Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: the Mother-Daughter Pregnancies

Every week, Daniel and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: My mom is pregnant at the same time as me, and I’m mad about it.

Nicole: Oh, gosh. Well, I love her self-awareness around this issue, for starters. That’s a lot of the battle: recognizing your feelings are not your mother’s fault, etc. She DOES need to talk about these feelings, whether that’s with her husband or a therapist, though, bc they seem to be intrusive and persistent.

And I DEFINITELY think that once she has an actual baby to care for, a lot of this will fade away.

Daniel: I feel similarly optimistic!

The LW seems very aware that her feelings aren’t based on any wrong her mother has committed

But also seems to think that because these feelings aren’t purely rational that she has no right to discuss them with anyone or do anything but disavow then

Nicole: Yes!

Daniel: I am not here to advise everyone to only ever feel rational, predictable feelings!

Nicole: MOST feelings probably are not that!

Daniel: If your behavior is good and your feelings are intense or there’s a big discrepancy between what you feel and what you do, you are not necessarily doing anything wrong!

Nicole: Indeed.

Daniel: I’d feel something in her position too! You are really used to having your mother in a specific role in your life!

And while on one level you are happy that she finally gets to relax and focus on herself, another part of you is jarred by realizing the ways in which you are no longer her only child, her main priority.

There’s also that question of “Is this baby going to get to be her ‘fun/planned’ baby, while I came along while she was struggling and alone? Will my mom care as much about being a grandmother for the first time if she’s also becoming a new mother again?” And those are real and serious anxieties that deserve time and space and discussion. Not with your mother, necessarily, but with SOMEONE.

Nicole: Yes, I think it’s so normal to want to be parented a little yourself during such a new and difficult time.

And to realize that won’t be as likely is a bit deflating, I’m sure.

Daniel: It may help to plan baby playdates or time you two can share together after the kids arrive.

Nicole: Absolutely! Time together is still possible.

Daniel: Because it is a kind of loss to acknowledge you will not have your mom’s undivided attention as a grandmother.

But it will also be really beautiful and cool to get to raise newborns at the same time.

And the more you can share in and bond over that, the closer you will be! (And it’s also fine if sometimes you experience resentment or envy in those moments!)

Nicole: Absolutely. And not to be like “HORMONES,” but absolutely some of this is hormones and that will even out over time.

Your feelings are real and understandable, but if you feel like they’re chewing on you way more than usual, they probably are!

Daniel: It is a heightened time in your life! Talk about this with your husband, give yourself permission to feel things, continue to behave as you have been (kindly and reasonably, it sounds like).