June 7, 2017 was the day my world changed forever. I was not prepared for the depth of this change like so many friends and relatives told me it would be. Oh, I knew it was going to happen; we all had months of warning. But this new individual, this new addition to our family, was not going to change my life much. “How is my daughter having a baby going to really affect me?” I would argue. “I mean, she’s having the baby.” I basically had no idea.
Our daughter, married only one year when she gave birth, had her baby at home with a midwife. If there was anything that deeply affected me, it was my fear for my child with a birth plan like this! Luckily, she realized my fears for her safety, so about three months before her due date she began to educate her father and me. She also had me come to the doctor appointments and hear the baby’s heartbeat. Those appointments always made me cry; new life within is just wondrous.
Her father is a scientist and medical researcher, so hospitalization and childbirth go together without doubt. All three of our children were birthed at a hospital with an MD, IV’s, Pitocin, and an epidural. “Childbirth,” our daughter told us, “is not a medical procedure.” OK, let that sink in. I’ll wait.
When the day came, she texted me about 10 AM that she was experiencing some sporadic contractions and by noon, I was telling her to contact her midwife. She did and got her husband informed. She went into full blown labor about 7 pm and both were with her. She didn’t want me there…for whatever reason, but I respected that and stayed home and prayed to St. Gerard. At midnight, she gave birth to our first grandchild, James.
The day my daughter gave birth to her own child was the day I lost my job as a mother to her. But, not really, with all my experience as a mother, she knew I knew a few things and was open to my help. Even during her pregnancy, when she was sick all the time but was a senior in college, she looked to me for help. Her degree was in biology, so she had long lab hours and found herself with an empty stomach, dry heaving in the bathroom. I took her to Sam’s and bought her crackers to put in her backpack to keep her going. I was sick for all my pregnancies, and she knew that.
James came into the world perfect in just seven hours of active labor, and for the next few weeks was the crankiest little newborn. There again, our daughter sought me out for help. I would hold him, giving her a break, listening to her concerns, and assuring her that she is doing a great job. Over the next several months she and little James blossomed into their roles as mother and son beautifully as I stood in the background watching.
My life has changed indeed. To my surprise, I have an active role in both their lives as a mentor, mother, and now grandmother. James is 2 years old now and his vocabulary is mounting steadily, if not sprinting with my husband being called “Boppy” and me “Mommy.” Our son-in-law laughs at that, since our daughter is “Mommy” as well. I bake him cakes and cookies, make him lunch, and put him down for naps with a snack. He has crocheted afghans, quilted blankets (he calls “beebee”) made by me, and the Carters store in town knows me by name. It’s all good!
Copyright 2019 Ebeth Weidner