You announced your pregnancy to your family and all of the sudden, your mother-in-law starts calling you daily, emailing you pregnancy articles and parenting tips, and asking if she can help you shop for the nursery. You've barely had the time to wrap your head around the fact that your body is incubating a tiny human, so this may come as a big shock to your system.
Setting the ground rules early
Set the ground rules as soon as you can. Sit down with your husband and make sure you are both on the same page with regard to your pregnancy and what you wish for when it comes to the arrival of your baby. There's nothing worse than having to backtrack or argue about what one person said to a family member while the other one strongly disagrees.
Important questions to discuss with your husband
- Are you going to invite your families to prenatal appointments and/or to the gender ultrasound?
Finding out the gender of your baby
- Are you going to find out the gender of your baby?
- If you find out, will you tell friends and family or keep it a secret?
Baby shower planning
- Are you okay with your in-laws planning your baby shower and/or helping out with your baby shower?
- How will respond to questions, suggestions and overbearing situations if you do not want your family's involvement in the planning?
- Do you want help decorating the nursery?
Tip: Set up a baby registry and include items that you want or need for the nursery. This way you receive items picked by your husband and yourself but your family feels like they are contributing to the baby's room.
Labor and delivery
- When will you alert family members that you are in labor?
- Do you want their help -- with older children, cleaning the house or at the hospital for support?
- Do you want your family at the hospital, in the delivery room or in the waiting room?
- When do you want to accept visitors after delivery?
First few weeks with baby
- Do you want the extra help around the house and/or with the baby?
- Do you want your family staying at your house or will you suggest they stay at a nearby hotel?
- If you and your husband don't want your family at the birth or even around days or weeks after the baby arrives, when can they come and visit?
Compromise when needed
You may not see eye-to-eye with your husband on certain topics regarding your in-laws and that's okay. Maybe your husband doesn't quite understand why you want your mother in the delivery room, but his mother has to wait in the waiting room. Talk through these situations and try to come up with a solution that makes you both happy or requires that you both meet somewhere in the middle.
More about in-laws and pregnancy
The delivery room: Public thoroughfare or private club?
Why didn't they tell me? What women wish they'd known
Unwanted labor room guests