It can be hard to imagine, but picture this: you are enjoying a cup of coffee or tea on your patio when you hear your daughter or son coming in the house, their spouse in tow. They sit you down and announce, their smiles overtaking their faces, that they are pregnant. Once you get over the initial excitement and shock, you might be left wondering how to prepare yourself.
Somebody’s grandma? You? No way! You’re still young! Your hair has barely started to gray! Try as you might to imagine someone calling you “nana”, you just can’t seem to wrap your mind around it. As tempted as you might be to jump into action, here are some tips to help you become a grandparent and to help ease your family into this huge transition:
- Be understanding. BabyCenter.com recommends that in order to maintain healthy relationships with your kids, you should tread lightly when it comes to giving your opinion. You become a grandparent long before baby is born, and as strange as it can be, you should remember that your kids are the parents now, not you. Your kids might already have plans for a home birth, or they might have strong opinions about epidurals, and while you should share your thoughts or wisdom you should remember that ultimately this is their child and their decisions. The months of pregnancy can be a very sensitive time for everyone, and it can strengthen or weaken your relationships.
- Take it easy with shopping. According to Grandparents.About.com, this is an important rule. You might be tempted to go out and buy everything baby as soon as you hear the news. You might have already made a mental tally of what to buy as soon as they said the words “We’re pregnant”, but remember that the parents might like to have a say in the types of products or items bought for their babies. Additionally, you might spend a lot of unnecessary money if you are buying a boy and girl version of everything because you don’t know the sex of the baby yet. You should also remember that your grandchild’s other grandparents might also want to spoil them a little bit, so if you absolutely must go shopping, try to coordinate with your kids what you should buy. Let them know if you want to buy a big ticket item so that they don’t put it on their baby shower registry.
- Know that you are going to be sharing. You might have a vision of how the birth of your grandchild will go, and you might have always imagined having hours and hours alone with the baby in their first few weeks of life, but you should try to keep in mind that both the mother and the father of the baby have families and you will have to share with the other grandparents. This doesn’t mean you won’t have alone time, but you should try to keep in mind that it is just as important to the other side of the family as it is to your side. Especially right after the birth, it is important to be considerate of everyone that is sharing the baby, it will make things easier for everyone to get along.
- Relax and know that you will get all of the joys of a baby, including that sweet baby smell, without the responsibility of being the parent of a newborn again. You will get to see the best qualities of your children in a smaller package, and you will get to love another person unconditionally just like with your kids, you will (in the words of my mother) get sweet baby sugar, but you won’t be woken in the night by screaming infant cries. Get your house ready for a baby to be around so that you can have some fun grandma days, and know that at the end of the day you can relax and soak up the joys of being a grandparent.