One of the pleasant surprises about being pregnant has been the bonding it has fostered between my in-laws and myself.
I always liked my in-laws, but because of time and space, I never really got to spend much time with them. Since being pregnant, I find myself texting and messaging my sister-in-laws much more regularly. I'm talking with my mother-in-law on a much more frequent basis.
For whatever reason, the pregnancy has brought me closer to my beloved's family...which frankly is AWESOME!
I cannot explain how good it is to have not only positive relationships with one's in-laws, but also to ENJOY them. I know, without a doubt, they will be super helpful and supportive with the baby. I know I can count on them if I need advice, or a laugh, or a listening ear. This is a blessing because my own extended family is much further away (though the pregnancy has brought us closer as well, for which I am also grateful) and I have often yearned for the closeness I see in other families (physically and emotionally).
I hear about other first-time moms freaking out about the prospect of "dealing" with their in-laws. They go back and forth about what kind of relationship they will "allow" their child to have with their spouse's family. That sounds awful. It feels awful to me.
Now more than ever, I am sensitive to the fact that family is important. Those ties between us should be nurtured and strengthened. We should support and encourage one another and work through whatever obstacles come our way. And it is important to remember, when we marry, we gain another family. Our family grows.
I didn't just marry my husband, but his family.
Often in America we forget that we cannot separate our spouses from their families. We forget that while we can choose our husbands and wives, we cannot choose their families. And if we don't like those families, it doesn't matter. You marry in, you've got 'em.
While this concept has been brought home even more by my pregnancy, I have also never been more pleased with my situation. Not only do I enjoy my husband's family, but they get along with my own. We've done joint holiday celebrations and Christian's family has even gone to my dad's church for Christmas Eve etc. That we can all be so close is such a blessing. It makes the prospect of spending time with each side a lot easier, because they're more understanding and willing to share (which will be REALLY important once the baby is here).
For you gentle reader, I recommend you foster good relations with your in-laws. It makes everything so much better. I guarantee you'll be a happier person (if only because holidays won't be nearly as stressful). And once you have that awesome relationship, let them know how much you appreciate them.
As such, let me say, this post is for my awesome in-laws. I love you guys and am so glad I'm part of your family! :-)