5 things I wish my mum knew when I was pregnant

Things have changed. Having a baby these days presents a whole new set of challenges for mums-to-be.

Some new mums share five things their mum should know.

1. Things have changed

In the 20 or 30-odd years since your mum had a baby, there have been big advances in medicine, research and recommendations for pregnancy and parenthood. Your mum may have eaten soft cheese and raw seafood, used cloth nappies and never returned to work, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. The pressures in society are different and so are the many products on the market you may struggle to wade through.

While it’s natural to go to your mum for help, some women can find it frustrating if they hear outdated advice. You know she means well, but if you hear one more story starting with, “When I was pregnant…”. Try not to get annoyed. Grandmothers-to-be are usually just trying to help. Let her know things have changed and share the trusted info you’ve found so the two of you can learn together.

2. I need some space

Your mum’s probably excited about being a grandparent, but you might be craving some time to yourself. On top of the emotions, morning (or all day) sickness and tiredness, pregnancy is a busy time. There are so many appointments to make and there is so much to organise and do before the baby arrives.

It can be hard to juggle work, time with friends and family, and everything else that comes with planning for a baby. And sometimes you may simply not be in the mood to catch up. Try to be honest with your mum and let her know if you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired, and would prefer time to yourself.

3. I'm scared

Having a baby for the first time can be scary. Your life is about to change, you might be having a hard time in your pregnancy, and looming large is the knowledge you have to give birth at the end of it all.  Try to talk to your mum about your feelings. Let her know you’d prefer not to hear any scary stories about long labours or 10 pound babies. You really just need love, support and the facts to help guide your decisions and prepare you for what lies ahead.

4. It's not my fault if pregnancy doesn't go to plan

Up to 1 in 5 women have a miscarriage before the baby is 20 weeks old, but if it’s something a grandmother-to-be hasn’t personally experienced it can be hard for them to understand. While miscarriage is spoken about more openly nowadays, in the past it was generally kept very quiet.

If your mum is finding it hard to relate, you might prefer to turn to others who have been there for support. There are also online, telephone and local support groups that may help you cope in this difficult time.

5. I have to try it my way

As a new mum you’ll no doubt take some time to settle into parenthood and discover what works and what doesn’t for your little family. Just because something was right for your mum, it doesn’t necessarily mean you must follow suit. Even if you make mistakes at the beginning, sometimes it’s what is needed as part of your individual journey.

Your own mum can be a wealth of knowledge when you’re expecting and after the birth, but there may come a point where you need to say, “I appreciate the advice mum, but it’s not for me”. Those words aren’t always easy to say, but it’s important she understands it’s your life, and your baby, and it’s up to you and your partner to decide what works best for your family.

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