Oh the highs and lows of a pregnancy are many. From the joy to the fear, a pregnancy can bring with it many emotions and new experiences. But what about before you get pregnant and after you give birth??
Many couples face challenges from the moment they start trying (supposedly the fun part) to the time that “bundle of joy” turns 18 and leaves the nest. The reality of the situation is problems should be expected and are quite common for every couple. The question is are you willing to admit these difficulties and actively work on improving them? I want to discuss many of the common problems that couples face at three stages of a relationship: Before, During, and After a Pregnancy.
Before the Stick Turns Positive
Relationships can be pretty close to perfect, but throw in the pregnant card and you will see how quickly things go up in flames! Now not to scare you. It doesn’t always cause a spark, but a small disagreement about children can really affect a couples’ plans for their relationship.
Couples come to therapy to discuss whether they want to have kids, whether they can afford a child at this time in their relationship, how hard it has been to get pregnant, how to deal with a miscarriage, whether to take further measures such as surrogacy or IVF, and multiple other concerns that they are faced with before they even get pregnant. All of these things are valid, understandable reasons to seek professional help.
Bringing in a therapist at this point can help set the foundation for a healthy, happy pregnancy. Ironing out the logistics and emotions that come out during a pregnancy can help prepare both you and your spouse for what is to come.
During the Hormonal Roller Coaster
Once the 9 month countdown begins, so many things become a priority, but therapy is rarely one of those things. However, making it one can greatly affect how you communicate with your partner during your pregnancy. Having a therapist to support your relationship during this time can help alleviate some of the stressors that arise (and can ultimately affect the health of you and your child).
Therapists can help with communicating about the changes happening to your body, how you want your sex life to look during pregnancy, dealing with the emotional roller coaster both you and your partner are facing, feelings that may arise due to an unplanned pregnancy, the hardship that may come along with going through a pregnancy alone, or a multitude of other changes and obstacles one may face during this period. Providing a safe space for open communication may be all you need or having a third party help you dig deep into your emotions may be what you’re looking for. In any case, couples therapy during this time can provide the assistance needed to get through those 9 months.
After You Leave the Hospital
The big day comes and you’ve read all the books and done all the research. The baby pops out (easily hopefully) and they wrap them up and send you home with your new bundle of joy. What do you do now?
A therapist may not be the best help when it comes to knowing what to do when the baby is crying, but a therapist can be a lot of help when it comes to knowing what to do when your partner is crying. Those first few months (heck, years!) can be extremely stressful. As hormones get readjusted and baby gets settled in to its new home, many couples forget that they are not only attending to a new life, but a new relationship. It is no longer just two of you, and that greatly changes how you interact.
Finding time to see a therapist at this point can be nearly impossible, but extremely helpful. Couples post-pregnancy may find that a therapist can help with feelings of being forgotten, postpartum depression, changes to your sex life (again), prioritizing your partner, or dealing with grief from the loss of a child during labor or early on in their life. All of these things can affect your relationship’s health and, as you would with a doctor, checking in with a therapist can help prevent and treat problems in your relationship.
All of this to say, going to therapy in and around the time of a pregnancy can help keep your relationship running smoothly. Many couples get caught up in the excitement and joy that is a pregnancy, but forget to do some much needed maintenance to make sure that excitement lasts. Make therapy a part of this journey and it will be a much smoother ride.