It really does take a village to raise a child, but sometimes I think parents tend to forget. We tell ourselves we can do it all, tell ourselves that our babies need us more than they need anyone else, and I'm not sure why we put this pressure on ourselves. I remember bringing my newborn son's bassinet into the bathroom with me as I bathed, even though we were staying with my mother who wanted to watch him. It was a bit crazy. Especially when people want to help with babies; like these three "grandmas" who answered a single mom's plea for help.
When Hayley Arsenault from the small Canadian town of Tignish, Prince Edward Island, welcomed triplets recently, she was justifiably overwhelmed. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to welcome not just one or two but three little babies? I'm sure moms all remember how exhausting it can be taking care of one newborn; now triple that. Arsenault was taking care of her one-month-old triplet boys, Hogan, Rylen, and Finn with the help of her mom when they first came home from the hospital. But, as she told Babble, her mom needed to get back to work:
When the time was coming up for her to return, we started to realize I may need a few extra hands during the day.
The thought of trying to manage on her own had Arsenault reaching out to her community on Facebook; and she couldn't have been more pleased with the response. Her entire town of 700 people rallied around her and her babies, with three new "grandmothers" in the form of three sisters volunteering to come spend time with Arsenault and her three babies. Every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., sisters Jenny MacDougall, Anita Arsenault (who isn't related to Hayley), and Alice Mokler arrive to lend a hand. They are happy to be there to cuddle the babies, each of them taking one to give them some special quality time as they feed them. They're even willing to change diapers, as MacDougall told the CBC:
"I don't see this as a chore in any way. For me, it's a gift to come here. We chat, we compare the babies. Love every minute of it.
Mokler noted that they help out in other ways, bringing food with them and even pitching in with the laundry. And not one of the sisters' mind their special time with the babies one bit, as she told the CBC:
I feel I'm bonding to them and this is the part I like the best. Being with babies, just to smell them and to hold them.
As for the difference it's made in Arsenault's life, the mom-of-three told Babble it's been amazing:
My parents are able to go to work during the day knowing we are in good hands and that I am able to get some rest having being up with the babies by myself at night. We are so thankful for everyone and all they do for us.
Arsenault is lucky to live in a community that pulls together to help out in such an integral way; neighbors have organized a benefit for her family on Feb. 25, and a sign-up sheet has been arranged in the community to keep track of all the babysitters who want to help out.
It would be so great to see every community lend a helping hand to new moms, whether they've given birth to triplets or just one baby. It can be a terribly lonely, exhausting time. And sometimes, moms don't exactly ask for help along the way.
It's okay to need that village, at the end of the day. Because, as Arsenault and her "grandmas" have proven, chances are the village wants to lend a hand.