Since launching The New Mum’s Notebook, I’ve been asked a lot if it’s only for first time mums. And I always say, ‘No, it’s for ALL new mums.‘ It’s interesting how we perceive the phrase, ‘new mum.’ We shouldn’t only be talking about first time mums. We should be talking about all new mums. Whether it’s baby number one, two or six! Because every baby is new and every time is new. You’re a new mum no matter what round you’re on.
It’s never a walk in the park.
I’ve said many times before that I don’t think we support new mums very well in our society. I think this is true of first time mums and I especially think it’s true of second, third and sixth time mums who pretty much get left to their own devices as soon as the baby is out. You only have to look at the amount of gifts and cards you get from baby number one onwards.
There’s some sort of illogical rationale that because you’ve done this motherhood lark before, you’re some sort of expert and each time you do it (again) will be easier, less shocking, a walk in the park. Yet the complete irony is that once you’re onto multiple children, each time you reproduce you have even more kids to look after.
I’m not sure, exactly, how that is supposed to make it easier.
Keeping it real.
Again, it comes down to managing the expectations of ALL new mums.
Because if we surround second/third/sixth time mums with this false sense of security and this expectation that they should be ‘good’ at motherhood by now, we’re heaping a whole lot of extra pressure on them. We’re not allowing them to feel vulnerable, inadequate or out of their depth. Worse still, we’re making them feel fraudulent if they do feel any of these things (which of course, they will) because they should be acing this, right? They’re not new mums, are they? They’ve done this before.
What’s the big deal?
More support, not less.
But it is a big deal.
Every time you have a baby IT IS A BIG DEAL. From pregnancy to birth to those newborn days where you exist in a hazy fog on two hour’s sleep. Some days, it might even be a bigger deal than that first time and you’ll need more support, not less. Because you’ve got other children to manage and look after. You can’t necessarily melt into the sofa and give in to the tiredness. There’ll be a toddler having the time of his life making toilet roll soup in the sink if you do.
Although at that point in the day, you’ll probably just be pleased that someone’s taken the initiative to make any sort of meal.
It’s ok if you’re not acing it.
For me, I don’t remember my second time being easier and I think my third time may well have been the hardest of all. OK, I could change a nappy. I knew what to expect in many ways. But I was still thrown every single time I had a newborn that cried and wouldn’t settle. It filled me with angst, a reaction I always fought but one I should have just noticed and gone with because our babies crying is supposed to ignite some sort of response in us. And the tiredness never got easier or more tolerable. It just made me want to disembowel my other half. Again.
So if you’re a new mum of a second, third or sixth baby and, right this minute, you don’t particularly feel like you’re acing it, please know that that’s ok. You don’t have to be brilliant at this just because you’ve done it before. I can name ten things off the top of my head right now that I’m still not good at despite doing them a million times. Motherhood is no different.
This baby is new. This time is new. The demands on you are new. So afford yourself the same kindness you hopefully did the first time around and grab yourself a cuppa, a slab of cake and repeat after me, ‘I’m a new mum, no matter what round I’m on.‘