Pregnancy is one of the most life-changing times a woman can go through. Its effect on relationships is just as impactful. Whether you’ve been with your partner for years and have other children, or this is all new to you, be prepared for the ride of your life.
During these amazing nine months, you’ll discover things about yourself and your partner you never knew (and maybe never cared to know). You’ll become two pieces of a much bigger picture, and how you relate to each other will completely change. There will be joyous moments of wild laughter and tumultuous moments filled with tears, but when all is said and done, each drama-filled second will be so worth it.
It can be really disorienting for a woman when her body is constantly changing while she is powerless to what’s happening. Her partner’s response to her emotional and physical changes will be ultra important if the couple wants to keep things going relatively smoothly. He might not understand her insatiable craving for rocky road ice cream at 2 am, but he darn well better be ready to run to the store for her, with a sympathetic smile on his face.
In all honesty, the food cravings will probably be the easiest thing the guy has to cater to during pregnancy. He will have to understand the mama’s unrelenting nesting tendencies, her hours of worried research into vaccine schedules, her insecurity over her favorite jeans not fitting, and her desire for intimacy but also space. Here are just a few of the ways the relationship will change during pregnancy.
15Crazy Changes In Drive
Most couples find themselves in a strange new territory during pregnancy. The scenario you hear about most is the husband with floods of testosterone pumping, while his wife wants nothing to do with getting physical. I was in the more rare camp where my guy was weirded out by the thought of our little addition being in the room and filled with the stress of planning for baby. While I felt sexy and confident, he felt uncertain and anxious. Whatever sexual state you find yourselves in as a couple, take comfort in knowing things will probably normalize once the newborn days are over.
Try to imagine what your partner is going through and have empathy during these uncertain times. No two people are the same and you can’t expect your partner to be like anyone you have heard or read about. Having a baby on the way is a big deal and it’s totally normal to have feelings of uncertainty.
14Deeper Emotional Intimacy
With pregnancy comes a heightened state of emotion. It is not just the woman who is going to be feeling everything from nostalgia to trepidation to euphoria. You will see some of the roughest, toughest men tear up at the sight of their baby’s ultrasound. They will be right there with you, getting upset at any sad news story that involves a young child.
It was really refreshing sharing these tender moments with my son’s father. Hearing him talk about his fears and worries, watching his face light up as he chose decorations for the nursery - he really surprised me. While a lot of men might carry most of the financial weight of the family, and all the doubts that come with that, that doesn’t mean they won’t be on the same page as mommy when it comes to the baby hormones.
Make sure you’re communicating with your partner about what they’re feeling regularly, and try to help ease their mind when worry arises. Some simple reassurance from you might be all they need to take a step back and feel thankful for what’s happening.
13You’ll See Each Other In A Whole New Light
Get ready to see sides of your significant other you have never seen before. Having a baby on the way might put your partner in planning mode, panic mode, protector mode, or homebody mode. There is just no telling how each person will deal with this enormous change.
I watched my guy transform into a daddy boot camp guy. He bought books, signed us up for classes, and was on a constant search for the best baby information.
My role was figuring out what health choices we would make and what we needed to buy for baby. I chose natural home birth and, after some coaxing and research, my guy jumped on board with it. He learned how to support my breastfeeding (also through a class), and stood by me every step of the way. I began to see him less as my romantic counterpart and more as my actual family. I learned to appreciate him as a growing, evolving, sensitive man, and it was a beautiful experience.
12You'll Grow Together
Nothing will make a couple grow together like pregnancy and planning for baby to arrive. You will be united with one singular goal - bringing a healthy, happy baby into the world and making a safe and comfy home for your family. You’ll find yourself wanting to be a better person and better partner, sharing books and articles about everything from parenting to healthy foods.
When I got pregnant, my guy and I really dove into exploring new topics together. What religion would we raise baby as? How should we budget every month? What did we think about homeschooling vs. private? We shared stories and experiences from our own childhoods and learned a lot about what made us who we are today. We laid out what we did and did not want for baby and how to make sure we’d make the right decisions. This is where it’s really important to meet each other in the middle when you have differing opinions, and plan how to deal with future disagreements.
11Your Family Dynamics Will Shift
The roles you, your partner, and the rest of your family have will shift during pregnancy. You might find yourself overwhelmed with the advice and opinions of your relatives, and tensions could run high. Let’s say you have a really nosey mother-in-law; do you let her be as involved as she wants so you don’t offend your husband, or do you stand your ground and keep your priorities first? If you already have kids, they might step up into caretaker roles, wanting to help mommy at every chance. If that’s the case, lucky you! The more help, the better!
It’s possible you’ll become more introverted (or extroverted) during pregnancy. One partner might become the homebody, while the other soaks up every free second before baby comes picking up extra hours at work or getting their stress out at the gym. However things play out in your household, just remember that your needs matter and, at the end of the day, baby decisions are up to you and your partner.
10You’ll See How Dedicated Your Partner Is
Pregnancy is a demanding time, and it definitely separates the great partners from the not so great. If you have someone willing to go that extra mile for you, make them feel appreciated and loved. During my pregnancy, I was really scared to gain a lot of weight and my appetite wasn’t that great. My guy would force me to eat my meals, making sure I had the food I wanted. When he was working, he would text me and make sure I ate. He never took “no” for an answer. He knew if he didn’t push me, I wouldn’t eat enough, and he really stayed on top of it. My midwife was happy with my baby gains.
No matter how yucky you feel, or how much is going on, your partner will show you their dedication with both the little and major things. Whether it’s assembling the crib for you or getting you the special organic peanut butter only one store carries, this is the time to really shine in your caring for each other.
9Primal Instincts Will Arise
Our most primal instincts come out when pregnancy is underway. From the moment we find out we’re pregnant to when baby finally arrives, we will feel instincts to nest, protect, and prepare for what’s coming. For the woman, she might feel her divine womanliness radiating out in a major way. What is happening in the womb is a really mystical and magical experience. The guy will likely feel the need to protect his family and make sure they have everything they need. With first time parents, there could be a real rise in sexual attraction between the couple as they enter this final chance to really be alone together.
The funniest part of pregnancy for me was being so exhausted; all I wanted to do was sleep. My instincts told me to rest up, because this was the last chance I’d have for good rest possibly ever. Those instincts were right. No matter what your brain tells you, listen to your body when it comes to pregnancy. It takes most of your energy to make a baby, and your body will tell you exactly what it needs.
8Your Walls Will Come Crashing Down
If there are things you don’t want to talk about, be prepared to talk about them. From your health history to how much is in your savings account, pretty much everything is fair game when you’re pregnant. Full disclosure is the best way to be on the same page with your partner, so you can know where you both stand and how to deal with different issues.
I went into my relationship with tons of student loan debt and a bad spending habit. When my boss found out I was pregnant, I was fired from my job and forced to face my mountain of financial obligations. Talking to my guy about it helped us figure out how to consolidate my debt and make sure we made smart financial decisions for the family. Something I was really embarrassed about became a growing point, all thanks to good communication. Don’t be afraid when the barriers come down, your relationship will thank you for it.
7Nothing Will Gross You Out Anymore
Stretch marks, noticeable veins, mysterious body fluids - pregnancy teaches us things about our bodies that can sometimes be jarring. Taking your partner with you to your OBGYN appointments will shed new light on what to expect with pregnancy and birth. There will be facts that make you gasp, facts that gross you out, and everything in-between.
I never knew that doctors sometimes have to cut you “from here to there” if there “isn’t enough room” for baby to come out. When my doctor told us this, I was horrified. I knew right away that was something I would avoid at all costs (and thankfully did). Be prepared for your grossness threshold to go way, way down. These things will only help get you both ready for the yucky moments that come with having a newborn in the house.
6You’ll Build A Beautiful Future
The best part about being pregnant is knowing that you’re building a beautiful future together. Through the ups and downs, you created a life together and there is infinite possibility on the horizon. Though there are so many uncertainties in every aspect of pregnancy and parenthood, your family will be forever bonded together from here on out.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of pregnancy… what kind of birth experience do you want, what baby theme should you pick, the list is infinite, but you should always keep the big picture in mind. I never knew how special it would be to belong to the tribe of motherhood; how this would be the bonding point between myself and all of my mama friends (and every mother I have yet to connect with). This universal understanding of “family” will be the solid foundation you can always fall back on when life feels uncertain.
5You'll Get Scared Together
Nothing brings two people together quite like having the same fears. While pregnancy should be a time of joy and happy anticipation, it is only natural to have some fears about the whole thing. Will the birth go well? Will the baby be healthy? Will we have enough time to keep the romance alive? Will we be able to afford all the things we want and need? These are just a few of the many fears new parents inevitably have.
Fear is a great motivator for careful planning and good communication. Sit down and do your research on each of the questions you have, and talk everything out. The best support you’ll have is your partner and other veteran parents. It’s totally normal to question everything during pregnancy, but there are many great resources out there to help you, so don’t worry! Having an amazing midwife, doula, and mommy friends really helped get me through the tough times of pregnancy and babyhood.
4Your Bodies Will Sync Up
If you’re a first time parent, you might have scoffed at the idea of sympathy weight - but let me tell you from firsthand experience, it’s a real thing. My guy gained a good 10 pounds from all of our Coldstone Creamery outings during pregnancy, and the stress of a baby on the way is enough to make any added weight that much harder to shed. If you’re having nausea, aches and pains (not to mention fatigue), don’t be surprised when your partner reports having the same symptoms.
The more time you spend together, the more you’ll find yourselves feeling the same things. It might be a good idea to sleep separately if you’re tossing and turning and getting up to use the bathroom a lot, so your guy can get some quality rest. The more rest you both get now, the better. There certainly won’t be a lot of snoozing happening when baby arrives.
3 You'll Have Some Major Realizations
If you’re anything like me, your other half is likely still a bit of a mystery to you. You know your partner pretty well by now, but you don’t necessarily know how they’re going to react in every situation. Pregnancy is a really great time to find out who your partner really is. Are they someone who cracks under pressure? Are they cool as a cucumber? You’re about to find out, and you’ll likely be pleased with how smoothly they handle things. Our innate nurturing abilities tend to come out at this time and show us that everything is going to be just fine.
Along with all of the prepping and planning you two will be doing, you’ll also have lots of deep conversations and emotional moments. You might find things out about yourself that you never knew, and get some perspective about how you see the world. You might tell yourself, “I’ll never be one of those parents who…” But you just wait! Your whole world is about to get rocked.
2You’ll See Your Partner’s True Colors
My guy taught me how to change a diaper. As embarrassing as that is to admit, he knew more about babies than I did. You wouldn’t think a burly mountain man would know about the secret world of babies, but he actually helped a lot with his siblings as a kid. Pregnancy is just chock full of surprises!
A lot of women might be nervous about how things will change when they’re pregnant and after baby arrives, but they shouldn’t be. There is nothing like having a child together to make your other half appreciate your strength and love in a whole new way. I never knew how much I loved my partner until he helped deliver our baby and held him for the very first time. The high that I felt was just out of this world. That infinite love you feel is truly what parenthood is all about.
1Everything Will Feel New And Exciting Again
The honeymoon phase might be over but this big new adventure you’re on is just beginning. You have no idea what is in store for the two of you. Even if you already have kids, every experience is so different and no two babies are alike. Some babies are laid back, some are high needs, and some are in the middle. The same goes for pregnancy. You might have had a rough pregnancy before this and now you’re feeling relatively great, or vice versa.
No matter how you feel, every day will be brand new. There will be ups and downs, and a wide spectrum of feelings you’ll go through all the time. As a couple, you’ll be feeling all of this with pure awe and wonder, and it will be an awesome time to share. Just remember that you’re in this together and that baby will appreciate what both of you have to offer. Keep your sense of humor and don’t take it all too seriously… you don’t have to be perfect!
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