Prioritizing Our Marriage in the Midst of My Pregnancy

April 17, 2019

Is it just me or have each of your closest relationships gone through an adjustment phase at the start of each pregnancy? Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, life as you know begins to change and at least for Zack and I it takes a little time to find our groove again and re-establish who we are in this seemingly new relationship. It happened when I was pregnant with Owen and it happened / is happening again with June.

Now of course we are still the same people. We love each other and have the same perspective on what we want for ourselves and family, but honestly as the wheels begin to turn about what life with two kids might look like there’s a level of nervousness and resistance to change that starts to set in. Questions like how we will even attempt to find the balance in our lives or what does this mean for our marriage are consistently on our minds. And while these concerns are of course real and valid, I keep reminding myself that I was so worried about what parenthood might do to our marriage the first time around and in retrospect it has only made it a better, deeper and more connected relationship.

Zack and I are very different types of people, like I would assume many couples are. We each have very different expectations, needs and wants in our relationship and it’s taken over a decade to not only learn what they are for ourselves but how to communicate them to each other and how to fill each other up. When major changes start coming to a head it often times feels easier to panic and shut down than it is to dig a little deeper and figure out what we need to be successful in this next phase of life together. But we’ve been here before in so many different ways whether that was moving in together and to another state the month after I graduated high school, marriage, divorce and remarriage (all to each other), moving across the country, having Owen, traveling the world, moving back to NYC or experiencing a miscarriage.

Change is inevitable. Part of the reason it took us some time to decide whether or not we wanted to have another baby was that uneasy c-word, change. I think we all dance around the idea of welcoming change into our relationships but what I’ve at least learned over these 13 years with Zack is that we can embrace and invite the change or it will come and find us in it’s own way. We really have so much less control over things than we think we do. When things are good it’s that much more challenging to welcome a new phase, a new job, a new move or a new bundle of joy but it doesn’t mean we should resist it either.

At the start of each of my pregnancies these changes have been the obvious lifestyle ones you’d imagine. With drinking and late nights out of the equation, dates and socializing in general changes quickly. As a couple that enjoys sharing a bottle of wine or meeting friends for beers, while it feels dramatic, this makes things different quickly. On top of it, that first trimester exhaustion seeps into so much of your life, especially when it’s not your first pregnancy and you don’t have the luxury of being able to rest whenever you’re not working. Of course you’re over the moon but you’re also navigating marriage, parenthood, self-care, work, friendships and more with a small addition rapidly growing in your womb. It’s a lot to process when you’re staying in the moment let alone when you’re beginning to think about when your baby will actually be born.

It took us some time to find our footing, but I do feel like we’re finding ways to prioritize our marriage in the midst of my pregnancy (we’re exactly half way there today!). It’s obviously different for every couple but for us it’s been important to make time and space for ourselves individually – this contributes to each of us being better spouses, parents and people in general. We’re also having a babysitter come during the day this Saturday so we can have a few hours to just be a couple. I think the mistake we made with dates so far in my pregnancy was limiting them to evenings – my energy is best during the day and there’s so much more for us to do that doesn’t feel restricted by pregnancy. I’m really looking forward to making this a routine.

And while it’s probably not Zack’s favorite thing to do, we’re talking about these big changes and the ways we can prepare for the newborn madness (and also the fact that there’s not a ton you can do to truly prepare). We’re reminding each other of all the changes we’ve gone through in the past and how strong they’ve made us today and that welcoming our sweet June girl will be another incredible opportunity to grow and change in beautiful ways we can hardly imagine today.

You might be reading this thinking, this isn’t my partner and I at all and how could it be? Each of our partnerships are wildly different but I do think how we approach change and major life moments is something we are bound to find solidarity in, in one way or another. So maybe you’ve been here, maybe you haven’t. I mean I certainly don’t believe you have been married, divorced and remarried to the same person, but if you have let’s talk. My hope in pulling back the curtain on this aspect of our marriage is to help you feel less alone if you’re feeling uneasy about the changes coming your way in parenthood. You can and will figure it out.

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  • My heart stays with you lady! Talking about changes!!! I have always been a risk taker but three years ago when I got pregnant with Francesco I did NOT know what it all meant to do what we as a couple thought would be a better choice- I left my job (which I really loved at the time) in Shanghai, five months pregnant and we moved to my husband’s home country Italy, there we go I found myself heavily pregnant, foreign, unemployed, and in the country,… it took so long to navigate it all, and it still hasn’t all been settled, and now we’re moving again to a new city, to what we deem to be a better place, yet still thousands of questions pop up in my head every single day, the unknown, the future, what’s next? What about baby No.2? What about career? Have we done every step right? Isn’t this one trickiest question of all? I guess after babies we just wouldn’t know because we’re also just born as parents… and every step is a little like baby steps, but every milestone also brings more joy. Marriage, I agree with what you’ve said up there, it’s getting stronger every step of the way, amidst challenges of all sorts. Changes are scary, but I’ve got a feeling that at the end it’ll all be worth it!

    • Oh Nina! My I feel with you on being lonely in early motherhood. We moved across the country away from our family when I was just a few months pregnant with Owen and it was such a shock to my system. And then once we finally felt settled we packed up and traveled for 8 months which was incredible but presented its own challenges too. I think motherhood can feel isolating even when you’re around your people so I can only imagine what it felt like in Italy for you. What I think is so cool and powerful is how we are able to adapt to situations we would never think possible before we had kids. Just like our kids, we’re so much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for! In my opinion there’s just no such thing as “right” when it comes to steps – you’re right, they are all baby steps. You do what’s right today and keep movin’ – it will all fall in place <3

      • That’s totally right! We can only make the right choices for the present moment, and embrace the fact that we need to let go of control most of the time. What I love about the community you’ve built is that it definitely makes me feel so much less alone! Xo

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