Coping With Abandonment Issues During Pregnancy

    Coping With Abandonment Issues During Pregnancy

    Pregnancy is a huge life change. The fact that you are bringing a whole new person to the world is a monumental undertaking. Life-changing events can bring about anxiety, stress, and in some cases, abandonment issues. Apart from the physical changes that happen to the body during this time, there are adjustments you have to deal with with regard to the work situation, home arrangements, and finances. It’s unavoidable to have mixed feelings about the pregnancy, especially for new parents. It might even strain the relationship between two partners. This is even more prominent in couples in which one or both partners have some form of emotional trauma.

    What is trauma?

    A trauma is an intense experience that has deep-seated long-term effects on a person’s quality of life and overall wellness. It can come in different forms; emotional trauma, in particular, results from past or current experiences that cause us to feel unsafe and vulnerable. Feelings of powerlessness, fear, and anxiety are just some ways that describe emotional trauma. These are similar to feelings that people with abandonment issues have. Some physical symptoms could even stem from this type of experience, such as chronic insomnia, nightmares, and other health conditions.

    According to experts in the field, the attachment with your primary caregiver determines the type of relationship you are able to form with others, and how you react to intimacy. If your primary responded to your cries as a baby and understood your emotional and physical needs, your attachment is secure. This begets self-confidence, trust, optimism, ability to manage conflict and a healthy response to intimacy.

    If your caregiver failed to consistently respond to your needs, it likely led to confusion vis-à-vis emotional communication. People with abandonment issues find it hard to understand their own feelings and those of others. It’s also difficult for them to create relationships. If they are in one, they might be too clingy, fearful, and anxious.

    What are abandonment issues?

    A fear of abandonment stems from anxiety that people you value or are close to will leave you. This could come from early experiences of loss, neglect, or rejection. People with such trauma can have a hard time fostering healthy relationships. For a pregnant woman with abandonment issues, they may fear that their partner will leave her. This could even push them to ruin their relationships by responding in an anxious/negative way.

    What are the signs of fear of abandonment?

    • Anxiety, depression
    • Difficulty trusting others
    • Getting into relationships too fast
    • Codependency
    • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
    • Avoiding circumstances where they can be rejected or separated from people they value
    • Staying in a toxic relationship
    • Difficulty in controlling emotions and distressing feelings
    • Panic at the thought of losing important people

    Abandonment issues in pregnancy: How can I cope?

    Pregnant women tend to get tired more easily and more often. All kinds of feelings will inevitably arise between partners and not all of them are positive emotions. These might be due to the impact the pregnancy and consequent birth will have on either partner’s career. Other reasons include their loss of independence, differences in desire for sex, and differences in feelings about pregnancy.

    Support is crucial during this time. Women who receive support from her partner during pregnancy feel happier and less stressed. As a bonus, lower stress benefits the baby too.

    Some ways to show support:

    • Accompany her to OBGYN visits
    • Contribute to decision-making regarding baby and the pregnancy
    • Attend childbirth classes

    Some forms of emotional support include:

    • Encourage and reassure
    • Ask how you can help
    • Be affectionate: hold hands and hug her
    • Help implement lifestyle changes: cut down on caffeine and alcohol, eat healthy foods
    • Encourage her to rest
    • Communicate with partners about relationship issues like the lack of interest in sex

    Couples therapy can help partners work through their fears together, teach them to interact with each other better, help them communicate and reconnect if they are emotionally distant.

    Key Takeaway

    Abandonment issues during pregnancy can create problems between partners and people close to you. These usually stem from traumatic experiences or the type of attachment you formed with your own parents. People suffering from fear of abandonment experience anxiety that a person important to them will leave them. Partners can show and offer support in different ways to allay such fears.

    Learn more about Mother Care here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by China Logarta · Updated May 12, 2022