What was it like for you and your relationship when you began to discuss trying to get pregnant?
- Hannah discusses the challenge of balancing the head and heart. Lining up when it felt right to start trying to conceive, along with when it made sense.
- Andrea discusses her plan and how she had a timeline in mind, which helped them decide when they were ready.
- No matter what, you’ll have the “Oh crap, we’re pregnant!” moment.
- Accept that there are things you can’t control.
What is pregnancy like? How does it affect your relationship with your partner?
- It can bring you and your partner closer together. You can bond in a special way when you’re going through this together.
- It can also be isolating. The partner who is not carrying may not know what you’re going through. And if your friends haven’t experienced it, it can be hard for them to be understanding.
- You have to put a lot of effort into staying connected and communicating. Your partner isn’t a mind-reader. Express your needs, thoughts, and feelings.
- Being constantly anxious and stressed isn’t good for you or your child. If you’re experiencing this, seek help. Talk with your doctor.
- You can learn to be open and talk about how you really feel, to talk with friends and get support and advice.
- “Talk to your partner. Talk to other mothers. But make sure you’re talking to your partner.”
How do you find a balance between work and life and your relationship while experiencing the symptoms of pregnancy?
- The romantic relationship might take a backseat in some ways, and the physical changes can be challenging.
- You lose control in a lot of aspects of your life. We’re often conditioned to make responsible decisions and make sure you think things through before you do them. But in deciding when to have a baby, if you’re able to have a baby, and everything else in the process, comes with so much that you can’t plan and can’t control.
- You may need more time off from work than you expected. You may have to give up some other activities. You need to rest and slow down. If you have the ability to take more time off, allow yourself more time to rest and relax. Say no when you can. Ask for what you need. If you can’t do something, say no and prioritize your health.
- The physical part of your relationship may change. Your libido may change, and you may feel bad about yourself. Give yourself grace and find other ways to connect. You have the opportunity to let your relationship grow and mature in a different way.
How have things changed more as you get later into your pregnancy?
- Your emotions change over time. Sometimes you feel even-keeled and sometimes your emotions feel out of control.
- You may be challenged to talk with your partner more and be honest about feelings. Be honest now to make the transition to parenthood easier.
- You get to share a special experience with your partner by having a child together. Remember how important this connection is.
- More resources are needed for fathers and partners who aren’t carrying. It may not feel as real to your partner until you give birth. So as the pregnancy goes on, encourage your partner to also have support. Be willing to hear their experience, even if it’s different because they aren’t carrying the child.
What advice and action steps would you give to couples who are getting ready to give birth?
- Communicate. You can’t control how you feel, but you control what you do about it. Be vulnerable and authentic in communicating what is really going on for you.
- Be aware of your own needs. Are you following what you think you should do or what is authentic for yourself and your relationship? Be true to yourself. It’s not about what others think you should do. With every decision, think about what really matters to you.
- Seek out counseling, individual and/or couples.
- Put your ego aside and be vulnerable with each other.
- Give yourself grace. Love yourself and be accepting of changes.
- Date nights. It’s easy to focus on yourself and the baby. Don’t forget about your partner and your relationship.
Connect with Andrea and Hannah:
You can find Andrea Cotter on LinkedIn.
You can find Hannah Tate-Smith on Psychology Today.