Five things I wish my mother-in-law knew when I was pregnant

Managing your own mum through your pregnancy can be tricky at times, but it can be even harder to manage the mother-in-law.

New mums share five things they wish their mother-in-law knew when they were pregnant.

1.  Don’t put pressure on me

You’re probably freaking out enough without having your mother-in-law drop hints about mothers who do this or don’t do that. Your mother-in-law might not understand why some mums don’t immediately bond with their babies – but it doesn’t make you a bad mother or a bad person if that happens to you.

It’s unlikely your mother-in-law is deliberately trying to upset you, so give her the benefit of the doubt in the first instance. If that doesn’t work, try having an honest conversation with her about what’s upsetting you. Otherwise, maybe your partner could come in to bat for you and let her know how her judgements make you feel.

2.  Back off

Is your mother-in-law dropping in more and more or hovering around home picking up your washing or ironing your partner’s shirts? Although sometimes you could do with the housework help, her constant presence may feel like an invasion. It can be hard enough to tell your own mother if she’s overstepping the mark, but you may not feel comfortable telling your mother-in-law. 

Try to be honest and establish really open communication. If it’s proving difficult, perhaps your partner can help? Remember your mother-in-law is probably just trying to help and won’t know she’s overstepping the mark unless someone says something.

3.  Balancing work and pregnancy can   be exhausting

We’re all guilty of trying to be superwoman at times. But at the end of the day we’re human and when you’re pregnant and working, day to day life can be that bit harder. You might not always have the energy for a catch up, a long phone chat or to have your mother-in-law over for dinner.

It’s a good idea to try to organise catch ups that aren’t too far away from home and are at a time when you’re not too tired. If you’re not comfortable arranging this why not ask your partner to explain the situation - that you may not be able to accept every invitation. You never know, your mother-in-law may be able to chip in to make life a little bit easier in this busy time.

4.  My pregnancy is different to yours

Just because your mother-in-law was running around like a headless chook at 30 weeks, it doesn’t mean you’re a whinger if you’re exhausted and struggling. Everyone’s pregnancy is different and everyone copes in their own way.

While it’s nice to bond over pregnancy stories, it’s important your mother-in-law is understanding of your unique experience. Also while her advice is probably welcome, it doesn’t mean you always have to take it. 

5.  I wish you would respect our wishes

If you’ve shared news that you’re pregnant before the all-important 12 week scan, only to find out your mother in law has blurted it out to anyone that will listen – you may well be upset with her. 

It’s really important to set the boundaries. Let your parents and parents-in-law know what you have decided for your pregnancy and birth. If you are open and honest it may help them understand why it’s so important to you that your wishes are respected.
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