(I wrote this follow up to a recent post and forgot to publish it)
Thank you for all your comments concerning the little babe and her mother in the (March) Baby Talk post. It certainly generated a lot of interest.
It was a difficult time for my friend (the Grandma) – I remember her telling me she certainly hadn’t done as was suggested in ‘the note’, had given the baby lots of cuddles and tickles and sung songs and did all the sorts of things you do when there is a babe in your arms – and was rewarded with lots of smiles and that funny coo tiny babies make.
When I next saw her, she (the grandma) mentioned she’d spoken (nicely) to the DIL on a different day about her concerns and it seemed she had a thing in her head about something she’d read about in a book – controlled crying.
Seemingly the little one cried a lot in the evening (as well as during the day)…..-not what Grandma observed the day she looked after her…. and she, the mother was really tired and had heard that if you leave them be – didn’t keep picking them up every time they cried….. they would go to sleep.
Yes, said Grandma, sometimes it works with older babes and children but yours is still really little and needs to be held.
A short while later when the mother saw the ‘nurse’ at the baby clinic she said similar things to her and as well as the baby the ’nurse’ took her (the mother)under her wing as well.
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That’s what happened all those years ago and even now after all that time my friend (the grandma) is still ‘annoyed, angry even’ at all the stress the DIL caused by being so pedantic in her ways. The baby continued to be ‘cranky/troublesome/tiresome’ (the mothers’s words) strangely only in their own home and it took many weeks to calm them both down.
The baby (an only child, now a young girl) has always been quiet almost withdrawn which my friend puts down to her not receiving love and attention, never knowing how her mother will react.
And then recently her son let slip they had had some really nasty fights over leaving the baby to cry but he didn’t know where to get help for the mother. Which led my friend to be upset and sad that he didn’t confide in her at the time.
I’m sure there are many reasons new mums (and babies) behave the way they do, even ‘non new mums’ have troubled days…..I learnt it’s not for us to judge, just be there if they need – or want – help. To be understanding….and kind.
7 thoughts on “Baby Talk revisted….”
“I learnt it’s not for us to judge, just be there if they need – or want – help. To be understanding….and kind.”
I agree with you wholeheartedly! It would be difficult to stand by and watch parenting we don’t agree with, but unless it is actual abuse it is usually in no one’s best interest to stand in judgement. Unless intervention is indicated, doing what you can when you can is the optimal approach, even if it isn’t what one hopes for.
If Gramma has had opportunity to spend time alone with the child, and loves her the way she thinks she should be loved, then she has done everything she can.
This story breaks my heart. For the baby whose needs were unmet, for the mum who almost certainly had a reduced ability to love because she had not received it herself, for the dad who recognised the problen but was unable to address it, for the ongoing pain of everyone and future generations.
Thankfully there was an early childhood nurse who supported the mum and a grandma who supported the baby and those interventions might have been enough to change the course of things.
When I worked as a doula, my most favourite work was post partum work, lending support in the home. Unfortunately, most people just didn’t want it, feeling that they had their situation under control or that t hey couldn’t admit to the problems.
This is why grandparents are so important. We have experience, knowledge, patience and love. And we aren’t sleep deprived. Sadly this is often dismissed as old fashioned.
Heartbreaking. For everyone. Parenting is NOT an easy job.
Every birth brought different problems – it was like being a new mother each time, no one child was the same as any of the others
Random thoughts from my parenting days. In my experience parenting is one of the great stumble stones of a friendship, and I have made it my golden rule never to interfere in others’ parenting (unless there’s abuse involved). Parents following the fad of the moment can be terribly unkind to other because they think they alone hold on to the truth. Many books on parenting should never be published!
this really sad for the mother, the dad and the baby and grandmother. it is so hard being a parent and most do not want advice. there are some that seek help and others think we are interfereing.
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