Grandparents how to help your Daughter in Law after Childbirth

The day of my baby shower my mother predicted the date my son would be born. Laughing at the idea of his arriving two weeks early, I wasn’t even contemplating the idea that my in-laws would be right outside the delivery room when he made his appearance. I had specifically asked my husband not to allow them to come that week. Guess What? I Lost! Now I realize I couldn’t have asked for a better loss.

After twelve hours of labor, ten of which were done with an inactive epidural, I was informed that a C-section would have to be the result. Always dreaming of the ideal childbirth experience, I was devastated by the news. Hysteria took over and the surgeons eventually had to completely put me under, sealing my nightmare of missing the entire birth and leaving my husband in an empty recovery room. The first person I asked for when I woke up, however, was my mother-in-law.

Jerry and Jill can be described as the fairy tale in-laws. They are the most giving, unselfish, supporting people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. While initially only visiting our new home (we had just relocated from Texas to Ohio four weeks earlier) for the weekend, Jill made the sacrifice of remaining behind in our small two bedroom apartment for an extra two weeks to assist me with the first parts of motherhood.

Being on six weeks of bedrest, Jill took on all the responsibliltes of handing me my son for feedings, assisting in the teaching of breastfeeding, and later taught me how to warm formula when my son was too jaundiced to remain on breast milk. She changed his diapers, rocked him to sleep, stayed up with him at night when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and held on to me when I was so emotionally exhausted all I could do was cry. She was my shoulder to cry on, my chef when I needed to eat, my pillow when I crashed, and my rock when nothing else could hold me up. She told me everyday what a wonderful job I was during, encouraging me to let go of the anxiousness. She knew when to step aside and allow me the bonding time I so needed with my infant boy, but was right there in the background in case I needed her. She would ask before doing anything, even the things she didn’t need permission to do, like hold her first grandson.

Grandparents, you want to know how to help your daughter-in-law after childbirth. Do nothing and do everything at the same time. Assist, teach, support, but without controlling the actions. Hold her, cry with her, tell her its okay to be feeling whatever way she is feeling. Then push her up, place the baby in her arms and tell her how beautiful her child is and how lucky she is to be the child’s mother. Don’t do more that she asks of you, but do more that she doesn’t know about. Follow her parenting ways, making a suggestion or two, but agreeing with her all the same. All in all, be everything she wants you to be and more. Don’t make a beautiful time in a mother’s life complicated.

Daughters-in-law, appreciate the help in every way. You never know when the time might come that you would have to do it all alone. I only hope that Jill will come and spend another few weeks when my next child is born.