Question for partnered parents

If you found yourself less in love with your partner during pregnancy, did your feelings for them return once you had the baby?

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Yes. Don’t want to go into too much detail publicly but things were terrible when I was pregnant, back to normal now.

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I’ve never had a child (nor am I planning on ever having one) but I have heard stories of this happening. :slight_smile:

Um…yes and no. I didn’t exactly fall less in love with my husband but things did become a bit strained at times. [name_f]My[/name_f] pregnancy was difficult and we had a bunch of hardships happen. Plus hormones…

When my son was born, I swear I was more in love with my husband in those first few days than I was when we got married. Haha. There’s something indescribable about seeing your partner holding and loving the tiny person you both created.

I still love him dearly. However our relationship has experienced more periods of strain now than before I got pregnant. I came across a quote from someone that I clicked with: “my marriage wasn’t bad; babies and toddlers are just that hard.” They really can be. Your entire dynamic changes and there is suddenly another person you have to consider all the while keeping a strong relationship that provides stability, love and safety for all. I’m a stay at home mother. I get touched out. I get resentful. I have a lot less time to recharge or even eat a proper meal. It’s…work. I now understand why so many marriages I’ve seen ended after babies came along. I’ve never considered it but I do understand.

Sorry for the long-winded answer. It is such a complex thing…

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I never loved my partner less during pregnancy, but we’d been together 10 yrs before kids and already been in and out of enough more-in-love and less-in-love or less attracted stages.

Hormones during pregnancy were a thing though (even moreso this pregnancy when we’ve already got a toddler I think!) so we’ve had a fair few arguments but I think talking through afterwards has helped.

To be honest I found the newborn to 3 month stage the hardest on our relationship, because it was a huge time of adjustment. Even though he’s an amazing guy and fully supportive of gender equality, and absolutely the most hands-on and wonderful person to co-parent with, I found myself a bit resentful during those early weeks.

Some things didn’t seem to come naturally to him… like he’d be helpfully tidying up the garden and I’d be seething over having to be the one to look after the newborn and pack the nappy bag and make sure we had enough expressed milk for her with the ice packs ready to keep it cool AND be the one keeping an eye on the time for when we needed to go out, etc. Like the flipping garden could wait! And it was like he just stopped doing laundry the day she was born. And he wouldn’t have to be the one learning how to pump and boost supply or look up safe co-sleeping or colours of baby poo or colic etc etc etc, it all seemed like suddenly we were shoved into gender roles and it felt unfair thar I had to do all this new learning alone, with the newborn on my boob and stitches in my bits!

But got way better with time and discussion and finding our way.

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I wouldn’t say less in love, but things were certainly different and harder sometimes. We hadn’t been together long when I got pregnant with our first child together (I have a son from a previous relationship), and the pregnancy was very difficult. I had so much anxiety and I wasn’t feeling like myself at all. My focus completely shifted from my SO and our relationship to myself and the unborn baby. I just didn’t have the energy to focus on my SO during this time. It was incredibly hard on him, but he was amazing. He was so supportive and caring and loving. I didn’t see it at the time because I was struggling so much, but looking back I can’t believe how patient he’s been with me and I’m so grateful for that.
When Barnabas was born things were better, not like they were before because so much had changed, but I loved him even more than I did before because we had been through so much and it strengthened our relationship. Not much later I got pregnant with the twins, this pregnancy was easier in certain aspects but came with its own set of challenges (multiples, COVID) but I managed to keep my focus on my SO and my sons as well as on myself and the unborn babies, and things were easier on all of us in that sense.
But I think it’s only normal for things to change between partners during a pregnancy, so much is going on during that time. And it’s different for everyone, of course. Don’t underestimate the effect all those hormones have on your body and mental health.

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Thanks all. I’m really hoping the way I feel is hormonal! [name_f]My[/name_f] partner and I don’t fight and I feel so supported by him. I just simultaneously feel so indifferent and uninspired by him. I see these posts on instagram of these happy families and people saying about their partners “I always knew this was my person” and I find myself fantasising of some future relationship rather than the one I’m in. It makes me sad cause from the outside we have it all but inside I just feel so out of place. I’m happy to be having this baby, I just hope I can fall in love with her dad again eventually.

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Try to keep in mind that most people only post the good moments in their lives (and some people go to great lengths to put on a perfect front when it’s really not the case), you’re not really seeing a realistic picture of their lives once they log off social media. :slight_smile: I feel like social media causes so much insecurity in this way, as I have felt the same in the past myself comparing myself to it.

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I know you didn’t ask about this specifically, but for me, feelings are affected a lot by intimacy (or lack thereof), which can be a big challenge during pregnancy for a long list of reasons. I just wanted to say it’s worth the effort, even if it doesn’t look or feel the same as it did pre-pregnancy. That goes for the first months postpartum, too. We both struggled in the weeks after our first was born–our marriage was quite new–and now have a better idea of the other’s needs.

Also, we’re in this for the long haul, and there are days or weeks that are just…boring. They just are. You’re in the same place with the same person day after day, and some days are taken up with making it through the grind. It takes effort to break out of the grind, and sometimes you don’t have the energy. The hormones often don’t help. I make up my mind I’m not going to stay trapped there forever, I think of the things I love about my husband, and I remember tomorrow’s another day. I also don’t let myself fantasize about other relationships. Not condemning you, just saying for me and my marriage, no good can come of that. Best wishes!

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This exactly. What you see from other people’s lives is never the full extent of their reality. Life is hard, children and pregnancy bring out all sorts of hormones and crazy emotions. And your love for your partner changes, which sometimes is surprising. that initial romantic love kind of fades for awhile for a lot of people, it doesn’t mean you still won’t get those feelings, but you learn to appreciate more the day to day, and for me I’ve grown to really appreciate (or am working on appreciating) not so much the romance in our relationship, but the steadiness of it. That my husband is there, day in and day out, whether or not I’m being moody or irrational. And from what I’ve read, that romance returns once you get some time back where you can be yourselves again and not ‘mom and dad’ which is why it is highly recommended you schedule time to just be a couple now and once baby comes.

And I would caution against making big life altering decisions when you’re on the brink of a big life altering moment already (of course there are always exceptions to this, if it is an abusive relationship, or you’re absolutely certain this is not the right relationship for you then you’ve got to do what’s right and safe for your emotional and mental health)

I remember reading a quote once that compared life to taking an old fashioned railroad ride. [name_f]Every[/name_f] now and again you get that burst of speed and sweeping majestic views, but most of the time it’s just coal dust and bumpy seats, but it’s ok because everyone’s on the same ride. And that viewpoint has really helped me find satisfaction in my every day life. And I’d say it’s the same for a relationship, it may be hard work and feel lack luster at times, but those sweeping majestic views are worth it (again so long as the relationship is healthy)

I’d also say it’s totally normal to daydream about starting a new relationship and being with someone else. And those are totally normal and valid feelings, just take your time, relationships have ups and downs

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It sounds like your feelings are just blah but I definitely felt animosity toward my husband during my first pregnancy. I felt like he just wasn’t taking the magnitude of the situation into account.

Like you, I had just moved several hundred miles to a place where I don’t have family or pre-established friendships. I also didn’t have a job or school for the first time in my life. My husband works afternoons and evenings and I’m a morning person. I had major morning sickness and I would just wait hours and hours for him to wake up so I could have a little half hour of social interaction before he left for work. None of my college friends or friends in our previous city had kids and I was the first in all those social groups to get pregnant or even have pregnancy on the horizon so no one could truly empathize. It was very isolating, far more emotionally isolating than I have personally experienced COVID even though I’m still not seeing anyone socially at all now. I have so many good friends in the same phase of life now, which makes such a difference. My headspace was all about the preparations for our life after baby came, but my husband was just living his life like he always had. So there was a major emotional distance between the transitions, matrescence, and rites that I was going through versus what he was experiencing. And in fact… the only way he seemed to react in a “preparatory” mindset for the future was in YOLOing his way thorough the pregnancy. My husband really doesn’t have vices or anything so it wasn’t like he was out drinking or anything, but he just kept staying up later and later as the pregnancy progressed. He would be playing video games or bingeing shows he was like “I won’t have time for this stuff when the baby comes.” But with his work schedule already being nights that meant that he was literally staying up until I was ready to wake up for the day. Leaving me even more lonely and isolated, and with even less time together on his weekends when he would sleep until the evening. At various points throughout the pregnancy I found myself just wondering what I’d gotten myself into… how did I pick THIS person when I thought I was picking someone who would be a true partner through our challenges together. I was basically kicking myself for what a mistake I’d made in marrying this guy of all people.

I steadied myself to be in a really awful position after the birth if all my postpartum planning went out the window because he wouldn’t be there for us. But I never could have imagined how quick of a transition it actually was when our first kid actually arrived. He went from the guy that was dragging our couple life down to the rock that was holding our family together and he was so attached to our baby immediately and he was so stable and steady and on-the-ball with everything from the time I was in labor, all the way through postpartum and in many ways has not wavered in that since, though we have still gone through many more marriage and intimacy challenges in the intervening years. I don’t want to make it sound totally rosy afterward but it was a complete transformation that I had really told myself NOT to expect. That’s not something that I can just say will happen for you, but it just goes to show that yes, things can change and can change drastically.

An excellent book I’d recommend for you to read and work through now is Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family that Thrives by Elly Taylor. Specifically about the transition that pulls apart the structure of the partnership to shape your family into something new as children arrive… about grappling with new identities and balancing individual growth with connection as a couple and then as a family unit.

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Thank you so much for sharing your story @hyacinthbucket! I cried when I first read it cause it felt so familiar. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner isn’t doing that yolo thing thank goodness, other than surfing whenever he can which he knows he won’t be able to do when bub is here, but everything about being in a new place and feeling so isolated really resonated. I know if I were happier and more fulfilled in my surroundings I wouldn’t be picking him apart so much.

I think I feel most mad cause I’ve always been so independent and social and I’ve suddenly found myself here and largely reliant on him and in a community that is so insular. I’m like this isn’t me how did I end up here I’ve got so much else going for me beyond this small island where I can’t seem to fully express myself. I want to run away with our little girl and live life on my own terms again but it doesn’t seem fair to him at all especially when he really tries so hard to make me happy. Most of the time… this morning he randomly decided he didn’t like our chosen name for the baby and it felt so spiteful and made me so upset, cause I can’t see her as anything other than that name. He said I’m sure you’ll find something else you like and I was like you’ve got to be kidding me I know every name under the sun and this is the only one that works for our girl. I dunno, I’m just venting now.

I’m going to keep trying to find ways to be me here, join some art classes maybe and keep reaching out. If it’s still not working in a year I’ll look at going home, and he can either join or not I guess.

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I don’t have anymore advice for you, but I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. And please know that you’re welcome here to vent as much as you need or want.

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