Why your partner is “unsupportive” during pregnancy
Nervous about your future role as parents? Terrified that you are on the path of no return with the wrong partner? Feeling unsupported and abandoned by your partner?
Here is some food for thought when things are on a downward spiral for new expecting couples:
– cramped space: your partner might process things more slowly or have an entirely different way of processing life changes than you. Maybe he’s just trying to figure all this out and is feeling a little cramped. No one can unfold when they feel that someone is gripping onto them with sharp claws. Back off and let them breathe a bit. They will come around in their own time. Everyone marches to the beat of a different drum.
– fear: everyone has a different emotional response to life-altering moments. Allowing your partner to get honest about their feelings and not making them feel ashamed or bad for feeling regret, fear or even anger around your pregnancy creates a safe space for them to share with you. Opening up communication pathways in your relationship is key to moving forward as a young family. All emotions are safe and ok, that there is no right way to feel; you’ll get through it together.
– new territory: some dads really weren’t involved in their son’s upbringing and so what might seem like pulling back to you is simply a mirroring of behaviour for your partner. Not all dad’s jump on board and want to read every book in bed with you at night. In fact, most don’t. It simply wasn’t what their dads did. Not judging him for it will encourage an openness to exist and grow between the two of you. If your man feels judged, he’ll shut down and become more and more alienated. This “pull-back” is only fed when women give men the idea that there is something wrong with them because they are not interested in pregnancy and/or childbirth. Let him come toward you by being whole and embracing the incredible beauty of your enhanced feminine. It will have a magnetic pull on your man. And while he may never join you in what you’re reading, he may massage you while you do it.
– gender differences: while expecting dads are getting more and more on board with their sweethearts, they definitely go about preparing for birth very differently than women do. In fact, men aren’t preparing for birth at all in a sense. This is not the ancestral imprint that has been marked on men. Men don’t give birth after all. This is why the role each partner plays in birth becomes so vital. It offers both the masculine and the feminine aspects of birth.
Allowing them to explore this new situation in their own way gives them the freedom and trust they need to want to stand strong by your side. Remember, both partners don’t need all the same information. Your man is preparing to be a new dad just as you are to be a new mom. Expect the ground work to differ as will the process.
– trauma: becoming a parent will for all of us seem a little daunting. But for some, it goes quite a bit further than that. For children of traumatic childhoods, expecting a baby is a harsh reminder of their own horrible past. And if the traumatic past has simply been swept under the carpet as it often is for men, then strong feelings are bound to surface. But have no fear, birth is a wonderful (but still terrifying) opportunity to revisit haunting moments of the past to offer them the love and attention needed to heal. If you are feeling trauma or fear around birth, be sure to hire a doula and/or coach to offer the support you will need during this sensitive time.
– masculine preoccupations during pregnancy and childbirth: while you may be worried about questions like should I have a doula? Or what type of car seat will I need? Or who should be at my birth? Your partner will have a whole other series of questions weighing him down. The practical aspects such as finances, job security, a safe place for baby to be born, may be among some big concerns that have hijacked his mind. Your partner may feel pulled towards fully embracing his male energy as caretaker and financial provider so don’t expect him to be as curious as you about some things that you may esteem of ultimate importance.
Regardless of what is pulling his strings, the fact is that he has strings… and so do you. Learning how to communicate and come together as a team is key during these challenging times and may help you both to clearly see that neither of you is being “unsupportive”… your perspective simply isn’t identical.
Reality is always kinder than your thinking