I’ve always been greatful that I was a teenager before social media, and that my daughters’ teenage years just preceded the prevalence of smartphones (although DD was on MySpace- if anyone remembers that!)
However I’ve been musing on some of the threads on here and on Mumsnet about conflict between generations over grandparent involvement with very small grandchildren and I wonder if SM and the media are playing a part? What do grandparents on here think?
When I gave birth, it was very unusual for mums or particularly MILs to be in the delivery room. I don’t know anyone who had anyone but their partner. I also own a lot of cartoon collections of the Thelwell era and maternity wards are a surprisingly common theme. In those days even dads weren’t in the delivery room but cartoons often feature dads in the waiting room or looking through the nursery window for the first time. None include female figures, there was no expectation of mums waiting it it out or MILs being there to support their sons.
I first became aware of family camping out on American TV shows about 15 years ago, where the delivery room sometimes included both sets of parents and the odd sibling.
Now there seems to a lot of angst about how to tell mum or MIL they are not wanted in the delivery room. Of course if the patient wants support from her mum or MIL it’s lovely that hospitals now enable this, but where does the expectation come from? I do wonder whether seeing friends’ posts from the delivery room of “Precious first granny cuddles with baby Alfie” makes other women feel embarrassed or rejected that their own children don’t want them there.
I adored my mother and liked my MIL, but my mum would have been a nightmare as she’s a panic-monger and hyper-sensitive, so if I wasn’t grateful enough for her attempts to help she’d have been in tears etc. MIL would have been better but I still wouldn’t have wanted her there while I was endlessly shitting on a bedpan and mooing like a cow.
Likewise expectations of grandparenting with tiny babies. In the 60’s and 70’s, my mum spent 8 days after a straightforward delivery in a nursing home with strict visiting hours and restrictions. Like most women of her class and generation she bottle fed and we were taken to a nursery at night so she got sleep. She left rested and healed. Her mum came to stay for a couple of weeks as there was no parental leave then and dad would have been hopeless anyway, and she cleaned and cooked and let mum rest and look after us.
With mine, it was a much shorter stay in a busy, noisy postnatal ward with regular nightfeeding from the start. Thankfully after DH went back to work after a week’s parental leave, mum came for a week and did as her mum had done, yes of course she had cuddles, but she basically took over all the housework stuff and let me recover and establish breastfeeding and care for my baby. I was lucky she wasn’t working and offered to do this. It was lovely to have her and she was brilliant, but I was still glad when it went back to being just the three of us, it was time.
Now, new mothers who arrive home hours a few hours after complex births, or after a night in now hellish post natal wards, who might, like me, have spent 36 hours in labour with only a couple of snatched dozes, - are shutting family out from the baby if they don’t want visitors to their home straight away.
Neither my brother and I nor my girls stayed with grandparents until older, I think we were around 4, and my daughter started to sleep over a couple of times a year at around 2.5 I think. There was no pressure from grandparents who saw them regularly at our house or theirs or for Sunday lunch out.
Again, if other parents are keen for couple time and want babysitters early then great, - if there are willing grandparents, but there now seems to be a thing about grandparents having “alone time” and “bonding” with tiny babies. I understand that with young children, being alone together means you can be uninhibited and silly and fun in a way that is more difficult if others are around, but I don’t think alone time with someone else’s tiny baby is something anyone should expect. Babies need to be close to and bonded with their primary caregiver, the rest comes later. My mum had and has a very, very special and close relationship with my DDs that didn’t suffer from not whisking them off to her house as a babies.
Again I wonder if all the photos on SM of baby Alfie snug as a bug in a Moses basket at grandma’s house creates the impression that everyone else is having their baby grandchildren over and if you don’t you are somehow lacking. What SM doesn’t tell you is that it might be 3.00 pm and the baby’s mum and dad might be 2 cms out of shot in the same room! People are great at curating their Social Media posts.
Similarly thanks to Facebook, everybody can see when other people have seen the baby as they will post photos, so people get the hump because they haven’t “been allowed” to see the baby since Thursday, and they [parents’ best friends] aren’t even family. Plus the bloody granny wars with people tallying how often the other grandma has seen the baby.
Years ago there was none of this as nobody knew!
So I think that SM contributes by
a) creating a false
impression that everyone else
is virtually glued to their grandchild from birth
b) inviting comparison and then raising feelings of insecurity and rejection if you don’t find yourself in the bosom of the new family from the off.
What do others think? Is SM contributing to the problem or is it just a mirror to changing times and expectations?
Loulelady Fri 01-Feb-19 14:15:01
27mommy Fri 01-Feb-19 16:10:28
agnurse Fri 01-Feb-19 17:00:18
NotTooOld Fri 01-Feb-19 17:09:59
paddyann Fri 01-Feb-19 17:42:49
Loulelady Fri 01-Feb-19 19:33:06
GabriellaG54 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:15:24
Aepgirl Sat 02-Feb-19 09:16:20
Purplepoppies Sat 02-Feb-19 09:19:41
DawnS Sat 02-Feb-19 09:27:15
Harris27 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:34:24
PECS Sat 02-Feb-19 09:37:40
GabriellaG54 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:40:28
4allweknow Sat 02-Feb-19 09:55:24
NotSpaghetti Sat 02-Feb-19 09:55:46
PECS Sat 02-Feb-19 10:05:03
SueDoku Sat 02-Feb-19 10:25:05
Shirls52000 Sat 02-Feb-19 10:27:16
ReadyMeals Sat 02-Feb-19 10:35:13
Annaram1 Sat 02-Feb-19 10:39:53
adaunas Sat 02-Feb-19 10:40:42
Luckylegs Sat 02-Feb-19 10:53:03
sarahellenwhitney Sat 02-Feb-19 10:56:17
jenpax Sat 02-Feb-19 11:09:57
BlueBelle Sat 02-Feb-19 11:15:09