By Doula Jen
We love grandmas—really, we do. Nothing compares to just how much they love that baby.
Grandmas—well-meaning and wonderful as they may be—are often too invested, too opinionated, too much a guest!
As doulas, we count on Grandma. Her lasagna, her gifts of layette, her willingness to pitch in and help set up our care! Her hand-me-down lullabies, her own birth story, the way she runs a warm washcloth over the new mamas forehead. We love it all and encourage that relationship. We also work very hard to provide something completely different.
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You’ll rarely hear a WBC doula say, “Well I didn’t give a pacifier, because I breastfed on demand for three years and didn’t see the point.” We won’t talk about our preference for the co-sleeper bassinet, starting avocado over cereal, what the vaccine schedule was like “back in our day.” While personal anecdote might come up here and there, it is with a particular spin…there are a million ways to do this; all of them bumbling and fumbling and valid.
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Of course we love babies! Of course we—in a way—fall in love with our families. But we’re not Grandma. We’re not overinvested, over-worried, overprotective. This is why we’re able to adhere to that first point—it doesn’t bother or offend us to see things done differently. We care, but not like a Grandma. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. That’s a relief. That’s a balancing of the worry that’s already on Mama’s shoulders.
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While we genuinely appreciate your sweet offer of tea, and might even occasionally take it, we are more likely to sit you down to rest while we fetch the kettle. You have paid for a service that we gladly provide and so, you’re not likely to feel guilty for taking that nap on our watch. You don’t feel the need to feed us. You don’t wonder if we’re bored or tired or lonely. Grandma on the other hand? You love her, you want her to keep visiting, you want her to be happy.
In a perfect world, a new mama gets a TON of Grandma Love, enjoying the multi-generational magic that occurs when you see your mother hold your child. And in a perfect world, a new mama will get Doula Love as well—modern, experienced, non-judgmental, caring from a distance.
Wishing you tons of both kinds of care—plus neighborly, sisterly, best friend over wine… It takes a posse…isn’t that what they say?