Most people would assume that having a baby is a natural milestone in any relationship. Some would say that having a baby is perhaps the ultimate milestone because it ties two people together for the rest of their lives. But we all know that parenthood is not what keeps a relationship going; instead, it can often prove to be the biggest test of a romantic bond in some cases. 

Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are the latest celebrity couple to be joining the ranks of other parents-to-be. The supermodel confirmed her pregnancy on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

Some are going to be super pleased for them, some might be a little jealous, but at the end of the day, their experience is their own. The bun brewing in the oven is the only thing that matters to them at this moment. 

For those who haven’t been following their journey over the years, Zayn and Gigi have been through a lot. As we all know, Zayn is a former boy-bander, someone who has enjoyed widespread success and fame, while Gigi is a popular model and one of the most well-known personalities of her generation. 

The two have been in love, they’ve broken up repeatedly but they’ve been friends— it hasn’t been the smoothest, most consistent road for them. So how did they overcome those challenges and get their act together for parenthood? How did they determine that this was the best time to give parenthood a go? Are they really ready?

We don’t have the answers for everything but we can tell you that the couple has seen some rainy days together. Which is why they’re stronger today than they’ve ever been. 

Zayn and Gigi both suffer from anxiety 

It’s hard to tell whether their mental health issues were something that brought them closer to each other or something that tore them apart. It’s probably a bit of both, but the truth of the matter is that both Gigi and Zayn have been very honest about their mental health challenges and how they deal with anxiety on a daily basis. 

Zayn opened up about his troubles in a revelatory essay on Time, where he discussed how being a solo performer and putting himself out there in front of thousands of fans exacerbates his anxiety.

He also came clean about his eating disorder. The singer had to cancel a number of shows in 2016 for these anxiety issues, but instead of lying to his fans about it, he chose to open up. 

I was done with putting out statements that masked what was really going on. I wanted to tell the truth. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; it affects millions of people every day. I know I have fans out there who have been through this kind of thing, too, and I wanted to be honest for their sake, if nothing else

Zayn Malik in Time

Likewise, his girlfriend Gigi Hadid also didn’t hold back from speaking out about how she’s been suffering for anxiety for many years as well. Back in 2016, Gigi took part in a Reebok Women panel about mental health, where she shared her experiences with anxiety and how it particularly accelerates before interviews or during big moments. 

Gigi also talked about how social media plays a rather large part in triggering these anxious feelings because she feels like she needs to be a picture-perfect role model to her fans and followers at all times. 

It gets so unmanageable sometimes that she has to sit herself down and tell herself that she’s a good person with good intentions. And that no one has the right to judge you from just a photo or a social media post; it’s the inner person that always comes first. 

I get anxiety before doing interviews right after something big happens. [I] feel almost suffocated by the world and the world’s opinions

Gigi Hadid in Reebok Women

They’ve been on-and-off for years

We’ve tried to do the calculations but it’s not easy–the pair have broken up more times than it’s possible to count. Not to mention the times they professed their love for each other while broken up.

For example, this is a tweet that Zayn posted on his Twitter during a time the pair were thought to have split:

The pair first got together in November 2015 long before either of them had opened up about their mental health obstacles. Before they’d begun dating, Zayn was engaged to fellow singer Perrie Edwards of Little Mix and Gigi was reportedly dating Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. Both of them had been in high-profile relationships but that didn’t stop them from being drawn to one another. 

Since then, the pair have starred in music videos and magazine covers together, professed their love for each other on social media, spent holidays with each other’s families, shown up at each others’ apartments while broken up, posted official break-up statements, clapped back at haters doubting their relationship— the list goes on.

They’ve gone through so many phases together that Zayn ever refused to call them a couple after a while. 

We’re adults. We don’t need to put a label on it, make it something for people’s expectations.

Zayn Malik to GQ Magazine

But anxiety almost tore them apart 

Although there hasn’t been official confirmation on this, it’s been said by multiple sources that Zayn’s anxiety got a bit much for Gigi to handle sometimes.

For example, it’s been said that Gigi had wanted him to take time off touring for a year just so he could focus on mental health. She was worried about him because he was prone to having so many panic attacks while touring that she didn’t know how she could help him. Sometimes the attacks became so severe that Zayn would have a hard time breathing or moving. 

Another source claimed in 2018 that Zayn’s “mind” was once again causing difficulties in his relationship with Gigi. Being the social butterfly that she is, she’d wanted to go out and hang out with friends and family in public. But Zayn’s fear of public situations was getting to her, and it may have prompted a mutual break-up. 

Yet they’ve always been each other’s rocks

It might be futile at the moment to speculate the extent to which their mental health complications played a role in their break-ups. What matters is that the two were finally seen rekindling their relationship in December 2019 and have made the decision to begin a new life together. 

It’s key to know how the two of them have proved to be solid support systems for each other. Back when Zayn pulled out of live performances due to his anxiety, Gigi commended his decision on social media and expressed how proud she was. 

“I’ve seen the battles you go through and the ways you fight to get in a place that allows you to get up there for your fans,” she wrote. “Your bravery in those times makes me proud, but your honesty last night proved what you’re all about, being real.

We all know that there are significant disparities in how men and women go through and address their mental health blocks. It’s often thought that women are more vulnerable and hence more prone to anxiety attacks, whereas men are the ones that need to be tough and fearless. However, Zayn and Gigi have no interest in keeping up with those gender-based restrictions. 

Zayn has been frank about his anxiety struggles. And Gigi has praised and supported him throughout without caring about what people think. The most imperative aspect is that fans have been able to relate to Zayn through his honesty, which in turn helps them manage their anxiety challenges as well. 

And Zayn wanted to highlight these double standards.

People saw strength in that, and they didn’t seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy. We’re all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.

Zayn Malik to Time

True love comes through in the toughest of times

Zayn and Gigi will have been together for five years when their baby will be born later this year. Time doesn’t determine the strength of your relationship but experience surely does.

The fact that the two of them have been able to help each other through anxiety speaks to the resilience and devotion they carry in their hearts. Being in a high-profile relationship when you’re surrounded by cameras everywhere you go is no easy feat, and we can understand how that can become a trigger for anxiety. 

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❤️Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating…….

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But Zayn and Gigi tell us that if you’re able to show understanding, maturity and support to one another during those low points of mental health, you might actually have it in you to tackle parenthood. 

The love that survives overtime isn’t the love that is the most Instagrammable or the one that’s most acceptable for society; it’s the one that sees us through hardship and emotional challenges we may come to face.

When we feel helpless, it’s love that helps us make sense of our condition. So never turn down the chance to say how much you appreciate your loved ones. 

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