Pregnancy changes everything, from your body and your future family composition to the way your brain works. In my experience, pregnancy is amazing, but it's also scary, intense, funny, uncomfortable, and emotional. And, it turns out, it can also teach you so many things about yourself and about your partner, for better or for worse. In other words, there are definitely doubts you'll have about your marriage when you're pregnant, and facing those doubts head on is, in my humble opinion, the only way you and your partner can get through the changes of pregnancy. Together.
During my first two pregnancies, I learned so much about my now ex-husband. And, in the end, what I learned wasn't, well, all that great. Would he be OK with not having sex as frequently? Nope. Were we on the same page about our future parenting choices. Not even close. Were we ready to be parents? Not a chance. Should I stay with my kids' father because I'm pregnant? Well, I did, but I later realized that I should had left him as soon as these lingering doubts didn't dissipate.
Having these kinds of doubts is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Leaving your partner doesn't make you a bad mom, and it's best to figure these things out before your baby arrives, you're sleep deprived and stressed, and the responsibilities of parenthood but a strain on your relationship. And having doubts, of course, doesn't mean your marriage is doomed or divorce is on the horizon. The last time I was pregnant, for example, I learned that even though my new husband and I have a great relationship I still had some of the same doubts. Ultimately, I learned so much about my husband and our relationship when I was pregnant, and it actually brought us closer than I ever imagined. So trust me when I say that doubting your marriage when you're growing another human being inside you is typical, beneficial, and not necessarily indicitive of your relationship. It's just a sign that your lives are about to change.
The "Are We Ready To Be Parents?" Doubt
When I was pregnant the first time around, I seriously questioned if my husband and I were ready. I mean, I thought we were, but pregnancy changed our routine, our relationship, and left me doubting everything I thought I already knew. Ultimately, by the time my daughter arrived we felt ready. The reality, of course, was that we weren't.
I honestly think no one is truly ready for the incredible responsibility of parenthood, because it's so different than you expect. But if you doubt that you and your partner can handle that responsibility together, it's time to talk it out.
The "Are We On The Same Page About Important Parenting Choices?" Doubt
For most couples, pregnancy is a time to get on the same page about how you plan to raise your kids. For my partner and me, some of these conversations were no big deal. We are 100 percent pro-vaccination, I wanted to give breastfeeding a try, and we are against circumcision. But when it came to making other decisions, however, I started to have doubts about our ability to see eye-to-eye. We needed to work things out in terms of who would do what. It sucked, especially because I had no idea he felt like the bulk of the daily parenting responsibilities should fall to me, before I got pregnant.
The "Will Our Sex Life Change?" Doubt
Pregnancy definitely changed my sex life. At first, I felt anything but sexy. I wondered if my husband would be OK with having less sex than we usually did, and that he would still be "into me" after my body experienced the physical changes of pregnancy. And doubting whether or not your partner will continue to find you desirable is, well, the worst.
During my last pregnancy with my current husband I was able to have some pretty frank discussions about sex. And even then, and although we had great pregnancy sex when I felt up to it, I was still worried if he would find me attractive after all was said and done. Ugh.
The "Should We Stay Together Just Because I'm Pregnant?" Doubt
I was raised to believe that marriage lasts forever, no matter what, and divorce was something only "other" people do. So when I was pregnant with my daughter, and my marriage turn a dangerous turn for the worst, I pushed thoughts of leaving my then-husband out of my mind. I thought "staying together for the kids" was the "right" thing to do. I was so wrong. I honestly wish I had left him then, instead of staying with him for another four years after things got really, really bad.
The "Will Our Marriage Survive Parenthood?" Doubt
Marriage is hard. Marriage and parenting at the same time is even harder. When I was pregnant the second time around, and I took stock in my relationship with my husband, I started to regret certain life choices I had made. That's when I definitely started to seriously doubt that our marriage would last long after our second child was born.
I was right. It didn't.
The "Will I Love My Baby More Than My Partner?" Doubt
When I was pregnant with my final child, I was severely worried that I would love my baby more than my husband. When my son was born I fell in love with him right away, but when I saw my husband holding him for the first time I fell even more in love with him, too. It turns out that your heart grows when you have a baby, and romantic love is totally different than the love you have for your children.
The "Will My Partner Still Love Me?" Doubt
I had a hard time accepting how my body changed during pregnancy, and I worried that it would impact how my husband viewed me and, unfortunately, even how he loved me. Would he still love me if I gained 50 pounds? How about 100? What if I wouldn't let them touch me for months? If I didn't want to have sex, would he still want to be with me? I had all of these doubts about our relationship.
The "Did We Make The Right Decision?" Doubt
Timing, I have learned, is everything. Whether your pregnancy is planned or totally a surprise, once you are pregnant you might find yourself doubting or changing your mind about whether or not it's a good time to have a baby. Doubting big life choices isn't really my idea of a good time, and pregnancy definitely makes life more difficult, more complicated, and even more terrifying than it normally is.
But it can also be an incredible experience, and doubting how you and your partner will weather the proverbial storm is part of that experience. And of course, in the end and always, the decision to continue a pregnancy is entirely up to you. But if you do, and if you continue to communicate with your partner, be kind to yourself and one another, and your relationship doesn't turn toxic or abusive, you'll make it through to the light at the end of the pregnancy tunnel, hand in hand.
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