Pregnancy and love can be a tricky combination. At times, a couple can feel incredibly close, while at others it can feel as though your partner is living in another dimension. Yet a robust relationship in pregnancy matters. A positive relationship can make you and your partner more equipped to deal with situations that arise, whilst a lack of communication and misunderstandings can cause unnecessary tensions and disharmony at a time when emotions are already running high.
With this in mind, Matrimonial Consultant and Relationship Guru Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart shares her thoughts on how motherhood will change your relationship...
Pregnancy hormones can cause a range of emotional highs and lows, making you feel more vulnerable, sensitive or anxious than usual. It is important to communicate your feelings clearly and calmly to your partner and for them respond with tolerance and attentiveness. If not dealt with carefully, a couple can end up feeling disconnected, isolated and unloved.
1) ‘Irrational’ and emotional behaviour
As your body changes physically, the last thing many women want is physical intimacy as they cope with morning sickness, physical discomfort and tiredness. It is important to explain this to your partner in a gentle loving way and to keep them physically connected to what is happening inside you, so they don’t feel left out. Try reading pregnancy books together and involve them in your birthing plan.
2) Involvement in your pregnancy journey
Who is going to be the breadwinner? Who is going to stay home and look after the baby? You and your partner need to agree on the best course of action for your family including the division of labour, earnings and childcare before the baby arrives. This will avoid arguments over ‘score-keeping’ and prevent one partner from feeling like they’ve drawn the ‘short straw’ by taking on the lion share of parenting and domestic chores and the other partner from feeling like a cash-cow’.
3) Planning and managing expectations
Pregnancy is a time for self-reflection and discussions on your parenting styles and how you both want to raise your child. These conversations will almost certainly uncover differences in your views, upbringing, expectations and it is important to agree how you manage those differences.
4) Parenting style
Having an extended family around you for support, guidance and as an extra pair of hands for the baby can be invaluable. However, it often results in clashes with your well-meaning in-laws who readily offer opinions and advice, which can accentuate any existing tensions. Managing this by setting expectations and boundaries with your partner’s help is crucial.
5) Managing in-laws and their expectations
Pregnancy is a joyous event to pro-actively cultivate strong foundations of togetherness for a happy and fulfilling family life. Enjoy this valuable time together and learn the best ways to communicate effectively, maintain relationship satisfaction and mange conflict, as you transition towards parenthood.
6) Team-working to fostering a sense of togetherness
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