Photo courtesy of Joshua Kenney

10 Questions Every Pregnant Woman Should Ask Her Own Mom Before Giving Birth

Ad failed to load

I won't pretend that relationships with mothers can't be complicated, to say the least. I also won't pretend that one's own pregnancy and motherhood can't complicate preexisting complications. However, if you're in a place with your mother where you have a good, mutually respectful relationship, I think there are questions you should ask your mom before giving birth.

I'm #blessed to have a #blessed relationship with my mom. She also happens to be one of those people who gives off a very strong "motherly" vibe to pretty much everyone. Just think "real life Molly Weasley" and that's basically her. So not only is she my mom, but even if she weren't she would be a really good person to ask about all things pregnancy and motherhood. We usually talk a lot, but when I was pregnant with my first child the texts and calls doubled.

"Mom. The baby moved, but it wasn't like, you know, a kick. It was more like a jostle. Is that normal?"

Ad failed to load

"Mom. Should I be worried that I ate half a jar of peanut butter today? Is that, like, bad?"

My constant stream of half-worried-but-mostly-curious questions would usually result in her saying, "It's fine" in a soothing, self-assured way that eased my nerves. As a necessary and always interesting follow up, she would tell me a story about about one of her five pregnancies, just in case there was an ounce of doubt in my mind.

I got a lot out of those conversations, so I recommend you start some of your own with your own mom and with the following questions:

Ad failed to load

"Can You Please Make Me, Like, 47 Freezer Meals?"


Let's just skip the social niceties and cut to the chase, shall we? When it comes to acts of service and favors, new parents need three things: food, food, and also food. They do not have time to prepare or necessarily even procure this food themselves, and so they rely on friends and family to keep them fed for the first few weeks. Fortunately, if your mother is anything like mine, food is love and love is food and she will be more than willing to provide sustenance. So just go ahead and ask her so she can get a head start on helping you prep.

"What Was Your Birth Like?"


Of course not all mothers actually give birth. However, if your mom also happens to have been the woman whose uterus you resided in, go ahead and ask her what that was like. Why? Well, for starters, I believe that not enough women actually talk to each other about birth unless they've already done it. In general, it's a good thing to know about, but it's also beneficial that you glean wisdom from a variety of sources if you ever decide to take a bash at it. Secondly, a lot of women wind up having similar birth experiences as the women related to them (hello genetics, my old friend). Last but certainly not least, don't you just want to know? It's good bonding time!

This is, of course, assuming she did not regale you with the gory details of your own birth every birthday and Mother's Day. If she did, don't you complain, as that is her goddamn right.

"What Surprised You Most About Birth And/Or New Motherhood?"


There's always going to be some aspect of this whole baby and parenting business that catches you off-guard, no matter how much experience you have or reading you do. Still, it can't hurt to try to prepare for as many unknowns as possible. Chatting with your mom about what she didn't expect can help you have a better idea of what to prepare for.

Ad failed to load

"What Was I Like As A Baby?"


This is both for practical reasons (because, again, genetics can come creeping up on you) and simply to gain more general knowledge about how babies can be. It's also nice to watch your mom remember interacting with you as you will soon be interacting with your own little one.

"How Did You & Your Partner Co-Parent Effectively? If You Didn't, Why Not?"


Obviously if your mom didn't parent with a partner (or if you don't plan to) this is less relevant. However, if both you and your mom have a person in your life who will be (ideally) as involved as you in raising this child, it's a good idea to go in with eyes wide open. After all, parenting is something that requires considerable mental prep and has a steep learning curve. Trying to coordinate that with another person adds yet another level of difficulty to an already tremendous challenge. So if your parents worked well together, what specifically made that work? What took work? If they didn't work well together, why not? What made communication and cooperation difficult. This may well be a tough conversation, but it's definitely one worth having.

"Can I Have Your [Streaming Service] Password?"


Don't get it twisted: you're having a baby, but that doesn't mean you stop being your mama's baby. By definition, you will be mooching off her as much as possible for as long as possible. Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Go? We're Millennials: the gig economy doesn't pay for all that luxury. And even if you can afford it, I mean, why bother? You know your mom will hook you up.

As the parent of a newborn, you're going to be binge-watching a lot of TV. Get those passwords now.

Ad failed to load

"What Do You Think Worked Really Well For You?"


Chances are your mom is going to give you a ton of advice anyway. Unsolicited advice can be a ridiculous annoyance, so just go ahead and ask her. Not only does the ol' girl probably have a trick or two up her sleeve that will come in handy, but maybe, just maybe, directly asking will mean she'll get it all out of her system and you won't be bombarded with information you didn't ask for that is varying degrees of helpful.

"What Would You Have Done Differently?"


Again, this could be another difficult conversation, but one you can potentially get a lot of insight from.

"Would You Please Help/Not Help?"


Whether you want your mom to come stay with you to help out as you get the hang of things, or you need her to stay away while you get settled, have that conversation before you give birth. If you want her help, don't just presume she's going to drop everything to rush to your side: she has her own thing going on. Ask her and ask nicely and be thankful for what she is able to do. If you think your mom is going to go overboard in her desire to "help" and just wind up overwhelming you, let her know you want some one-on-one baby time before anyone comes over. Or that you need time to figure out what kind of help you'll need from her. Establish clear, explicitly stated boundaries and ask that she respect your wishes.

No matter what you need, there's a totally low-key, easy way to go about facilitating support. However, once you've popped out a baby and are tired and full of powerful hormones is not the time to attempt low-key anything.

Ad failed to load

"Can You Rub My Feet?"


Because, chance are, your mommy is one of the very few who will willingly rub your swollen, sweaty trotters. You're her baby, after all.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills