Are you a grandmother? Does that give you absolute joy or considerable worry? Or perhaps both?
Becoming a grandmother can be a wonderful experience. But some women experience real problems, often as a result of conflicts within the family. If you find yourself in the latter situation, you are not alone. Stay with me.
The first step in becoming a grandmother is the actual birth. And what a moment that is! It means a new life for the grandchild, but also a new life for everyone around the baby. This includes its mother, father, siblings and other grandparents. And don’t forget yourself.
Becoming a grandmother will bring big changes in your day-to-day life, your ways of thinking about the future, your family relationships and your sense of yourself. This is what these posts will be about.
Some grandmothers find themselves right in the thick of things at the birth of a grandchild. Others live too far away or do not go for other reasons. If you were able to attend, you may notice the details and remember the experience better than the birth of your own children.
Remember all the upheaval and emotion when it was you having the baby? Even if you weren’t able to attend the birth day of your grandchild, it brings back memories of your own childbirth experiences.
You may not expect to be present at the birth of a grandchild. However, if your daughter or daughter-in-law asks you to be there for her, you will need to give it some thought. It is not a simple decision. You may be uncomfortable being around someone in pain, especially when it is your own daughter. Or you may feel that you will simply be in the way.
If you are a somewhat anxious person, you may find yourself too tense about the possibility that something could go wrong. The sound of a baby’s heartbeat over a monitor is great – until you think that the one you just heard might also be the last. You will worry for the baby; you will be concerned for the mother.
It is possible that your own emotions could create a problem, like the proverbial father in cartoons who inevitably faints. But being there can also be one of the most special days of your life. Your help may be vital, if only as a welcome distraction during labour.
It’s always good to attend when asked, to give help if it is needed. You will be a full part of the experience. The absolute bonus of course, is seeing the baby when a new born, in that second when you became a grandmother.
Being at the birth can establish a very close bond with the new baby. There is something significant in those very early moments. If there are any complications, the baby may well be handed to you first thing. But in any case, you will get to hold him or her very soon. On occasion, a grandmother is invited to cut the umbilical cord. These experiences will remain with you forever, bringing a special closeness between you and the baby.
Being present at the birth may also strengthen your relationship with your daughter or daughter-in-law. A new birth changes many relationships. In the days to come, you will see a lot more of your grandchild’s mother, as you visit and help her to look after the baby.
But it can start with your being there for the birth. It is a very intimate time. You see her when she is feeling most vulnerable and she may rely on you to help her through. What a good way to deepen your relationship forever.
You don’t need me to tell you that the birth of a new grandchild is one of the big moments in the life of a grandmother. Many people who work in the maternity business say they never get over the excitement of each birth. But for us normal mortals, there are only so many chances to be physically there. So if you are asked to be at the birth, think hard about it. And then, if you possibly can, go.
Were you present at the birth of a grandchild? Did it give your relationship special meaning? Please leave your comments below.