Relationship breakdown during pregnancy happens more often than many may expect. Pregnancy is usually presented to us via media, commercials, and memories of our friends and family as a blissful and harmonic period of love and accord. However, the reality of it is that it can also be an extremely stressful and difficult period for a couple.
The mother-to-be can surely experience inexplicable happiness and calmness. But, other than that, pregnancy can present the most challenging trial for any couple if a relationship breakdown during pregnancy happens with soon-to-be parents.
What pregnancy brings into a relationship
Pregnancy happens to couples in different ways and in different points in the relationship, but one thing is certain – it is an announcement of the greatest change in the life of the partners and in the relationship.
From the moment a couple gets pregnant, nothing will ever be the same. Yes, it will be beautiful, and couples rarely would ever change it once they get to see their baby. But, the truth is also that it does change every little thing, and many get extremely anxious about it.
What could be bothering the soon-to-be-parents is any one of the following things – finances, romance, social life, future, new life role, freedom. In essence, any little or big change can trigger a relationship breakdown and cause other marriage problems during pregnancy.
Both parents can be extremely anxious and scared about hundreds of things. They can both need additional support and reassurance. Men, especially, tend to fear the loss of their partner’s affection and care.
Why is it so challenging for the couple?
All of the changes that we mentioned put enormous stress on both partners. There are two-fold pressures, one that regards the individuals in the relationship and the other that relates to the dynamics of the relationship itself.
For both men and women, this is a challenge for their personal identities as well as their relationship.
Women can fear whether they will lose themselves in the role of a mother, and become just moms instead of lovers. They can fear how their bodies will look after the pregnancy and whether they will become unattractive to their partners.
Soon-to-be mothers can also suffer from emotional breakdowns during pregnancy. They fear their relationship falling apart while pregnant and experience relationship stress during pregnancy. And both men and women are usually terrified of how well they will handle parenthood.
Every doubt and self-doubt puts a strain on a relationship, and these doubts can often lead to a marriage breakdown. Pregnancy might be one of the most challenging periods in any relationship, as it announces the end of one era and the beginning of the next one.
It is at this moment that most people will begin to wonder if they can handle such a change. Their relationship will inevitably change. Their tolerance will be put to test. Support will be in high demand. Any transgression during pregnancy can count as ten times more hurtful and selfish.
Not to mention, possible problems when it comes to sex life during pregnancy can arise.
Pregnancy and relationship problems: Causes of relationship breakdown during pregnancy
Relationship breakdown is common because relationships change during pregnancy. We often hear couples complaining about experiencing marital problems during pregnancy as they find relationship issues during pregnancy challenging to cope with.
Relationships during pregnancy go through many ups and downs. If you’re pregnant and relationship problems don’t seem to end, know why this could be happening:
Arguing about insignificant things
This can often lead to bigger disagreements that can ultimately damage the relationship. Pregnant women are already prone to feeling overwhelmed, so don’t make things worse by bickering over trivial things that aren’t worth arguing about.
Lack of communication
This can cause resentment and lead to arguments. Expecting mothers need open and honest communication in order to have a healthy relationship with their partners. Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings, which can cause your relationship to deteriorate even further.
Not spending time together
For the first few months of the pregnancy, your partner probably won’t be able to leave the house with you, so make sure that you still spend some quality time together when you’re both at home.
Take some time to catch up on your favorite TV shows or read a book together while the baby is napping. This will give you a chance to spend some quality time together, even if you can’t go out anywhere.
No one likes to be ignored, so make sure that you don’t ignore your partner’s needs just because you’re tired or busy. Give each other the attention that you deserve so that you can keep the love in your relationship.
Having an affair
This is something that you should avoid at all costs. It won’t help the situation, and it will only lead to more problems in the future. If you really want to make it work with your partner, you should work on strengthening your bond instead.
It’s easy to compare yourself to other women these days, but you shouldn’t do it while you’re pregnant. Remember that every woman is different and that you have your own unique challenges that you need to face.
Focus on your own journey instead of comparing yourself with other women. This will help you to be more compassionate towards other pregnant women and prevent you from developing negative attitudes toward them.
This temporary relationship breakdown, if not handled with care, can lead to separation anddivorce.
Relationship counseling can help young couples deal with pregnancy-related problems and save their marriage from a temporary relationship breakdown.
How to prevent relationship breakdown during pregnancy
All of what was being described can put enormous stress on a relationship. Not surprisingly, relationships that were more functional and healthier prior to the pregnancy stand a better chance of surviving it. Although becoming a parent is a challenge on its own, we will discuss how to prevent relationship breakdown during pregnancy.
If you trust that your relationship is standing on a solid foundation, that is good news! But, even then, it is advisable to have a conversation with your partner about your perspective and your expectations.
However, if your relationship was shaky before the pregnancy, it might need extra help to make sure it grows stronger before the baby comes. After all, breakups during pregnancy are not unheard of.
5 tips to cope with a relationship breakdown during pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and your relationship is breaking down, it can be tough to cope. Here are 5 tips to help you get through the tough times.
1. Get support from a friend or family member
Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Or you can confide in your partner’s family or friends for support. They might be going through the same emotional rollercoaster as you, so they’ll be able to provide practical support and advice from their own experiences.
Your healthcare provider can give you advice or refer you to a counselor who can provide you with more emotional support. Discuss your stressful relationship during pregnancy. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can contact the 24-hour hotline at the NHS to get help with finding a doctor in your area.
3. Avoid making big decisions too soon
Try not to make any big decisions until you have had time to recover from the breakup. It’s also important to avoid getting back together before the baby is born. It can cause a lot of stress for you and your baby if you do.
Also remember that it’s important to take care of yourself during this time. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break from looking after your baby for a bit. Try to do something that you enjoy, like going for a walk or taking a hot bath to relax your mind.
4. Be kind to yourself
It’s OK to feel sad or upset after losing your partner. But it’s also important to remember that you are not alone. There are many other women who have experienced the same thing and have gone on to have healthy relationships with their children’s fathers.
It may take time to get used to the idea of no longer being a couple, but it will get easier with time. Remember to look after yourself and do things that are enjoyable for you.
Check out this video on pregnancy self-care to understand better:
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You can talk to friends and family about how you feel or call a helpline for emotional support if you need it.
Don’t be afraid to tell your friends and family how much support you want or need from them during the difficult time you’re going through. Taking a break from a relationship while pregnant can also help. A little space doesn’t hurt.
In the end, the most important advice is to communicate
This means talking about every single doubt and fear, both relating to the pregnancy and parenthood and to the relationship itself. Talk, talk, talk.
This advice is always at play, in any relationship and at any stage, but in pregnancy, it is more important than ever to be entirely open and direct about your needs, fears, and desires.
Avoiding the problem won’t help. There are many couples who, for the sake of the baby, try to sweep the disagreements under the rug. This will backfire once the baby arrives.
So, the best thing you can do for your relationship, and your family, is to visit a psychotherapist.
This is something even people in great relationships should consider doing during pregnancy, but it is an essential step for everyone who feels their relationship might suffer from the stress surrounding pregnancy and end in breaking up during pregnancy, following the relationship breakdown.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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