To be Nonna, Nanna – or Nonna Nanna

2018 has begun with great expectations!

Any day now, I will become a grandmother for the first time. And not once, but twice! Both my sons will become fathers within a few days of each other. Who knows, maybe even the same day. I’ll keep you posted.

Many people tell me that becoming a grandparent is a more poignant moment than becoming a parent. Maybe that’s because we get to see our own lineage created, we know we will go on in existence and not be extinct. There is something magical about watching your own babies have babies. For they will always be your babies.

For me, as a midwife, having helped create and birth hundreds of babies into the world, not being able to be in that role for my grandchildren has been one of the most interesting experiences.

I have gone through a myriad of emotions, from feeling ecstatic to feeling frustrated by what is being said by the maternity carers, neglected, ignored, devalued, to being of great need, to simply just being. To have had so many couples over the years who have honoured and respected me for my wisdom and skill, who have trusted me emphatically. Now being the mother takes precedence over that skill set. I have learnt so much about boundaries, patience, trust.

Now as they head into their 39th week of pregnancy, full of trust, enthusiasm and belief in the natural process of birth, I know that somehow, over the years I have done my job.

How do I know this? Because I hear their words and conversations about their expectations. I have assisted in moulding their value system. Though they listen to their obstetrician, they make up their own minds through insight, research and information. They don’t just take their word for it, or even mine for that matter.

Writing ‘Creating Happy Healthy Babies, a Holistic Midwife’s Approach’ gave me the tool to hand them. They can take the wisdom contained there in their own time, free of judgement or outside emotion.

I am so proud of myself for having this tool to give them.

I am also surprised at my ability to let go and simply observe, without feeling the need to interfere or give my opinion. I answer when asked, in a sensible and logical way, ensuring I remove any passionate emotion from the conversation.

If there is one thing millennials hate, it is embarrassing, passionate emotions. Quite a conservative bunch really, compared to us children of the 70s.

I am so pleased that there is much discussion and research now around the topic of unnecessary induction of babies before their due date. Thank heavens! I have been campaigning for this for many years.

Recent research suggests that early induction may create learning difficulties in children. Sometimes I think we humans are a slow bunch. Seriously, why would nature be so inept?

The Midwife in me can’t help wondering how my daughter-in-law’s labours will be. What experiences will they have? If I am truthful, how much I would give to be there to be the guiding light.

Sadly, we mothers of the sons don’t seem to get the same privileges as the mothers of the daughters. They get to go to the scans and to be present at the birth. This is a challenging emotion.

It is so hard to know the birth is about to happen and yet with my skill set I am not invited to be present. I so look forward to my daughter’s pregnancy and birth. She has already declared it will be a homebirth, with her mother catching the baby.

I wish I had a mother like me, with the homebirth experience and knowledge. I would have wanted her there with me all the way. I birthed my children with two close midwife friends and my very supportive husband, yet very much alone when it came to family. My choices were radical, and I guess still are. Homebirth makes up for less than 1% of births and gets less every year. All I can do is be there as best I can when required and needed.

At least we share the same principles on environmental issues, like using eco-friendly nappies, breast feeding and the way to parent without sugar and 20th century influence as much as can be created in the early years.

I thought that I would feel old once I had grandchildren, but I feel alive and enthused. New life, new generation, new experiences. At times it might be also difficult to accept the new reality, but I imagine newborn grandkids have a magical way of ‘stealing' your heart and never giving it back to you. I feel mine may break with the love that is already outpouring. The midwife in me wants to explore those bellies, feel the bumps and little projections as they roll across the swollen abdomen.

I constantly remind myself these are not my babies, they belong to the new parents. I am only to witness now.

Time to be present, be available, and don’t lose sight of who I am.

Grandmother-to-be and Divine Ass Kicker,

Vicki Delpero

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