I am really lucky to have many grandparents. They are all healthy and vibrant. I am especially lucky to have three grandmothers. My mom’s mom of course, my dad’s mom, and my mom’s stepmom. They are all so beautiful, strong, funny, and inspiring. I have always been close with my grandmothers and I am so blessed that they have supported me through every aspect of my life.
Because my mom had to work through the summers and didn’t have a lot of holidays, my sister and I were sent to grandma and grandpa’s every summer for weeks at a time. I think that all this time we spent with our grandparents helped us to develop the great relationships we have now. I really want to continue this tradition with my kids, spending lots of time with grandparents up in the bush and in the city is a wonderful idea, and it also gives mom and dad a chance to have some peace and quiet! I loved every moment with them during those summers and I hope my kids will love it too.
When I decided to go into midwifery, my grandmothers were especially supportive. It’s funny how things have (and haven’t) changed in maternal care and medicine since my grandparents were having children.
Breastfeeding wasn’t in style back in the 60s when my grandmother was raising my mom and her brother. Formula was gaining popularity and people thought that having this amazing technology would make life easier. It turned out not to be for my grandmother. Even still, she didn’t breastfeed either of her children. None of her friends did either. Things are a little different today, with breastfeeding until the toddler years and beyond becoming more popular, but formula is still a good option for many mothers. Breastfeeding is still a taboo subject, I don’t think that that’s bound to change any time soon.
She gave birth quickly at one of the best hospitals in Montreal. She was told that her body was made for making babies, I hope I get her genes! Some might say that mom didn’t get those genes, having had C sections for both my sister and I. But I think she did, she still gave birth to two beautiful little baby girls who are thriving and happy today. No matter how babies come into this world, mom did a fantastic job and should be proud.
My French Canadian grandmother came from a family of 15, her mother started having children in 1921. My grandmother started reading The Birth House and is loving it, with many stories hitting close to home. When her mother had a serious health condition with her first child, if she hadn’t made it to the doctor in time, she would have died. We are lucky to have many doctors, midwives, and nurses who save women and children every day. She did lose two young children to disease and then saw her sons to go war in the 1940s. She sacrificed many things for her children she told me, she wanted to learn English, travel, learn how to drive a car… even though she didn’t do these things she still read geography books and studied with her children. How sweet it is to be loved by your mother…
As I enter midwifery school, I realize that women and grandmothers have so many stories to tell about their children, their mothers, and their lives. I wish everyone could hear more of these stories that clearly show women’s courage, strength, sacrifice, and love. Grandmothers are an untapped resource and wealth of knowledge, it’s really important that we listen to everything they have to say. Talking about midwifery with my grandmothers unleashes this beautiful connection between all women and gives a platform for them to discuss their stories. I can’t wait to learn more from the grandmothers in my family and the women who will become my mentors as my journey into midwifery begins.