Dear Just Add Baby: How can my partner and I stay close -- or even just stay friends -- during the third trimester? We're miserable!
Penelope: For most women, the third trimester is a unique time. I could say "special," but that's pushing it a little too far in the direction of "beautiful" and "magical." Let's get real. By the eighth and ninth months, most women have had their fill of pregnancy...and then some. You're weary, you're hot, you're heavy, you can't sleep well anymore, and you're probably so hormonal, it's like having permanent PMS.
Andi: That's all true! And often the effort you must extend just being nice to coworkers, family, friends and perfect strangers is usually depleted by the end of the day when it's time for some spousal interaction. By that time, I'm usually not even equal to the task of garden-variety civility. I've always been amazed to see my marriage survive the third trimester.
Penelope: Our advice is to really work it from a few different angles. Get support. Find someone who is willing to hear you rant and whine. The best person for this job is probably someone going through it herself -- for example, someone you'd meet on a pregnancy discussion board or childbirth education class.
Andi: Also, talk to your partner, as best as you can. Choose the right moment to try to explain how you're feeling -- and why, sometimes, you might not be acting like your old self.
Penelope: Dads -- take it easy on her! If this is not a typical part of your relationship, then it is safe to assume that it really is a hormonally-induced state. At least give her the benefit of the doubt. And maybe send flowers.
Andi: And moms -- don't be too hard on yourselves! Of course, you don't want
to get into the habit of treating your life partner with the shabbiest of
behavior, but still, recognize that this all temporary. No, it's not fair
that your partner has to take your abuse -- nor is it fair that your body has
to take all the physical strain of pregnancy.
Penelope: Also be sure to tend to your basic needs. Take care of yourself by
eating nutritiously and frequently, getting plenty of sleep/rest and fitting
some physical activity into every day. If you are hungry and tired, the last
thing you feel like doing is nurturing your relationship.
Penelope: Also be sure to tend to your basic needs. Take care of yourself by eating nutritiously and frequently, getting plenty of sleep/rest and fitting some physical activity into every day. If you are hungry and tired, the last thing you feel like doing is nurturing your relationship.
Andi: Love yourself (or at least act like it!), and it will be much easier
to love everyone else.