By Christine Bett
I remember a lot of details about having my first baby.
I was 30 years old, excited, quite green and broke — I had been retrenched from my entry-level job that I had held for six years and my husband was a student outside the country.
I had read all the books I could (my favourite was the What To Expect series) and had spent hours and hours on the internet learning from websites and mom forums.
The thing is, I had no other experience to compare it to and so I didn’t know any better. I just did what I thought was right according to the knowledge I had acquired. I made my share of mistakes – – some quite silly.
So 11 years later, after having a second child in-between, I was surprised that I felt like a first-time mom after finding out that I was pregnant with my third child.
There’s one thing quite a few repeat moms agree on and that is that God gave them the grace to forget their previous birth experiences. I suspect that this is part of what happened to me.
Of course, my second child was almost 9 years old while I was having my child and the passing of time could have also played a part in the fading memories. However, some of the memories were simply not there and not just faded over time.
When I was on the operating table, for example, I remember wondering why I couldn’t remember some aspects of the process from my previous CS (it was my second one).
And in the long nights after the baby was born, I remember asking myself if it had really been that hard with my two older babies. Did they really poop, cry, wriggle, jerk, drool etc as much?
And then there were all the changes in the parenting world. The entry of new brands of diapers, skin products and gear.
For example, the market was suddenly flooded by all types of breast pumps. Unlike before, electric breast pumps were affordable and accessible. Some brands of manual breast pumps cost more than electric breast pumps.
In ‘our’ time (back when I was a first-time mom), few people could afford electric breast pumps. Those who had them had received them as gifts from relatives abroad. Now you could buy one online (got mine from Jumia) and have it delivered to your doorstep.
In our time, there were basically only two diaper brands to choose from on supermarket shelves. When it came to local shops, there was only one brand available.
So here I was after a decade with my retirement buddy. It felt like everything had changed. And I could remember very little of whatever had not changed. A few things would come to me as the days went by — like, the other day, I suddenly remembered one day that I used aqueous cream on my first two children’s skin. I ordered it and it made a huge difference in my baby’s skin.
One thing is for sure, no two experiences of raising children are the same. There’s something people always say — the more things change, the more they remain the same.