You're pregnant and your relationship is falling apart?
Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 10-05-2014 | Modified: 18-09-2018
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Reasons why may be stressed by your husband or partner during pregnancy and 12 ways to make life easier
This article is for you if you're pregnant and suddenly you've found that your marriage is falling apart. Your partner or husband doesn't appear to be the man he was.
He's not happy, not interested, distant, unsupportive, finds excuses for not being around... and at worst, you worry he will leave you - or he already has left you. Your relationship problems have escalated, and you're worried you'll end up on your own. I know how scary this can feel.
But you can’t deal with this problem if you don’t know what's causing it.
So in this article, I'm hoping to help you get to the bottom of it. I’ll give you tips and relationship advice to help you get through this difficult time, particularly because it should really be a joyous time.
I know you'd hoped he would look after you, rather than the other way around, but hey... it is what it is, and now we need to get it sorted - and together, we can get it sorted.
I'm going to be talking about 'he', but I do appreciate your partner could also be a woman. If so, please forgive me the unfortunate short-cut.
(By the way, you can substitute "he" for "she" if you are in a lesbian relationship or marriage).
Recently discovered you're pregnant?
If you're unexpectedly pregnant - it may just be a shock to your partner and perhaps he only needs time to process the news. He might need a little longer to adjust to the changing reality than you had in mind, but that's perfectly okay.
Is there any chance that you've become over-anxious because you've jumped to conclusions? Maybe his mood changed, and you started to worry?
There may be no problem at all. He could just need some time to get used to the idea. You might discover that he really does love you, and that all will be well.
If the surprise is not the reason for his withdrawal, then read on...
What were the circumstances when you fell pregnant?
The timing of your pregnancy will have had an impact on both of you, but perhaps particularly your partner. It may be a problem in itself, or a contributing factor:
- Was your pregnancy planned?
- Did your contraception fail?
- Did you 'bring about' your pregnancy, despite his express wishes to the contrary, by manipulating your birth control method? (I know it sounds horrible, but we may as well be honest with each other).
- Was this pregnancy a repair attempt in the hope of saving your relationship or marriage?
- Did you actually want a baby yourself?
All of the above complicate the situation, so just keep this in mind when you consider how best to repair and heal your relationship or marriage.
I want to be upfront with you - I may earn a commission from Better Help. You pay the same fee, regardless.
Chances are you're both stressed out. So, I'm really hoping that this article will help the two of you calm down and look forward to the birth of the baby with less angst.
(I'm also going to assume that an abortion is not an option for you - and that is material for another article.) If your partner has truly left you, then my breakup articles will be the best help for you right now.
So, why might your partner be unhappy?
Has he never wanted children, and you just haven’t been able to accept that?
Maybe you never really discussed it. Or if you did, you may have thought he would change. Perhaps you thought he would be delighted the moment he knew you were pregnant. Maybe he felt you've left him with no choice.
Why might he be behaving in such a 'selfish' way?
Read the list below, or watch the video if you haven't already done so at the start of this article (desktop only)...
20 Reasons (not excuses!) why he may be withdrawing
- He fears losing his independence.
- He's fearful of the responsibility of having a child (or another one).
- He's worried about finances: the expense of bringing a baby into this world and the cost of bringing up a child.
- He's worried he’s not cut out for fatherhood.
- He's already self-conscious and is worried about being shown up in public as a failing dad.
- He had a difficult childhood himself and doesn't want to risk putting his own children through a similar situation.
- He suffers from (mental) health problems and fears that he may pass that on to the child.
- He is fearful about passing on a genetic condition common in his family.
- He suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and can't cope with the additional stress of having a child disrupt his routines and rituals.
- He fears having to compete with the child for your attention.
- He may be worried that he knows zilch about pregnancy, if this is his first baby. He may think he should know, and worries about being 'found out'.
- He may be completely at a loss about his role as a dad if this is his first child, particularly if he has grown up without a father,
- The pregnancy is ill-timed in his mind for whatever reason: work, health, finance, etc.
- He may be miffed about a lack of sex and intimacy. Maybe your desire isn’t what it was and now he anticipates that sex is off the menu completely.
- He may translate your preoccupation with the baby as you not loving him as much as you did before. Or he may remember from a previous pregnancy how you seemed (in his mind) to be in a world of your own with little attention for him. If that's the case, he needs to know that your ‘lack of interest’ in him doesn’t mean that you don’t love him anymore. It doesn’t mean that you are rejecting him.
- If you got pregnant by donor insemination, he's now confronted with the fact that you are really carrying another man’s baby. You may be over the moon, but he may feel a failure.
- He feels trapped. Perhaps he had plans to end the relationship. Or maybe he is having an affair.
- He feels ill-prepared for taking on increased responsibility for your other children.
- He may have experienced your previous pregnancies and births as difficult, based on what you went through - whether that was a traumatic birth, post-natal depression or any other kind of problem.
- A combination of any of the above.
Now that I've given you a start, you may have some thoughts of your own about what the problem is and why he's being so off with you. Once you can understand the root of the problem, you can (both) take steps to address it.
I can so understand that you feel alone and frightened about the future.
It's natural that you're now worried that you're going to be all by yourself; that giving birth is going to be tinged with sadness.
However, the more stressed and depressed you are, the worse your sleep pattern is going to be and the less resilient you'll be. Add to that your fluctuating hormone levels and you have a recipe for non-stop arguing.
Yes, you may think he's being unreasonable, but you need to take care not to be - however difficult or tempting that may be under the circumstances.
I do really want you to read my pages on the signs of an abusive relationship though, because it's really important to me to know that you and your baby are safe.
I'm sure you're already aware how important it is that you look after yourself - not just with an eye on your physical well-being. It's just as important to care for your mental and emotional well-being too.
Read on for my tips on how to deal with this problem...
What to do about it all?
It's always scary to realise your marriage is 'failing'. It's even more worrying when you become responsible for the happiness of that tiny little person you’re carrying inside your body. Of course the thought that your partner is rejecting it is horrible.
So, what can you do?
12 Tips to help you address the problems and make life a little easier
- Find out what the real cause is
Your partner or husband's apparent displeasure or even abandonment may not be what he says it is. There may be an underlying, undisclosed problem - particularly if there appears to be absolutely no logical sense to his argument. Also, he may not see it as 'cool' to discuss his fears, particularly now that you're more in need. However, you can only begin to address the problem when you know what it is.
- Talk to a trusted person
Look for a wise, non-judgemental friend in your own environment to off-load and to get a different perspective. Once you start opening up to people about your despair, you may find some people's response disappointing. However, my clients so often commented that there were people they'd never expected it from who were hugely supportive.
- Learn to meditate
You can only really problem-solve if you're calm. So, if you ever intended to learn to meditate then now is the time. It will be of huge benefit to your baby too, and help you to stay calm and focussed during the delivery.
- Ensure you meet your essential emotional needs
These human givens will help to steady you in the storm.
- Continue to communicate respectfully
Do it for yourself, at the very least - however difficult at this time. At least you go to bed at night with your dignity in tact.
- Focus on what is going well in your relationship
That is unless you're in an abusive relationship. I know, you should have been able to rely on your partner unconditionally, that is how it's supposed to be. However, now that you're in this situation, you've got to do 'whatever' to make it easier on yourself.
- Take responsibility... don't hand that over to your partner or husband, as in: "If he behaves differently then I’m okay". That makes you very vulnerable, and don't forget - you can't change him anyway. Read my article: How to Make Him Love You Again.
- Get as much support around you as you can
Make no judgements about what people should offer. Some will be good with practical support, some with emotional support, while others will take your mind of your problems by making you laugh. You can do with all the help you can get right now.
- Consider getting professional help.
Ask around if there are free local professional counselling services or connect with an online counsellor. The latter is a paid service, but it is the best I can provide.
- Get my Loving Communication Kit
It will help you transform the way you communicate - if there’s still a chance to rescue it all. You deserve support and loving care right now, but if he sadly isn't there for you, take charge! Know that you can get through this and know that excellent communication skills are really going to benefit your baby too.
- Aim to attend maternity classes
If you can, go with a friend, or choose a class where partners are not taking part. Don't skip them - but don't cause yourself pain, either, by putting yourself in a situation where you have to explain yourself. Equally, you could ask a trusted person to accompany you to any appointments if you don't want to go by yourself.
- Follow my advice on dealing with a bad breakup
Lastly, I really hope for you that you're not going to need it, but just in case, know that there's a ton of advice in my article on how to get through a breakup.
Pregnancy can create a great deal of emotional turbulence, both for you and your partner. It goes hand-in-hand with "change"... which, more often than not, is a daunting prospect! If your relationship is going through a rocky patch as a result, know that you both need time and space to process your own feelings. You'll both have your own reasons for thinking, feeling and acting the way(s) you do.
You may be able to reconcile your differences, and come together stronger than ever, if you're honest with and respectful of each other.
If that's not possible, then my very best advice to you is to surround yourself with support from other sources.
Either way, know that you were born with the innate resources you need to survive, and nurture new life.
Perhaps the journey may not take the route you expected - but there's no reason a different route won't be just as happy, if not happier.
I know that's really hard to contemplate right now, because all you want is for someone to grab your partner and tell him to step up to the plate.
But alas, in the absence of that, know that you're far stronger than you think you are right now. Know that you will get through this - you can do it! Im rooting for you.
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