Is It In Poor Taste For Pregnant Women To Date?

June 15, 2014  |  

37 weeks is a long time. In a perfect world couples would pro-create and go on to co-parent effectively for 18 years and beyond even if they don’t remain in a romantic relationship. But in the real world, sadly most women end up single parents before then can even clearly read the positive sign on a pregnancy test.

I’ve witnessed how complicated nine months can be for even the most planned pregnancies. Most of the young women I teach are balancing preparing for the unexpected with taking time for themselves. In the worst scenarios, they’re navigating the hormonal ups and downs with very little support. It was easy for me in the beginning to adopt a stance of, “You have enough to worry about. How are you worried about starting a new relationship while you’re busy creating life?” But the honest truth is that before a woman is a mother, she’s a woman and although motherhood becomes a primary part of her life once she becomes pregnant, it’s not the only part. It’s not fair to assume that her only concern should be her child and she should completely ignore all the other great things about her life and personality that make her who she is. Every parent, expecting or pro needs balance and for many women a new partner may be the most support they get during a pregnancy.

But admittedly, starting a new relationship while pregnant seems like a burden. Between doctor’s appointments, being paranoid over every tingle or twinge, morning sickness and all the other symptoms that a woman’s body and brain goes through when she’s preparing to give birth, I can’t imagine the added stress of getting to know someone new. I am not saying that single, pregnant women should ward off every interaction with males while expecting like the plague, but the truth is pregnancy changes everything. Pregnancy can be hard for a man (especially one who doesn’t have kids of his own) to deal with. First dating stages are often filled with infatuation and undivided attention for each other under normal circumstances. The good morning texts and all the nice things a woman does for a new man when everyone’s on their best behavior go by the wayside when a woman is pre-occupied with Braxton Hicks and breast feeding options. On a simply superficial level, you may not feel the sexiest when you can’t see your feet past your baby bump you and talking dirty can seem plain awkward when it feels like a baby is getting his Harlem Shake on in your uterus.  For some women, sex may go completely off the table if their libido is affected.

Many men may even feel like they’re suddenly dating a complete stranger when the cute mommy-to-be they first met turns into the mother that answers the door with in infant strapped to her chest rocking dark circles from a night of feeding a colicky baby. It’s not to say every mother has to choose between mini-skirts and mini vans, but there are some very real, un-glamorous things about motherhood that don’t flow seamlessly with most people’s views of the early bliss of a relationship.

You can’t always choose when love comes calling, and for some it just may happen to be during the second trimester. But like anything in life, successful relationships that can endure the added stress of a pregnancy usually require a whole lot of patience and maturity. Even the most seasoned couple can find themselves tested when bringing a baby in the world, so starting a relationship in the middle of a pregnancy is nothing for the weak willed.

I won’t say women shouldn’t date while pregnant, but you have to be honest with yourself about exactly how much you can or should handle during such a demanding time.You won’t be just getting accustomed to your new man’s life, but also the one you just created. It’s not all up to the women either. A man basically has to own up to the fact that it’s not all about him from the beginning and honestly confront that although he may not have contributed DNA, that baby may very well come in the world with him being the only father figure he’s ever known. Like dating a woman who already has children, a man has to know he’s not just signing up for a girlfriend, but possibly a whole family. In the long run, starting a new relationship during a pregnancy isn’t ideal, but it isn’t impossible either.

Is it better for women to postpone dating until after pregnancy?

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

 

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