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Houston Fertility Journal

LGBT Pregnancy: How to Keep Your Partner Feeling Involved

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 25, 2017 2:30:12 PM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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Your relationship with your unborn child begins long before that child is born. This is doubly true if one of the parents is pregnant with the child. An LGBT pregnancy often means that one parent has less connection to the child, either by genetics or pregnancy.

If you’re carrying your unborn child, or if you’re the only parent whose genes the child carries, you might initially be more excited about the pregnancy than your partner. That doesn’t mean your pregnancy doesn’t matter. LGBT pregnancies, like all pregnancies, are a major life adjustment. It takes time to acclimate. Including your partner in your pregnancy can help you both bond with your unborn baby.

Encourage Your Partner to Pick up the Slack

Pregnancy is stressful. If you’re the pregnant one, you may be overwhelmed and feeling bad. If you take this out on your partner, this can create even more distance from the pregnancy. Instead, ask your partner to pick up some of the slack. Talk with specificity about your needs. Doing so will reduce your resentment, and help your partner connect with your needs and your baby.

Share Your Experiences

Share what you’re feeling with your partner. They want to know about baby kicks and hiccups, changes in your emotions, and thoughts about the future. Even if your partner seems uninterested at first, maintaining a steady stream of discussion about the pregnancy helps make it more real.

Go to Appointments Together

Do everything you can to go to appointments with your partner. These appointments hammer home the fact that this pregnancy is real, this baby is growing, and you need as much help as you can get. If your partner cannot make all appointments, ask them to at least attend ultrasounds and your pregnancy confirmation appointment.

Read Books and Look at Photos

Books that chart a baby’s growth during pregnancy help you and your partner visualize your baby transform from a zygote to an embryo, and embryo to a fetus, and a fetus to a real baby. Get a book that charts your baby’s growth from week to week, then schedule some time to read it with your partner.

This family ritual is your first with your partner and new baby. As your pregnancy progresses, this weekly discussion can be a planning session, a chance to bond with the baby, and an opportunity to discuss parenting goals.

Connect With Your Partner in a Way They Understand

Don’t just turn to blogs and web communities for advice about how to relate to your partner. You, and you alone, know your partner best. What sort of information does he or she respond best to? Photos? Peer-reviewed studies? Emotional information? Present information about your pregnancy in a way your partner understands.

A self-proclaimed science geek might relish learning about how babies grow from week to week, or how genes affect development. A highly visual person may need to see lots of images of developing babies in utero. Convey information in a way your partner understands. Keep trying strategies until something clicks.

Spend Time With Other Parents

Schedule an outing with other parents, particularly if they seem happy and well-adjusted. Seeing that there’s life after children, and witnessing what that life looks like can help your partner begin to imagine your shared life with a child in it. By connecting with parent peers, you’ll also begin building your social network for after baby arrives.

Get Your Doctor’s Help

Pregnancy is exciting, but it’s also stressful. If your partner is not coping well, consider enlisting the help of your doctor or midwife. Get them to share with your partner what you need to feel good during the pregnancy. When an authority tells your partner to make you a morning protein smoothie, pick up around the house, or help you get more rest, the direction comes with more authority. So don’t shy away from asking for your provider’s help if you need backup.

A Little at a Time

Your partner’s apparent disinterest in the pregnancy could be for any number of reasons -- financial concerns, worry about the ability to be a good parent, discomfort with other people’s reaction to the pregnancy, and so much more. Addressing your partner’s concerns can go a long way toward allaying them.

Even more important is being patient. That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate unkind treatment or disinterest. But you should not expect overnight change. It takes time to adjust to a pregnancy. Expect slow and steady progress. As long as there’s some progress, you’re on the right track!

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Topics: LGBT Pregnancy

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