The day my doctor told me my pregnancy high-risk, I knew my pregnancy, and potentially my life, was going to change in a drastic way. What I once envisioned experiencing for 40 weeks, more or less, was now gone, and instead there was an entirely new list of rules to follow, things to avoid, and red flags to look out for. I was scared, overwhelmed, and I felt alone, so there were more than a few things I wish my partner had said to me when my pregnancy was labeled high-risk. While he couldn't have changed the situation, he definitely could've helped it feel less, well, terrifying.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a high-risk pregnancy is, "one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus. It often requires specialized care from specially trained providers." I was alone in my doctor's office when the term was first explained to me, and when I went home to explain the situation to my partner it was clear that he didn't understand the extent of my condition. But due to previous pregnancy complications, persistent Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) flare-ups, and two miscarriages, the pregnancy wasn't going to be "easy," and the risk of experiencing another pregnancy loss was high.
Maybe my partner was simply overwhelmed by all the news I threw at him, or maybe he simply didn't know how to react in a productive way. Either way, I didn't receive the support I needed, and at a time when everything felt so devastatingly out of control. I didn't expect my partner to have all the answers, to be sure, but I definitely needed him to say at least a few of the following:
"I'll Do What I Can To Make This OK"
The first 24-48 hours after I was told my pregnancy was high-risk were an extremely vulnerable time. I wish my partner had reiterated his role as my partner, and father to this potential child, and simply ensured me that he'd do everything in his power to help me get through the pregnancy, both emotionally and physically.
"It's OK To Be Afraid"
I didn't need someone to tell me everything was going to be fine. I mean, there's simply no way for someone to definitely know that. But what I did need, however, was someone to tell me that it was OK to feel the fear that comes with being high-risk, and that my feelings were valid.
"It's Not Your Fault"
The moment I found out my pregnancy was high-risk, I was weighed down by this overwhelming amount of guilt. I felt like I had somehow failed, or that my body was somehow defective. I wish my partner would have reiterated what my doctor had already told me (but what was always very hard to hear): it wasn't my fault. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to avoid experiencing a complicated pregnancy.
"I Got This"
It's not just what my partner should've said, but what he should've done. I needed him to take charge and deal with all the household responsibilities I could no longer tend to. I wish he would have told me, and then showed me, that he had everything under control, so I could focus on my health.
"It's OK To Say No"
I have a real problem setting healthy boundaries with others. If someone wants me to do something I'll do it, even if it means sacrificing my wellbeing in the process. There's no way I should've been in this state of mind during a high-risk pregnancy, but my partner never stepped in to remind me that I didn't know anything to anyone. Saying "no" is powerful, especially when you are dealing with a high-risk pregnancy.
"Feel However You Need To Feel"
"I'm Here For You"
I know my partner is there for me, but hearing those words reaffirms that I'm not alone. Yes, I was the only one actually experiencing a complicated pregnancy, but having someone by my side definitely helps. I needed my partner to remind me that I wasn't alone, and that he was going to be there for me and with me... every step of the way.