Being a first time Mum is wonderful in many ways, but as your baby grows you come to realise there are also many reasons it sucks too. Here are the main ones:-
You don’t know ANYTHING about being a Mama. You don’t know what labour feels like. You’re clueless about the aftermath of giving birth. Compounding this is the fact that NOBODY REALLY TELLS YOU THE TRUTH. Everyone wants to tell you their birth story, but it either sounds all hearts and flowers or like a Nightmare on Elm Street (See Things I Wish I Knew Before I had a Baby for more info).
When you’re a first timer, because of the above, you don’t know any better or worse, so you feel vulnerable. When I think back to some of the things that happened after Mia was born, I would be more assertive and proactive, but because she was a first, I didn’t know what I was doing so I just went along with the situation. For example, because we had trouble feeding (she wouldn’t latch) they wouldn’t let us go home, which is daft because I would probably have called a lactation consultant a lot sooner if we’d been at home and I wasn’t getting any help in hospital anyway! If I have another I’d be telling them I’ll pump and unless there’s a medical reason we need to be on the premises I’m off!
I know this exists no matter how many kids you have, but because of the other two issues above, judgement hurts. Everyone has an opinion about what you’re doing and as a first timer you’re not really sure what your opinion is yourself! Now I’ve been through it I know to smile and nod at people and then do whatever the hell I like anyway!
It’s difficult to get out as a first time Mama. You worry about the baby crying and you’re not used to dressing and undressing them or changing their nappy in a public toilet. You have a tendency to stay indoors. The village has disappeared in modern life and you can become very isolated. Now I’ve had a baby I realise that sometimes getting out can be a great thing, even if you just go and sit in a coffee shop, it’s good to get outside, the baby enjoys the change of scene and you feel a bit more like a person afterwards!
Again, I know all parents worry, but when it’s the first time you’ve seen your child ill, or the first time they’ve fallen over, it’s that bit more frightening. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time Mia had croup, but I know how to deal with it now. With any future siblings I would be more proactive and hopefully wouldn’t need to call 111.
The Fear that you’re not Good Enough
As a result of the above, you often wonder as a first time parent if you’ve made a terrible mistake and your children would be better off with someone (anyone!) else. I talk about this further here. Now I’ve been at it for (nearly) a couple of years, I know that I always do my best, sure sometimes I’m a bit rubbish, but I’m human and one day Mia will find out that too.
Mia on why being the ‘First’ Child is Awesome
I think I definitely got the best deal. If I ever get a baby brother or sister they won’t have the same Mama I got. I got first time Mama. A lot of my stuff is brand new stuff and I got a brand new Mama. We grew together, I was the first of the first everything; smile, laugh, steps. I didn’t know what was going on and Mama didn’t know what she was doing. Now she’s a fully fledged Mama, thanks to me and that’s got to be special, right?!