26 March 2018

First-Time Parents

Zoe Maria at 2 days old

I wrote this in April 2017, but didn't want to post while my thoughts and emotions regarding this topic were still very raw.  11 months on, and my thoughts haven't changed, so here goes!

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Over recent years I have read many articles that seem to poke fun at how "over-protective" and "careful" and "[insert appropriate adverbs here]" first-time parents are.

Examples include sterilising dummies/toys/various objects that have fallen on the floor before the child is allowed to touch it; trips to the doctor/emergency at the first sign of any possible medical concern; not allowing the child to go within 100+km of a person with mild allergies... and the list goes on.

My baby, my first child, is nearly 5 months old, and, just between you and I, my husband and I have been fairly relaxed with our baby girl.  We let her get passed from person to person when we are with friends; when we thought she had a cold we didn't rush her straight to the doctor; when her dummy falls on the floor we simply suck on it for a second to clean it before giving it back to her.

I have received numerous comments from friends (including other first-time mums and senior ladies), praising me for how relaxed I appear to be with my baby, "especially with your first!"

This is not to say that my husband and I are always relaxed with our baby.  Of course we worry; we are always trying to figure out what to do to stop her from crying; we wonder if she's advancing well. It seems as though we are talking and thinking about our baby 24/7!

Zoe Maria at 1 week old.

Now, to the point of this post.

The many articles that I have read that seem to poke fun at the poor first-time parents who worry about every little thing, and go way over-board in taking care of the child, seem to miss one key point.

These articles are talking about first-time parents, who are just that - first-timers.  The first time any of us do absolutely anything, we can be scared and worried and cautious.

The first time going down a tall slippery-dip by ourselves; the first day of school; the first sleepover at a friend's house; the first move to a new school; the first day of high school; the first time driving a car; the first boyfriend or girlfriend; the first move to a new town; the first day of uni/college; the first time we buy a car/house... this list could go on and on.  When we look at all of these first-time experiences in children, teenagers and adults' lives, we are sympathetic and understanding toward the fears and concerns that the individuals may experience.  Yet, as aforementioned, article upon article and comment upon comment (usually online) continue to make fun of first-time parents for being worried and over-protective.

Surely first-time parents should receive the same support and encouragement that children, teens and adults receive at various points in their lives.  First-time parents have a tiny human whose life literally depends on them.  First-time parents feel the weight of that responsibility immensely.  First-time parents have been thrown into this new world for which there is no manual (although there are thousands of books and articles to help us!).  First-time parents have just gotten a glimpse of a whole new dimension of love, which is wonderful but can also be overwhelming.

Arriving home with our newborn!

May I make a suggestion?

Let us allow first-time parents to be over-protective.  Let us allow first-time parents to worry and stress.  Let us allow first-time parents work together to figure out what their child needs.  

And please, let us not judge them for it.

3 month old toes

By the time baby # 2 comes along, the parents have no less love or concern for the second child; they have often simply learned and grown since having their first!

What is your opinion on these thoughts?  I'd love to hear from you!  Please comment below.


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