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Imminent grandma feeling apprehensive

(84 Posts)
Newbiegran Wed 24-Jun-20 21:15:33

Hello - this is my first post. I'm 61, daughter 31, first grandchild due 11 July. She lives 200 miles away and is hoping lockdown will allow me to visit her and stay to help her out for a while - at least at some point. We have a good relationship - I work full time but very flexible hours - so all ought to be fine ... BUT
I dont feel ready to be a grandma yet- of course I love her and want to support her, especially as, unlike me, she is very into babies, (I was never maternal- I loved my own two (younger brother 28) and they've turned out well, but I am not one to coo over babies) What if I don't bond with this baby? What if I have forgotten how to look after babies? Literally I haven't had much to do babies since she and her brother were babies. I've always seen my daughter as a strong independent career woman (and she is) but it seems she is looking to her mum for support with a new baby - and I am anxious in case I disappoint her. Could anyone reassure me? Thanks! I feel I should be all excited .. but I'm uneasy.

Hithere Wed 24-Jun-20 21:25:09

First of all, breath. Congrats!

Ask your daughter what kind of help she needs.
Follow her instructions and wishes

Get a book for baby care from the library if if you think it is going to help you.

You will do great!

CanadianGran Wed 24-Jun-20 21:47:38

I think you will be surprised that your instincts will kick in.

Let your daughter guide you in the amount of help/advice given. Even just being in the house to do chores so she can convalesce after birth, and get some much needed sleep will be helpful.

Don't be too hard on yourself about being anxious; help to create a relaxing environment for your daughter and partner (you didn't mention if she had one). After all, you have done this before. And if you have rusty skills then you can muddle through it and have a giggle together.

Newbiegran Wed 24-Jun-20 21:54:12

Thanks! She does have a partner (whose mum lives nearby and actually has 4 children and 2 grandchildren but my daughter actually wants her OWN mum not the mum-in-law) which is very flattering, although daunting. You're right - I can definitely do lots of chores for her. It's a boy. I daresay changing nappies will come back to me (and thanks to her younger brother I won't forget to watch out for the spray!)

Grammaretto Wed 24-Jun-20 21:59:34

As CanadianGran says, you are there to help DD not to look after the baby. I think we all take a while to get back into it.
You'll be fine.Take the baby out for a walk in the pram to let DD get some sleep. That's what I did. Luckily new babies sleep a lot (especially in the daytime).
I also found that once the baby was in my arms I instinctively knew what to do despite the 30 years of no babies.


Cabbie21 Wed 24-Jun-20 22:07:26

When my daughter had her first baby she didn’t want or need me to do anything with the baby ( she was a natural, much more so than I was ) but appreciated help around the house, bringing her a drink whilst she was feeding etc. And just providing company and support generally.
When she had the second child I was quite useful occupying the older one at times.
I am sure you will be fine.

JuneRose Wed 24-Jun-20 22:10:59

Practical things like washing up, ironing, hanging out the washing or cooking a meal are the chores that go out of the window for the first couple of weeks. So maybe you could do those things and that will allow your daughter to concentrate on the new baby. Being a grandma is great, you get all the fun and then get to hand them back. As the baby grows into a little person your love will grow too.

cornergran Wed 24-Jun-20 23:33:37

Totally understand your concerns newbiegran, all the best grandmothers have them smile. I simply asked what would help the most and got on with it. Seemed to work and we’re all still speaking after 14 years. Go, enjoy and relax as much as anyone can in a house with a newborn. You’ll be fine. Many congratulations, do come back and chat to us after the event.

agnurse Thu 25-Jun-20 02:27:40

You might see if there's an online grandparenting class you could take. Seriously, it's a thing. The focus is on how recommendations have changed over the years and on educating grandparents about new guidelines so that they can ensure that they're providing safe care for their GC.

BibiSarah Thu 25-Jun-20 03:01:49

Newbiegran, its like riding a bike - you never forget how to. Honestly. It will all just come back to you and it will feel very natural. One thing though, the mums of today have all sorts of information at their fingertips so for eg although I breast fed all of my children I don't actually know how it all works. I just know that it does, or perhaps that should be that it worked for me, and I find that when it comes to my daughter asking me a breastfeeding question I find it better to leave the explanations to her sister or sisters in law who not only breastfed but read up on it as well and can answer the technicalities.

What do I do to help? Anything and everything and this week Ive slept in with my latest grandchild, a 4 week old, and done all the night care due to my girl not being very well and her husband being at work.

Im lucky enough to have many grandchildren who age wise are between 4 weeks old and late teens. I even take them on holiday and this year Ive taken one lot to Italy in search of gladiators and once we can travel again Im bringing two of the others to London to do all things dinosaur related and spend a night in a museum.

Being a grandma is just wonderful and here's to happy, happy days for you and yours.

Kate1949 Thu 25-Jun-20 09:43:44

Congratulations! I became a grandmother at 50. I wasn't too pleased at the thought to be honest. I couldn't imagine being a gran - I am still a 1960s teenager in my head (aren't we all).

As soon as she was born, all that was forgotten. I can't ever exlain the feeling. She is 20 now. and we've had some wonderful times. She is the light of my life. Enjoy it

geekesse Thu 25-Jun-20 10:07:51

Please don’t feel you have to go all soppy about a baby grandchild. I’m not maternal and although I love my kids, I hated the messy business of being a parent. Likewise, I love my grandchildren, but I don’t ‘bond’ with them in some magical way. A lot of GNetters are into this ‘I love my grandchild more than anything in the world’ thing, but it’s not compulsory. In some ways it’s easier to be more disengaged - you don’t end up competing with your own children for their love, and you don’t feel Forced to offer childcare. Just enjoy it!

Franbern Thu 25-Jun-20 10:24:03

I never wanted to be a g.parent. Adored all my children, loved being a Mum, and it got better and better as they became adults.

Obviously, as they found partners, I knew I had dropped down one peg on the order.

When the first of my children told me she and hubbie were expecting, my immediate response was 'What are you going to do?'. Fortunately, more than twenty years later she can laugh at such a strange response.

When he was born, I stayed with her for a few days, much more concerned about her than the baby. When I went back home and to work and people asked me about him, I would just shrug and say ' He is a healthy, normal baby'. Not quite the response of a doting g,mother!!!

Now, many years later and with seven further g.children, I do enjoy being a g,mother. Not in the doting way - but all my children are so happy with their children -any anything that makes my children happy - is good by me.

Not sure if I would say I actually 'love' my g.children . I am concerned for them, have helped, when I could, with minding them (one a great deal throughout babyhood and childhood), but they help to define who I am - and I am happy and comfortable with that.

No, I will never be one who says that g.children are the best things that every happened to them. For me, that was my own children - All my daughters know and understand my feelings - and I know and accept that to them (quite rightly) their children are the most important things in their lives.

So, Newbiegran, my advice would be - just relax and let things run their course. Wonderful, you daughter wants you there for her, go along, help in any way you can. Chances are when you see her with her baby, you will realise how much you do love them both.

Kate1949 Thu 25-Jun-20 10:54:58

Just to add. When I told a friend I was about to be a grandmother, she said 'How awful. I would hate that.' She now had four grandchildren and talks about nothing else. smile

Kate1949 Thu 25-Jun-20 10:55:25

has not had.

Newbiegran Thu 25-Jun-20 16:09:04

Thanks! I do feel better now that I don't have to be one of those doting - best thing ever - grandmothers - of course I will love and care for any grandchildren as I love and care for my grown up children but I have my own life and am not about to down tools and spend all day knitting (metaphorically speaking)

BibiSarah Fri 26-Jun-20 05:12:55

but I have my own life and am not about to down tools and spend all day knitting (metaphorically speaking)

Newbie, this many times over hands on grandma has her own life that amongst the usual day to day things includes

Having an adult child who these days requires 2-1 round the clock care that due to my age I now have to share with a team of full live in carers. But at least I have him at home with me and its why I still - run my own business.

I also travel. Mostly on my own (through choice) so I can see and do more when Im away. Family holidays are different entirely.

And then there's my voluntary work with young adults like my son.

Oh and I almost forgot my non metaphorical knitting blush - blankets and beanie hats for the premature baby unit in our local hospital.

Give up my own life to be a grandma? grin

GagaJo Fri 26-Jun-20 05:37:15

My grandson was an accident. Unplanned and kept, because my daughter doesn't believe in abortion. She wanted my support during the pregnancy and for me to be with her while she was in labour. I didn't want to be, having had a bad time with my own birth experience.

The birth was fine and despite never having been particularly maternal, I adored my GS from the beginning. He has brought very much joy into my life that I could not have foreseen.

Txquiltz Fri 26-Jun-20 05:37:37

Babies are issued a beautiful gift before they arrive. They open our eyes to a real, on earth miracle. They have skin that begs for our touch. They make noises that dance in our ears. They smell like fields of flowers and fresh baked bread. Never fear, your grandchild will arrive knowing how to fill your heart with love.

Pinkhousegirl Fri 26-Jun-20 08:49:43

congratulations ! I think we are all different grandmothers just as were are different mothers. My daughter's baby is now five weeks old, he is my first grandchild, and I am helping her during the week as her partner is working from home in a very small flat. Many thoughts - I am no longer 30, so it is exhausting - there are not really any special "skills" though today's parents are far more bombarded with stuff to buy and endless internet guilt trips than we were - despite the exhaustion, and the huge effort, and the current infernal heat, it has been a wonderful time, obviously to get to know the baby, but also to feel close again to my daughter who is genuinely grateful, as I am sure yours will be. You don't have to focus on the baby if you don't want to - a bit of hoovering and washing and making some lunch is also welcome. I wish you all the best and hope you enjoy it. x

Ydoc Fri 26-Jun-20 08:51:29

I felt similar to you. But it has been the very opposite experience I am mad about my granddaughter. I love her to bits!! Just relax about it all I'm sure all will be fine.

Sparklefizz Fri 26-Jun-20 08:53:39

Congratulations Newbiegran. I was a grandmother at 45. My daughter got pregnant at university so not ideal, but my son and I supported her to keep the baby who brought great joy. Baby's dad left the scene. My ex husband not interested. I found myself utterly elated.

My new neighbours thought the baby was mine! I was flattered and thrilled. I was her birthing partner. Daughter had missed out on childbirth classes so it was left to me to teach her how to breastfeed, and all aspects of baby care. We managed very well.

They lived with me for 5 weeks after the birth and then my daughter went back to uni with baby in tow and finished her degree and studied for her Masters and Ph.D. all the while bringing up baby. She did a good job. It has all worked out totally fine.

Dorsetcupcake61 Fri 26-Jun-20 09:04:23

I think its brilliant that you are going in with the attitude that you dont know everythingsmile. Guidelines for what you should and shouldnt do have constantly changed over the decades. Fortunately health visitors are there for that advice. I'm not one for over fussing over babies. When I spent time with my daughter after the birth of both grandsons I focused as much as possible on supporting her with chores etc and moral support. For some reason my youngest grandson was always incredibly chilled with me so I would happily spend time with him whilst both parents fell asleep on the spot!

Bull Fri 26-Jun-20 09:13:46

Fairly new (6 months tomorrow) grandad here. I had similar concerns about bonding as, other than my own 2, I'm not particularly fond of babies. However, the first moment I saw him I was hooked and have been ever since. I've missed so much due to the lockdown and I am determined to catch up as soon as we can.
First time babysitting yesterday for a few hours while his parents had a little time to themselves. All went well except for the nappy thing! I was fine with my girls but was a bit unsure about how tight for a boy......

wildswan16 Fri 26-Jun-20 09:20:30

I hope you do manage to get to be with your daughter. Just keep remembering that you are there to help "her". Her job is to look after the baby. Your job is the washing, cooking, hoovering etc. Laugh together when you can't remember how to put a nappy on, or how to fasten the babygro. Learn about this little baby together.

This little one isn't yours - so you get to enjoy the cuddles, and later on play in the mud - then hand them back.