnancy. I am thankful that not only do I have this knowledge to refer back to but that my husband has knowledge of it too because we can call out and recognize the behaviors that aren’t helpful to effectively communicating.