Getting pregnant feels incredibly personal – but the little person you’re bringing into the world will mean a lot to your wider family, and your partner’s too. From the moment you make your big announcement, parents-in-laws, aunts, uncles and everyone else will want to fuss around your bump, baby or toddler – which means Christmas will never be the same again.
While this has plenty of positives (hello, extra pairs of hands), it can also bring its fair share of challenges. So here’s how to handle any family-drama scenario that comes your way with festive flair. You’ve got this.
Trial 1: Making an entrance
You’ve just turned up on your partner’s relative’s doorstep with a 20 gift bags, two change bags, a blackout blind and a grizzly baby who has not enjoyed the journey. Spending the day away from your own home can be stressful in the early days, especially when you have to think about travel, carting around loads of kit and whether you’ll be able to find somewhere quiet to set your little one down for a nap.
You shouldn’t feel bad about having loads of stuff or asking your host if they have an extra room you can use – they’ll be delighted to have your baby there – but if you’re meeting new people or have a slightly frosty relationship with some of them, a genuine compliment or a token gift will start you off on the right foot. Just throw a box of Celebrations in that change bag.
Trial 2: The great big cook-off
If Christmas is at your house this year, you may find people are suddenly very interested in whether you’ll be criss-crossing your Brussels sprouts, or how you’re slicing the carrots. No-one likes a back-seat chef, so if everything is taken care of in the kitchen and your parents-in-law are still offering tips, ask if they could help by keeping the kids entertained instead. That way they’ll spend some quality time with the grandchildren and you get to focus on what you’re doing. Win, Win!
If your family are hard to please when it comes to food, it might be easier all round if you book Christmas lunch out. Plus, eating out can really take the pressure off entertaining when you’re expecting or have a little one. Then back to yours for a food-induced nap…
Trial 3: The after-dinner argument
If you have different views on certain topics to your family, park the hard talk until after the festive season. Instead of starting a debate about politics over the Christmas pud, try playing together or watching a festive film. If they’re still set on taking sides, introduce a lighter topic: Quality Street or Roses?
Trial 4: Adapting your Christmas traditions
What, no presents until after dinner? If you’re spending Christmas at someone else’s house, they’ll probably have different family traditions to you. Pick your battles with this one. Does it really matter if you all have to fall silent for the Queen’s Christmas message to please your father-in-law? Can you live without your pigs-in-blankets at breakfast? Rather than dismiss their traditions, try and embrace the change – or even better, build new traditions together. Grandpa could dress up as Santa and hand round the presents, for example, or your little ones could come up with a game for everyone to play.
Trial 5: Listening to opinions on childcare
If your family tend to tell you where you’re going wrong with your little one, just remember you can listen to their opinion but you don’t have to agree. Just because they never used dummies with their children, it doesn’t mean you can’t – every child is different. Ultimately, they’re just trying to help, so smile, nod and keep doing what you’re doing.
Trial 6: Getting through a long, tiring day
Feeling frazzled? It’s a good idea to clear your head. With everyone cooped up in a warm house, tensions are bound to arise. If you feel it’s all getting too much, you have the best excuse to get some space: take a pregnancy nap upstairs (it’s definitely a thing), or wheel the buggy round the block. Then take a deep breath and head back in refreshed, ready for the next round!