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Pregnancy is a magical time, during which a woman will have many unique experiences. Like feeling her baby kick inside her, waking up from pregnancy heartburn in the middle of the night, and having complete strangers touch her belly.

And, of course, getting a constant stream of unwanted advice from her parents and (ouch) her partner's parents. Pregnancy is the start of a new relationship with your parents and your partner's parents... and if they are overbearing, you also have the best chance of limiting their interference while your baby is still in utero.

There are different ways in which grandparents-to-be can be overbearing (and the same goes for anyone else, of course!), so we will have a look at them, and see what can be done to avert the unwanted attention.

1. Well-meaning do-gooders

This is the type that comes into your house at the weekend to do your laundry, even if you have told them you don't want it several times. They can also buy baby gear you don't want, or hire a doula for you, or decide that they'll be driving you to the hospital when you're in labor. They won't take no for an answer. You probably want avoid hurting their feelings, but that is difficult. If the do-gooder in your life is a reasonable person after all, go on and have a real heart-to-heart chat with them, explaining gently why some privacy is important to you.

2. The fountain of advice

That's the one who tells you what you should be eating, what kind of prenatal care you should get, or that aerobics are dangerous to your baby, or that you should (never) have a homebirth. This person thinks that whatever they did in their own childrearing years was the only right approach, and they may be offended if you do things differently. Often, the right way to deal with this person is by simply thanking them for their advice. Take from it what you like, and leave what you don't while resisting the urge to explain exactly why their advice doesn't appeal to you. If medical advice is the person's thing, you can just say that you have discussed the matter in question with your doctor and everything is fine.

3. The narcissist

These are dangerous. Limit contact or go "no contact", as they don't react the same way normal people do, and will start smear-campaigns to make you look bad if you don't do as they say or offer them their fill of narcissistic supply. The grandparent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not your garden variety annoying person, and you may actually like to seek therapy for a shrink's advice on how to deal with them.

4. The foreign grandparent

I come from a multicultural background, and so I have plenty of experience with cultural barriers. In my circle of friends, the Korean, Indian, and Jewish mothers in law are notorious. Really, though, you are more likely to be annoyed by a grandparent's advice or actions if what they are saying or doing is totally counter-cultural for you, and you are not sure how to react without offending them. My only advice is to respect the person and try to get to know them better, unless they do something really outrageous. You may be able to learn a lot from each other, as long as you overcome the initial cultural barrier. You may get the foreign grandparent on board by assigning them a specific role: to teach your child more about his background.

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