Dear Mom of the Mom,
I am so SO glad that you are here for your daughter. YOU of all people know just how amazing this day is going to be and how profound a transformation your "baby girl" is about to undertake. I'm also very happy that you are here to support her in the coming days and weeks, as she pieces back together the parts of her she wants to keep, and decides which doubts and fears can stay with the offage of the birth. Please forgive me if you saw me heave a big breath when I walked into the room and saw you. Here's why.
Your baby is having a baby. I honestly doubt I'll ever be in your position as I only have sons, so please take this with a grain of salt- your baby has already been born and this chapter isn't about you and her anymore. She's a grown woman now and is in the process of trying and claiming her power through birth. Yes, it's lovely that you want to comfort her, but BABY-ING her is not going to help. This is not a time for her to seek refuge in your bosom. This is a time for her to be encouraged to be brave.
Calling her by your pet name for her when she was a toddler may be an affectionate and intimate way to connect, but you gotta see how it infantilizes her and pulls her into being your daughter and a bit out of being her child's mother. Commenting on YOUR experience of labor with her (or her siblings) also draws the energy and focus from her to you. Talking to me while I'm doing my job (giving a laboring mom my UNDIVIDED AND SOLE ATTENTION) also does the same. Please don't be offended when I didn't respond- I was in a wordless moment with your daughter- anchoring her emotionally so she could dive deep into her contraction.
I'm very grateful for the way you know her like no one else can. I'm so relieved that you are anticipating her need for a drink or clipping her hair up so tenderly so it stays out of her eyes. The knowing glance you give me because she's nearing transition and you recognize it but say nothing. I love that you are her foundation and her greatest cheer leader. I love that you trust birth as much as your daughter does, and respect her instinct to move and vocalize in a way that serves her. I'm so grateful for the way that you doula her (serve her) in a way that is meaningful... and makes my job easier.
Indeed in another time and place all mothers attended birth. Families lived closer and babies were born among them. Grandmothers told their daughters what to do as they waited and watched for their grand-daughters to give the sign for what came next in labor. Birth was intimate and joyful. A rite of passage if you will. Women marked the steps laid before them on their way to meet their babies, their mothers steadfast in confidence and boldness telling them the way to go. This is not a time when a mother held her daughter's hand to steady her as if she were learning to walk. This is a time when mothers set them free to step forward in faith that they are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
Dear mom of the mom. I'm so glad that you're here.