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I'm a Gran-in-waiting and need advice

(38 Posts)
Laolao Tue 30-Aug-11 01:51:55

Hi! I am new to Gransnet, and I need help/advice from the collected wisdom of all you old hands smile My DD is expecting her first baby in mid November. She and her husband (my delightful Aussie Sil) are due to move from the UK to San Francisco USA in late January as he has to work there for a year. Fair enough, although I was concerned that she would find herself in a new country with a new baby and no family/friends support network.
What has given me real anxiety is that SiLs parents have sent tickets for them to fly to Sydney in late December and then on to SF from there 3 weeks later. I realise (having done it myself) that often it is easier to travel with a small baby than with an infant who is mobile, but this is her FIRST child, and even if everything goes absolutely to plan and the baby arrives bang on time (not very likely given family history) there are so many unknowns as to how she will feel emotionally and physically. To fly half-way round the world with an infant of less than 6 weeks -possibly as young as 4 weeks old - and then 3 weeks later to fly across the Pacific to a new home (as yet not selected) seems to be madness. However she and SiL are adamant as his parents are putting on the pressure to see the child.

Oh yes, the other thing is that in March, they are intending to fly back from SF to Sydney and then back to SF for a family wedding so her in-laws would definately see their new grandchild then, and he would still only be 4mths old.

pinkprincess Sun 04-Sep-11 19:30:22

Baggy, you obviously never met my dear now departed MIL!.We live opposite a cemetry, whenever she came to visit she would refuse to sit in the front of the house, in case the spooks and other nasty beings came over to get her.A very weird woman she was.
DH does not take after her thank goodness.I would have left him long ago if he did.
The lady she refused to allow into her house was one of her husband's reletives, they ended up not speaking for a long time. Her in-laws were fully aware of the type of person she was.
I live in the north east and the custom of first footing has seemed to have died out now, but was rife when I was young.
This thread hs really gone off topic, I must confess to being one of those responsible.Will leave off now.

Baggy Sat 03-Sep-11 19:36:06

Wow! pink! Every time I hear another of these incredible stories, I'm utterly astounded! Why oh why would a first foot have to be a man's? I've never heard of that before.

I'd be interested to hear about the evil spirits you've met, harri. I simply cannot imagine what you mean. I'm just being honest there; spirits, good or bad, are beyond my comprehension of the world as I have experienced it.

pinkprincess Sat 03-Sep-11 19:28:43

Thankyou [Baggy] re the veil.I know it was very peculiar but my MIL was very hot on these things and I, being young and naive at the time was anxious to please everyone.I soon learnt to answer her back in later years.MIL once refused to let her first visitor into the house one New Year's day because the visitor was a woman!.She believed that your first foot every new year had to be a man or else back luck would come.
It is to be thanked that these things are now in the past.

jangly Sat 03-Sep-11 12:54:16

I think you are being really hard done by Laolao. Son in law's parents are visiting for "quality time" in October. You have been requested to visit to help with the work before the baby is born in November. As soon as baby is here you are leaving at the parents' request.

It would make more sense for them to visit in November so they too could help with the packing up.

I'm with your chinese friends on this one. I would be just a little bit assertive here.

Twobabes Sat 03-Sep-11 11:28:27

Oops! that last post was way off topic so I've started e new thread with it, headed "Christenings - a farce for some?" or something like that hmm

Twobabes Sat 03-Sep-11 11:20:15

I attended a christening recently and loved the setting and the ritual though I no longer believe anything religious. It really bothered me hearing godparents make vows that I know some of them did not believe in any more than I do.
I wish there was a beautiful naming and welcoming ceremony, with its own ritual but without all the "devil and all his works" type of stuff, for those who don't really believe in baptism but want to mark the arrival of their child. I know people make up their own, but I'd like an established non-religious ceremony, with gravity and no whimsiness, recognised as an alternative to something that increasing numbers no longer believe in - a new tradition.
A church baptism with belief is a meaningful occasion. Without belief, it seems to me, it is a farce.

harrigran Sat 03-Sep-11 10:58:08

No, no Baggy I was not suggesting being baptised to get a child into school of choice, I deplore that. I was merely saying it happens.
I have met evil spirits and I would welcome anything that kept them away from me.

Baggy Sat 03-Sep-11 09:54:00

Also, harri, you seem to be suggesting that a good reason to baptise a child is to get it into a particular school. I call that hypocritical or, at best, disingenuous.

Baggy Sat 03-Sep-11 09:51:43

harri, I didn't say there was anything wrong with ritual or ceremony. I was objecting to superstitious practices/beliefs, e.g. Thinking that a veil on a baby's head will keep away evil spirits. What evil spirits by the way? I have never met one.

harrigran Sat 03-Sep-11 09:42:26

I have noticed ther are few baptisms now, except where there is a good church school nearby. Children nearing school age are baptised thus ensuring their place in the school.
My own grandchildren are not baptised which to me is a shame but each to his own. When first GD was born I took a cake and champagne to the house and we welcomed her by name, a naming ceremony of sorts.
I don't agree with Baggy ceremony and rituals are part of our lives and people who believe should be allowed to keep them. The gown for baptisms has been passed down many generations in our family.

Baggy Sat 03-Sep-11 07:52:54

In my atheistic innocence I'm shocked that such medieval superstitious practices carried on well into the twentieth century!

pinkprincess Sat 03-Sep-11 00:05:17

I had both of my children by C-section in the early seventies.Both times I was in hospital for 14 days afterwards so was back on my feet and ready to cope with a baby, then the second time a baby and toddler as well.
Both of my DILs were home the next day after normal births,except one by C-section when it was a week later, baby was premature and had to stay in hospital for six weeks.
I was churched after both my babies, each time it was when we went to arrange the baptism, it came as a surprise because thought this had ceased to exist.When I was a child it was considered unlucky for an unbaptised baby to be taken into anyone's house other than the parents house.I can still remember an old lady screaming her head off at her neighbour who had dared to take her unbaptised baby into her(the old lady's) house.Babies were also carried to church for baptism with a veil covering their face,to keep off the evil spirits!.This veil was only removed as the baby was brought to the font.My own two wore a veil to their baptisms at my MILs insistance.This has all ceased now, if babies get baptised these days it is much later so a big party can be arranged, as in the case of my grandchildren.

JessM Fri 02-Sep-11 08:19:29

Come to think of it, didn't the C of E take the churching of women out off the list a few years ago? I guess a lot of cultures have purification rituals after birth which also served to give mums an break from official duties. Of course orthodox Jewesses go through a purification ritual every month! All goes back to the Book of Leviticus

Sbagran Thu 01-Sep-11 22:19:03

Shortly after my daughter had her first little one (now a gorgeous 13yr old!) we went to Mass after which the Priest invited us into the Sacristy and my daughter with her baby in her arms received the most beautiful 'Blessing for a new mother'
It was such a lovely moment and brought tears to my eyes.
I have heard of 'churching' but thought it had died out years ago and I remember that there seemed to be a sort of 'cleansing ritual' involved? Hopefully those ideas have died out like the 'can't have a bath or wash your hair or go swimming while you have your period' - thank goodness these things have been cast into the history books!
Am thinking of you Laolao - tricky situation and like you, I feel that all that travel, new home etc is a lot to cope with so soon after childbirth but they do things like that nowadays and somehow manage! Sadly we caring Mums just have to stand aside and let them do their own thing - being available if things don't go as planned and all we can do is pray that all will be well. God bless you laolao - hope it all goes well and things work out for all of you. smile

glammanana Wed 31-Aug-11 22:50:05

I remember my mum being churched after the birth of my brother and he is now 45yrs old,I remember also being in hospital for 10day's with DD and not going out for 7days after that,with my DSs the time in hospital was only 3days and I really did notice the differance in how I felt,so no wonder the women giving birth and being back at home in 6hrs now are suffering from post natal depression their bodie's are not having enough time to get back to normality.

harrigran Wed 31-Aug-11 21:22:40

When I had my DD 42 years ago I was in hospital for 10 days, it meant I had stitches out before I went home. We had DD baptised at 6 weeks old and I was churched before the ceremony. I was not invited to do this when DS was baptised 2 years later. I have not heard of anyone being churched since.

Annobel Wed 31-Aug-11 18:58:30

How things have changed. Forty years ago, I had almost a full week in hospital after DS1 arrived. I had breastfeeding well established by the time I got him home. DS2 was taken into SCBU after about 24 hours and I was sent home distraught - no accommodation for mums and no milk bank at the time. After nine days of expressing milk, I got him home and breastfed him for nine months.
OTOH, my DiL, after straightforward deliveries, was home the very same day which I thought was a bit too soon, but what do I know? I'm only the granny! Nevertheless, she breastfed both of the GC very successfully.

JessM Wed 31-Aug-11 18:38:47

In Tudor times wealthy women were effectively shut away for weeks before and after birth. A someone exaggerated response to the considerable dangers of childbirth, causes at the time, unknown. The wealthy also were expected to farm out their babies to a wet nurse (right into 19th C at least) . This may have served the purpose of rendering them fertile and ready for another go at producing male offspring at earliest moment. But I guess the heavy clothing of those times did not work well with leaky boobs. They would have had to stay in their nighties full time if they were breast feeding.
When I had my first I rather appreciated the full week in hospital as there was nothing else to do other than get the hang of breastfeeding and cope with stitches. My DIL managed to get herself discharged less than 24 hours after a C section... How times change.

Elegran Wed 31-Aug-11 18:29:48

My granny had six children, plus a later stillbirth and (I suspect but am not sure) several miscarriages, as she was probably Rhesus negative) .

She has fairly easy deliveries and was normally highly active but she always took the full week in bed, being waited on hand and foot. She said "It was the only time I had nothing to do, and I took full advantage of it" After the week was up, she would return to looking after everyone else, but for that week other people looked after her.

HildaW Wed 31-Aug-11 18:13:43

Jackyann.............I hinted at something similar in another post, dont ask me where, cant remember. But I too feel that going back to the old idea of taking it easy and not dashing hither and thither after a birth is a jolly nice idea. I was happy to be waited on (husband doing shopping etc and visitors coming to us) after my two where born 20odd years ago and know my Granny had a proper 'lying-in'....all sounds very civilized. Modern Mums are all very independent and probably like that but dragging newborns around Tescos let alone airports has always seemed a bit like hard work to me.

jackyann Wed 31-Aug-11 16:51:05

The last I heard of "churching" as a social custom was in the late 50s when I was a child. I have known it since (probably last about 10 years ago) but as a quiet time for giving thanks, not as a "first time out of the house" custom.
I have very mixed feelings about it - there was a real element of cleansing after "being unclean" about it; I was reminded of it during the fuss about women's ordination when some opponent said "what if you were offered the chalice by a menstruating woman?" ( good heavens!)

But it, like the other customs mentioned, gave space & time for the new mum to recover, establish breast feeding & enjoy her baby.
I have also sometimes been concerned about the older female relatives descending en masse to new mums I have known. I know that some have not found it as helpful as it may appear!

I know there is a bit of a movement to institute a "babymoon" - that quiet time, but with companions of mum's choosing, especially baby's dad. I rather like that.

JessM Wed 31-Aug-11 13:23:59

Thought you probably weren't but thought you'd have come across this. Customs do vary. Does anyone still do the "churching of women" or is in now extinct?
My next door neighbour is Nigerian and when she had a baby a battalion of older female relatives arrived and were all very loudly opinionated about what she should be eating to ensure the right kind of milk etc etc . It was her third. smile

Laolao Wed 31-Aug-11 10:41:33

Thanks to you all, it feels so much better having been able to express my worries on this forum, and you have all been so kind and thoughtful in your responses. Now I am going to shove my concerns to the back of my mind, DD and SIL have made a plan and I will do my utmost to support and help them however it pans out. I am now a real convert to Gransnet!

Jess M - I am not actually Chinese grin I'm South African British, but DH and I are working/living in China. You are quite right about how in Chinese culture a new mum doesn't leave the home for a full month, and her mum and MIL will pitch up and do all the household stuff and cooking - a full month seems a little excessive to me but I can see the value of the first weeks being quiet so that the new Mum can concentrate totally on her infant. My Chinese friends here have been horrified when we mention the timing of their travel and have asked me why I don't stop it! BTW I chose my username Laolao as that is Chinese for the maternal grandmother (paternal grandmother is Nainai).

JessM Wed 31-Aug-11 08:22:15

Oh laolao I do feel for you. I remember a Chinese/Malaysian friend telling me that in her culture it is normal for the mum to stay at home for a month, getting looked after, following a birth. And I have to say that it sounds like a pretty good idea if you want to concentrate on getting breastfeeding established. I was incredibly grateful to have my mother and then my grandmother staying after I gave birth. (not least because their cooking was much better than my ex's) They saw their role as cooking and washing etc so I could do the mum thing. Young women often think the baby will pop out, sleep a lot and their own bodies and emotions will be back to "normal" within a day or two. The fashion for "us parents want to be alone with our baby" is probably good from the point of view of the fathers bonding with the babies (and many get paternity leave these days) and not getting sidelined by female relatives. It fits the isolated nuclear family model - dad's need to be full partners in baby and child care when there are no relatives around the corner. So there are points in its favour - as emotional challenges that mean we have to grow up even more. If I was in your shoes I would be wrestling with hurt, anger and frustration as well as anxiety about flights etc. Other people are making all kinds of decisions that you disagree with. Best advice is to try to get your emotions out of the way before you get on the plane, if you possibly can.

KateDaring52 Wed 31-Aug-11 08:10:05

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