I don’t know if I am alone in this, but I feel like every major life event that I have had with my family is like climbing up a really tall, mosquito infested mountain. I just keep walking up this rocky, un-shaded, insect hell hole until I make it to the top. Once I get to the end, I realize that everything is beautiful and it was worth every bit of effort it took to climb that mountain, but I still wish it wasn’t such a difficult journey.
Everything from my little league banquets to giving birth to my first born child has been more dramatic than I had planned, because my family is big, loud, and opinionated. Although I love my family and we get along well for the most part, it can be hard to navigate huge life events with them around, especially if you are a people pleaser like me. If you are pregnant and you are feeling the stress of family members, read these 5 tips.
You Are In Charge
Seriously, listen to me, fellow parents. You are the one cooking the baby. You are the one feeling the pain of growing this child inside of you for 9 arduous months. If you want to give birth in your bathtub surrounded by baby goats, then that is between you and your doctor. It’s nobody’s business how you decide to do things. Any time somebody tries to pressure you into something, just say “I really appreciate your input, but I am going to stick with my plan.”
Tell People Your Plan Early
If you know that you have family members who have different expectations than you do, then you need to create a birth plan and let everyone know about it early. Maybe your Aunt Jenine has her heart set on coming to the hospital to see the baby, but you really only wanted to spend that time with grandparents and your spouse. You don’t want to be in an awkward situation where your family says something like ‘Oh I can’t wait to kiss those cheeks’ and then you have to awkwardly tell them that you don’t want anyone kissing the baby until a certain point in time. It is better to avoid those situations by telling everyone the plan as early as possible. This will give people time to adjust or get over their hurt feelings.
Write Your Plan Down
This might seem silly, but if your family is anything like mine, they are going to forget the plan. You might tell everyone at the baby shower that you don’t want anybody around the baby for the first month, and then suddenly around 37 weeks your Uncle Carl is talking about how they can’t wait to take the RV down to see the baby at the hospital with their eight kids and four dogs. Just, for the love of God, write down your plan. Express the permanence of your decisions in ink.
Your Doctor is Your MVP
I don’t know how many times during my pregnancy I tried to tell people my wishes and they dismissed my opinions with their own google searches or ‘experience’ with children. When this happened, I always talked to my doctor. Why do I not want people kissing my baby? Because my doctor warned me about the risks of sickness in newborns and I choose to take it seriously. Anytime somebody tried to undermine a medical decision I was making, I just followed their advice with ‘Well, my doctor said..” Sometimes, if your family does not listen to you, they will choose to accept your decisions if your doctor is the one advising it.
Kill Them With Kindness
It can be frustrating when your family does not take your plans seriously, but it is important to remember that everyone is coming from a place of love. Every piece of advice is given because they love the child growing inside of you and they are excited to meet him/her. Just because somebody gives you advice, doesn’t mean you have to take it. I think that the best course of action when family members are getting on your nerves is to kill them with kindness. You can’t please everyone, but you can be kind to everyone. Be firm in your decisions, but be clear that your decisions are made in the best interests of your child and not because you are trying to hurt your family.
I am grateful that I have so many people in my life who love my son. However, I also understand the stress that can come when too many people have too many opinions. It’s the kind of stress that nobody wants to deal with during pregnancy. So, if you are pregnant and dealing with family stress, just remember that your opinion is the only one that matters. Use your doctor as back up if you need to, be clear about what your plan is, and be kind to those who you just want to strangle. It will all be over soon!
Is your family loud but loving?
What's something that's helped you maintain control (and your sanity) during pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!
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