Nothing changes a marriage like the phrase, “Let’s have a baby!” Maybe you talked about the possibility before getting married, but now that you’ve been together for a while, you feel as if this is the next step. But are you really really ready for this?
Hopefully you can relax knowing that even experienced parents feel apprehension and anxiety when thinking about possibly adding another baby into the mix. It’s a huge decision that will change not only everyone’s lives, but the marriage as well. Just how will it change? Unfortunately, if you are pregnant and having relationship problems, you aren’t alone. Sometimes pregnancy can change love.
Her health and body will change
Right away, hormones will greatly increase in the woman to prepare her body for the baby, then to help support the baby. This can cause her to feel sick—some women get really sick—and her body will change. Some changes will be quick and others will come on more slowly. This can cause the woman to feel insecure about herself and her body, and perhaps if she is feeling unwell she may feel unmotivated to do normal things she did before. In the marriage relationship, this can cause a bit of a strain. The husband may need to pick up the slack on things the wife generally took care of before; he can hopefully get through it cheerfully, knowing it should be temporary, and it is for a good cause.
Worst case scenario thinking
Along with the hormones and impending new little person coming into the house, the woman—and even sometimes the man—can start to take on worst case scenario thinking. Life insurance is suddenly important, in case something happens to either parent, to make sure the baby is taken care of. The couple will shop around for baby gear, including a car seat. Thinking about a possible car crash, some parents feel guilty and spend as much as possible in order to get the best. This can really kill the excitement of having a baby and make the couple focus on what could possibly go wrong with the pregnancy or the baby. In turn, this could bring negative feelings into the marriage.
You both have mixed feelings about the future
Perhaps one of you feels more “ready” for this next step in life than the other. Or perhaps both of you bounce back and forth about if this is what you want. Once pregnant, you can’t go back, you have to forge ahead. This can be scary, and especially if the other spouse is excited, the other with mixed feelings may not feel comfortable saying anything about it. This can cause their feelings to fester, and they may want to stifle the excitement of the other spouse. In a marriage this can cause some friction and lead to more fights.
It’s all about the woman and the baby
When a pregnancy enters a marriage, it can become all about the woman and the baby. She gets all the attention, she gets all the questions, and she is expected by some to make all the big decisions about the pregnancy and the baby. Even though it’s a joint effort, sometimes the husband gets ignored. He may feel like he doesn’t matter, but of course he has an integral part in creating this new family. If he feels left out, he may withdraw or have negative feelings towards the whole life change in general. This can cause issues in the marriage; he may not speak up and then become sad or angry because his feelings are not being heard.
Sex will change during the course of the pregnancy
One great thing about pregnancy—at least for many women—is that during part of the pregnancy, their sex drive increases. This is a hormonal phenomenon, plus it could also be helped by the excitement of the new pregnancy. This can help the husband and wife feel more connected and loving towards each other as they spend more intimate time together. Unfortunately, later in the pregnancy many women’s sex drives lessen quite a bit, especially as their bellies get large and sometimes impede regular sexual positions, and women tend to feel less sexy and have less energy for sex. This can cause couples to feel less connected and loving towards each other as they spend less intimate time together.
Pregnancy is a very important time in the lives of parents to be. It can be an exciting time as the husband and wife think about all the possibilities and what their new child will be like. However, pregnancy can change the marriage relationship—sometimes for the negative—if the couple allows it to. While celebrating the new pregnancy, as a couple be sure to discuss your feelings freely, help each other feel loved, and create a happy environment where your baby—and the both of you—can thrive together.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.