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The relationship between future parents

  1. Pregnant women are not only expectant mothers, with or without problems during their pregnancy and delivery, they also usually have a love affair with a husband, the future father. Pregnancy and childbirth can provide opportunities for both partners to discover things in themselves and in each other that they were not aware of.

The partners under pressure

  1. Two people can experience the transition period of a pregnancy as a time of many tensions. This may be the case with a couple who have an informal, even casual, relationship with each other. They had not yet made plans to marry each other, now feel obliged to do so, or not. It also sometimes applies to a husband and wife who both have good jobs and who did not yet consider themselves to be parents-to-be, but who, now that the woman became pregnant unintentionally, do not want to interrupt that pregnancy. There can also be a lot of tension if a woman, who was convinced inwardly that it would never come to that, stops taking the pill because her partner and they thought afterwards that it would be nice to have a child, becomes pregnant immediately without having had the time to calmly deal with that sudden turnaround again. All of these situations require a quick adjustment and one or both of them can feel overwhelmed and at the same time be surprised and excited. As soon as they tell other people, they often feel they are dealing with the most unexpected reactions. Some couples report strong opposition from family members, especially their parents, when they decided not to have children yet. Now that the woman finally became pregnant, they are overwhelmed with the relief and joy of those same family members, as if they were finally wise enough to follow the socially accepted path. Somehow this gives them the feeling that their intimate relationship is being commented on, they feel watched, irritated by it, sometimes even perceived as threatening.

Solving Problems Together

  1. When the pregnancy is a fact, sometimes man and woman are each in a different world. He may feel that she reacts so vulnerable and unpredictable. He feels that he can no longer talk to her sensibly, about ordinary things, that she is only interested in the baby. He may even feel left out in the cold, as if suddenly living with another woman. In turn, she may view him as uninterested, willing to do nothing and unloving. If they don't know other couples with the same difficulties, they may feel that their problem is unique. When given the opportunity to talk to other parents-to-be, they will gradually come to the realization that the current attitudes in most Western countries often give rise to emotional tension due to the pressures of the outside world on expectant parents. In support groups, a bridge can often be built between the socially determined roles of women and men and this can lead to them becoming closer together.

Group Calls

  1. In one of those discussion groups the effect of pregnancy on the mutual relationship was discussed. One woman, who felt she had lost her own personality as an "expectant mother," commented that she feared how this would affect her relationship with her husband. Would they, she wondered, now be exclusively 'father and mother' and no longer husband and wife? Her concern about this led to her sometimes resenting the baby. It emerged that others who recognized and felt pressure and had similar fears. Some reported that they definitely wanted to be different parents from their own, and to raise their children in a completely different way. They were striving for a happier marriage than what they thought their parents had. It was agreed that talking about those thoughts together was important and that you should not limit yourself to discussing the things to buy for the baby. What kind of parents do we want to be and how do we see our partners as one of those parents?

Gaining confidence

  1. Many couples use a funny name for their unborn child and talk about it as if it were a friend they know very well but have never met. When doctors prick and touch and the hospital takes the woman into the midwifery clinic when labor begins, they sometimes feel it as a breach of an extremely personal and intimate relationship between the three of them. 'Our' baby became 'the baby', in their feeling even 'a hospital baby'. A woman must be able to feel that the baby is really hers: this is important during pregnancy, but essential after birth. The skin contact advocated today provides this, even if it is primarily for the baby.

Growing through experience

  1. Many couples have a child before they are really emotional. As a result, many children are born not because of but despite the feelings that the parents have for each other. When a woman decides to go through an unprepared pregnancy, the accidental product of a 'loose-fix' relationship, she needs extra emotional support. Even if a man has nothing else to offer a woman, he can give it to her. Maybe they decide to have an abortion or give up the baby after birth. Such a decision is painful for both, but there is the possibility that they will learn from the experience and gain more insight into each other's feelings.

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