Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
My Grandmother friends all told me how wonderful Grandmotherhood would be.
Everyone says being a Grandparent is fabulous because you can enjoy the baby and then give it back. GIVE IT BACK…who wants to give it back?
Who knew you could have so much love for a tiny person?
I am very new to this Grandparenting game but I have learned some key lessons already. Based on the fact that this was a healthy Mother and baby with few complications during pregnancy and was supported by her partner, here are the 5 key discoveries I have made which helped to ensure maximum harmony and to instil an awesome sense of self-worth and capacity for greatness in our new parents:
1. It’s not your labour.
My daughter’s partner works away so was unable to attend the Antenatal class. I was invited to go in his place. I was backup support crew in case he did not make it home in time for the birth. However, he did make it home in plenty of time because the baby needed to be induced at 38 weeks. My solution to controlling this high level anxiety producing situation was to go to the movies. This served as a great distraction and I resisted phoning to find out how everything was going. It was far more empowering for them to be able to let us know when the baby had arrived and share all the details. Absolute torture for me, but so exciting when the news arrived and wonderful for the new parents to tell their story.
This birthing business has changed dramatically since 1982. This is a world of high expectation, birthing plans, access to lots of information and technology which looks like it comes from another galaxy. I learned to have no judgement about how the baby comes into the world – not my labour.
2. It’s not your baby.
There are many new parents who are very concerned about the baby’s underdeveloped immune system and insist on everyone who is going to be in contact with the baby being immunised. Their baby, their rules.
It’s their baby and time to bond is really precious and vital. We waited for an invitation to come and visit and then travelled at light speed. Having only been born a few hours before, our grandson was sleepy and a little bruised. Our daughter needed rest and time to recover and get to know her baby. This was not a time to give advice based on my vast experience with new babies. Information based on new research means that a lot of advice to new mothers is very different from 30 years ago.
3. Privacy matters.
Some parents have very strong rules about not putting their children on Facebook. Respect their choice for privacy.
Camera phones and social media have resulted in some huge privacy breaches for new Mothers. Wait until the new parents have posted on Facebook to announce the arrival, then share. My daughter did not want anyone to know that she was in labour (apart from the Grandparents) and did not want photographs taken in the birthing suite.
4. Praise don’t perfect.
New Mum’s can be extraordinarily hard on themselves, striving to be perfect while hormones ravage their sleep deprived bodies. Mothering done imperfectly still blesses the baby. Praise, praise, praise.
In my world, there is no such thing as constructive criticism. Criticism is criticism and this is the last thing a vulnerable new Mother needs. Whether she bottle feeds or breast feeds….support her choice. Singlet or no singlet….support. Earth friendly recyclable nappies or disposables…..support.
5. Be a cheerleader.
I have learned to be her best supporter and find myself constantly telling her what an awesome job she is doing. My catchcry of empowerment “you’ve got this” has served my daughter well. I call and ask if she needs any help. I have baked “milk biscuits” and some dinners and did spend a couple of nights sleeping over when her partner went back to work.
Watching my daughter develop into an equipped, loving and compassionate parent has been the most extraordinary experience. She has built a wonderful, intuitive relationship with her baby.
The opportunity to “Grandparent” is very precious. I want that little boy in my life and will do everything in my power to have harmony at all costs to ensure my daughter and her partner love to include us in his care. Obviously, there are many different circumstances that babies arrive into the world to face. The role of Grandparent is important and can add such value to new parents too.
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