So your wife is pregnant, and divorce is on the cards already?
Whoa there, cowboy!
Let me guess, you can’t do anything right, she hates you and you think this is the end of the relationship?
If your wife is still pregnant, you would be wise to let the emotions cool down before making any drastic moves in the direction of the divorce courts.
Just google the words “my wife is pregnant and she hates me” and you’ll find a whole world of temporary (roughly eight months, give or take) hurt.
There are forums on the subject. Videos. Reddits!
The Huffington Post has put together a nine-point plan advising pregnant women how not to kill their husbands. Consider the first of their suggestions:
“Tell him openly that you need time and space to yourself….(so) you don’t have to listen to him humming or whistling or telling you something for the 15th time or generally making you want to rip out his heart and eat it for protein for the fetus.”
Hormones, Constant Tiredness, Sore body … Stress
Even as her body is changing dramatically, so the hormones involved in preparing her body for birth may be driving her to levels of emotions you have never seen before. It is very common for pregnant mothers to take the blame for everything out on their partner; even when deep down they know they are being unfair.
Often women are themselves bewildered by their own anger levels: entire sections of the internet are given over to pregnant womens saying “Why am I so ANGRY!!” (who knows, perhaps your other half is googling it herself).
One thing you can do even before the baby is down is to seek to be a calming influence on your partner. Research shows that babies in the womb are affect by a stressed mother. If a mother suffers extensive stress and anxiety during pregnancy her cortisol levels (cortisol is a hormone produced to deal with stress) will eventually begin to affect the unborn child, which can then display higher levels of anxiety after birth, even well into childhood.
If your wife is crying constantly with no in-between upswings of mood, she might be suffering from depression and need to talk to her doctor about it.
What to Expect
The super-popular book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” has whole sections for Dads-to-be which will explain what happens at each stage of pregnancy. It even covers what is making your wife angry – and lists things you can do to help at each stage! How Useful is that?
The first three months are when the nausea can kick in – and it can be really bad. Add to that the mood swings caused by hormones like oestrogen and progesterone don’t be surprised if your beloved is having a hard time of it. Things can ease up in the middle bit of the pregnancy but toward the last trimester the changes in her body can be really uncomfortable, often causing insomnia and – again – bad temper. Just refer to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, try not to take it personally and do what you can to help.
Sticking Together Is Usually Better All Round
It is a time for you to put the baby’s needs first. Whether you stay together or not, you are going to be a father and being a good father to this child is not a question of being fair, or of you getting your rights, it is about what is best for this child.
There are a number of reasons why during pregnancy is not a good time to head for the divorce courts.
Firstly if it is because she is suddenly permanently angry with you it may well be the pregnancy hormones finding fault all the time, and it will blow over once your baby is born.
Secondly divorce is itself highly stressful, emotionally and financially. That kind of stress added to her already high anxiety levels will affect not only the two of you but also the baby.
Thirdly, having to face pregnancy alone is very difficult. Having someone there to help keep the home tidy, the laundry done, and her back rubbed will help reduce some of the pressure on her.
Finally, once the baby is born, the round-the-clock feeding and nappy changes will be very hard for two of you to manage, never mind just her if you do split up. Babies do better with two parents, and so long as you are a support, rather than an extra burden on her, it will benefit your wife enormously if you share the load.
You may want to consider a consultation with relationship councillors such as Relate who may well be able to support you at this difficult time.
If, however, her behaviour is tipping into actual abuse look for support from organisations such as Respect (helpline: 0808 802 4040) which offers advice about abusive behaviour, or Family Lives (helpline: 0808 800 2222).
Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., Di Blasio, P., & Feinberg, M. (2018). Co-parenting Mediates the Influence of Marital Satisfaction on Child Adjustment: The Conditional Indirect Effect by Parental Empathy. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-12.
Cronin, Becher, Mccann, Mcguire, & Powell. (2017). Relational conflict and outcomes from an online divorce education program. Evaluation and Program Planning, 62, 49-55.
McIntosh, J., & Tan, E. (2017). Young Children in Divorce and Separation: Pilot Study of a Mediation‐Based Co‐Parenting Intervention. Family Court Review, 55(3), 329-344.
Pruett, M., Mcintosh, J., & Kelly, J. (2014). Parental Separation and Overnight Care of Young Children. Family Court Review, 52(2), 240-255.