The First Pregnancy and Baby Advice and Information Has Changed Beyond Recognition With Our Grandchildren’s Generation

The First Pregnancy and Baby AdviceWhen this Grandma’s children, now in their forties, were babies, cereal was the first food to introduce to the baby, and after a few weeks or a month or two of birth.  Of course, the majority of babies back then were formula bottle babies, the then new and modern way to mother.  Breastfeeding was only for the so called ‘crunchy’ mothers, into natural everything, and they were a very small minority.  This Grandma got more creative, as other, more experienced, mothers told me of the trick to help the baby sleep more hours.  If we put a baby teaspoon of the now pediatrician permitted cereal in the last bottle close to midnight the baby slept an hour or two longer than the two to three hours we could expect.  With my first baby, I was too scared to do so.  With my second baby, the baby teaspoon, or two, went into the last night bottle before my bed at three weeks!  That baby, now a mother of three, tells me how awful that practice was and how it could lead to stomach issues and allergies, and who knows what else.  Yes, I have maternal guilt even forty years later for anything and everything if she takes just one antacid.  We Boomer mothers did not have the internet, and those we relied upon, even our obstetricians and pediatricians, had so much less information than the new mothers today. Prenatal care that I had was virtually weighing me and measuring —measuring my stomach! Post natal care was one doctor visit after six weeks.

I asked my daughter and daughter in law about getting internet information and advice and sent them an article from the Washington Post, “The new face of medical advice: the online pregnancy forum: Expecting moms are turning to the Internet for issues they can’t or won’t discuss with their doctors.”

I wanted to know if the internet is their first line of defense and information too.  Anna Wexler, a bioethics researcher, the author of the opinion piece on July 10, 2018, mentions getting thousands of links and “getting advice on steroids,” putting a topic into a google search.  Otherwise, it seemed that the author felt that the ability to get advice on the internet was a good thing.

My daughter responded and said I could share (most of) her response:

“I used these a lot too but I think this article only offers the positive side of things. There was a (not so) funny post on Facebook once that said. “My elbow hurt so I googled it and now I’m certain I have elbow cancer.” I more often found myself looking at these boards at like 3am when I was freaking out about something random. Nothing good comes from googling anything at 3am. Sure, these are helpful to an extent. But they can also be terrifying. One point of agreement and two of dispute other than the above. Agreement: prenatal and particularly postpartum care in the US are abysmal. I saw my OB once after having a C-section – major surgery! – at six weeks!! The baby had 4 visits by then and he slept 22 hours a day whereas I was sleeping maybe four hours non consecutive and had other kids and a job to manage. I mean, that’s just crazy. Dispute 1: if she had a major issue and had to fake a UTI to see her doctor, then she has the wrong doctor. When I was pregnant and was scared because the wind blew the wrong way, they’d always fit me in. Dispute 2: this woman needs friends, not online chat groups, that she can be honest with. I have described [XXXX] to my girlfriends without hesitation and heard similar, if not worse. Nothing is off limits. I don’t need social media for that :)”

My daughter in law responded as well.  She also admitted she has sought online stories from other moms and has found them very helpful. She said, “[t]hey almost always offer up multiple solutions to common problems so you realize you have options.”

What they both shared, and the author highlighted, is the dismal state of maternal health care and postpartum care in the United States.  Yet, as new mothers, they all were discouraged from going to the internet for information by health care professionals, as we all are, by all of our health care professionals.  It is hard to believe my daughter, over forty years after me, with all the information we now know about the “fourth trimester,” still only had one post delivery six week visit with the doctor!  See post, “Fourth Trimester and Optimal Age for Human Baby and Puppy Cuteness Optimization Are the Same.”

However, as the new mothers profess, they need information and they need it from a source that has experience and is willing to share it.  Why do they not turn first to us Boomer Grandmas?

They really know that we gave birth in the ‘dark ages.’  After all, I was put to sleep to deliver my first baby and saw her for the first time when she was hours old!  They know how little information we were given and how little information was out there nearly half a century ago!  I am better able to share the later consequences of child birth on my body than what happened when they were born.  I try to encourage them to be proactive about taking care of some of the consequences mentioned in the article, and not wait until age 60 to consult with a urogynecologist.  Yes, there is such a specialist!*

It is so hard to believe it was nearly half a century ago when I gave birth.  It is harder to believe that the mothers of my precious grandchildren are not in much better of a boat than we were with our pre and postnatal medical care. . . .and ours is supposed to be some of the best in the world.

So, we Boomer grandmas should join them! If you see something, say something! But, before you say something, check out the internet.   It seems that the new generation of mothers wants options and wants to choose the path for themselves, so offer options, not just one path.  Find out what the competent advice is out there, especially if it is to consult a doctor immediately.  In the least, tell them about a new website put together by the government, PregSource, to provide information and check it out yourself.

Also, take a look at this article, mentioned by the author, “The Last Person You’d Expect to Die in Childbirth: The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and 60 percent are preventable. The death of Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal nurse, in the hospital where she worked illustrates a profound disparity: The health care system focuses on babies but often ignores their mothers,” by Nina Martin, ProPublica, and Renee Montagne, NPR May 12, 2017.

We cannot take for granted that the medical care the parents of our grandchildren and grandchildren have is of the caliber we would want or expect in this day and age.  And, as Boomer grandmas, we can become advocates for better health care for the mothers of our grandchildren and for our grandchildren. The least we can do is become aware of the problem.

See post on how to be part of the pregnancy as a   grandma to be: “How to be the Best Grandma in the World with the Most Joy and Least Responsibility,”

And, be sure to tell the mothers-to-be and new mothers that it is okay to call us when they freak out at 3 am.  We will just get on the internet with them with

 

Joy,

Mema

 

*For those Boomers who had vaginal child births, especially multiple vaginal child births, consider such consultation for yourselves, sooner rather than later, before problems may begin.  Urogynecology is about the muscles and connective tissue of the female pelvic organs. The kinds of  pelvic floor problems that urogynecologists address include urinary issues and incontinence, bladder issues and overactive bladder, and pelvic organ prolapse and issues with intercourse that may result.

 

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