It’s supposed to be an exciting, new chapter in your lives – so finding out that your partner cheated on you, either while you were pregnant, or after you’ve had your baby, will leave anyone distraught.
But, before you make any rash decisions, think things through and take the below advice into consideration.
- Try not to make any drastic and permanent decisions at this time. (Unless you and your baby are physically in danger). Because of the hormones associated with your pregnancy or giving birth combined with this incredibly emotional shock or trauma, you will not be able to make calm, informed decisions. You are vulnerable and could regret certain decision if you did not have enough time and clearness of mind to think through all your options.
- Your biggest priority is survival. At this point it is normal and okay to just take it day-by-day.
- Immediately fall back on the love and care of your support network. You need emotional and physical help. Use your loved ones as confidants, to help you with day-to-day responsibilities, and giving you a shoulder to cry on. This is a problem that is very difficult to handle on your own.
- Do everything in your power to ensure your and your baby’s health. Speak to your gynaecologist or doctor about the effects of this stressful and painful situation on your body and how this will affect your baby. By getting professional medical advice in this regard, you will be better able to manage your emotions and stress in a healthy way.
- Try not to include your pregnancy or your baby as part of your battle plan against your partner in moments of frustration or anger. This could bring distance between a father/parent and his/their child. There might be a chance that your relationship survives and even if it doesn’t, your partner could still be part of your child’s life. As a mother, and if at all possible and safe, you should always try to protect your child’s relationship with their other parent.
- At some point, when you feel strong and calm enough you will have to make some difficult decisions about your and your baby’s future. If necessary, seek the help of an objective professional – a spiritual leader or a therapist for example.
- If you have a good relationship with your partner’s family, do not immediately end these relationships. They can be of precious and important value to you in this process. For example, by providing you with emotional and financial support if necessary. As well as having a relationship in the future with your child, that can contribute to his/her life.
- Take time for yourself. Self-care and self-love are necessities in surviving this situation. You are going through something very difficult. If you are not able to cope, this will impact on your ability to take care of your baby or impact negatively on your pregnancy. You need time to grieve and heal. You need time away from your baby to take care of yourself and to come to terms with what has happened and what this means for both of your futures. If you are not sure how to do this, ask your friends and family to support you. Ask them to help take care of your baby or to encourage you to do things that relaxes, calms and restores you.
Ilse is a Christian psychologist, specialising in health psychology. As a motivational speaker, she focuses on equipping people to function better emotionally in their day-to-day life. She achieves this by teaching practical ways to improve life skills. Ilse’s practice specialises in subject choice and career counselling.