Talking to first-time mums and mums-to-be in the shop has been a real joy. Exchanging childbirth and pregnancy stories has had me travelling down memory lane to what it was like as a first-time mum to Aaron, my first son.
I was an uncertain twenty-something-year-old who had read every magazine, blog and article to do with pregnancy and birth. I was well prepared as a first-time mum or so I thought. That was until my screaming bundle of joy came out and I realised I couldn’t just give him back if I got overwhelmed. Motherhood did not arrive alone, it was accompanied by pure joy, intense love and great anxiety. The understanding that I was now responsible for a life, an entire life was enough to keep me rooted to the postnatal ward clutching onto my midwife for dear life.
The biggest challenge I had as a first-time mum was having the confidence to do what I thought and believed to be right for my baby. While it was a blessing to be surrounded by many family and friends, their conflicting opinions left me more confused than ever. Breast or bottle feed? Carry the crying child or not? Moses Basket or Cot? What do we name this child? What if our carefully picked (unique) name made it to the most popular name of the year and everybody named their child after ours? What if he got teased in school? Oh, my goodness what if his head retained that cone-like shape?! The questions did not stop and the answers were not forthcoming either- and when they did, they came in droves and disagreed with each other.
Somehow, I managed to navigate and survive the storm as I went on to have 3 more children. Here is the epiphany I had by the time I arrived at son number 4- one C-section, three epidurals later- it is that no one can parent your child as well as you can. The thoughts, ideas, and instincts you have were woven into your being as a mother specific for that child- and this applies to birth, adoptive or stepparents. In other words, do not feel you have to go along with everybody’s suggestions unless it resonates with you. If I could go back in time I’d buy a pair of earplugs and parent my child the way I choose. Thankfully with each child, I got better at following my own intuition and we are all the happier for it.
Another life lesson I learned was the capacity for love that my heart could hold. I thought I knew what love was, from loving my husband & parents to best friends & siblings. But this was different. This love was fierce, protective and instinctive in nature. This love taught me that I did not know myself as well as I thought I did, or better still, that we have more room for growth and expansion in our lives than we are aware of. I learned that we are far more capable of loving, dreaming, and being resilient than we think. There is a lot to discover in our beautiful world so we must live each day as if it were the last.
You are capable of great things. To bring a child into the world, to be responsible for a human life and how they turn out is a huge responsibility and you could only have been given this opportunity if you were capable.
What big lessons have you learned as a first-time parent?Leave a Comment »