Whether you’re pregnant or considering putting the proverbial bun in the oven, you can learn essential information about what you can expect from pregnancy by asking your mom five simple questions:
1. Did you get stretch marks?
Contrary to the myth that hydrating lotions and oils can prevent stretch marks, how your skin responds to the rapid stretching during pregnancy is largely genetic. If your mom has the lovely reminder of pregnancy in the form of stretch marks, chances are you will too. Still, a little pampering with luxurious body lotions never hurt an expanding belly.
2. Did you need to have a c-section?
One woman in our office (who is the author of The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy) saw a link between her labor and her mom’s experience giving birth. Both women never dilated past two centimeters and both ultimately required a cesarean. While we haven’t learned of any hard evidence to suggest that if your mother had to have a c-section, you will too, discussing the experience of labor with someone who is genetically similar to you may help ease anxiety.
3. How did your body react after the fact?
Some women bounce back to their pre-baby body faster than you can say “Hello, skinny jeans!” Others, okay, let’s face it, most, learn to embrace their fuller mom-figure. The reaction of your mom’s body to pregnancy could give you a hint of how long you’ll have to hold on to maternity wear after the fact or how hard you’ll need to turn to fitness products to help you slim down.
4. Did you suffer from Postpartum Depression?
Most discussions about pregnancy are happy ones, anticipating the joy of a new baby; however, broaching the subject of postpartum depression with someone you trust may help you create a plan-of-action should symptoms (such as depression, scary or violent thoughts, and severe anxiety) arise. Just because your mom felt a certain way after you were born, doesn’t mean you will have the same experience with your new baby. But exchanging stories and gathering information from someone who has been in the motherhood trenches never hurts. Personal anecdotes may offer more comfort than you could get from a doctor or pregnancy book.
5. How was breastfeeding for you?
While there’s no hard link between breastfeeding and genetics, there is evidence that daughters often take after their moms. If your mom stressed herself out and consequently challenged her ability to nurse, you might too—unless you learn from her mistakes. Regardless, from nursing bras to bottles to advice on breastfeeding in public, your mom has gone through it all. You could ask a doctor endless questions, but who better to “pump” for practical information than a woman who can offer personal stories and real-life advice?!