For most couples, the relationship begins long before the pregnancy.
While this is not always the case, there seems to be a great virtue in developing a connection with a partner before sharing the responsibility of a child with them.
That said, there is no law in the books that prohibits the conception of a child before marriage. Indeed, some of the healthiest relationships on the books – children included – may exist without the formality of marriage certificate. But here is the reality of the situation.
Partners will experience relationship stress during pregnancy. It is inevitable. Pregnant and having relationship problems is a refrain sung by many sharing a marital bond.
There is help, of course, for combating relationship stress during pregnancy. Counselors, medical doctors, ministers and the like stand ready to help the troubled couple through the difficult spaces.
It begins with a blue stick
In order to broach the subject of marriage problems during pregnancy or relationship stress during pregnancy, it is important to acknowledge that joy typically precedes the trouble.
Most couples are quite excited when the moment arrives that the pregnancy test indicates that junior is on the way. For couples that have been “trying for a pregnancy,” the knowledge that copulation has been successful triggers feelings of both euphoria and terror.
The news of pregnancy may bring excitement to the union. There may be thousands of questions on relationship stress during pregnancy to ponder.
A trillion people to tell about the good news, but then reality hits. Many pregnant women become “sick as dogs” amid the first trimester of the pregnancy. Sickness may include intense nausea, fatigue, tearful spells, aches, pains, and moodiness.
While the partners may be walking on emotional high ground, there may be a heap of eggshells beneath their feet.
Some end up having an unsupportive partner during pregnancy, hating their partner during pregnancy, or even breaking out while pregnant due to an increase in a hormone called androgen.
With the arrival of the second trimester, the couple may realize, “this is for real.” While the sickness may be gone and the flood of hormones may have stabilized, the euphoria of the good news may have subsided, too.
The second trimester tends to be “fertile ground” for the rise of marital problems or relationship stress during pregnancy, including pregnancy anger, feeling alone during pregnancy, and sometimes going through pregnancy alone.
Significant marriage issues during pregnancy
The range of marriage problems or relationship stress during pregnancy can be quite expansive.
These relational problems or relationship troubles can range from the ‘significantly easy to resolve issues’ to those that prove to be quite damaging to the union’s long-term health.
Examples of common problems that induce relationship stress during pregnancy are:
Prenatal depression: Communication can become quite strained between partners when one or both partners is wrestling with depression.While the underlying causes of depression can be quite sweeping, understanding why a wife or husband is dealing with depressive tendencies is an important avenue that could benefit the couple in the long run.
Intimacy: As the child continues to develop within the expectant mother, so does the abdomen of the woman carrying the child. Sadly, when many pregnant women gaze at their figure in the mirror and notice the fat, stretch marks, and blotchy skin, they despair.This may, in turn, stoke feelings of undesirability. Beyond concerns about being too undesirable for intimacy, some women may not want to be touched at all. Interestingly, many fathers carry the fear that sexual intimacy will end up harming the baby in some way. In turn, the mama may feel even more unattractive to her mate, and the despair may deepen in some way.
The lime-light effect: The reality is this: A pregnant woman garners a whole lot of attention through the course of the pregnancy. A father, especially one with a fragile ego, may be forced to play second fiddle while his wife continues down the road of pregnancy. It seems kind of petty, but some men can become quite jealous and resentful of the lack of constant attention. Inevitably the strain of the lime-light effect sullies the quality of the entire relationship.
A decline in communication and understanding: In the busyness connected with the upkeep of household responsibilities, work demands, and the ebb and flow of prenatal care, many couples often just do not communicate effectively during this time. Statements are misinterpreted. Passive-aggressiveness may flare. It can be very rough.
Financial burdens: More mouths at the table. A bigger house needed for a growing family. College savings, sports teams, etc. The increased financial pressures that arrive with a child can be quite burdensome.Healthy couples have to find a way to push through the issues.
Resolving the ugly stuff
Only you and your partner know the complexities of relationship stress during pregnancy. Dealing with relationship problems after having a baby is possible with the right mindset, mutual efforts, and constructive habits.
Remember, if you are pregnant and depressed about a relationship, it could lead to further complications or problems with pregnancy.
Without a doubt, caring for a child is an enormous responsibility. There will be significant adjustments to family life when the child arrives.
There will be substantial costs associated with the arrival of the child and subsequent children.
Bottles, clothes, dirty diapers, vomit, and everything that comes along with pregnancy, and children can test the resolve of even the most strident of heart.
That is why it remains so important for partners to find avenues of self and relational care throughout the course of the pregnancy and beyond.
Possible avenues for care include hearty counseling, a normalized exercise regime, connection with a support group, and couples retreats.
Although all the aches and pains of marriage do not have to be resolved before the birth of a child, a good trajectory is so very important.
Final thoughts about your precious gift
There is no definite answer to how to deal with relationship problems, how to make a man understand pregnancy, or even how to deal with a pregnant wife.
However, if you desire a strong relationship during pregnancy and beyond it, look at every day as a precious gift to derive strength to combat relationship problems while pregnant.
Challenge yourself to see your partner, your family, and the new day as opportunities to grow in wisdom, patience, and hope.
Find opportunities to express your joys and concerns with your partner in a pattern that is open and expressive without hurting the other.
In the video below, Stacy Rocklein discusses ways to express your feelings and share your emotions without fear. Take a look:
If you find yourself at an emotional impasse, do not hesitate to call others for support, advice, emotional safety, and space.
For mothers reading this piece, do not neglect your self-care and the care of the child you are carrying. Stress, anxiety and depression accompanying marital problems after the baby will impact your unborn child.
Take steps now to ensure that your body, mind, and soul are at their best so that your bundle of joy can arrive healthy and whole.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.