The Impact of Pregnancy on Relationships: Navigating Parenthood as a Couple

October 1, 2023

Are you thinking about becoming a parent? If your answer is yes – congratulations! Parenthood is one of the most rewarding roles that a person can undertake. But it comes with a number of changes, both physical and mental right from the get-go. These changes can affect your relationship with your significant other. Through the good and the bad, this is a journey that two people embark upon and the challenges they will face can vary from couple to couple, so let’s take a look at some of these factors and how they might influence your journey.

Your Life Is About to Change

The decision to have a baby is a major step in every relationship. As many describe it, it’s also the most profound declaration of love. Such a shift, as beautiful as it is, requires readiness to give up on your ”old” lifestyle.

Of course, having children doesn’t force you to forget about all your interests, dreams, and plans, but it does mean you’ll have to postpone them or rearrange your priorities, especially in the first year after the baby arrives.

Your relationship will also undergo changes, especially during pregnancy. Both partners will come across emotions they are not ready for. That’s when love and the foundation they’ve built prior to pregnancy will play a critical role in making this new stage as pleasant as possible for both of them.

”Who Has It Worse”

Pregnancy is not a game, but it can be a fun and exciting period for both partners. The key is to find common ground on how to cope with everything happening and coming.

One thing no one can argue with is that a pregnant woman has way more things to deal with, such as physical, mental, and emotional changes. Aside from fatigue, nausea, and weight gain, women often experience different medical conditions that can affect their mental health and emotional well-being.

Their partner will also have their struggles. Fear, anxiety, and infirmity for not being able to remove the discomfort a mother feels. They may also feel overwhelmed by all the unknowns around parenthood.

All these emotions can negatively affect a relationship. Primarily because we are humans, and in these situations, we are more likely to blame the other for not paying attention to us or not being there for us when we needed them.

But the reality is fighting during pregnancy does happen. Although we could simplify it to a black-and-white scenario – they make or break a relationship – there’s a lot of grey area where both partners could step back and try to understand how the other one feels.

Again, pregnancy is not a game, but if it were, partners should be a team, not opponents.

Are We Ready for This?

Yes, you are, and no, you are not; the answer is somewhere in between. But, if you join forces (and by forces, we mean love, respect, and understanding), it will be much easier to overcome the challenges that do arise.

People fear losing themselves in a new relationship, let alone when entering such a significant and life-changing role as parenthood. Your relationship will take on a new dynamic due to pregnancy but not necessarily change beyond recognition.

This new dynamic may include new activities, such as going to antenatal classes together and reading parenting books. You can also organize a dinner with friends and family members who are already parents (or are going to be) and collect tips and tricks from their experiences.

Communication is Key

Nothing strengthens a relationship as open, two-way communication. Don’t hesitate to initiate the talk regardless of how uncomfortable the topic might be.

These decisions will include some beautiful things, like talking about your parenting styles, wishes and dreams as parents, and what you want to pass on to your child, like family traditions.

Still, pregnancy is an emotional roller coaster for both partners. The key is to share how you think and feel. After all, you are on the same page here, wanting the best for your baby and your family.

Regardless of how methodical you are in organizing your private and professional life, mastering the art of flexibility is necessary when kids come onto the scene.

Some things are good to plan ahead, like how to use parental leave, balance life and work, manage your finances, etc. But, at the end of the day, if you and your partner feel physically, mentally, and emotionally strong, the most important task for both of you during pregnancy is to embrace and enjoy it.