Written by: Courtney Kershaw.
Communication with your partner is a staple of a relationship. Learning how to enhance and expand communication during life stage changes is an extension of that skill that any couple can utilize.
If you already have a foundation of being able to identify and express your needs with your partner, then the next steps is integrating some room for the unpredictable or unplanned parts that come up in a relationship during pregnancy.
So what changes in communication with your partner when you’re experiencing life stage changes?
New Topics for New Stages
- Identify core needs. Both partners have core needs that can continue developing in pregnancy. Finding ways of returning to these core needs can help create a foundation of understanding and teamwork with your partner.
- Needs may differ from day to day or moment to moment for numerous reasons, including hormone fluctuation, fatigue, unexpected health complications, etc. Creating an open and empathetic dialogue about what’s changing and what capacity your partner has keeps the teamwork at the forefront.
- What does the supporting partner need? How can those needs be managed in a way that the pregnant partner can fulfill them? Are you discussing how to be flexible with things that are out of your immediate control?
- Even if meeting the need in the moment isn’t possible, are you able to express awareness and interest to meet the need when it’s possible again?
- What does intimacy look like at all the stages of pregnancy? Discussing a desire for intimacy and the way those needs can be met when capacity is shifting is a way to reinforce connection and desire with your partner regardless of what you are physically capable of doing together.
- As a couple you may prioritize a balance approach to household chores or other expectations. Communicating about how those expectations may need to shift in pregnancy can help you feel that you’re still a team despite not necessarily having a 50/50 split on tasks.
- Couples often plan for expectations they have about parenting. Creating a space where you can identify primary or “big picture” focal points helps find flexibility for some of the unpredictable nuances along the way.
- What are your negotiables and non-negotiables, and do those change during pregnancy or after birth?
- Wants can also shift unpredictably, so practicing identifying small issues along the way can be a proactive approach to interrupting big miscommunications down the road.
Bringing it Together
Navigating life stage changes together can be exciting, overwhelming, confusing, and fulfilling. Finding ways to reach each other through the ups and downs can create an important sense of security and connection and help reinforce the growth of your relationship together.
If you start from a place of understanding and vulnerability, your ability to continue growing together will follow. And it doesn’t hurt to occasionally go out of your way to do something thoughtful for your partner even when it isn’t requested.
Don’t underestimate the value of feeling seen by the person you love.
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