From the moment you learn you’re expecting, pregnancy can be an incredibly exciting, yet overwhelming time for couples. The thought of bringing a brand new person into the world can be more than a little daunting, and for moms to be, this combined with the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy can be a heavy load to bear.
Partners play a crucial role in supporting moms to be during pregnancy and beyond, but sometimes, when you’re not the person physically carrying the child, it can be difficult to fully understand.
Here are six things you wish your partner understood about pregnancy.
- Pregnancy is different for everyone
Pregnancy is a completely different experience for everyone. In fact, every single pregnancy is different, even when it’s a couple having a second or third child. One mom to be may be exhausted in the first trimester, whilst another may have still got the energy to go to the gym every morning. One mom may be lucky enough to avoid morning sickness altogether, whilst another will spend the first hour of every morning bending over the toilet bowl. Your partner may have bought pregnancy books and read up on the facts in order to offer you support and guidance, but it’s important that they realise that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pregnancy. Whilst the miracle of childbirth is fairly scientific, the experience and reality of how pregnancy affects moms to be both physically and emotionally can vary significantly.
- Pregnancy cravings are real
Your partner may laugh at your sudden obsession with bananas, or roll their eyes when they have to run to the store to pick up another large bag of chips, but you wish they’d understand that this isn’t you just being difficult.
Pregnancy cravings are actually incredibly common and here’s why. Pregnancy hormones, existing nutritional deficiencies and morning sickness or nausea can have a huge impact on your food preferences and even cause aversions to particular foods. Hormones can also affect your sense of smell and taste, meaning your strong desire for certain flavours is far more than just diva behaviour!
- Pregnancy is exhausting
During those first few months, in particular, pregnancy can be exhausting. After a full day at work, you may find yourself unable to stay awake much after dinner and so the quality time that you would normally spend with your partner can be cut significantly short. Your partner needs to understand that this is nothing personal – growing a new human being is hard!
Speak to your partner and see if he can help in those early months, whether that is picking up a greater share of the household chores, assisting with other siblings at bedtime or simply tucking you in and playing with your hair to help you sleep. The good news is, whilst you get some well-earned rest, they can secure unrivalled access to the TV remote and watch that box set they’ve had on their list for a while!
- Pregnancy can be emotional
Not all of the emotions you experience during pregnancy can be explained. There will be times that you get ridiculously upset over something seemingly minor – such as not being able to find your favourite top or your partner eating the last of your favourite cheese. Thanks to those pesky pregnancy hormones, tiredness, worries and anxieties, your moods may vary far more than usual.
Whilst no one wants to be walking on eggshells, they may want to tread carefully before they wind you up. If all else fails, a hug is a great place to start.
- Pregnancy affects your sex life
When it comes to sex during pregnancy, the impact can vary considerably. There will be times (usually in the second trimester) when you feel fantastic, have begun to embrace your pregnancy body and finally have your energy levels back. During these months, you may find that your desire to spend intimate time with your partner actually increases. However, at other times, the thought of your partner coming anywhere near you may be a complete non-starter.
The combination of tiredness, discomfort or even the thought of your baby’s movements whilst you’re under the sheets can be too much to cope with psychologically.
Talk to your partner and explain how you are feeling. Finding little ways to maintain affection in your relationship, even if sex is off the cards for a while, can have a really positive impact on your both.