We had a new baby come into our family in 2002, and I was reminded how much change needs to happen when a little one comes into the family. Everyone has to make space for the new member, both internally and externally within the family roles and dynamics. In birthing families everyone’s roles are shifting. Parents, siblings, and other close family members are all taking on new roles. It is helpful to think about this so that you can be clear about what your role is, and help your children, and other family members, to make the transition. It is also important for each person to think about what they want from the other members of the family in this transition. E.g. a mother is becoming grandmother, a daughter is becoming mother, a son is becoming a dad, a father is becoming a grandfather, and born siblings having to move over for the younger member. There is a process that we are all going through to make these shifts, both internally, and in our outer roles. A pregnant family may have very different needs and requirements of their close family members at this time.
Fourteen years ago my son told me that he and his partner were newly pregnant. I was instantly in a new relationship with my unborn granddaughter, because I believe that we are conscious from conception, if not earlier. My relationship with my son, daughter-in-law, and their child of 10 years old also changed immediately. In fact, we were all re-negotiating our positions in the family, as they had now changed. Questions needed to be answered over time about how much I would be invited to be involved in the pregnancy and birth, or as a grandma, and what the new boundaries were going to be. What kind of grandma did I want to be, and how was becoming a grandma going to affect the way that I perceived my son and his partners parenting and life styles, now that another new and vulnerable life was involved? How could I support the health in my family? How could I empower the younger ones by my presence? I was very fortunate to be invited to be deeply involved in my granddaughter’s journey into life, and to share all that I knew about creating the optimal environment for a new baby, to support prenatal attachment, and the healing and empowerment of both parents.
As a family we are separated geographically by thousands of miles, and an ocean, but I would talk to my granddaughter in my mind, send her love, and I also made her a tape with music, stories, etc that her mother would play to her in the womb. Included in this tape was a story I made up about my granddaughters journey into life. It was about how she came here from Source to be with us, and made the long journey to her conception, the sperm and egg coming together as she entered the physical body, and her gestation, and about how she was coming towards her birth now. When her then 10 year old sister heard this taped story, she cried, it touched her so deeply. Gradually, my grandma role extended to include my granddaughters older sister who was not my blood granddaughter, and to whom I had not been in the role of grand-mother prior to her sisters coming. She needed to feel included by us all. My son transformed into a man before my eyes, even his body changed and filled out and he took on new responsibilities, and my daughter in law let me in to her inner world and life in a new way, which was an honor for me.
I felt blessed to be so included and trusted by my family in this process, and to be valued for the support and experience I could bring. All the knowledge I have learned, through my work and my own journey into life, have informed me deeply about how to support the little one’s coming in to life. Being able to use all my gathered wisdom, and give my own granddaughter a really good foundation for life was joyous! It gave me the greatest pleasure and was an honor; many ancestral imprints were broken and halted in the process, a great blessing and opportunity for us all. This opportunity is available for all birthing families with the right support and information, and I am available to talk to you about this.
It’s important that pregnant parents who already have children help their children to find their new roles in the family. This can be especially important in blended families, e.g. a dad who has a 10 year old daughter with a previous wife is now having a baby with his new partner. His 10 year old is naturally going to be trying to figure out what her role is going to be, what level of involvement she will have, how all of this is going to affect her position in the family, and her relationships. Children need our help with this, they need to be told what is going to happen, how its going to look, what they can and cannot participate in. The clearer you can be, the more they can settle into their place in it all. They especially need to feel included, and reassured that they are still loved and cherished even though things are changing.
I have heard many sorry stories about the newly pregnant family closing its borders and keeping other family members out, such as mothers-in-law. I know there are a great many good reasons why this happens, and it is a sad loss for all involved. E.g. If the mother-in-law is not in a good connection with the pregnant mother, she may find herself either excluded or having to work really hard to find her place in the new family order. Relationship issues can become amplified at this time. This time offers everyone an opportunity to heal and resolve past hurts. It can also cause issues to become more entrenched if the required relationship skills are not present, and there is not enough safety and support for everyone to open up to the healing. It’s a great time to get good support.
Pregnancy is such a time of potency, creativity and heightened potential for healing and spiritual connection. Through the pregnant mother and baby diad we are all offered an opportunity to bask in the energy of the beautiful spiritual journey that is happening when a new child comes in. The veils are pulled back as the child enters through the portal from Source into the physical world, and through our close connection with mother/baby during pregnancy we are also offered the gift of being in this energy. Mother and baby are closer to Source/God than at any other time, and women are the natural keepers of this portal.
When a young woman is becoming a mother for the first time, she has to find a new relationship to her mother, and her mother likewise has to do the same with her. There is a shift. The daughter is becoming a mother. The new Grandma has to discover, sensitively, what her new role is to become both with her daughter and with her grandchild. What unresolved issues in their mother/daughter relationship are going to surface during this powerful time? Handled well, this time is powerful for healing because a pregnant woman is so open, intuitive, and connected to Source. She is in her power. Anyone in her close orbit is going to be deeply affected by her and the changes she is going through to become a mother. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable, or even very difficult, as people adjust to their new roles and positions.
E.g. A new mom who is working out some of her own early imprints, during or before her pregnancy, may want the boundaries in her relationship with her mother to change to more healthy ones. Perhaps when she was growing up, she and her mother did not have healthy boundaries. She now needs to create a healthier relationship with her mother before she can allow her to be part of her new family. Her mother’s ability to respect and take on these changes, instigated by her daughter, will directly affect how much she is going to be allowed to participate as a grandma. Often these dynamics can be too hard to deal with and a new family will simply exclude or distance grandma’s because they don’t have the tools or resources, emotionally or psychologically, to make the changes required for a more healthy relationship. This is a good time to get some help.
As the new parents are contemplating parenthood, and deciding the kind of parents they want to be, the parenting they received will often come up for review. This can bring up painful memories, and decisions not to parent in the same way as their parents. Sometimes this can cause conflict or splits in the family if the grandparents assert their way of doing it, and don’t support the new family to find their own way of parenting. Grandparents may be met with resistance and emotional reactions if they are not sensitive, and must pay attention to allowing the new parents to find their own authority as parents, and their own way of doing it. Sometimes the boundaries in the family need to shift, grandparents need to tread carefully in the exploration of their new role, allowing and respecting the new parents to make the container that they need in order to step into parenting in their own way. It may not be the way you did it, but that doesn’t make it wrong! These kinds of changes, if respected and supported, can bring the family closer together. As grandparents it is important to offer only advice that is welcome and asked for, and to always be sensitive to the effects of your presence and your level of involvement. We must pay very good attention to what we are being asked for. Respect new boundaries, and support the new parents choices, and check in with them to find out what it is that they want from you. Don’t be scared to ask! And, be willing to step into a new way of doing things that might be hard for you. Grandparents need to get their own support so that they can process difficulties with this transition, deal with the changes and issues arising, and not expect their children to have to deal with their process at this vulnerable time of change.
Many of us have been wounded by our experiences of coming into life, and especially have been traumatized by the medical, high intervention birthing in hospitals that we now consider ‘normal’. Women have lost the crucial and important ability to support our daughters, and the young women in our families, through pregnancy and birthing. We have become used to handing over this role, and with it our power, to medical professionals. Our female ancestral lines need a lot of healing before we can get back to women supporting women, mothers supporting daughters, and birth being treated as a normal and natural process that should be ultimately empowering and joyous for mother and baby. Pregnancy and birth should be a time when a pregnant family is surrounded by the wise and mature women of their community who have already birthed, and by the midwives. In this model a new mother learns all she needs to know about this very important female right of passage from the experienced women in her community, especially from her own mother and close female relatives and friends. Unfortunately, this is not happening for many women.
It is normal for us to remember our own early journey into life when we are becoming a parent ourselves. These memories are not obvious because they reside in our unconscious, our body, cells and energy field and they express themselves in a kind of repeating of what happened in the past as we came in. If there were times during a mother’s own gestation that she had a difficult or traumatic time, these trauma’s are often going to be triggered at around that same time during the gestation of her new baby. E.g. A mother goes into premature labor with her first child and her baby is born prematurely. With her second child she goes into early labor again at the exact same time in her pregnancy. During her early second labor this mom is asked by a wise woman/doula “What happened in your birth?” Her reply: “I was premature, and oh! it was at exactly the same time I have gone into labor with my two children!!” She was able to see that her own premature birth was being re-enacted in present time with her own babies. On realizing this, and processing her own experience and emotions about being born prematurely, her premature contractions ceased and she went to full term with her second child. This example demonstrates the unconscious power that our own journey into life can hold over us, and the influence it can have on our parenting, and on our children’s lives, if we remain totally unconscious about it. Never underestimate the latent power of your own early experiences when you are becoming a parent. It’s really good to know that often we are re-creating something that happened to us, and it actually has nothing to do with what is happening in present time. When we can do this it gives us a lot more real choice in the present. This is why I very much like to work with pre-pregnant and pregnant parents to see what may be influencing their experiences, and to support them to have full choice and not to just repeat what happened to them back then.
New parents have their own private negotiations and changes to make as they become parents. Each person has their own personal changes that they are going through in becoming a parent. The parents’ relationship is going through a big transition too. Relationship dynamics that were there before conception can be amplified as the pregnancy progresses. This is normal because as new parents you are in the process of creating a nest for your new baby and your relationship is an important part of the container. Is it strong enough? Is it healthy? What needs attention? What needs support? Are we ready yet? What will it take for us to come together and be enough for this child? What support do we need? All very good, and important questions, to be asking each other.
I wish you well on your every deepening and widening journey into parenting. I am available for face to face, and through Skype sessions to support conscious conception, pregnancy support, prenatal attachment, parenting issues, and healing of early imprints so that you can become better, happier parents with more choices.
© 2016 Karen Melton