If your partner didn’t respond well to the news of your pregnancy, or if he seems reluctant to make plans for the baby, you may wonder how he will cope with the pressures of fatherhood.
When you’re pregnant and worrying about the future, it’s not uncommon to worry that your relationship will suffer. You might be afraid that your partner is going to disengage – or worse, that he might panic and run off!
It’s important to remind yourself that your fears don’t necessarily reflect reality, and this may not be how your partner feels. But it’s also worth examining these fears to see where they come from.
Generally speaking, men are slower than women to come to terms with the reality of having a baby, especially if the pregnancy wasn’t planned. If your partner is struggling to come to terms with the idea of being a dad, it may be difficult for him to have long conversations about the baby. An overload of baby-focused talk could lead him to switch off.
Try to be patient – he may just need a little more time to get his head around it. It might be helpful to vary the topics of conversation and remind your partner that some aspects of your lives are going to remain the same when the baby arrives.
Encourage your partner to focus on the positive role he’s going to play. Even if he’s scared about becoming a dad, he won’t necessarily communicate his fears to you. Talk to him about your own hopes and worries, and then leave a space open for him to talk about how he feels. He may be pulling away because he’s not sure he is up to the task of parenthood.
He may also be afraid that he will be sidelined, or that you will love the baby more than him. Not everything will change, and it may be helpful to tell him that.
If you’ve faced issues in your past where someone important has left or abandoned you, you might be more sensitive to the idea that it will happen again. Your fears could be triggered by things like your partner walking off during an argument, not showing up for dinner, or being impossible to get hold of for some time.
Let your partner know that this is a real worry for you – you may find he becomes more reassuring and more careful about how he communicates with you. Sometimes it’s helpful to remind your partner of how your past experiences can affect you.
If your relationship has been going through difficulties, the idea of bringing a child into the mix can feel like a recipe for disaster. However, there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship and very few people would say they are constantly happy when they start a family. Having children will undoubtedly place some stress on the relationship, but it can also be a powerful bonding experiences.
It might be a little more difficult when you have extra family responsibilities but, whatever stage you’re at, you can always work on improving your relationship as a couple. Let the arrival of your baby motivate you to be better together.