I probably have told you that our daughter Peggy gave birth last week to gorgeous Matilda! (be prepared, you are likely to hear a lot about this young lady in coming weeks/months/years!)
Today, she’s a week old. The new family have had quite a week of new experiences. Laughter, joy, exhaustion. Raging hormones, sore body. It’s all part and parcel of becoming parents. In one short week, Matilda has become part of their lives in an indelible way. They don’t really know what she is like yet, of course – she is still in the process of deciding what type of baby she is, and that’s part of the fun!
It’s normal during these times for women in Peggy’s life to share their own baby/mother experiences. In days gone by, she would have been surrounded by extended family, where all the women would share their breastfeeding/postpartum/mothering experiences, and they would reassure her that all the feelings she is having (no matter what they might be) are normal. This sharing still happens in some places, of course – like in our own village. Extended family all care for the new child, giving the parents needed space and the child a wider range of experiences. But mostly, in our society, it’s rare.
Like all new mothers, I’m sure it’s often hard for Peggy to gracefully accept words of wisdom from mothers, mothers-in-law, family and friends. I am perhaps overly keen to help her from a distance through this difficult time, explaining that even those exhausting, long nights are perfectly normal. I see her eyes glaze over when I talk to her on Skype. She tries to include me in the process, I know, but she’s impatient with me.
Mother, she’s a different baby from me, you know!
And yes, I know that. And yes, I know that breastfeeding and child rearing is totally different to what it was 33 years ago. I, too, thought my own mother was clueless when I had just had Peggy. But one day? Ah, one day the silly, overly helpful mother that she has today will magically turn into a wise mother/grandmother – I hope!