Whether your partner’s pregnancy was expected or unexpected, it’s normal to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety as you think about the future. It’s normal to wonder how things will change for you, your partner, and your relationship. It may also feel like you’re sitting on the sidelines while your partner is experiencing the pregnancy firsthand and receiving all the attention, but your role is so much more than sideline supportive. It’s active and crucial.
It’s Vital for Your Pregnant Partner to Feel Your Support
Research is clear; mothers and infants are healthier when pregnant mothers feel supported by their partners. Your appropriate support means your partner is less likely to experience depression or anxiety. Studies also reveal that having a supportive partner impacts infants positively in addition to their mothers; they appear to display lower stress levels too.
When your support leads to your partner being emotionally healthier, her body will better cope with the physical demands of pregnancy, delivery, and recovery after giving birth.
Here’s a real-life example: Your partner feels sick, and you genuinely believe she needs privacy, so your first thought is to leave her alone. But the good news is that you’ve already had conversations with her about this, so you know if you leave her alone now, she will experience your well-intended efforts as abandonment.
You realize your support efforts to give your partner space would have the opposite effect you intend, so instead of leaving her alone, you offer ginger ale, crackers, and your presence. And your partner feels loved and supported.
The key isn’t whether you think you’re providing the support she needs, but if your partner perceives your actions as supportive.
You need to start somewhere, so here are practical suggestions on ways to support your partner when she’s pregnant.
Connect on an Emotional Level
When you and your partner discover she’s pregnant, emotions follow. You both need to talk about feelings of uncertainty, inadequacy, anxiousness, and excitement. Emotionally connecting while she’s pregnant sets a solid foundation for your relationship and the decisions you make about the pregnancy.
Invest time to learn about how to listen well, empathize, and validate her feelings. Validate doesn’t mean you agree; it means you empathize enough to want to understand her inner world. The goal is not to respond but to listen to understand her perspective. We all desire to be heard and understood, and when your partner perceives your attempts to understand her, she will feel incredibly supported.
Connect on a Practical Level
When you support your pregnant partner with actions, it communicates, “I care,” far more than words ever could. Here are ways to connect on a practical level:
- Learn about what to expect during pregnancy
- Prioritize your relationship — discuss needs, desires, and dreams
- Take notice when she needs help and help out without being asked
- Go with her to her doctor visits and childbirth classes if you choose to carry to term— ask questions
- Encourage her to take a nap
- Take walks or cook a balanced meal together
Avail supports women and men by offering a safe place to talk through your experiences and questions, especially when facing an unexpected pregnancy or abortion. If you have further questions or think your girlfriend might be pregnant, make a confidential appointment with a Male Client Advocate today. All services are free.
Avail exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.