I adore first time mothers. They are some of the most open, intelligent, honest and strong women that I have ever met. Their choice to birth at home opens them up to even more criticisms than other moms. I can not tell you how often I meet people who say
"Well, I thought about a homebirth but this is my first so we just want to have this one at the hospital to make sure that everything is ok."
It is hard for me not to look at them like they are treating their first born like the sacrificial lamb. But I don't, because I get it I have been there. I chose to have my first at a birth center (which ended in a hospital transport anyways) because of this exact reason. Many first time mother's don't realize that their first baby is probably the most important baby to have at home.
- First time mothers who birth in the hospital are more likely to go "over due" and end up with an induction.
- First time mothers often have longer labors and are more likely to be given the "You have been in labor too long" card.
- First time mother's are more likely to push longer because of tight perineal muscles and an untried pelvis and end up with an unecessary cesarean section.
- First time mothers who birth at the hospital are more likely to feel uncomfortable relaxing, making labor noises, or standing up for what they really want and so are more likely to ask for pain medication.
Not all first time mother's birth in the hospital. Some birth at home. About half of my clients at any given time are first time mother's. Their transfer rate under my care is only about 3% higher than those who have birthed before.
Many midwives I have met have sighed when speaking of first time moms and I have to admit sometimes I get that. Here is an incomplete list of the reasons that first time mothers are inspiring and exhausting.
- Their excitement. Everything is new and unexpected
- Their passion for learning about everything.
- Their desire to prove everyone wrong—homebirth is safe and she IS strong enough.
- Their cute tight growing bellies.
- The way the couple works together and figures things out in their new experiences and roles.
- The power of surrender when a first time mom falls into her labor.
- The pure joy when they touch their baby for the first time.
- Their dependence of their midwife/educator/friends for every question they have during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
- The shock on the moms face at the strength of her baby’s suck when it latches on to nurse for the first time.
- The mother’s attention to detail of every baby wrinkle, squeak and cry.
- The hesitation in making the wrong choice and the likelihood that they won’t choose a homebirth until later in their pregnancy.
- Their passion for learning about everything—I am always worried that I will miss sharing a piece of information that will impact their labor and lives forever.
- The overly opinionated and involved family. Not having already parented many first time moms haven’t developed the inner strength that comes with raising a child her way and telling well meaning family and friends to stick it.
- Their cute tight growing bellies. That are so tight that I have trouble feeling baby’s position and am more concerned about baby being in a good position that multip moms.
- Couples that haven’t figured each other out. In our area many first time moms are young and newly married. There are a lot of issues to work through there before adding pregnancy and birth.
- Their excitement. This leads to many late night phone calls, “false alarms” and being called very early to the birth. Not that we mind but it is a fact.
- The fear of surrender. First time moms sometimes never master this and their labors are so much work. I feel for them and it brings up the emotions of my first labor.
- Breastfeeding issues. It is often easier if you have done something before. Enough said.
- The fear of the parents in handling their new baby.
- The mothers attention to every detail. It sometimes takes a while for the mom to learn to trust her motherly intuition leading to many calls and texts about every baby movement and action.
In the end I know that I find first time mothers more inspiring that exhausting. Being blessed to witness all of those amazing firsts is just indescribable. I am thankful to my wonderful Bradley teacher who opened my eyes to the joy of birthing with a midwife----even though I was a first time mother.