I don’t know about you, but ever since I was little I dreamed of being pregnant and having babies. The funny thing is I never imagined how I would include my future mother-in-law during pregnancy.
In my childhood dreams, my mother-in-law was an ominous figure who stood in the background. She only came onto the scene when I invited her, which wasn’t often – boy, was I wrong! Who would have thought that your mother-in-law would want to be a part of your journey into motherhood? Well, I’m here to tell you – they do.
You may or may not have a great relationship with your mother-in-law but either way, you are here because you’re trying to find ways to include her during your pregnancy.
I want to give you some sure-fire ways on how to include your mother-in-law during pregnancy that won’t make you uncomfortable but will make her feel like she is a part of the process. Some of these may be more “invasive” for those of you who are close to your mother-in-law and some can be taken with a grain of salt for those of you who want to keep her at somewhat of a distance.
How to Include Your Mother-in-Law During Pregnancy
1. Let her throw your baby shower or at least be a part of the planning.
My mother-in-law and I live about 6 hours apart, so this means I was lucky enough to ask her to host a baby shower all by herself for my husband’s side of the family and my mother hosted one in town for my side.
If your mother-in-law and mother live in the same town this could be tricky. You could still have them host separately for each side of the family, or you can have them host together – if they get along, that is. If they don’t get along, this could leave your own mother feeling left out, rejected, or replaced.
A suggestion for this is to give your own mother all but one aspect of planning. Some suggestions:
- Have your mother-in-law plan, prepare, or pick-up food/goodies
- She is in charge of coming up with and preparing party games
- She makes some hand-made decor, party favors, or prizes
2. Put her in charge of a gender reveal party or part of the planning
Similarly to having her host or be a part of the baby shower, put her in charge of the gender reveal. This one is trickier for those who live in different towns because once the news is out, you won’t be able to keep it off of social media.
3. Get help with nesting
This is easier said than done – when I was nesting, I didn’t want anyone’s help because nobody did anything to my own standards. However, my mother-in-law has the gift of serving and her specialties are cooking, cleaning, and house-work.
While I still wanted to nest by myself, I asked her for some help with things that I was fully capable of (or could at least ask my husband) and she happily did them. Sure, I had to go back and redo some stuff or find all the crap she put in random places – but I knew this made her feel needed.
*Pro-tip: DO-NOT ask for help putting the crib together or any other sort of typical dad job without asking your husband first. Even if they don’t get to it right away, these things might matter more than you think.
4. Take her to a keepsake ultrasound appointment
This one is a bit more invasive, but it really brings joy to mothers and mothers-in-law alike. After you have already experienced your first joys with your spouse, offer to visit a keepsake ultrasound office near you and let her get a preview of her future grandchild.
5. Ask her to come over and play with her grandkids while you get stuff done
If you have other children, this is a great way to get some nesting done by yourself or even relax! Your mother-in-law will remember the days when she wished she could get some alone time and really feel like she is helping you out. Plus, time with her grandkids – winning!
Need some ideas to give them fun things to do together? Print a few of our love quotes for kids and have them create some sweet decor for the baby’s nursery (or just to hang on your fridge).
There are also lots of toilet paper roll crafts that are easy and fun!
6. Have a name brainstorming session for her OR the baby!
We’re a part of a new generation of grandmothers who feel like they’re too young to be considered a grandma. Grandmas everywhere are trying to come up with cutesy names like: mimi, glamma, gigi, yaya, noni, and the list goes on. As much as I’m not a fan of ANY of these, I did give my mother-in-law the satisfaction of a grandma naming session. She and I threw out a bunch of crazy names and, ultimately, I steered her towards Nana.
If you and your spouse are comfortable allowing name suggestions, then another fun conversation might be naming your child. She can give her input but be sure to set boundaries about mocking names you and your spouse are seriously considering.
7. Get foot massages or pedicures
Pregnancy is not easy on your feet! This is a super easy way to help your mother-in-law feel like she is contributing while you both relax! She will reminisce about the days when she was carrying your spouse and understand your troubles. If you’re lucky, she might even pay for it, too!
8. Ask for pregnancy/birthing tips
Be prepared to take anything your mother-in-law says with a grain of salt. This conversation could get interesting, insulting, invasive, controlling, who knows! A suggestion might be to go about it as a brain-picking session where you have a set of questions prepared. The conversation is somewhat controlled and you might feel more at ease knowing the topics that will be discussed. This is a great way to include your mother-in-law if she doesn’t live close.
9. Ask her to buy some clothes or decor for the nursery
At first, this might seem shallow or rude; but, in all honesty, grandmas love buying anything they can for their future or current grandbabies. If you gave your mother-in-law the sole task of buying part of the baby’s wardrobe or even giving her the nursery color scheme and some ideas for decor – she would be delighted to help nest and get her future grandchild’s room in order!
If you’d rather give her a smaller task that she will still enjoy, allow her to be the first to contribute to the baby’s library. She could choose a few of her favorite books – maybe even ones she loved as a little girl! Help jumpstart her ideas by sharing this list of the best books for toddlers.
10. Let her feel the baby kick
Hear me out! If you are anything like me, you did NOT want ANYONE touching your belly while you were pregnant.
Something I did for my mother and my mother-in-law was I allowed them one touch. I told them they can choose when, but ultimately, they still had to ask (i.e. they couldn’t just come up and start touching me at the beach – they had to ask me if they could feel my belly). This worked WONDERS!
For anyone that doesn’t have a problem with people touching your pregnant belly – more power to you! This could be a simple way to include your mother-in-law during pregnancy and let her get close to you and your baby.
I hope this has inspired some great ways for you to include your mother-in-law during pregnancy so that you feel comfortable and she feels included. Hopefully this helps you to create some boundaries while also allowing your mother-in-law to feel included during your pregnancy.
How do you see yourself including your mother-in-law during pregnancy? Did this inspire an idea I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.