3 things to consider when talking to first-time Mums to be
Have you ever started a new job feeling fresh and energised, excited about your journey ahead and then felt your energy zapped when a disgruntled employee grumps about the job and the company? It sucks. Even if they are right and there are bad things about the job to come, it isn’t really fair to spoil that ‘new girl’ feeling.
Well, that’s how I feel about being a first-time mum to be and the countless ‘downer’ conversations or stories experienced mums seems to revel in sharing. Like they can’t wait to burst our bubble and think they are saving us the heartache. Well, it’s not cool.
A couple of examples come to mind:
“Oh, you don’t need all of that stuff, just get the essentials.”
And, in response to saying you have everything you need for baby now...
“Trust me, you will never be prepared..."
Well, yes I do want to get ‘all that stuff’ because it’s my first baby so I want to nest and enjoy the excitement. And while I get there will be challenges along the way beyond what I can ever prepare for, they are my discoveries to make as a first-time mum and I deserve some peace of mind having got everything I could possibly think of…. for now at least.
I get that you want to help Mums, I do. And I know I will probably feel the same. But just try to remember how it felt to be a first-time mum and try to be a little more tactful and mindful not to burst our bubble while we can still enjoy that giddy first-time mum excitement.
With that said, here’s three things to be mindful of when speaking to a first-time mum - things I want to remind myself to consider down the line when I am that experienced Mum...
1. Let them have their moment and enjoy the journey
What do you get out of bursting a first-time mums bubble? Who does it help? Perhaps when you think back to how clueless you were about the whole experience of being a Mum, you feel compelled to warn future mums. Like you are protecting them and preparing them for the challenges ahead, but would you… that version of you… really have benefited from those warnings? Would you have even listened? It’s okay to give advice when it’s asked and even help first-time mums with a few tips on good first buy items, prams or things to consider - but just be careful not to roll your eyes and laugh at their excitement in reflective disdain at your own naivety. It’s okay that first-time mums want to do that, you did it. Let them have their moment and enjoy it while they still can.
2. Don’t forget to talk about the good bits too
For some reason Mums love to talk about the bad bits… a lot. Horrifying birth stories, sleepless nights, the constant splattering of bodily fluids and lack of a life as a consequence. I am sure this is partly because it is so damn challenging to be a Mum and I am certain I will do the same - but try to balance out those stories when you are talking to a first-time mum. Add the happy moments, the first time you saw your baby, the first giggle, step or peaceful times when you feel that incredible bond. Make sure you remember to tell them it's all worth it and while it sounds awful, they will overcome these challenges and they got this.
3. Remember they are not you or having your baby
Every single mum to be and baby is different. While there will be common challenges and lesson learned along the way, there will also be differences. I can’t wait to reflect on my thoughts on this once I actually give birth, but I do have a theory that once a woman gets through giving birth they suddenly believe they are the Queen of all mothers. A super human that knows all. Every other woman in the world who has not pushed a baby out of their vagina is clueless and has no idea what pain or tiredness is. I get it. Believe me. Already at 38 weeks I am in so much pain trying to get around I am struggling to cope with the ‘tired’ moans of others. They have no idea. But, I also hope I can show some restraint and empathy still for others. We all have unique challenges to face in life. Unique birth and parenting experiences. Mental and physical health to manage that no-one else will ever fully understand. While a good old moan can make all of that go away for just a little bit, try not to pour that negativity all over a first-time mum who is still enjoying the dreamy idea of making her first step towards being a mum. If you need to have a good moan save it for other experienced Mums who will be on the same level and enjoy sharing those stories.
There’s a first-time for everything
I am totally appreciative of the advice I have received from experienced Mums and totally respect that I haven't yet had the same experiences. I just wanted to capture how it felt to be on the first-time mum side of things and perhaps say the stuff other newbie Mums won't have the guts to say out loud, instead just allowing these stories to slowly kill off their first-time Mummy buzz.
Of course, I still reserve the right to moan a lot and call bull on my own opinion here post-baby, but suspect I won’t. Even if I am tempted to do the same, I hope capturing how I felt as a first-time mum will remind me to be a little more mindful around my first-time mum buds.