As I stood next to my daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in a few months, I looked down and saw what looked a lot like a baby bump. Smiling, I poked her gently and asked, “Is that a baby?” Granted, I had already had my suspicions. She laughed. She knew she couldn’t hide it. We are grandparents to be.
Having a large family myself, I know what it’s like to be expecting your fourth baby. Not everyone is happy about it. Which is a real shame.
I know that there are issues and concerns we grandparents to be, have.
But our worries about their finances or future is really not something we need to share with expectant parents.
I remember telling my own mother when I was expecting my fourth. She was not happy about it. In fact, it was just the opposite. Not because she didn’t love my baby or me. She just figured we had enough children. Therefore, the right thing to do is simply stop it.
That’s just not how it works.
If your daughter or daughter-in-law surprises you with an unexpected announcement here’s a bit of good advice.
“Emphasize the positive. Tell funny and sweet stories about your experiences with your own babies. Stories about his or her own babyhood will probably especially interest the expectant parent. Never tell horror stories about your birthing experiences.
“Go easy on the shopping. Buying for the baby is fun, but gift-giving has its pitfalls. Pick up a few minor things and gauge the reaction. Some expectant parents welcome all contributions; others would prefer to make most of the choices about clothing and equipment themselves. If there is going to be a baby shower, work with the parents to make it fun and successful.
“Do help out, but don’t overdo it. Especially at the end of the pregnancy and right after the birth, the new parents will need some assistance, but don’t do too much. The mother or father who comes for a visit and insists on working the whole time is sending a message to the expectant parents that they can’t adequately take care of their own needs.
Put doubts about the spouse on hold. If you have misgivings about your son or daughter’s mate, try to overcome them. That person is going to be your grandchild’s parent. Give the spouse a chance to prove his or her worthiness in this new role.
Here’s the hardest one for the new grandparents to be.
“Be prepared to share. Remember that in most families there is another set of grandparents (and sometimes two or three sets!). If you’ve not been sociable with the other family, you might want to plan a social occasion to get to know them better before the new baby arrives. Use diplomacy in handling possible conflicts over grandparent names. Communicate with the other grandparents to coordinate visits. A little planning and discussion before the birth will keep the new parents from being overrun with grandparents immediately after the birth.”