Your partner’s pregnancy and your emotions
When you first hear about your partner’s pregnancy, you might have many and even mixed emotions.
Joy and excitement
You might not be able to stop smiling. If you haven’t told others the news, people around you might be wondering what’s making you so happy.
Surprised, unsure or something else?
The pregnancy might have come as a surprise if you weren’t planning to have a baby or your partner got pregnant more quickly than you expected.
If you’re feeling numb, shocked, confused or overwhelmed, the pregnancy might take a while to feel real. It might not even feel real until the baby is born, and you can get more hands on with your baby’s care.
When it’s complicated
If the pregnancy is unplanned, perhaps you’re not feeling good or sure about the pregnancy, or you don’t want the pregnancy at all. This is a very difficult situation, and it’s OK to have strong emotions.
Sometimes a baby is conceived but the relationship has broken down, or there’s no relationship at all. This is a complicated path to parenthood, but it’s still possible to be an involved, loving and responsible parent.
If you conceived with the help of fertility treatments or IVF, you might feel relief and joy about the pregnancy, but also worried that things won’t go well.
Managing your feelings about pregnancy
There’s no one right way to feel about pregnancy. The important thing is to take time to work through and accept your feelings. This can be especially important if your feelings are complicated or difficult.
It can help to talk calmly about your feelings with your partner, a friend or a family member. If you know another expectant parent, you could raise the topic of pregnancy the next time you catch up. You could also talk to your GP, or call Lifeline on 131 114, MensLine on 1300 789 978 or QLife (LGBTQ+ peer support) on 1800 184 527, or use their webchat services.
Talking about your feelings rather than ignoring them will help you understand how you feel and make better decisions.
Sharing the news about pregnancy
If you’ve just learned about the pregnancy, you might feel like telling everyone you know. But many parents-to-be wait to ‘go public’ with the news until the second trimester. This is when the risk of miscarriage is much lower, and it’s also after the 12-week scan and other pregnancy tests that check whether your baby is developing as expected. Others share the news sooner or wait until the 20-week scan.
It’s a good idea to talk and agree with your partner about who you’ll tell – and when. You’re both likely to have strong feelings about sharing the news. Having a ‘plan’ could avoid hurt feelings, disagreements and the chance that excited family and friends spread the news for you.
You might decide to tell family before you tell people at work. Be prepared for mixed reactions from people you work with. People at work might also want more information than you want to share. For example, your employer might be happy for you but also thinking about your leave arrangements and plans for balancing your work and family commitments.
If you’re waiting for the results of 12-week or 20-week ultrasound scans before getting excited, your partner might think that you’re not interested in the pregnancy. Just let your partner know how you feel – you’re happy about the pregnancy but you want to know everything is OK before you celebrate.
Pregnancy: a time for learning and adjusting
Pregnancy is your chance to get used to the idea of becoming a parent and what this means for you. You could also think about what you’re looking forward to as a parent. This might be things like hearing your child’s first words, reading your favourite childhood book together or taking your child to your favourite sporting events.
Pregnancy is a good time to put extra effort into building a healthy relationship with your partner. This can involve working on your communication, spending quality time together and so on. It can also involve thinking about things like parental leave, parenting roles and household responsibilities.
If you’re no longer in a relationship with your partner, it might help to learn more about co-parenting and positive single parenting.
And during pregnancy, you could also think about taking steps to get in better physical shape, get better at managing money or quit smoking or drinking alcohol. These kinds of changes are good for your health and wellbeing. They can also help you be a good role model for your child.
If you learn about pregnancy and birth, you’ll be better able to help and support your partner through this time in your lives. You’ll also feel more confident. You could go to antenatal appointments or antenatal classes with your partner. You can also sign up to our pregnancy week by week guide or watch our videos about pregnancy.