Hate to break it to all the pregnant ladies but from the moment you have delivered that baby the attention will shift completely away from you. Especially (first-time) grandparents will go from all the attention in the world for the pregnant daughter (-in-law) to “thank you very much, you have done your job, our grandchild is here now, you are dismissed”. So yeah all that attention, care and love during pregnancy is basically just to make sure you do the job well and make sure they will have their grandchild.
So there you are, still bleeding in your hospital bed, alone on one side of the room whereas your baby has been taken to the other corner of the room with everybody gathered around him. (When I say everybody in Spain that literally means everybody, read also family reunions in the hospital) If you´re lucky someone will shout quickly (without even looking over their shoulder) to your side of the room to ask if you´re ok but that´s about it.
Ok this might be a little exaggerated (but seriously, only a very little), but pretty soon after giving birth you will realize that you´re not as interesting anymore as you once were. When I mentioned this to C he basically welcomed me to the club because he had been dismissed and thanked for the job 9 months earlier already, so yeah he was kind of getting used to the fact that when someone from the family called him they wouldn´t ask first how he was (if they would even ask) but always asked for someone else first.
Have to say there is some cultural difference here as well because now that the newness-hysteria-of-the-first-grandchild has settled down a bit usually the Dutch family would ask first how you are and then the baby but the Spanish side would mainly be all baby-focused. After a few phone calls that started with “hi, how is my boy?” I started playing dumb and answered that her boy was perfectly fine, maybe a bit tired due to the new sleeping rhythm in combination with work etc. I usually couldn´t even finish that sentence because obviously that was not the boy that was being referred to.
Don´t get me wrong here, I am not jealous of my baby because he is usually the center of attention, I get that, I am a huge fan of the bichin too so I am the last one to say that it´s not difficult to focus on something else when you have this cute smiling creature hopping up and down in front of you. But I do appreciate some normal conversations sometimes and not the typical visit where questions are being asked (so yes, an attempt is being made) but it doesn´t really matter if you answer or not because it won´t be heard anyway. I know it´s cultural differences as well, where in the Netherlands you would leave your kid to play in the playpen in the living when you sit with visitors on the couch (of course visitors also want to see and play with the bichin but it´s not the whole time, there´s also time for other conversations), in Spain the kid is the object you gather around and the one and only focus area and topic of conversation. He won´t be left alone and you might as well start cleaning the kitchen or working your way through that immense pile of laundry because probably they won´t even notice.
One can always argue what´s better: leaving him alone in his playpen and sometimes too little attention from the grown-ups who are always busy or too much attention, a complete baby focus and no time for anything else. I guess the ideal is a balance between the two and it very much depends as well on what you´re used too. So yeah, for me cold, Northern-European the Spanish way can be quite intensive.
Again, I don´t need the attention my son gets, but I do think it´s healthy for kids that they are not always the center of attention, also learn to play on their own, and have the opportunity to try things themselves. For me it´s important to raise a boy that is independent, confident and happy but also knows what it is if things don´t always work out immediately and that sometimes you fail but you can learn from it and try again. We don´t need to always solve everything immediately for our kids. Especially the independence and the failing part might remain a struggle for the upcoming years in Spain because honestly I can see in the way kids are being raised and even in people from my generation that these are not very much embedded in the culture. So this post will probably be continued :).