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Congratulations! You Cease To Exist

on October 21, 2014

A.K.A Grandparents think they’re far too important!

I am so going to get into trouble for this post! I got a text a while ago announcing a birth. It reads: Hi just to let you know Baby Blah Blah was born this morning. Mum is battered and bruised but my new grand daughter is worth it xxx

Oviously the baby was not named Blah Blah. No, first off, I found it very impersonal that the new babba’s Grand mother did the announcing. I don’t believe that it is a Grand parent’s prerogative to do this, although, perhaps she was tasked with this by both parents. It was my husband’s job, not my mother’s. But that’s me and my family.

Secondly, I found the message hugely disrespectful to the mum in question. Now maybe that is simply because I have had such an issue with identity since becoming a mother. From before Elvis was even born, my mother insisted every other day that no one would want to visit me, they were all coming to see Elvis. No one would care how I was coping or processing things, everyone would want to hold Elvis, know how he was doing. I would, according to her, cease to exist. What even to my husband and own mother? How can I cease to exist when I was, at that point, the person who had just had major surgery and was the most important person to that little baby?

So, perhaps due to my own issues, I find the comment that “my new grand daughter is worth it” almost revolting. Really I do. First off, what exactly did you do in getting the grand daughter? Wait outside in a waiting room, or back at home. Did you get battered and bruised? Maybe you did 30 years ago, but do you want the world to know that? Meanwhile, how does your daughter feel? Oh, you’re in pain, never mind you have a daughter now and I’ll shout it all to the world.

People have to stop only seeing the baby in a birth. People have to stop telling mums to get over the birth because all that matters is the baby that they have. People have to stop only wanting to see the new baby. People have to stop deciding that they are more important than a parent.

I think Elvis’ grandparents had an issue with me breastfeeding him. I had one grandparent ask me if I was breastfeeding purely to lose weight. I had another, after we’d started weaning him, declare as they fed him spoons of yoghurt “see, mummy’s not the only one who can feed you”. Do some grandparents think that their grandchild is a do over? Do they think they are as important, have as many rights as the parents? Why did we have some grandparents race across the country to meet their grandson and then never send a Christmas or Birthday card to him?

I can remember one hot August day last year when Elvis was still under 3 months old and we were too far from home when he got hungry/thirsty and would not stop screaming in his pushchair and I started to get really upset, walking as fast as possible to get him home and my mum, in the way she does, spoke to him as if he understood completely and said “You’re upsetting my daughter.” And I remember thinking, yes, I am still your daughter. I am not just the person who gave you a grandchild. I am still me. I will always be me and sometimes, selfishly, I want everything to be about me.

And that poor other new mum, in her battered and bruised state, was completely overlooked on the day that she did one of the hardest things a woman a can do, a day that can be one of the most amazing days in a person’s life, was ignored. Sure, that child becomes the most important person in the parents’ lives, but you still have to consider each other and others. And, as a grandparent, if you annoy the parents, you can be written out of the story.

Have you ever felt pushed out of your own family by others?

~ P

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