If you're lucky, your mother-in-law will be very helpful when you are pregnant. Yet some MILs can test your boundaries and your patience. Yet with a little help, you can usually learn to make the relationship with your mother-in-law a more positive one. After all, she is your spouse's mom, so a little effort on both your parts is the primary goal. Here are some tips on how to deal with your mother-in-law:
Simply stated, there needs to be limits set in the relationship with your mother-in-law. These limits need to first be discussed with your spouse and then with your mother-in-law. Make sure to impart the feeling that she is welcome, but is not the one who is making the final decisions with your baby.
Create some space
Naturally, she will want to be as much a part of the pregnancy process as allowed, especially when it is the first grandchild. Yet your mother-in-law needs to understand space and boundaries from the first moments of pregnancy. If she has no idea that you want to have some space in the pregnancy, she will keep coming closer.
Talk about your feelings
If your mother-in-law is being a problem, the time will come when you need to talk about the problems. Stress during pregnancy is not an option and if she is causing anything resembling stress, you and your spouse need to talk about the stress and how to fix any problems occurring. Ignoring the problem now will only make things worse. She will be part of your baby's life for many years to come so squash out the differences now, if possible.
Do not let her intrude
Some mothers-in-law will feel the need to intrude beyond where you are at all comfortable. If she is talking about the weight gain or the many things you are doing wrong during the pregnancy, those are intrusions that need to be handled immediately. The more you let things go, the more resentment will build.
Allow a little spoiling
Your mother-in-law may want to spoil the baby (or even you a little during the pregnancy) and this is okay. As long as the spoiling is not in a negative manner, and she isn't going against any of baby care rules, allow her these small joys.
Define her position
During your pregnancy, share with her how you envision her as a grandma: babysitting, telling stories, spending time together, etc... Make her feel part of the pregnancy and your soon-to-be family and let her feel like she belongs. Giving her a careful look at how she figures into the pregnancy is a great way to prevent bad feelings later on and make her feel included from the get-go.
Give her something special to accomplish
All most mother-in-law really wants is to feel special and be a part of the spectacular event. Giving her a special job to accomplish during the pregnancy will keep her time occupied and the mom to be will feel less pressure. Maybe she can make a blanket, buy the crib, help decorate the nursery, or share family recipes.
Listen to her side of things
If your mother-in-law is confronted about her behavior, give her time to talk out her side of things. She may have a valid reason for acting the way she is acting. Or, she may just need to get her feelings off her chest, too.
Bring her to some doctor's appointments
The doctor's appointments are a great time to bring a sense of reality that the baby will soon be here. Inviting the mother-in-law to the doctor's to listen to the heartbeat or see the first sonogram is a special way to bond during pregnancy.
Patience should not be confused with tolerance. Being patient simply means giving her a little time to adjust to the things discussed and the time to spoil both mom and baby the way she sees fit.