By Anna Gannon
My relationship has never been as turbulent as it was during my pregnancy and my first few months of motherhood.
My husband and I struggled with intimacy issues, money issues and connection issues. It was hard for us to see eye-to-eye or to understand what the other one was going through. He couldn’t understand what it was like to be pregnant or breastfeeding, and I couldn’t understand the stress he was under to provide for his growing family.
It also didn’t help that the more my belly grew, the more insecure I became. I wasn’t confident about my body which led to me worrying that he wouldn’t find me attractive anymore and leave me. This only led to more unresolved fights.
While I’ve worked for Expectful I’ve learned that these relationship issues are extremely common during our transition into parenthood. I’ve found that a lot of our insecurities are the same. Many of us feel unattractive. Many of us argue over money issues and many of us have trouble connecting with our partners during all of this rapid change.
Once I realized how common these relationship problems were I started to look for ways in which my husband and I could support each other through them. With some patience, compassion and understanding we were able to grow together. Below are three tools we used to keep our relationship strong during our journey. I hope these help you to feel more connected to your partner and allow you to enjoy each other throughout this adventure.
- It’s happening to them too. During pregnancy and new motherhood I focused mostly on what was happening to me and my baby, not on my partner. The changes that were happening to me were obvious; the growing belly, nausea and inflammation, but since my partner wasn’t physically changing, I forgot that he was also going through a big transition. Once I allowed my partner to know that I was there to support him just as he had been there to support me, it opened up space for us to go through this transition together rather than separate.
- Make time for each other. My husband and I didn’t go on a date until 9 months after I gave birth to my daughter Annabell. Unfortunately, we don’t have family close by and we couldn’t afford or bring ourselves to pay a babysitter for a night out. But looking back, I wish we would have made the time, even if it didn’t include actually leaving the house. When we did start to make time for each other, even if it was dinner in as the baby slept, we started to connect better and in turn felt more love between us. This applied to the time before my daughter was born as well. Spending quality time together during my pregnancy allowed us to enjoy the end of that chapter of our lives before we became parents.
- It’s not just you. Pregnancy and new motherhood were at times very stressful for me because there was so much change happening, so quickly. My relationship was changing, my life is changing and we are changing together as a couple. All this change brought up a lot of friction and because of that we went through some ups and downs. Something that really helped me during those hard times was reaching out to close friends who already went through motherhood for guidance and support. Aside from getting good advice, I took comfort in learning that others had experienced the same challenges as me.
One thing that really helped my husband and I during our path to becoming new parents was deciding to start meditating together. Throughout my pregnancy and after my daughter’s arrival, we set out time to do Expectful’s Couples Meditations. Often we would sit back-to-back so we could physically feel ourselves supporting one another while we connecting in the present moment. This practice helped us to have a space just for us that we could escape to when we needed it.
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Originally published at expectful.com