Posts Tagged ‘support network’

Support

I’m sick.

I’m not too sure what with, it could be a cold, it could be a really bad hayfever attack, or it could even be swine flu (but I doubt it). I woke up this morning feeling like I couldn’t possibly get myself out of bed, let alone look after my very active 2 year old daughter.

So I called my mum.

“Mama, I’m sick, where are you?”

“I’ll be there in 5.”

Now don’t get me wrong, my mum is not the type to let me wallow in misery while she does everything for me. But just her presence makes a world of difference.

I think I’m pretty lucky. Even though my parents are divorced, I would always tell anyone who asked that I had 3 parents; my Mum, my Nani (Grandma) and my Nana (Grandpa). My aunties would sleep over every other week with my cousins, and we basically grew up in as close to a tribe as you can get in suburban Sydney. I saw babies being born and raised, and even got some hands on practice that would help when it was my turn years later.

After giving birth to my daughter, I came home. My mum was there every day to make sure I ate well, and didn’t have to do anything apart from concentrate on feeding/changing/burping/feeding her grand-daughter. My mother in law slept over to help me settle the baby at night, and to make sure I got my rest. Both my husband’s family and my own were shocked that I didn’t want to move to my mum’s for the first 6 weeks, because that’s just what a woman was supposed to do when she had a baby.

I, on the other hand, thought I knew better. I thought that because I was the mother I was supposed to do everything myself. I didn’t need all that help, even though I enjoyed it. I was super woman and could do the dishes while breastfeeding a 2 week old. When my daughter woke screaming with hunger 20 minutes later, I realised I needed to put my feet up and concentrate on her latch rather than the state of my house.

Another example; I wanted my daughter to sleep in a cot in my room. My mum suggested that I should put her straight into my bed, as it would make getting up at night easier. 3 weeks later, after coming to terms with the fact that the night wakings weren’t going to go away, I realised the wisdom of her words and have slept next to my daughter ever since.

My mum still comes over every day. She can’t go long without seeing her grandaughter. And I’m so happy that they have such a close bond, just like I had with my own grandmother. When we’re all together, I think of how special it is that 4 generations of family women are in the same place at the same time.

I wonder how other mothers cope without a family support network. Do their husbands do more at home? Do they have friends to help them when they need a break? Or do they put their children in day care to get some time out? Or do they just shoulder the responsibility of raising children on their own?

Advertisements