Pregnancy can play havoc with your partner’s moods. It can be hard to know what to say or do for the best. We’ve got advice and strategies on how to help your partner through the ups and downs of pregnancy.
Mood swings are hard to deal with at the best of times – especially if you’re on the receiving end! However, during pregnancy there may be little your partner can do to control how she is feeling.
Welcoming a new addition to the family is exciting, however pregnancy can bring a whole raft of new emotions some positive and some negative. Combine that with the hormonal and physical changes that pregnancy brings and you’ve got a recipe for an emotional rollercoaster.
Why does this happen?
Whilst pregnancy can be an amazing experience for some women, it isn’t the easiest ride. Trouble sleeping, heartburn and indigestion, constipation, dizziness, sore breasts and body aches are just a few of the symptoms your partner might experience throughout their pregnancy. It’s enough to make anyone a little irritable.
The increased levels of hormones your partner is experiencing can cause them to feel low, tearful and easily irritated. Taking that into account, you might be able to understand why they snapped at you for, seemingly, no reason. Another thing to take into account is that your partner is experiencing big changes to their body that can feel overwhelming and provoke feelings of a loss of control that can, in turn, cause your partner to be moody.
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So how should I handle it?
It can be hard to understand mood swings, especially if you aren’t sure what to say or do to make your partner feel better. You might feel frustrated or hopeless and like nothing you try is of any help.
A little patience will go a long way if your pregnant partner is feeling irritable. Try to validate your partner’s feelings, even if you feel their worries are not rational or are out of proportion to the situation. Ask plenty of questions and let your partner tell you what they need in terms of support – even if this does change frequently.
It might be helpful to remind yourself that, for most women, this is a temporary experience. Often, the symptoms caused by hormone levels ease after the first three months of pregnancy so whilst it might be frustrating it’s not forever.
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If your partner’s mood swings do continue for the duration of pregnancy, try to be understanding and offer your support wherever you can.
Ultimately, letting your partner know that they are not alone and that how they are feeling is not their fault is invaluable.
Whilst mood swings are not a medical issue it’s important to remember that depression and anxiety are health conditions – it’s not personal and your partner isn’t choosing to behave this way.
It seems like nothing I do is helping. I’m worried – what now?
If your partner is struggling, encourage them to talk to their doctor about managing their mental health during pregnancy. If there is a past history of mental illness, letting your health care provider know is also important as they can help you to manage the condition throughout your pregnancy.
Whilst you are there to offer support, you are not a medical professional so don’t beat yourself up about not knowing everything or needing extra help.
If your partner shows signs of depression and unusual levels of irritability that last for more than two weeks it might be time to seek help. If you’re not sure where to turn the beyondblue support service can provide information and support to help you take the next step.
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