The problem with your mother-in-law

By September 16, 20184th Trimester

“Every 1.5 hours? No honey that’s way too often, you obviously don’t have enough milk if he’s crying and wanting to feed that often.” Says your mother-in-law. She’s had 5 kids, she must know what she is talking about.

“She’s got colic. That amount of crying isn’t normal.” Says your pediatrician. I mean that’s what he studied, that’s what his book said. It must be right.

“Babe, you’re spoiling him! Stop holding him the whole day long, you’re making yourself crazy, this can’t be normal. We’ve attended to all his needs, he’s just crying now because he knows you’ll pick him up. Let him learn that you aren’t going to be manipulated by him.“ Says your husband. He’s right though, I do feel like I’m going crazy, and nothing else can possibly be wrong. But those cries. I can’t put him down.

“Shame, all wrapped up against you like that, she wants to be able to see the world. You know it’s bad for their depth perception if you wear them against you like that for too long. And it gives them bandy legs.” Says the Granny in the Woolworths aisle. Shit, I wonder if that’s true?! I better Google it.

The truth:

They’re all right. In their own heads that is. They’re all doing the best they can, with the knowledge that they’ve got. They really do think they’re helping. They really do care for your wellbeing. They really don’t like to see you in pain.

The problem:

They aren’t the Mother to your child. “But what about my husband, he IS the Father. Surely his opinion matters?” Yes it does. But so does yours Mama.

You grew your baby.
You had your baby living inside your body for 9 months.
You birthed your baby. (Yes a cesarean section is a birth.)
You are the only Mother.
You can do this.

Because we all have. And we’ve all done it differently. We all come from different circumstances with different mother in laws and different home situations BUT we all have one thing in common: A Mother’s intuition for her own baby. Nobody else in the world has that, besides you.

I know it’s scary because you feel like you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing on a good day. And you feel like you need a manual or someone to tell you what to do. And I’m not saying your mother in law’s advice is all shit and that your pediatrician shouldn’t be trusted or that you should leave your husband or tune that Granny. I’m saying don’t be afraid to listen to your inner voice when needed. Remove all the other voices from the conversation and think about what YOU believe is the right decision for you and your baby. Just do it for something small to start. Say “thanks so much for your advice, I’ll keep that in mind.” Then do that. Just keep it in mind, and if it’s not what gels with you, let it go.

This transition from Woman to Mother is the hardest thing in the world. Accept it, embrace it and trust that you have everything you need, right now, to be the best Mother you can be to your baby.

And remember, sometimes even you just need to have a good cry and for someone to hold you. Sometimes, your baby just needs that too.

Shannon McLaughlin

About Shannon McLaughlin

Shannon is a Mama to 5 year old Leo, who is the inspiration behind her baby carrier business, Ubuntu Baba. She is passionate about helping new Moms adjust to 'life with baby' through the art of babywearing and talking about the reality of motherhood in the 21st century.

2 Comments

  • Linz says:

    Wow… this could not find more true. When you get pregnant every one feels all of a sudden their way is the best way and you HAVE to take their advice. It’s so so overwhelming and some people can be gosh… Even forceful. Here’s to doing what works for US!

  • Shannon McLaughlin says:

    Absolutely Linz! xx

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