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5 reasons why the first baby is the most challenging…

1
Baby brain is real – I have no recollection of writing this – I just found it on my phone in the notes… But after I read it, I was taken back to that moment, on the carpet next to a cot, in the stillness of the night five years ago, and I remember exactly how I felt.
I wanted to share it. Although it feels a lifetime ago now, those thoughts came from somewhere very real. 

Since having my third baby, I get asked a lot how I cope with three boys who are all under 5; and I’m not saying that it isn’t challenging, because there are times I want
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2
to crawl in the kitchen cupboard and hide, but my answer is always that the first was the hardest…
Why is this?

Now the rare days when I just have my youngest are a breeze in comparison to mediating squabbles while simultaneously cooking/cleaning/drowning in messy chaos.
So here are my reasons why the first baby is the most difficult:
 
1) You are trying to get things ’right’.
 

I spent my first pregnancy diligently reading parenting books, learning how to correctly raise my new little person. Of course – I know now – babies do

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3
not like planning: they are expects at detecting the mere notion of a plan and then putting every strategy into place to destroy it. I have learnt, three babies in, that what is ’right’ for one family, isn’t necessarily ’right’ for another; and what works for one baby might have zero effect on the next. Stop trying to get things ‘right’. Trust your instincts.

 
2) You still remember what it feels like to have your old life.

 
With the first baby, your memories of your former existence are still relatively fresh. You remember

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4
what it feels like to have a lay in at the weekend, go out for dinner last minute and be relatively comfortable with your appearance when you leave the house. Three babies in, I can barely remember what my life was like before children. I have stopped struggling with trying to carrying on as before and instead am embracing the utter chaos.
I’m much happier for it.
 
3) You are over-whelmed by how much you can love this tiny thing and utterly scared that you have to keep it alive. 
 
That’s not to say that you don’t feel this with
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other  children; but you have learnt that it comes with the job. You learn to live with the fear as you can’t imagine life without that depth of love.
 
4) You are worried about failing.
 
And when I say worried, I mean full on panic-mode anxiety filled fear. From the outside looking in, it didn’t look too difficult… but once a member, there is no comparison. You’d take a quantum physics paper any day rather than attempt to solve, and inevitably fail, at the highly complex problem of getting the baby to sleep in the cot.
 
5)
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You are an easy target for everyone’s ’well-meaning’ advice.
 
Now I’m the harassed mother of three, people steer clear with their magical solutions – but as a new member of the group, I experienced the compulsion everybody and anybody had to impart their wisdom on me. When you’re the newbie, you’re often not confident enough yet to block out all this tripe with nods and smiles.
Instead you find yourself mentally trying to work out how it’s possible to: massage the baby with one hand; hold the story book with the other;  while
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alternately reading, humming, hushing, shushing; all the while breastfeeding/bottle-feeding; not forgetting to include the dummy, comforter, blanket, muslin; and of course the all important swaddle/sleeping bag/cellular blanket…I’m sure it all sounds familiar. 
So…for these reasons, I believe the first baby is the most challenging. They are the game changer, the sleep thief and the reason that your house gets invaded by large amounts of colourful plastic… and it’s not often an easy experience; but it shapes you and defines you, and introduces
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you to a love like no other…
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- 7 Jan 20

Baby brain is real – I have no recollection of writing this – I just found it on my phone in the notes… But after I read it, I was taken back to that moment, on the carpet next to a cot, in the stillness of the night five years ago, and I remember exactly how I felt.

I wanted to share it. Although it feels a lifetime ago now, those thoughts came from somewhere very real. 

Since having my third baby, I get asked a lot how I cope with three boys who are all under 5; and I’m not saying that it isn’t challenging, because there are times I want to crawl in the kitchen cupboard and hide, but my answer is always that the first was the hardest…

Why is this?

Now the rare days when I just have my youngest are a breeze in comparison to mediating squabbles while simultaneously cooking/cleaning/drowning in messy chaos.

So here are my reasons why the first baby is the most difficult:

 

1) You are trying to get things ‘right’.

 

I spent my first pregnancy diligently reading parenting books, learning how to correctly raise my new little person. Of course – I know now – babies do not like planning: they are expects at detecting the mere notion of a plan and then putting every strategy into place to destroy it. I have learnt, three babies in, that what is ‘right’ for one family, isn’t necessarily ‘right’ for another; and what works for one baby might have zero effect on the next. Stop trying to get things ‘right’. Trust your instincts.

 

2) You still remember what it feels like to have your old life.

 

With the first baby, your memories of your former existence are still relatively fresh. You remember what it feels like to have a lay in at the weekend, go out for dinner last minute and be relatively comfortable with your appearance when you leave the house. Three babies in, I can barely remember what my life was like before children. I have stopped struggling with trying to carrying on as before and instead am embracing the utter chaos.

I’m much happier for it.

 

3) You are over-whelmed by how much you can love this tiny thing and utterly scared that you have to keep it alive. 

 

That’s not to say that you don’t feel this with other  children; but you have learnt that it comes with the job. You learn to live with the fear as you can’t imagine life without that depth of love.

 

4) You are worried about failing.

 

And when I say worried, I mean full on panic-mode anxiety filled fear. From the outside looking in, it didn’t look too difficult… but once a member, there is no comparison. You’d take a quantum physics paper any day rather than attempt to solve, and inevitably fail, at the highly complex problem of getting the baby to sleep in the cot.

 

5) You are an easy target for everyone’s ‘well-meaning’ advice.

 

Now I’m the harassed mother of three, people steer clear with their magical solutions – but as a new member of the group, I experienced the compulsion everybody and anybody had to impart their wisdom on me. When you’re the newbie, you’re often not confident enough yet to block out all this tripe with nods and smiles.

Instead you find yourself mentally trying to work out how it’s possible to: massage the baby with one hand; hold the story book with the other;  while alternately reading, humming, hushing, shushing; all the while breastfeeding/bottle-feeding; not forgetting to include the dummy, comforter, blanket, muslin; and of course the all important swaddle/sleeping bag/cellular blanket…I’m sure it all sounds familiar. 

So…for these reasons, I believe the first baby is the most challenging. They are the game changer, the sleep thief and the reason that your house gets invaded by large amounts of colourful plastic… and it’s not often an easy experience; but it shapes you and defines you, and introduces you to a love like no other…

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Three boys in three years... The happy chaos of being a mum, being a wife and being a part-time worker.

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