About babies and grandmas

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful.  One moment you’re just a mother.
The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.

Pam Brown

Yes, the news of my little granddaughter’s birth in December 2009 was wonderful and suddenly, i realized that being a Nana is an honour and not only  a title but an amazing opportunity to have and to hold!

The role of Nana is a totally brand-new phase in a woman’s life and it takes time to adjust to the elevated position, it means that one must grow in that part and finally, it means that you love the little thing so much that you heart could burst with the love and loving!

I get a new picture of Liana most days into my mobile phone, and when i phone my daughter who lives a hundred miles or so from where i live, Liana wants to join in on the conversation when her mother puts the phone on a loudspeaker. There will be heard most delightful sounds of cooing and joyful babble of a baby, who by all the signs pointing, will be as quiet as her Nana… :)) hehe

It’s such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother – that’s why the world calls her grandmother.

Author Unknown

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Mum You Are …

MUM YOU ARE...

Someone who cares
when others care less,

Someone who encourages
when others ridicule,

Someone who defends
when others condemn,

Someone with patience
when others are impatient,

Someone who appreciates
when others fail to notice,

Someone who gives security
in a world of insecurity,

You are a friend
for all time,
to cherish
and
protect,
and your achievements
will linger
for generations.

I LOVE YOU.

© All Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved.

These very moving and so poignant words are taken from a card Becki gave me one year for the Mothers Day in Ireland. I have kept it in my wallet ever since through all these years, through all the countries and places it has travelled with me. Heli gave me a most beautifully worded handwritten letter and a note which have also been doing the same ‘travelling’.

It is one of the greatest privileges in life to be a mum.

NOTICE THIS: that in the wide world there is a mother dying every few seconds – the Unicef article of 2003 states that 1400 mothers die every day because of the complications of the pregnancy and the birth. Here is what the UNICEF says about it all. It is nigh impossible to fathom for us in the west and in the parts of the world where the antenatal and the postnatal care are taken for granted.

That to me is the Pandemic Catastrophe of giant proportions and not the other things at the moment that are marketed for us as such worldwide.

I do feel very strongly for these mothers who die each day, for these babies and other children of these mothers who are left orphans for it was most, most difficult and dangerous for me to have children. Each time I faced the more than the likelihood of a miscarriage during the entire nine months. There was no certainty at all – will there or will there not to be a baby at the end of the pregnancy. It was nerve-racking to the hilt! Then the births – they were the riskiest of all, every time, I and the babies were at each birth face to face with death for both of us.

So, for the mothers – all the mothers in the world –

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

Tomorrow will be my Mothers Day Take 2 for in Ireland it was already celebrated in March and tomorrow it is the Finnish one. Double the prezzies and double the blessings of being an international mum!

ROTUNDA Hospital & Becoming Mother


Although there are many trial marriages… there is no such thing as a trial child. (Gail Sheehy)

Giving birth is compared to running a full marathon. Maybe, as I have never heard this before by anybody, but could it not be said that, the baby who is trying to be born also is running her/his own mini-marathon! I really do think that it is so. It does require so very much energy and stamina to bring it about for both the mother and the child. It was in the antenatal classes in Ireland that this fact about the marathon for the mother was told to us by our trainer, who was a midwife and a mother of six. Here is a link to the Baby University.com. Yes, there is such a thing! The baby with the mortar board on his head looks absolutely cute & clever.

The one thing that the newly-baked mama herself is in great need of more than nearly anything else is one’s own mum in fact. This is the time that she needs the most assurance and advice – that she is doing the right thing with this little totally helpless creature. Things like: what to do in times of crisis – yes, one needs one’s own mama more than any other time in one’s life! My Mum died very young, just three months before my first daughter was born, actually. My paternal Granny had died ten days before my mum, so there was a double funeral for them in Finland which I could not make because I had had the risk of miscarriage for the entire nine months and was not allowed to fly. Then the obstetrician gave me permission a week later after the funeral had been to fly over to Finland. The year after my Mom and Granny had died while I was expecting my second daughter, my younger brother was killed in a traffic accident in Finland which made it all so much tougher. I associate giving new life with death, in fact because of this.

I do not take having the girls in any way for granted because the ‘road’ to have them was paved with unbelievable obstacles all the way; even at the delivery there were never the guarantee that they and I would come out of it all in tact and alive! Not once. I gave birth to a dead baby and that ranks as the saddest of the saddest things that have happened to me, ever. I would have loved to have sons as well, but them I lost in miscarriages.

It is a funny as odd thing that one gets these repeated false labour alarms and then they reverse in the last minute and stop completely, but then when the real thing comes, it comes with a bang and there is no turning back. So when the birth got really going, I had to make my way to the Rotunda Hospital because the waters had broken – the oldest maternity hospital in the world for it was founded in 1745. Such an apt name for a maternity hospital, methinks. One goes in rather rotund and comes out lean. The delivery itself would not get going the right way so I was put into an annex in the hospital where there was a whole bunch of all the social classes in a jumbled mix and I was attached to a drip with hormone Oxytocin* – that is supposed to speed up the delivery. Sounds snobbish to talk about the ‘classes’ but it is so. Yes indeed, the class division system in Ireland is very well and alive, in every way: hospitals, housing, education – you name it!!

The mixture was a colourful circus as anything: the one mum that I do remember very clearly is this one who was just about to give birth – finally – and to be rolled into the delivery room, when her sister and mother came in with the ‘glinkety-glinkety’ sounding bags into the ward at the non-visiting hours of the day and said to the poor thing while giving a hefty slap on the back of her, even though she was already doubled-up with the sheer agony and pain:

“Have you produced anything yet? We came to celebrate!!”

She could not reply them at all. Don’t remember what the nurses said to them but out they eventually were ushered out by the staff.

When my agony finally came to an end after a day and a half – I said to himself straight after the delivery that:

‘Funny, that the music has just been put on?!’

‘Oh no’, said he, ‘it has been on the whole time!’

I had not heard a thing until the very end of the end! So – the music is not there to soothe the nerves of the mamas but the papas & the staff!

“Now the thing about having a baby –
and I can’t be the first person to have noticed this –
is that thereafter you have it.”

(Jean Kerr)

Tis for now. Riihele – in the reminiscing mode. xx

* the word ‘oxytocin’ is from the Greek word ‘oxutokia’ meaning ‘sudden delivery’ (as oxy- =sharpness and tokos = ‘childbirth’) Well, it sure caused the birthing to be sharp, don’t know so much about the ‘sudden’ as it was an age before the Baby finally popped out!!

Picture is off the net.

Motherhood Finnish-Irish Style

MOMS
“The art of motherhood involves much silent, unobtrusive self-denial, an hourly devotion which finds no detail too minute.”
Honore De Balzac

The brilliant thing about an international motherhood is that you can take the best of all the worlds and combine them into a tasty mixed salad of varied ingredients. That is: when both the parents are from the different nations with the clan roots of each one going to a whole lot of other nations. Also, when both have lived in various nations it all adds up to a pretty interesting mixture all-in-all!

When I got pregnant with my first baby, I took it for granted that the maternity care and the whole set-up would be like the Finnish one – the previous link tells the official Finnish Government information about the topic and this one is about the system in Finland – this link tells about having a baby in Finland written by two American journalists. It was published in The Washington Post in 2005. But, oh, how wrong I was! The antenatal care of the newly-baked mother begins well before the birth in Finland as one is to register in the Maternity and Baby Clinic within a few days of the confirmed pregnancy. That is the why that the lowest mortality rates in the world are in Finland for both the mother and the baby. In the clinic there are the midwives that are main caregivers and only if there are major complications or other health reasons, such as diabetics, does the mum-in-waiting be referred to the doctor for the all the care needed for during the pregnancy and the delivery of the baby.

The brilliancy of this system is that the clinic and the parent/s get to know one another really well and the aftercare – the postnatal care – is of a much higher standard when people are familiar with the whole situation from beginning to the end. The midwife is actively involved with the mother and the baby for the first few years of the child’s life – again adding to the continuation of the care.

The system in Ireland – the links tells about the Irish point of view into matters of maternity care and delivery of the baby – is not like that, but one has to go – as in my case – privately to the special doctor, that is the obstetrician – the link explains what is all about – to ‘get the show on the road’ – to have the baby-project going to its final end for the entire nine-month period of expecting the baby. Also, in Ireland you do not see neither meet the midwife until on the D-day. Some people do the home delivery-thing but for me the reason that the birth mortality rates have gone down in the west and elsewhere is the very fact that there are the modern hospital facilities at one’s disposal right then and there. In my case that is the only reason we – the babies and I survived – there would have been no change of survival otherwise!

These people at the La Leche League of Ireland were of great help to in my early days of motherhood in the alien land. One time I had some difficulties with Becki crying all evenings for days on end so that this new mama was absolutely shattered, through the grapevine of this organisation, a person living locally was dispatched to see what the situation was and she had it sorted out in a few minutes. The trouble was that Becki was sucking too greedily and getting a build-up of excess wind in the tummy which caused the crying. The remedy was to let her suck each time for 5 minutes only, then taking her off the breast and winding her and after that she could suck as long as she wanted. That was it. It stopped then and there for good.

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.
Meryl Streep

This for now, Rii xx

The photo is off the net.


JOKE: FLYING PIGS

Flying Pig

“Why
or
why
do pigs
fly?!”

Lynne did a blog entry on her daughter’s why’s on June 8 2007, and it made me remember what my words were for the daughters, when they were in the ‘why’ age (2-5) maybe even slightly later. This was my comment on her entry on the same:

‘This makes me SMILE for when my girls where younger and in this ‘why-stage’ – they knew WHEN to stop these why’s at the point, when having answered a zillion of them, my answer became:

*Oh why, oh why do pigs fly?!!*

I sorely needed a break off the why’s for a while and at that point they got the hint – every time!!’

The most amusing thing about all these why’s and questions was that, when most of the time I did know the answers, their comment was an admiring:

“WOW Mum, you know EVERYTHING!

Then those times when I did not know, their comment was a very blunt:

“YOU know NOTHING!”

“When pigs fly” is an idiomatic way of saying that something will never happen. Pigs are heavy animals, without wings, and cannot possibly fly. So “when pigs fly” is a time that will never come. The phrase is similar to others such as “when hell freezes over” and the Latin phrase “ad Kalendas Graecas.

The idiom is apparently derived from a centuries-old Scottish proverb, though some other references to pigs flying or pigs with wings are more famous. Here is one such reference from Lewis Carroll:

“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.

“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.

“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly….” —

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, chapter 9.” (Wikipedia)

Possibly the first occurrence of a pig actually flying occurred in 1909 when the British aviation pioneer Lord Brabazon made the first live air cargo flight with a pig in a basket tied to a wing-strut of his airplane. (Wikipedia)

Tis for now. Rii xx

The picture is off the net.

Mum’s The Word!

Mums the word

MUM YOU ARE…


Someone who cares

when others care less,

Someone who encourages

when others ridicule,

Someone who defends

when others condemn,

Someone with patience

when others are impatient,

Someone who appreciates

when others fail to notice,

Someone who gives security

in a world of insecurity,

Someone who is accepting

when others reject.

You are a friend
for
all time,
to cherish
and
protect,
and your achievements
will linger
for generations.

I LOVE YOU.


This moving and poignantly worded card Becki gave me one year for the Mother’s Day in Ireland. I have kept it in my wallet ever since through all these years, through all the countries and places it has travelled with me. Heli gave me a most beautifully worded handwritten letter and a note which have also been doing the same ‘travelling’.

It is one of the greatest privileges in life to be a mum. Now, that the girls are grown-up, there is the added bonus to be a friend as well as a mother. Indeed, it’s a different kind of relationship than when the children were small. Each phase, every stage in this common journey of mothers & daughters. has been filled with so much instances, so much growing up for both the mother and the daughters, that is has been amazing. I am sure that the mother has done more maturing than the girls put together in our case! (I can see them nodding their heads in my mind’s eye!!)So, for the mothers – all the mothers in the world –

HAPPY

MOTHERS DAY!


Tis for now. Riihele xx.

Today is My Mother’s Day Take 2 for in Ireland it was already celebrated in March and today it is the Finnish one. Double the prezzies and double the blessings of being an international mum!
(The card and the text are taken from the MiniCARDS by Temple Products.)

Female Pastime: Shopping

Glamour Puss

The female of the species in every culture, in every corner of the globe has one hobby, one pastime that is normally very high on the agenda – the shopping. It is not so much of the actual getting of the goods, but to just to be able to look at everything available, to walk about with your friends and have a quality cup of coffee in a cafe with the right ambience. To be at your leisure is the most important factor in the whole equation. Huh? Sounds complicated, this feminine maths and the female logic to the uninitiated, does it? Aahh, tis plain as mud.

I have two daughters who are all grown-up these days, yet still when we get together, we like to go browsing in the stores in whichever country we will meet. It does not necessarily mean that we will buy that much as it is more to get a feel of the locale. It is a culture test of a kind as what is in the stores speaks volumes to the one, that is so inclined.

One year when the girls and I were returning back from an extended visit to Finland, we had started our return flight Numero Uno in a town at 5am, we took the flight Numero Two in Helsinki at 7 am, so that by the time it was about 10am – that is actually 9 o’clock local time in Copenhagen, Denmark – we were so shattered with all this flying that we just wanted to get back home to Ireland ASAP.

What happened was that as the plane for our flight Number Three had been overbooked, I was asked if we would remain behind with ‘payment’. We three would be taking a much later flight that the SASthe Scandinavian Airlines – would arrange for us. I gave a look at my exhausted girls and said:

“Girls, if we stay on now in Copenhagen,
we will
each get US$ 200 in cash.

Also, we will get the same amount in the Danish Krones as a cheque.
The lunch et cetera would be all part of this deal.

What do you think?

We can do
some shopping
here in Copenhagen!!”
 

Once the word – shopping – was mentioned, the girls got instantly and visibly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the spot! Oh, yes, they very much agreed and so twas settled that we would go on later.

The ground hostess took us and a few other passengers to the bar, where the bar attendant asked me as to what kind of beverage I would like to have on the house, but as I just was so tired, I could not think, and only downed a mineral water! Had I been thinking I would have surely had some very classy Champers. Anyway, by the time we had had the complementary drinks and were heading to the huge mall to do some shopping; what do know, but the ground hostess comes to us hurriedly and informs us, that we have got places on a plane leaving in a few minutes to Birmingham, England!! And then we were to take a fourth plane there on to Dublin.

It was a very promising shopping experience lost.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.