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It’s reader email week and I’ve picked my favorite. I’m not going to name my e-mailer because I think she speaks for a lot of women. Here’s what she wrote:
My question is a little less about the body, and more along the lines of hormones. Before becoming pregnant I was a fairly independent person. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband very much, but since becoming pregnant I need him around. I get sad when he’s not around for a while, and I prefer cuddling and kissing to sex. I’ve never had this experience before, and I don't really want it to go away when I give birth. I'm just wondering if this feeling is the hormones, or the fact that we are forming a family and it's more long term.
That e-mail gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and a good dose of hope because it speaks from the heart about topics that are so often considered taboo by “independent women.” Do I think it’s the hormones? It could be, but it could also be that this is the first time my reader has experienced what it means to be truly vulnerable, to have something so valuable and worth cherishing that she wants help protecting it.
That valuable, cherished thing is her baby, of course, but also, I suspect, my reader’s sense of self and her pre-baby relationship with her husband. Once a woman becomes pregnant, she will never truly be independent again. She will always be connected to her child and in one form or another (even if only genetically) to her child’s father. The mother-baby connection will be literally physical throughout her pregnancy and during the breastfeeding/baby-carrying years, but even when that little one starts running wild with his life the emotional connection will remain.
The mother-father connection isn’t always as natural and guaranteed to last though because unlike babies, parents aren’t really dependent on each other for survival. Instead, their dependence on each other runs only as deep as the intimacy of their relationship and that is something that has to be nurtured, protected and cherished. It’s hard to imagine what that relationship will be like once you become a threesome. I remember vividly feeling a sense of grief as my first baby was due because I knew once she was born, my husband and I would never again be “just the two of us.” It made me clingy and insecure and only my husband’s reassurance and physical presence made me believe that no matter what happened, after baby, we’d be fine.
Will these cozy, lovely, cuddly feelings last after baby? I hope so. It lasted for me because I opened myself up and allowed myself to be vulnerable. My vulnerability made space for my husband to be caring and nurturing and to meet a deep need that only he could fulfill – my need for him to remain my husband and lover, even after we moved past couple-hood and became a family.
Now that we’ve been parents together for 25 years, I’ll let you in on a little secret – if you play your cards right, stay invested, connected and committed, the two of you will always be there. Oh, and about the sex thing – don’t worry about it. Lots of women aren’t into it during pregnancy. Go ahead and blame that on the hormones.
Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post. More about Jeanne
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.