Fairy Godmothers

Abigail Walston

Posted By: Abigail Walston

I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.

Both my mother and Ed's mother have been incredibly supportive of my decision to breastfeed Joshua and all of our other parenting choices. They're more than happy to share how they did things when we were small, listen to our concerns and desires and respect Ed's and my wishes.

My mom and mom-in-law always said they'd support us as parents, but they really proved it when I was in labor. I labored for 41 hours to bring Joshua into this world, spending most of that time at home. My mother and Ed's mother were right there alongside me the whole time. When we called them in the middle of the night, each of them changed plans and came over the following morning. I labored all day, getting sent home from both the doctor's office and the hospital since I was contracting but not dilating. When night fell again and Ed wanted to get some sleep, my mother and Ed's mother stayed awake with me. They helped me through each contraction with their recollections of Lamaze after I had exhausted all other coping mechanisms. I'll never forget sitting in the rocking chair with my mom on one side and my mom-in-law on the other side, holding their hands and listening to them count as I breathed through each contraction. When we finally went to the hospital the second time and were admitted, both moms came along and were there when Joshua was born the following afternoon. I'll always be thankful to our moms for supporting me through labor and have referred to them as my unofficial doulas.

Both my mom and Ed's mom knew how important it was for me to breastfeed Joshua. I've written before how I was raised in a culture of breastfeeding and how I always knew I would breastfeed my children because my mom's "extended" nursing was the norm throughout my life. Ed's mother breastfed her children as well, including twins. It makes me so sad to hear stories from other new moms about their unsupportive parents or in-laws and that they don't have the support I've had from my moms.

When Joshua was a newborn, the moms helped me to take the time it required to develop a good nursing relationship. They took over cooking and household chores so I could sit and nurse Joshua. In the beginning, I calculated that I was breastfeeding Joshua for at least 18 hours each day. I didn't have to worry about anything but taking care of Joshua because I had my husband and our moms. They were like little fairies; I'd sit down to nurse Joshua and suddenly the laundry was running, the dishwasher was unloaded, I'd have a glass of ice water and a sandwich, and supper would be waiting in the refrigerator. While our dads wondered where their wives had gone, Ed and I enjoyed the time our moms spent at our house in those early days. There's nothing like having a baby to make you appreciate your mom!

When I went back to work, both of our moms stepped back in to help ease the transition. Ed's mom watches Joshua two days a week, and my mom spends time with us on weekends and week nights. Whenever either mom stops by, they ask what they can do to help, bring dinner, or play with Joshua so I can take a shower or grade papers.

I am so thankful for my mom and mom-in-law. They take on the jobs that nobody wants to do so that I can focus on being a mother to Joshua. They're role models for the kind of mother I want to be.

12:00pm on Wednesday January 26
1 comment


Ruth aka "Abbie's Mom"
3:27am on Thursday January 27

Abbie, this is the most BEAUTIFUL article! Of course, I'm reading this with tears in my eyes and thinking how fortunate I feel to be part of your lives. To be included, and to be invited, to be part of Joshua's birth was a most generous gift from you and Ed and something beyond my wildest dreams. I was so happy to be there, as I know your mother-in-law was, as well, and feel so privileged that we could share in this intimate,precious moment with you.

You and Ed have brought your families the most wonderful gift of all, "our" baby Joshua.

Thank you for your very kind and generous words. I just know how helpful my own mother was when you were born and I wanted to do the same for you; it's only natural. No new mother or father should have to go through this alone and the only thing in the world you should have to concern yourself with after your baby's birth is your baby! Leave the dishes, laundry,and housework to someone else. I'm pretty sure I've never been referred to as a "good fairy" before, but I'd do it all over again . . . and am prepared to do it again . . . you just let me know when!

Lots of love,

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