A Grandmother’s Point of View

Helen and her mum, Jill

Both my mum and my dad were huge influences and help with bringing up our daughter and supporting us through the more difficult days. With two children themselves, they have a lot of experience and advice, whether wanted or not, to share! So I asked my mum for her thoughts and tips on dealing in particular with those early days in motherhood. Here’s what she had to say:

pregnant woman walking a dog

Being a grandmother! What does it mean? Definitely different things at different stages of your grandchild’s life.

The first thrill is being told that your daughter is pregnant and perhaps remembering what it was like for you when you were expecting her. And then realising how ideas have changed.

I knew that I couldn’t wait to become a grandmother and wanted to be involved as much as possible with my new grandchild. I was lucky that I had already retired so I had the time to do this. However I was the one to be anxious first! I was naturally worried during the first few months of the pregnancy and hoped that my daughter was well ,eating properly and not doing too much as she had a demanding career. 

During her pregnancy she and her partner changed careers and moved house – which was another worry! But this also had a positive side, as they would now be nearer to me and her dad and that would make it easier to help when needed.

I think the most difficult part is wanting to support and help but not ‘take over’ and certainly not to criticise or say ‘that’s not the way we did it’. In some ways you feel that mothers today – who are generally having babies later in life and are more confident with responsible jobs, together with all of the instant information at hand on the internet – you expect them to know everything and your ideas may be thought of as ‘old fashioned’.

So how can you help?

As the birth date gets nearer, your daughter and her partner will have decided on their birth plan. I think perhaps now would be a good time to discuss with them how they might like you to help, both financially and practically if possible.

Next comes the anxious wait for the exciting news that the baby has been born. Of course the first thing you want to do is rush off to the hospital to meet your new grandchild. Please wait to be asked, this is a very special moment for the parents to be together with their baby.

My daughter’s delivery didn’t go to plan and she had to have an emergency caesarean which was an upsetting and emotional time. The first thoughts are of course ‘are both mother and child well’? Sometimes you feel so helpless wanting to do so much but not knowing what will help them best. Always ask. It may be just to get the house ready, food in, sometimes just a hug and no words!

Both the parents will be on an emotional high one minute and exhausted the next. Please think about the father in these early days. They can sometimes feel left out or a little lost when so much attention is towards the mother and child. Don’t forget it is a somewhat bewildering time for him as well. Perhaps offer to take the baby out for a walk so they can have time together.

The mother at some stage may well feel she isn’t coping – her hormones are all over the place and she will probably be sleep deprived. Make sure she knows that to some extent this is normal, especially if it is her first child. Be there to offer support and advice, but do not criticise.

All mothers and babies are different and especially if the birth has been difficult she may need more professional help. Mothers are led to believe that having a baby is the most natural thing in the world and they should all cope – but not all can and there is no shame in this and you should never think you are not a good mother if help is needed.

Always try to be positive and compliment the mum on some aspect of her parenting. This is new ground for her and she needs to know she is doing well. She will still have some doubts and needs to know that her instincts are usually right. She should not be anxious about asking for help and worrying about getting everything right the first time.

pregnant woman walking a dog

As the child gets older you may be asked to babysit or even be lucky enough to have the child to stay with you. Although grandparents are notorious for ‘spoiling’ their grandchildren it is important that you check with the parents on what they do if the child misbehaves. This is for example when the child is going through the ‘terrible twos’ and tantrums are occurring so you are being consistent with the parents.

Being part of your grandchild’s life is one of the most rewarding things that can happen to you. Seeing this child grow – the first smile, the first steps, and talking – they are all amazing.

Grandparents can play a big part in the development of their grandchild supporting both emotionally and practically. The difficult part is to learn when to stand back. Let your daughter know that she only has to ask for your help and you will be over as fast as possible!

Recent Posts >


Meet Abbie. Whose anxiety returned after the birth of her baby boy leaving her feeling overwhelmed, mentally exhausted and struggling with a rollercoaster of emotions.


Meet Elizabeth. She has struggled with anxiety since her early twenties. But since losing her mum and discovering her daughter has a life threatening allergy, her anxiety has worsened.


Geraldine is a mum of one, who trained as a hypnotherapist after personally experiencing anxiety and hoping to help others who have struggled in a similar way.

How to Prepare

Being as prepared for the birth of your baby as possible can really help to reduce symptoms of anxiety in those early weeks.

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety

Think hypnotherapy was something you did on stage at university after a few too many pints? Think again. It can be a powerful healing aid for anxiety.

Interview with Melanie Lawson

Melanie is the Founder of Bare Biology. Here she talks about her own personal experience of postnatal anxiety and how omega-3 came to her rescue.

Mental Health First Aid

All of us need to learn to recognise the signs of anxiety in others, whether our partners, friends or colleagues. The more awareness we can build, the earlier we can help.

Money Worries

The idea of financial planning does not normally resonate with being pregnant or a new mum – especially in those early days. I can’t imagine that anyone has time for anything beyond keeping your tiny human alive and keeping the big humans functioning well enough (on...


Natalie describes her story as the hardest journey into motherhood. Having been diagnosed with OCD as a teenager, she went on to struggle with a difficult pregnancy – both physically and mentally.

Returning to Work with Confidence

Just thinking about returning to work after maternity leave can be an anxious moment. How can you help yourself to return to work with confidence and positivity?