After my first child was born, I was a mess. No, actually, our whole family was a mess. My son had horrible acid reflux and we could never set him down. He cried all day and all night. I was desperately trying to recover from an unplanned C-section while simultaneously failing at breastfeeding. These two factors left me in tears constantly. And my husband, well, he didn't quite know how to help either of us. We were overwhelmed and lost, which is why, after a few days of travelling back and forth between her house and ours, my mum packed her bags and moved in with us.
I needed my mum. She helped us stay afloat during an incredibly stressful time and allowed us to get used to parenting with a safety net.
For those first few days at home with our new baby, my mother came over and brought groceries, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, and most importantly, her parenting wisdom. She calmly walked in like Super Grandma, only sporting floral capris instead of a cape. But driving an hour to and from her home got old pretty fast. I also found myself panicking whenever she left. Soon, she asked if she could move into the guest room for a while. Admitting that I desperately needed all the help I could get, especially after my husband went back to work, I said yes immediately. And while I was incredibly grateful, it wasn't always easy.
Becoming parents did not come naturally for my husband and me. Our once carefree and quiet life was now overcome by a new and needy little person. We suddenly forgot how to communicate, and instead acted passive aggressively towards one another. While my mother's presence made parenting a bit easier, it definitely didn't help the tension between me and my husband. Instead of having it out with one another to vent our frustrations, we had to whisper in our bedroom in the back of the house or save our fights for the middle of the night — yeah, those never ended well. We didn't want to make my mother feel uncomfortable, or worse, unwelcome. But we still desperately needed her there.
The arguing continued until, finally, after five weeks, our son started to get a little better. He was smiling, cooing, and gazing back into our eyes when we looked into his. And my mum noticed. She saw that we finally had a grip on things (at least sometimes), and didn't want to intrude. So, she packed up her bags and moved back home.
My mother still visited weekly, but we were finally ready for more room to adapt and learn things on our own. It was a rocky start, but we eventually navigated parenting without a debilitating amount of fear. We were ready to walk the unknown road together. Thankfully, my mother was still there to guide us. After our second child was born, we felt confident enough to get through the first few weeks on our own. She had taught us enough the first time. And looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. I needed my mum. She helped us stay afloat during an incredibly stressful time and allowed us to get used to parenting with a safety net. And that's something my husband and I will always be grateful for.