10 Questions Your In-Laws Should Never Ask You When You're Pregnant
To be honest, my relationship with my in-laws hasn't always been that great. I've been married twice and, as a result, have had to navigate relationships with two sets of in-laws (yay). It wasn't easy, and then I got pregnant and things got even harder. After I got pregnant the first time, my mother-in-law seemed to lose her filter and sense of self-control, especially when it came to asking me questions about my pregnancy. It sucked because, seriously, there are questions in-laws should never ask a pregnant woman. Like, ever.
In a way, I sort of get it. Most grandparents-to-be are super excited to meet their new grand baby and want to share pregnancy and parenting knowledge with their child (and by extension, their daughter-in-law). They likely have no idea that these questions can feel weird, intrusive, and rude AF. Or, they simply don't care. So things can get dicey, because, as a general rule, most pregnant people prefer to ask for advice when they want it, rather than receive it unsolicited, especially when that advice is coming from your mother-in-law.
I've fielded all sorts of questions from my in-laws, from casual inquiries about my pregnant body (which are never fun from anyone, but especially not fun from your in-laws), to questions about our plans for their future grandchild, questions about baby names, and "up close and personal" questions about my pregnancy and birthing plans. They not only made for some pretty awkward moments, but these endless queries made me pissed off, self-conscious, and emotional, which is not a delightful combination. Trust me.
"When Did You Conceive Your Baby?"
When someone asks their daughter or son-in-law this question, do they they not realize that they are literally asking about their child's sex life? It's awkward AF. There's no way am I answering that question, if my in-laws (or pretty much anyone) asks.
"What Do You Mean I Need A Flu Shot?"
This one was a deal breaker for my partner and I, and for good reason. So we didn't make exceptions for anyone, including close family members. It was so weird how many people tried to argue. Sorry, not respecting our wishes about exposing our newborn to deadly viruses means no baby snuggles for you.
"Can We Be In The Delivery Room?"
This was so hard. I had no idea how to respond without offending them, so I said, "Maybe," when what I really meant was, "Hell no." What I should have said was, "While I appreciate you wanting to be here to support us, you being in the delivery room would not help me feel relaxed and supported. We'll happily call you once baby is here, but to be blunt, there's no way I'm risking you seeing my ass hanging out, or worse, my vulva. Instead, you can be among the first people to see our baby."
"Have You Tried Saltines?"
Those of us who have survived hyperemesis gravidarum call this question being "crackered." While crackers help some pregnant people some of the time, with morning sickness they didn't do a thing for me. So when my now former mother-in-law asked me if I'd tried crackers it, well, made me want to stuff crackers up her you-know-what.
"What Are You Planning To Name The Baby?"
I made the mistake of telling my then mother-in-law a name idea before my daughter was born. I will never forget the look on her face and the additional question, "Seriously?" And guys, it was a totally nice, reasonable name. I have no idea why she didn't like it, but after her response my then-husband and I vowed never to share our baby's name again. Our lips were sealed until she was born and her name was on the birth certificate.
"You Are Planning To Stay At Home With Your Baby, Right?"
When my mother-in-law asked me this particular question, it made me feel so defensive, even though I was happy with my decision to return to work after maternity leave. It was totally none of her business, and again, her prying made me feel like she was judging me (and she totally was).
"You Are Planning On Using Our Last Name, Right?"
Actually, we were planning to (and did) hyphenate our kids' last names. When my then in-laws asked this question, it honestly made me feel like crap. I didn't know how to respond, so I was honest. They were not pleased that my child wouldn't be carrying on their family name, but couldn't care less about them having both of our names. What a ridiculous double standard. Grrr.
"Can We Come Stay With You After The Baby Is Born?"
I told my in-laws the same thing I told everyone else, "You can come when I am ready for guests, and we will let you know when that is. Please be prepared to help and not expect too much from me. Also, don't forget to get your flu and DTAP vaccinations and to wash your hands or you are not holding the baby. No exceptions."
"Should You Really Be Eating/Drinking/Doing That?"
If a pregnant person (or any person, really) is eating, drinking, or doing something, it's OK, because it's their body and they get to decide. I generally don't want anyone's advice about what I do with my body, and that doesn't change just because I am pregnant with your grandchild.
"Are You Planning A Vaginal Birth?"
Nope. I don't like to answer questions about my birth choices, period, let alone questions from my in-laws about my vagina. I mean, I'm pretty sure people ask these questions because they are trying to make conversation, but damn, I would literally prefer to talk about anything else with my in-laws.