Relationship Stress During Pregnancy

by Ann deBruyn

Relationship Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a wonderful season in a marriage.

It can often bring spouses together and closer in so many amazing new ways.

Yet, it can also be a stressful time, as there is so much changing.

The physical, emotional, and mental health changes can even throw a relationship off balance, out of its normal routine.

This is why it’s even more important to do the inner work of managing your emotions (particularly stress).

When you feel the emotion of stress in a way that keeps you stuck, it can bleed over into other areas of your life, causing financial stress, parenting stress, and intimacy stress.

If stress isn’t managed, this can lead to harmful effects on the mother and the baby. This includes pre-eclampsia, premature labor and more, and more.

Of course, these are extremes, but the key is to get out ahead of the stress so it doesn’t turn so harmful.

  • Related: Marriage Seasons (podcast)

Like most other kinds of stress, relationship stress during pregnancy is often misunderstood.

Let’s start with what stress is.

Stress is an emotion caused by your thoughts. You think a thought and then you feel stress. It happens so fast that there’s often little time to even notice the stress starting from within you.

The good news is you can solve for stress.

You can do this by becoming more mindful of what you’re thinking and feeling so that you can notice, prevent, and solve any relationship stress that comes up before it gets too bad.

Here are the best tips for how to deal with relationship stress during pregnancy.

Tip 1: Make time for real connection

Because of all the changes that happen during any pregnancy, it can be challenging to prioritize connection with your spouse, which makes it all the more important.

Making time for real connection will help you shift into feeling positive emotions (like love, connection, and appreciation), and will minimize the negative emotions, like stress.

Resources:

  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)
  • How To Stop Being Insecure In Your Marriage (blog post)
  • Curiosity (podcast)

Tip 2: Listen to understand (don’t listen to respond)

Whenever there is relationship issues it’s like tug-of-war where either side is aiming to “win” and be right. A simple way to get out of this pattern is to focus on listening to what your spouse is saying from a place of curiosity.

When you listen from curiosity it sounds like this:

  • I wonder what he’s going to say next?
  • I wonder why he thinks that way?
  • I wonder how he came up with that?

Genuine curiosity comes from openness.

When you listen from this place it’s very connecting and releases the tension in the relationship.

Resources:

  • How To Deal With A Ch­allenging Relationship (free class)
  • How To Set Boundaries In A Relationship (blog post)

Tip 3: When you feel stressed, take a time out

Whenever you start feeling stress, it’s so important to process the emotion you’re feeling instead of reacting to it.

You can allow the emotion of stress without acting out. It’s something that takes practice of doing the inner work, but it’s 100% possible. This is the self coaching work we do inside Grow You.

Giving yourself space to allow the negative emotion to run through your body is incredibly helpful so that the stress passes through you and doesn’t get projected onto your spouse.

Resources:

  • 75 Journal Prompts For Women And Moms (free download)
  • How To Clear Your Mind Of Negative Thoughts (blog post)
  • Rest On Purpose (podcast)

Tip 4: Process the stress you’re feeling without blame

When you take a timeout to allow the stress, do it in a way where you’re really focused on your body.

This means settling into your body and your feelings, so you’re very grounded in the experience. This is something you won’t be used to doing because your brain is used to wanting to solve for everything, so the mental chatter will be hard to overcome. But if you practice this method of becoming more embodied, you’ll be able to allow any emotion without projection.

This means that you take responsibility for how you’re feeling without blame. Something outside of you didn’t cause the stress. You had a thought that caused the stress. Of course, if something happened you don’t like, you can hold the other person responsible for their actions—but you cannot (and should not) ever hold someone else responsible for your feelings. This is giving all your power away.

So if you feel stressed, find a way to practice allowing the emotion (Grow You is a perfect place for this). And then avoid any blaming you might be tempted to do, as your feelings never have anything to do with the other person.

Resources:

  • Mindfulness Meditation For Pregnancy (blog post)
  • Podcast Directory (free download)
  • Mental Chatter (podcast)

Tip 5: Be a good team player

Finally, focus on putting the marriage ahead of each individual partner. Be each other’s emotional support. This means thinking about your marriage as a team sport, where you’re both in it together, playing on the same team.

When you’re a team player, you care about the other person and their experience. You also care about the relationship as a separate thing.

So when your pregnancy hormones and stress gets real (and it will), remind yourself, we’re in this together and on the same time. Then, find a way to re-establish connection intentionally.

Resources:

  • Can You Fix A Controlling Relationship (blog post)
  • Love Abundance (podcast)
  • Thursday Inspo (free weekly newsletter)

A Final Note!

Relationship stress during pregnancy is normal. Yet, it doesn’t have to be something that ruins the experience. Instead, it can be something to work through in a way that makes your marriage and relationship with your partner even stronger than before.