The first trimester of pregnancy is TOUGH. Those able to carry a baby might be experiencing any number of the following:
Morning (AKA ALL DAY) Sickness
Emotional and Hormonal Fluctuations
Fear of Miscarriage
Fear of the Future
Not everyone feels an immediate connection to the baby they are carrying. I equate it to the feeling of being ‘pregnant’ and not quite yet ‘with child’. This is a totally normal feeling and one that most pregnant people go through during this first trimester.
If you are a partner of an expectant person, you might be feeling a little helpless in terms of supporting them. You might also be feeling disconnected to this pregnancy. As time goes on and your baby grows, this will definitely begin to shift and change. Until then, here are four steps you can practice that will help you to connect and communicate with your pregnant partner and your pregnancy journey:
Ask a pregnant person and a majority of the time you might hear them say that all they want their partner to do when they share their pregnancy concerns is to LISTEN. As a partner who wants to show their loved one that they care, you might want to jump in and still their fears by telling them that the number of concerns that they have ‘will not happen’, ‘everything has a purpose’, or one of the many responses that intend to inspire confidence and quell anxiety. But don’t be surprised if it may not. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just focus in and listen with your ears and your heart instead of your mouth.
Pregnant Person: “I’m really nervous about having this baby? I don’t want to, but what if it’s breech and I have to have a C-Section”?
Cut them off in the middle of the sentence. Share your personal opinions of your partner’s feelings. Do some other activity while they are sharing.
Tune in, make eye contact, connect heart-to-heart and hear your partner.
This is a very simple next step if you did well during #1. What did you hear from your partner when they shared their feelings? Acknowledging has to do with honestly repeating back what you heard to your partner and asking for confirmation. This provides space for healthy and unbiased conversation. More importantly, it tells your partner that they were being heard and they have a chance to hear what they said for themselves. The bonus is if you misheard something or if your partner said something that they didn’t quite mean, they have a chance to reword their statement with more clarity.
Partner: “Don’t worry about that. That’s a long ways away to be stressing you out now. Besides, what will be will be.”
Partner: “I’m HEARing that you’re nervous about having this baby. You’re nervous about the baby being breech and having a C-Section and you don’t want a C-Section. Is that correct”?
If your partner needs to reword their statement of concern then repeat steps #1 and #2 again until they feel confident about what they mean.
3: Respond From Your Heart
Use this mindful opportunity to take a listen into your heart and think about how you might feel about their statement. Maybe you might also be concerned about birthing outcomes or maybe you are completely confident that everything will go to plan. Either way, you are entitled to your feelings and it’s important to know where you stand and that your partner hears you, too. Responding from your heart allows your partner to know what you feel about their worries and how you feel about your partner. It also allows your partner to see and feel that you are a team.
Tell your partner how they are feeling (You can only know your heart and acknowledge their words).
Partner: “In my HEART, I’m FEELing very confident that every part of the birth will go to plan. I love you and I want to support you in this.”
4: Do Your Research
One of the best things you can do after discussing your feelings about an unresolved situation is to Do Your Research. Your partner is worried about a breech baby or a C-Section? Maybe work together to look up statistics on breech babies, literature on vaginal breech deliveries, finding out what your provider’s stance is on breech births, or ask your DOULA about info on the subject. This can really put your thoughts and concerns into perspective and help you to feel in can help you to feel prepared and in control of your thoughts.
Put off to tomorrow what you could do today.
Partner: “How about we talk to our provider at the next visit and I can text our doula for more information today?”
Practicing at least one meaningful and present conversation a day can be so beneficial to your relationship development with your partner as you grow on the journey of parenthood. By showing your partner that you want to listen, support, and share you are showing them that you are invested in this pregnancy and birth. The bonus is that you will then have a strong foundation for healthy communication for years to come.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This information comes from personal experience, the experiences of my clients, evidence-based research, and anecdotal evidence. If, at any point during your pregnancy or postpartum period you have a question or concern, please contact your care provider for medical support.