Thursday, June 27, 2013

HOW PREGNANCY CHANGES YOUR MARRIAGE


Getting pregnant changes everything. But we all know that. It can make or break your marriage. No actually, I think it can just break your marriage, unless you have a very strong foundation to begin with.

I talked a while ago about why I was glad we waited to get pregnant, and one of those reasons was that we got to have time together, just the two of us, growing up a little bit and getting to know each other. Figure out how to fight and make up. Figure out each of our unique communication methods and needs.

And I can honestly speculate that if I had gotten pregnant right away, we both would have been extremely unprepared and it would have been very hard to find joy in the circumstance.

Now, I can only speak about the "getting and being pregnant" part, not so much on the "having a child" part. But it changes you and it changes your partner and it changes your marriage.

How it changes you: 
Your emotions and energy will change. Some women are more emotional. Some are more regulated. I expected to be a crazy emotional pregnant woman, since I'm crazy emotional the rest of the time. Not so. I mellowed out and slowed down. Things that bothered me before don't bother me now. I had way less energy for a while from morning sickness, and now, with nesting and kicking off my eyelash extension business (bad timing), I have a lot more motivation.

Your physical appearance and habits will change. You'll have to come to terms with how little control you have over the whole thing. You may be violently ill for some or all of it. I was at the beginning, which I think is part of what regulated my emotions. I was too weak to be all fired up, and it sort of just formed a new habit. You'll feel and see things happening to your body (none of it bad) which may make you insecure. Things will stretch and leak. You'll gain weight in places you didn't expect (hello, back fat). And, as everyone does, you'll experience the awkward chubby-pregnant in-between stage where nothing fits and even if it did it is so uncomfortable you want to rip it off.

Your spirit will change. This one was the biggest change for me. My heart was so softened. Like I said, I had less energy to be angry at things, but something also gave me perspective to just be happy. To be a better person, a better friend, a better example. After all, a new child would soon be observing my behavior, and I wanted to make sure I was good enough for him.

How it changes your partner: 
He will be confused. Suddenly, you have no energy. You may be bed- or floor-ridden. Chores will be neglected. The wife he knew is different. Your bodily changes will only confuse him more. He knows there's a baby in there, and he even feels it, but he doesn't picture it. He just pictures a growing bump. As weird as the changes are to go through, they're equally weird to observe. Your poor husband probably just doesn't know what to do. Mine certainly didn't. He thought I was being dramatic by laying on the floor and watching TV in my sweats all day. So I explained to him, lovingly, while bent over the toilet, that I was in no way faking or exaggerating, and he'd need to help me pick up the slack where he could, at least until the sickness went away.

He may not be as excited as you. My husband doesn't imagine a baby in there, which to me seems impossible, but I'm feeling his little limbs and hiccups and roll-overs, so it's easy for me to imagine. His life has not significantly changed. He still wakes up at the same time. He still spends all day at work, goes surfing, and comes home to do programming, snuggling, and maybe the dishes. I'd argue that aside from emotionally preparing for a baby and eating different foods (whatever I want), his life hasn't changed at all. So it's natural that his excitement level is different from mine. He has his moments where he daydreams about the bald head or the diapers, or the nursery layout, but for the most part, it's all on me. Mommy's bond when they feel the baby; Daddy's bond when they touch/see/hear it. I've heard.

How it changes your marriage:
You will forever look at your husband differently. This loving man, who cared for you and wiped vomit off your cheek when you had morning sickness, who did more dishes in four years of marriage than most other men do in a lifetime, who works a day job and side jobs to ensure security and happiness for his little growing family.

And don't even get me started on how wonderful he'll be when the baby comes (again, I'm speculating). He'll always watch the neck. He'll carefully grease up the diaper rash. He'll come home and shower right away so he can spend the remainder of the night shirtless with a baby on his chest. He'll sing lullabies by the greatest artists of all time, none of that nursery rhyme crap. He'll go out and buy a child's buggy for the back of the bike long before it will ever be used.

This man will be the most attractive version of your husband ever, and you'll be too sore from childbirth to do anything about it for 4-6 weeks, and too tired from having a newborn to do anything about it for another 4 weeks.

Yes, pregnancy changes your life. You won't be able to wear your tightest clothes. You probably won't go clubbing anymore. You'll go nearly bald when it's all over. But the changes to your marriage, plus having a precious baby to love (and better, to watch your husband love) makes it worth it. Also, you'll forget most of the bad stuff. That's the only way women ever have more than one baby.

How did getting pregnant change your relationship?

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