Relationships are hard work, to be sure, and pretty much require constant care and attention. They're frequently tested by the changes, choices, and bumps in the road that are a normal part of life. Then, when you get pregnant, you'll face even larger, and arguably more frequent, challenges that can test the most solid of relationships. If you are lucky, though, you will make it through — together — starting with the pregnancy decisions you naturally make if your marriage is a happy one.
For my husband and I, the first choice we made was, honestly, the decision to try to conceive in the first place. Whether it's your first baby — the one that will turn your "just us two" relationship into a family — or your fifth, pregnancy is a big deal. The moment you find out you're pregnant you have to make a ton of choices, including but certainly not limited to: whether or not you undergo prenatal testing, when to tell people you're expecting, whether or not to take a look at the anatomy ultrasound, and what to name your soon-to-be baby.
My husband and I tried to stay on the same page about almost everything, knowing that there were some things — pretty much everything having to do with my body — that were entirely up to me, as the pregnant person. There were so many things that we decided together, as a team, because that's how strong couples make it through the ups and downs of the roller coaster that is pregnancy.
I am a big believer in talking about the potential of pregnancy at the beginning of a relationship. Ideally, if you are in a happy marriage, you have already talked about how you will handle an unplanned pregnancy, and when, if ever, you want to start trying to get pregnant. When you decide to start trying, it should definitely be a decision you make together.
When it came time to decide whether or not to get prenatal testing, it was important for my husband and I to both decide what tests to get and talk about how we would handle a challenging test result. We decided to say yes to the screenings made available to us, because it was important to have all of the information we needed to make decisions about my pregnancy and to be prepared for any medical needs our baby might have.
My partner and I were so excited to get pregnant that we couldn't wait to share the news. At the same time, though, we worried about how hard it would be, on both of us, if I had a miscarriage. So, in the end we decided to wait. Then, because it's pregnancy, things didn't go as planned. I had hyperemesis gravidarum, and we ended up telling our family earlier than we planned, mostly because I had to go to the hospital for treatment and we needed their support.
While some people believe in leaving the decision about whether or not to circumcise their baby up to their husbands and/or whatever male figure may or may not be present within the family unit, I am of the mindset that this is a decision you and your partner, regardless of their gender, need to make together. I was super relieved to learn that my husband and I were totally on the same page not to circumcise our child.
While I had several ultrasounds and we ultimately decided to find out what our baby's anatomy looks like, my husband and I decided to do something different this time around with a nontraditional gender reveal video. It was super fun and absolutely us. We believe gender is a social construct. It won't change how we raise our baby, or who they become. They can decide for themselves who they want to be, and we'll support them no matter what.
So yeah, your pregnancy might be full of rainbows and sunshine or it might be a dumpster fire. You don't know what's going to happen or what kind of decisions you might have to make about your health and the health of the fetus growing inside your body. Happy couples can weather the hard times together, holding each other up when things get hard, crying when things go wrong, and laughing when things get ridiculous.
Neither of my partners were able to take parental leave after our babies were born, which is something we found out the hard way.
I, on the other hand, was able to get paid leave the first two times I had a baby. I only took a couple of weeks off this last time, then returned to work part-time from home. It really sucks that couples have to make these kinds of choices, but it's totally necessary to get on the same page as to who will take off how much time (if any) after you bring your baby home.
While there are some pregnancy decisions you totally need to be on the same page about with your partner, there are others where you, as the the pregnant person, get to cast the deciding vote. While you may decide to let your spouse to weigh in on choices about medications you want to take, foods you want to eat, epidurals you may or may not want, and how you plan to feed baby, it's ultimately up to you.
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