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  • Despite Online Support Groups, New Moms Still Prefer Their Own Mother, Says Study

    Nothing compares to the love and support of our own moms.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Despite Online Support Groups, New Moms Still Prefer Their Own Mother, Says Study
PHOTO BY iStock
  • They say this generation’s new moms are lucky — they live in the age of the Internet where they can get the information they need anytime and anywhere (provided they are reading from reputable resources, of course). There are also online mom groups on Facebook where they can get comfort and support. But despite these conveniences, there is one person whose opinion new moms value the most: their own mothers.

     According to a new study published in the journal Reproduction, Health, and Medicine, most pregnant women still seek advice and emotional support from their own mothers and think of her advice as more valuable than other people’s recommendations. This is despite high-tech resources being readily available to her.

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    Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) followed a diverse group of 64 pregnant women for months and conducted in-depth interviews with them and their moms. This was to see whether they experienced a “generational disconnect,” as popular self-help pregnancy literature would suggest.

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    According to Danielle Bessett, a UC associate professor of sociology who headed the study, nearly all of the pregnant women they interviewed were in contact with their mothers and consulted them to assess issues related to their pregnancy. They also thought of their mothers’ advice as relevant.

    Women with higher education may feel “disconnected,” with their mothers, but not totally. Their relationship is more specific, suggests Bessett.

    “They leaned more on their doctors for advice about what to eat and what tests to have, but turned to their moms for advice on child care and emotional support and talked a lot about the ways in which bodies change as a result of pregnancy,” she tells UC News.

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    So while other studies have shown that some grandparents’ parenting practices can put little ones at risk, Bassett says moms should not discount how much emotional support and advice their mothers (and fathers) provide them.

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    When pregnancy resources and doctors suggest that new moms ignore their own moms, it “can result in an increased level of stress and discomfort for some soon-to-be moms,” Bessett shares.

    “These books don’t take into account how damaging it can be to sever bonds with their mothers during a time when they need low stress, warm bonding, and emotional support more than ever for a healthy pregnancy,” she adds.

    If you think your parents still cling on to their outdated beliefs, Bessett’s research suggests a way to change that: help mom catch up on new recommendations — she may welcome it!

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    “[Pregnant women] tended to read self-help books along with their mothers who also enjoyed a vicarious engagement with science that they didn’t have when they were pregnant decades ago,” Bessett says.

    She also found that grandmothers were less likely to try to call the shots or endorse their pregnancy experiences as more appropriate because they understand that what they went through is vastly different from the medical interventions women have today.

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    Of course, Bessett’s research is not conclusive for all pregnant women. While they say “mothers know best,” some may still be reluctant to follow their mom’s advice or want as little as contact as possible with their own mothers while they are pregnant. That’s perfectly, okay, too. What’s most important is to find people — whether she is your mom, dad, tito, tita or friends — whom you can rely on for support, nurturing, and love while you are on this journey.

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