Is Heavenly Father a Helicopter Parent? or What I’ve Learned So Far as a Grandma

I’m a grandma! My oldest daughter had her first baby. I was able to be there for the birth and to stay and help afterwards. During labor I gave suggestions to help with the pain and effectiveness of contractions. I rubbed her feet while her husband rubbed her back. I reminded her to breath in through her nose and out through her mouth. I asked the nurses questions. I held one hand and her husband held the other as she pushed. Out came a beautiful baby girl, a true miracle that I’m grateful to have witnessed.


After labor I took pictures of my daughter, her husband, and the new baby. I watched the nurse clean my new granddaughter. I tried to give suggestions on breastfeeding.


Then the baby had to be in the special nursery with IV antibiotics, because her white blood count was high, she gagged after eating, she couldn’t maintain her body temperature, and she wasn’t interested in eating. I reassured my daughter. I stayed overnight on the couch in my daughter’s room because her husband needed sleep so he could go back to work. I helped her to the bathroom. I reminded her to order food and to pump. And I wondered if I was doing too much to help her or not enough.


My daughter was discharged from the hospital but her baby was not. She didn’t want to leave her baby. The nurses let her stay in a small isolation room next to the nursery. There was a chair that folded out into a couch for her to sleep on, but there wasn’t a place for me or her husband to stay. So we left her at the hospital.


I didn’t want to leave her alone, but when we came back the next day, she was proud of the progress she’d made with pumping and that she’d held the baby as much as she could. She was starting to gain confidence as a mother.


When we brought my daughter and the baby home, I again tried to help as much as possible. Fixing food, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, holding the baby, changing her diaper. But I couldn’t breastfeed the baby. For a couple of days the baby wouldn’t breastfeed. She got angry when my daughter tried. So my daughter kept pumping and feeding the baby from a bottle. But she was discouraged. I wanted to help her more, to give her advice, but my suggestions didn’t seem to help. I couldn’t do it for her. My daughter looked up suggestions on the internet. She prayed. She asked for a blessing from her husband. I went to bed and she set her alarm to get up every three hours to pump and try to breastfeed. In the middle of the night as the baby cried and my daughter fed her, I wanted to help but there was nothing I could do. The next morning my daughter tried again. The baby latched on and ate. She did it! Every day my daughter has gained more and more confidence as a mother.


So I’ve been thinking about how much our Heavenly Father helps us or lets us do things on our own. ┬áHe doesn’t hover, interfere or jump in to do things we can do ourselves. Elder Donald L. Hallstrom said, “He allows some earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiner’s fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance…” As my daughter stayed at the hospital and looked for her own answers, she learned and grew and gained confidence. As she prayed and searched for help including a blessing from her husband, she was able to receive the help she needed. Our Heavenly Father wants to help us, but he wants us to learn and grow too. He want us to turn to him for answers and especially for the healing power of the atonement.


In The Book of Mormon a prophet, Alma, teaches about what happens when we turn to Christ and when we don’t. “And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word” (Alma 12:34-35). We need to turn to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We will receive the help we need, and we will be allowed to learn and grow through our experiences.


“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). When my daughter asks me to change a dirty diaper or change the laundry, I’m happy to do it, but I’m trying to let her ask and not interfere too much except to ask to hold and kiss her more before I return home.