My partner was, for the most part, amazingly supportive during my pregnancy. He brought me pretty much any food I craved, tried to make me feel good about my changing body, and didn't get in the way of me calling the shots when it came to my health, my body, and my pregnancy. Sometimes, though, my partner accidentally made my pregnancy anxiety worse.
Some anxiety is normal in pregnancy. Between fluctuating hormones, and the millions of questions and concerns you have about your pregnancy and how it's progressing, feeling anxious is par for the course. But the kind of intense, non-stop anxiety I had was seriously affecting my life and, as it turns out, wasn't typical. Fortunately, I was able to get treatment for my pregnancy anxiety. Unfortunately, I didn't seek out or receive that treatment until things got really bad, and my partner didn't help the situation.
I know my partner wasn't purposefully trying to make things worse, so I don't blame him for exacerbating my anxiety. But some of his comments, questions, and even actions would make me worry or stress out unnecessarily. As someone who has had anxiety most of my adult life, I knew these intrusive thoughts were not based in reality, but that knowledge didn't make me feel any better. When he would catch me off guard or add to my already huge list of concerns about my pregnancy, I was at the mercy of my anxiety. For example, when my partner asked my OB-GYN for clarification about something she said during an appointment, I panicked and assumed I missed something important. And when he asked me “are you sure?” after I had already made a decision, I was left questioning myself and whether or not I had made the best choice.
Eventually I got my pregnancy anxiety under control, but not before my husband accidentally made it so much worse by doing the following things:
When He Couldn't Attend Prenatal Appointments
When my husband wasn’t able to come with me for prenatal appointments my anxiety sky-rocketed. I was afraid I would miss important information or forget to ask an important question because of pregnancy brain. I tried bringing a checklist, but it would have been nice to have him with me.
When He Asked My Doctor Questions
Sometimes, however, bringing my partner to prenatal appointments exacerbated my pregnancy anxiety, too. Although it was great to have another set of ears to listen to her advice, and a brain to remember questions, it made me so anxious. Like when he asked the doctor if it was OK for me to exercise, not only did I give him some serious side eye for talking to her like I wasn’t even there, but it made me worry that I had been doing something wrong.
When He Asked Me How Much Weight I Gained
I was so sensitive about my changing body and weight gain during pregnancy, to the point that I didn't want my partner to know how much weight I was gaining. I worried that he no longer would find me attractive, even though I logically knew that it was just a number on the scale.
When He Commented About My Body
Because my previous partner had cheated on me during pregnancy, I was understandably worried about my current husband doing the same. I know logically that he would never cheat on me, especially while I was pregnant with our child, but my anxiety didn't care about logic or reason. Instead, my anxiety would go through the roof whenever he’d say anything about my body — even if it was positive.
When He Told Me His Worries
Because my husband’s ex-wife had experienced a miscarriage, he naturally had some worries about my pregnancy and how it was progressing. As much as I wanted to support him though his anxiety, especially during the first trimester, talking about it was not good for my anxiety.
When He Questioned My Decisions
For the most part, my husband let me call all of the shots during my pregnancy. I mean, it was my body that was pregnant. Of course, that meant that on any rare occasion when he even asked a question about a test I chose to have, the hospital where I wanted to deliver, or how I planned to feed our baby, it made me second-guess myself.
When He Questioned My Doctor's Advice
When I got horrendously sick during my second pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum, I was terrified. And at the time my husband was so concerned about me taking medication during pregnancy that his fears ended up being my own. Even though those medications saved my life, and even though they were prescribed by my doctor, I was so anxious about taking them.
When He Asked “Is That Normal?”
Pregnancy is full of weird, challenging, and uncomfortable symptoms. Whenever my partner would ask if something was normal, I would think, “Hell if I know.” Then I would proceed to look it up on the internet, which always made my pregnancy anxiety worse.
When He Asked "Are You Sure?"
Asking "Are you sure?" is literally the worst thing you can do to an anxious, pregnant person. Yes, I was sure I wanted a cup of coffee, to eat goat cheese on my pizza, to go for a run, and to have sex. When my partner asked me if I was serious or sure of a decision I had already made, it made me so anxious. There’s nothing worse for someone with anxiety than having someone they trust question their confidence in their decision-making.