27 years ago today I became a mother. At the same time, I was just finishing my pediatric residency, so I thought I was “prepared” to be a mother.
The first thing I figured out, within just a few short hours was that while being a pediatrician helped me (most of the time) recognize serious illness in my own children, it did not “prepare” me for motherhood . Being a parent is on the job training!
Looking back with joyous nostalgia about the birth of our first son, I remember how excited we were to be new parents. The pictures of that precious 6 lb. 6 oz. baby boy, who is now 6”2” tall, show blissfully happy young parents cuddling their newborn. But, by the time we had been home for 48 hours I had already been reduced to tears as I tried to figure out breastfeeding (that is on the job training for sure), and my precious baby boy had bruises on his ears as I tried to “push his head to my breast”, as I had been instructed.
I can now laugh about how inept I was, but gradually we figured out breastfeeding, only to move on to the next hurdle. Luckily you don’t have a crystal ball to realize that there are many other hurdles and hoops to jump through during the parenting years. You just figure them out as you get there, and vow to never give up.
Well, happily our precious son managed to teach us novice parents so many things along the way. We often tell him that the first child is somewhat of an “experiment” as you learn from your mistakes. Some things you swear you will never do again, and others work well and are repeated with each subsequent child.
You can’t pick your parents or your birth order, so each child has somewhat of their own experience depending on where they fall within the family. But each child is loved equally and unconditionally.
One day I remember trying to instruct our second son (probably about 3 at the time) on some topic (can’t really remember what), but the older son (age 5) leaned over to tell his brother what to do. When I pointed out to the eldest son that I was the mother and could handle it, his very quick response was, “if you were doing a better job, I wouldn’t have to help you”. I guess he had already figured out we were new at this game and he had some input that might help us out! How did I manage to keep a straight face, as I can still laugh at that story today!
As I am writing this, I continue to remember some of the best advice I ever received and continue to give today. Parenting never ends, but while the days and nights seem endless, the years go flying by. I know this to be true as I enter year 28 of being a mother and I am still learning!
I would love to hear your first time mom stories! Don’t be shy, send me your advice!