3 Essential Tips for Supporting Your Pregnant Sister

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Any pregnancy in the family is exciting but never more so than when the incoming baby is your sister's. Especially if it is her first, the next nine months will be a roller coaster ride of joy, worry, and anticipation. 

Of course, there will also be a ton of logistics to coordinate and emotional support to provide. And who is better than a sibling to help make everything as hassle-free and comforting as possible?

Unfortunately, this can be a confusing time for siblings as well. How should you support your pregnant sister? If you haven't been there, you cannot fully know. But don't worry. While every pregnancy and family is different, the following tips will help you navigate the uncertain — but fulfilling — waters ahead.

Advice and Emotional Support

If your sister is having her first child and you have already had kids, the instinct will be to offer loads of advice. This can be welcome. Most first-time mothers are full of concern. But it's key to remember that this is not about you. Her pregnancy is her unique experience, so don't be that person who interjects with anecdotes every step of the way. 

A good way to know that you're oversharing is if you notice your sister is never asking questions. She will have plenty of doubts throughout the process. But if she isn't asking for your perspective, it probably means you have already told her — again and again and again — what your experience was like. Try to be a shoulder to lean on rather than a megaphone.

Buying Baby Gifts

Having a new baby can get expensive. Helping out with some of the necessities is one reason baby showers became a tradition, and family members are expected to do more than buy their sister a bottle or bib. Don't just wrap one  baby gift in a box and think that will be received well.

That said, it isn't always the best idea to shell out a ton of cash on relatively trivial belongings that will be thrown away or donated to charity within a few years. One of the best, most meaningful gestures you could ever make is in the form of a more heartfelt, family-centered gift like a  cord blood banking kit. This increasingly popular practice helps preserve the invaluable stem cell resources within the umbilical cord blood and tissue, which through revolutionary science now carries untold possibilities for the future of medicine. It is one of the few ways that a gift can be truly life-changing.

Hosting a Baby Shower

Who should take the lead in throwing a baby shower? There is no definitive answer. In the past, the host was typically a close friend, but these days, a sister, brother, or even parent can be the right person. It's likely you will already know if you are the one depending upon who the other closest people are in her life. Ultimately it is a conversation to have with the mother — make sure she is comfortable about whether you or someone else takes the reins. 

The timing, location, and guest list are usually the trickier propositions. Typically, one to two months before the due date is a good time. You want her to still be able to enjoy the afternoon, however, so don't wait too long. And while surprises can be fun, it's probably better to at least get some input from the mom to be. Ask her about any hard no's for the guest list and, if you don't allow her to pick the exact spot, make sure it's somewhere you know she'll love. Sometimes home can be the best idea. This is about her enjoyment — not impressing guests.

Being a Super Sibling

Pregnancy should be an exhilarating time for every mother to be. Health concerns and other worries will always make it a trying experience as well, and that's where siblings should try to do their best to add support. Just being present is the best recommendation of all.

The key is just to not over-stress. Focus on the things that family does best — offering support and making your sister's life easier — and the rest will take care of itself. 

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