That moment you clocked, "I’m a (new) parent for the first time…"
Becoming a mother for the first time is quite daunting, but realising it for the first time? That's a whole new emotion! Writer for the Evening Standard, Lucy Tobin, describes that first realisation that she was a mother & those of some other mums.
When do you become a parent? Don’t ask a biologist - they’ll say something scientific like ‘when your egg meets a sperm’ or when you give birth. But on the first occasion, let’s be honest, you’re probably conked out, not thinking of mum or dad duties. And as for the second - birth can be so overwhelming that one of my friends wondered why no one was going to the mewling newborn in the cot next to her bed for a good 30 seconds before realising that, oops, that was her baby.
Personally, that ‘I’m a MAMA?!’ moment came for the first time my own mum deferred to me over whether my tiny baby should nap, be fed, when he was a newborn. I was left thinking, “What? The adults are asking me what to do?!” The situation was magnified a few days later, when the health visitor came to our house. “So, mum, how is the little one doing?”, I was asked. There was a long silence while I waited for my mum (in my defence, she was there too!) to respond - before I realised she was talking to me!
So I asked other new parents about the moment they realised, for the first time, wow - I’m responsible for this incy, wincy human being... And this is what they said:
"My friend pointed out my baby was wearing the same sleepsuit as her son, and I said 'oh yeah, I love these ones - they wash so beautifully'. These were (and probably still are) the most mum-ish words that have ever come out of my mouth!"
"The night my daughter was born, I picked her up, placed her on the bed and thought I could smell something. Being totally naive I thought, she can't have soiled her nappy she's only been born three hours. So I poked my finger inside the nappy, and lo and behold... Pooey finger alert… I thought - I'm gonna need some help now - and pulled the cord for a nurse.. Looking back, I feel totally embarrassed - what must that nurse have thought of me asking for help to change a nappy!"
“The first time I went out without my baby - they were about six months’ old by that point - I’d arranged a drinks do with friends. When we got to the bar, I happily pulled out my purse to pay for the first round, only for my (non-parent) friend to look at me oddly. I looked down, and realised I was holding the travel pouch I use to hold baby wipes, which I’d shoved into my pocket instead of my purse in the rush to leave the house. Also in my pocket: a teether, and a empty bottle, but no money.. Needless to say, the drinks weren’t on me and I felt like a seriously disorganised mum!”
"I put my newborn in the car seat in the house, all ready for our first outing just the two of us. I remember being super-proud that I had managed to get out showered, hair washed and dried and makeup done... All by 11am! Go me! As I reversed out the drive, I looked back and noticed something missing on the back seat... I had left my little one sitting in his car seat in the kitchen table... I had just walked out the house like I always used to! Luckily he was happily snoozing!”
"My son was rushed to hospital when he was 4 weeks old and I was totally terrified. This little person needed me so much and I couldn't help him. That was the moment that I truly realised what being a parent was all about. Luckily it was just a nasty infection and he was OK to come home the next day."
"When I stuck my daughter's first piece of work on my kitchen cupboard!"
"When he was just a couple of weeks old and needed a prescription for something. I went to the pharmacy and said "I've got a prescription for my son" - it was the first time I'd said "my son" to a stranger and suddenly I was like WOAH I'M A PARENT!"
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