Is there enough love to go around?
While doing one of my podcasts, the grandmother I interviewed mentioned that she wondered if she could love her second grandchild as much as she loves her first.
For me, that is a yes!
Of course, the birth of your first grandchild is a new experience, whether you’re at the birth or not. You may have feelings that are different to those you had when having your own children. Ultimately for me, I was just as excited at the news of each new pregnancy, watching the growth and then the birth of a new grandchild.
I know that other grandparents’ experience may not be the same as mine; theirs is theirs, and mine is mine. It does not mean we are better or worse people because we don’t have a shared view.
While talking to other grandmothers, some share how their relationship with one grandchild or grandchildren might differ. They may even love one more than another. This is not a result of anything the child has done but is related to the circumstances around the grandchild’s birth.
I can partly relate this to the birth of my grandson, who was born during the lockdown. I could not meet him as soon as his parents and I would have liked because of the restrictions. When I met him, I could not hold him and could only observe him from a distance. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good hug, so not being able to have any physical contact with this beautiful baby boy was heart-wrenching.
Did it feel the same?
Even though the time was delayed in holding O, I can say that I felt an overwhelming love for him as I had done with my other grandchildren. It was just delayed, and there was nothing we could do to change the situation. Sadly, as time went on, the removed restrictions were instated again, and we had a forced separation. There were times when I could see him and when I couldn’t, and visits would be on the doorstep.
I also had to do this to see my other grandchildren too.
I went from looking after my granddaughters every week because I was part of their childcare to only seeing them on the doorstep. In the end, I had to stop that because it became unbearable for one of them and myself. Seeing them and not being able to hold them still makes me cry when I think about it.
My third grandchild was eight months old when the first national lockdown (March’ 20) took place, and I didn’t get to hold her again until July ’20. Thankfully, her parents were frontline workers, and because mum was ending her maternity, I was able to see them sooner than some grandparents.
Our initial reintroduction was hard because she was not used to seeing me and because she had been with mum 24/7 from March. We had to relearn how to be with each other.
Is it the same for everyone?
No, of course not! I interviewed a grandmother the other week, who loves her grandson, but because of the circumstances of his birth – how if affected mum and him – she feels that she cannot love the child in the way that she’d like. Something she wishes she could change. She’s not happy that their relationship has developed as it has, but she has accepted that is how it is, for now at least.
Sometimes, we cannot control situations, but we have to adapt and try not to beat ourselves up and not be a judge or an executioner because someone doesn’t react the same as us.
I have heard of grandmothers, who had a challenging time as mothers themselves, finding it difficult to bypass their own traumas to become the grandmother they would like to be. While others just aren’t happy with their child’s choice of partners, it affects the grandchildren’s relationship. Many grandparents would love to see their grandchildren. However, because of the breakdown of their parent’s relationship, seeing the grandchildren may become a tug of war between the adults involved. Sometimes, there’s a conflict with the child’s parent or parents with their parent. This also causes conflict and a reduction of time spent with the grandparent. Sadly, some grandparents only get to see their grandchildren during the holidays due to them living in different parts of the UK and the world.
Do they love them any less or more?
I can’t answer that because each individual has their own way of showing and receiving love, and each circumstance is different.
Is there enough love to go around?
For me, there is. I have four grandchildren, and I love them all.
I might have a different relationship with each grandchild because of their age and the time we’ve been able to spend together. But I love them all dearly, and I expect to feel the same when I’m introduced to my fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grandchild!
©2021 Sharon RM Stevens