My sister is pregnant—and I promise not to give her unsolicited advice

My sister has already had a much different pregnancy than I did, and everything else is different, too—from her marriage to her work situation, and I'm sure her baby will be different than mine too.

unsolicited advice pregnant sister

My sister is pregnant (yay!) and I'm getting to see this whole journey through her eyes. As the older sister, my instinct is to guide, protect and shelter her from hardships that I faced when I was pregnant. And as pregnancy and early motherhood goes—there's (what feels like) about a million different hurdles to overcome. However, my sister has already had a much different pregnancy than I did, and everything else is different, too—from her marriage to her work situation, and I'm sure her baby will be different than mine too.

It goes against all my instincts to solely listen to what she's saying and not dump a ton of information, opinions and directives on her in response. You see, my whole life I've shown her the way. I've shared my challenges and how I overcame them so she wouldn't have to suffer through the things I suffered through. I thought pregnancy would be the same.

My unconscious reaction will be to explain (justify) what I did in a particular situation so I can convince myself that I didn't do anything wrong. But I'm realizing that we're going to do things differently on our motherhood journeys and I know I really need to just be there for her—to listen and help when asked. To trust that she knows I'm here and will ask me when she needs something or wants to know my opinion.

She told me that all the random unsolicited advice she's been getting from people has been hard to deal with and digest. She said she smiles and nods and lets it go, which would be my advice anyway. Because at this point it is all theoretical and she doesn't have any context for the information just yet.

I remember when I was pregnant and I got advice from every stranger, acquaintance and friend:

"Sleep in now, you'll never get to again!"

"Parenting is the hardest but best thing you'll ever do!"

"Just take the drugs. Trust me, don't wait—just take them."

And I remember smiling (or maybe grimacing) and nodding, and not really knowing where to put the information.

Then once my little guy was here and I wasn't sleeping and I was struggling with the humongous learning curve of motherhood, it started making sense. My newborn didn't know it was Saturday and that we could sleep in. I ended up having an unmedicated birth, but could definitely understand why someone would want to do otherwise. And it was definitely the hardest thing I'd ever done—like people said—but was also SO amazing.

But there was no way I could understand any of the random advice until I was there myself.

So now I'm patiently waiting for my sister to ask me the questions and I'm realizing that when she does ask a question, it's a question she's ready to hear the answer to because she's in that part of her journey. For example, she's starting her registry, so we're talking through what you need, why one stroller might be better than another, etc.

Three months ago she had no interest or place to put that kind of information. So I know that the more I let it be her journey and follow her lead, I'm actually able to be there for her in a more supportive way.

My son was a difficult baby, a difficult sleeper, very active and very loud. He wasn't one of those babies we could just bring to a restaurant who would look around quietly, content in his car seat or one that we could have someone babysit and he'd just smile and sleep peacefully. He was (and is) very particular, opinionated and active.

I'm preparing myself for her to have a super calm, easygoing baby that they can bring everywhere and who sleeps like a champ. I'm preparing myself to not be resentful and to accept that my sister may not fully understand what I went through personally—because our motherhood journeys will be different.

I guess that's true for all moms. We all are constantly bombarded with information and opinions. I can usually recognize when people just need to vent (they don't really want to hear my solution)—they just need to be heard. I know when things are hardest for me I just want someone to listen and say, "Yes, that's hard."

I know I can do better when other moms vent to me not feel the need to try to solve all their problems unless I'm directly asked for suggestions.

I think moms would be more vulnerable in sharing their struggles with others if we all just listened to each other and said "I hear you, that's so tough. You're doing a great job and you're a great mom."

My eyes just teared up writing that. I guess it's what I needed to hear too.

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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