Love and Pregnancy: Don't Let Mood Swings Get in the Way
Her hormonal changes could have your relationship on an emotional roller coaster. Here's how both of you can help smooth the ride.
Mood swings during pregnancy (which are totally normal, by the way) can affect more than just mom-to-be's emotional state: They can make the combo of love and pregnancy a bit of a challenge for her partner. That said, there's no reason for guys to play victim in all of this, either. Taking an active role can be instrumental in making mood swings manageable.
Self-identification can be the first step in ensuring that love and pregnancy stay hand in hand. One Virginia-based mom I spoke with (who was too embarrassed to give her name!) admitted that "sobbing hysterically because I ran out of coffee milk was not an appropriate reaction." According to Stacey Jones, Ph.D., a psychologist from the South Miami Psychology Group, "Sometimes mood swings come on so fast and are gone before her partner can say 'Ohmygoshwhatishappening?' And so many times, the woman is just as shocked and surprised as her partner." Keeping a little journal of your moods can be incredibly helpful. Dr. Jones advises jotting everything down, and then reviewing thoughts and feelings to sleuth out what, if anything, is precipitating these mood swings.
Another mom advises dads-to-be to "remember who your partner is and know that she'll return. If something seems outrageous or unlike her it's because her body has been taken over by an alien." And although Dr. Jones wouldn't call your baby an alien, she agrees that some aspects of mood swings are out of this world. "Guys can read on the Internet, read their partners' magazines, or simply ask the mom-to-be about her mood swings, but it's important to understand that her moods are largely out of her control."
Still, it shouldn't be entirely up to the man of the house to manage mood swing mania. According to Dr. Jones, "If you're pregnant and you feel like you're experiencing a mood swing, it may be helpful to ask your partner for a foot massage, or find something to do that you finds relaxing, such as a bubble bath." And guys? If she needs a little more from you right now, just go with it. "Offering your partner a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent to will be greatly appreciated," Dr. Jones says. "Remember this is temporary and to keep your eye on the prize."
As for what you shouldn't do? Well, it might go without saying, but if you ever feel the urge to call your pregnant partner out for being hormonal in the middle of a mood swing, zip those lips. "It is never okay for a guy to tell his pregnant partner that she is acting crazy," Dr. Jones says. "And if he does...hide the knives!"
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