"I have a HUGE problem: I hope you can help. I recently heard on the Smiley Show that you are pregnant. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, I’m pregnant with my first child, too, due in February next year. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a while now, so we’re really excited. We did have a heartbreaking experience last year though, because I miscarried a pregnancy before when I was only about nine weeks along. The doctor said that it’s very common, and a lot of women have had at least one miscarriage and not even know it. But still, this was a horrible thing to go through. I fell into a depression and even got some counseling for it. I still get sad about it sometimes, but not nearly like I used to. And this time, everything is normal so we couldn’t be happier.
The problem is my mother-in-law. She’s always been harmless but kind of a pushy lady, and even though I always try to let it go when she gets on my nerves, it’s gotten to the point lately that I’m afraid I’m going to lash out at her. This is her first grandchild so of course I expect her to be excited, and she was obviously sad when I had my miscarriage. The problem is that she keeps bringing it up to me, even now with this healthy baby on the way!!! She makes little comments about my activity level, that I shouldn’t do so much or I could have another miscarriage. She tells me that I should be more careful because “that’s my grandbaby in there”! I understand her concern but it really makes me mad, like I caused myself to lose the first baby. I didn’t! My doctor said I’m fine and I’m not doing anything wrong. Anyway, I’m starting to be mad at her all the time and the crazy hormones don’t help! I know you know what I mean. What should I do?
Dear Edgy Preggie,
Congratulations to you too, and of course you have my sympathy. The hormones are quite the wild ride, yes? And having a well-meaning but difficult in-law saying the perfectly wrong things can only make you feel more like having a full-on freak-out. But before you do, try telling her (calmly) that you’re not about to put your precious baby in jeopardy, and you are not doing anything unless you get the okay from your excellent doctor. I doubt she blames you for your loss, rather is just concerned for you and the baby. Hopefully, the reassurance will allay her fears and give her the hint that the subject should now be closed. If she persists, explain to her that reawakening your own fears of having another miscarriage causes stress, which isn’t good for the baby. You can even have your husband mention that her comments are having unintended consequences. In fact, that sets a precedent for your mother that you and your husband are a united front on issues concerning the kiddo. Setting boundaries now could help you avoid unwanted criticisms of your parenting style later. If you help your mother-in-law differentiate between supportive advice and unwelcome commentary, I’m sure she’ll understand. Enjoy your pregnancy!