top of page
  • Writer's pictureEmily Pardy, LMFT

Grandparenting with Grace: Supportive Presence in Pregnancy and Beyond 

By: Emily Pardy, LMFT, Founder & CEO


Becoming a grandmother is a momentous occasion filled with excitement, joy, and anticipation. As your daughter prepares to embark on the journey of motherhood, you have a unique opportunity to offer support and guidance. However, your daughter may not always feel like your help is needed. There’s a fine line between mothers and daughters to extend support while not having it feel like judgment or criticism. So, how do you show up for your daughter in a way that lets her know you’re there for her without stepping on her toes?



Embrace Your New Role


The news of your daughter's pregnancy can fill you with mixed emotions. Hopefully, this is a season you’ve been looking forward to and you are excited to welcome this new chapter. If you’re feeling anxious, know you are not alone. It’s normal to fear the unknown and this can be a challenging new dynamic for your relationship with your daughter. After all, you have experienced this milestone in your own life and it’s common to have some fears about what your daughter is about to encounter!


As you prepare to welcome a new addition to your daughter’s family, it's essential to recognize the significance of your role as a grandmother. This is not your pregnancy, after all, and not your baby either. Many grandmothers struggle to separate out their own experience from that of their daughter’s, but it is vital to keep these stories separate so you can fully embrace her story and not burden yourself with responsibilities that are not yours to worry about. Your wisdom, experience, and unconditional love will serve as pillars of support for your daughter as she navigates the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenthood. She needs to know you are there for her, but let’s try to remember that no one likes a “know-it-all”. So, how can you be present and be on the sidelines at the same time? It can be a tricky balance, but open communication is key. 


Maintain Boundaries and Respect


  • Respect Your Daughter's Choices: While your instinct may be to offer advice based on your own experiences, it's important to remember that every pregnancy and parenting journey is unique. Respect your daughter's choices and decisions, even if they differ from your own. Remember that she is not making decisions based on your experience, so do your best to stay curious and not take it personally if she makes a different decision than you would have.

  • Ask Before Offering Advice: Instead of jumping in with unsolicited advice, ask your daughter if she would like your input on certain matters. This demonstrates respect for her autonomy as a parent while still offering your support and guidance when needed. Advice can easily be interpreted as criticism, so curiosity is a much safer territory to learn about how she is navigating this new chapter.

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries around your involvement in your daughter's pregnancy and parenting journey. This may include respecting her privacy, giving her space when needed, and refraining from offering advice once she’s already made a decision she feels good about. If she is asking for your involvement in something you’re not on board with, be honest about your feelings and be sensitive to conveying them in a compassionate way. 

  • Communicate Openly: Maintain open and honest communication with your daughter throughout her pregnancy and postpartum experience. Encourage her to express her thoughts, concerns, and preferences, and listen actively without judgment. This is easier said than done! When in doubt, just listen. Use phrases like “Tell me more about that”, or “Help me understand so I can support you”, so she feels heard (even if you don’t agree with her). 

  • Be Flexible: Recognize that plans may change, and be flexible in adapting to your daughter's evolving needs and preferences. This is not your story - this is your chance to be a supporting character in an amazing journey that your daughter is starring in! Your willingness to adjust and accommodate demonstrates your commitment to supporting her in the best way possible. 

  • Seek Your Own Support: Your daughter is not the person to comfort and support you - in this season, the care should flow in one direction, from you to her. If you’re feeling left out, unheard, or discouraged, your feelings are valid! This is a big change for you and you deserve all of the support to navigate this journey into grandmotherhood. But, your daughter is not going to have the capacity to be there for you in that way. During this season, seek support from friendships, partners or spouses, and counselors who understand this shift in your life.

Postpartum Support


The postpartum period can be a challenging time for new parents, filled with sleepless nights, hormonal fluctuations, and adjusting to life with a newborn. As a grandmother, you can play a vital role in easing this transition and providing much-needed support to your daughter and her partner. Be sure and listen to her plan and gently ask how you can best help her implement it.


  • Offer Practical Assistance: Whether it's preparing meals, doing household chores, or running errands, offer to lend a helping hand in any way you can. Is there another sibling or pet you could care for while your daughter focuses on her recovery or the newborn? Remember that she is in “survival mode” and even the most mundane things (think, laundry and dishes) still need to get done. Your support will allow your daughter to focus on bonding with her baby and recovering from childbirth.

  • Provide Emotional Support: The postpartum period can be emotionally overwhelming for new parents. Remember, at Ready Nest Counseling we can assess for mental health needs or help your daughter attend to her emotional wellness. But, you are her mom, and have a unique role to offer a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, and words of encouragement during moments of doubt or exhaustion.

  • Respect Boundaries: While your presence and support are invaluable, it's essential to respect the boundaries set by the new parents. Check in with your daughter and her partner regularly to see how you can best support her without overstepping. Use dialogue such as “No need to reply, but just wanted to check in on you today”, or “If it would be helpful, I am available…”. This way you are offering them a gentle “out” and can trust their boundaries by following through on what they ask for.

  • Encourage Self-Care: Be positive about allowing your daughter to prioritize self-care amidst the demands of new parenthood. Encourage her to rest when she can, nourish her body with nutritious food, and carve out time for activities that bring her joy and relaxation. Use language that is curious and open, such as “Would a shower feel good today?” Or, “You are doing amazing - how can I help so that you feel amazing?”

  • Celebrate Milestones: Take time to celebrate the milestones and achievements of your daughter and her baby during the postpartum period. Sometimes just stepping back and soaking in the observation of how your daughter is mothering can be incredibly rewarding. Let her know when you’re filled with love and pride. Whether it's the baby's first smile or your daughter's first night of uninterrupted sleep, acknowledge and cherish these moments.



Becoming a grandmother is a remarkable journey. You are presented with boundless opportunities to support and nurture the next generation. By maintaining boundaries, fostering respect, and supporting your daughter’s postpartum plan that prioritizes her well-being, you can play a pivotal role in helping them thrive during this transformative time. Embrace your role with an open heart and a willingness to be present, and watch as your family grows and flourishes in this sacred season.


--------------------------------------------------------


If you find yourself in need of professional help, don't hesitate to reach out to us and schedule a session. Our dedicated team at Empty Nest Counseling is here to help you navigate life's challenges and transitions with care and compassion. Whether you're experiencing difficulties related to the milestones of becoming an Empty Nester or new grandparent or finding balance in how you relate to your adult children, our therapists are ready to support you. We offer both in-person and virtual therapy. Schedule a therapy session with us today and take the first step towards a healthier you. Remember, you don't have to face it alone – we're here for you.


Comentários


Os comentários foram desativados.
bottom of page