- The loneliness. Being a young parent is lonely enough, when you feel like you don’t quite belong with the NCT groups or the ladies who take their Boden-clad toddlers out for Babyccinos at Starbucks. When you’re the first of your friendship group to have a child, that loneliness is amplified. You can have the best friends in the world, but until they too have been elbow deep in a nappy full of poo, there are some experiences you’ll never be able to share.
- Becoming a ‘Baby Bore’. When you’re the first of the friendship group to have a baby, you really have to watch there’s not too much baby talk. My friends are always asking after SB, but I’ve had to stop myself from gong overboard on several occasions – there’s talking about a particularly cute thing she did, or boasting about her first steps, and then there’s wittering on about baby sick and incomprehensible babbling until everyone else is sick of your baby.
- ‘You’ll understand when you’re a parent’. When I was a non-parent, I hated hearing this. It’s condescending and patronising. As a parent, I find myself biting my tongue several times a day trying not to say it, because I don’t want to be that condescending, patronising tw*t.
- Meeting up with friends becomes a juggling act. When you’re the only one of your friends with a child, meeting up can become a bit of a balancing act between trying to enjoy time with your friends, and entertain your toddler. At least if your friends have kids, they tend to amuse each other for a little while.
- You don’t just have a baby. You have the baby. If you’re the first of your friends to have children, you’ve essentially made them into aunty/uncle figures. Trust me when I say, they will be fiercely protective of their little surrogate niece/nephew. Your child has the added benefit of fifteen or twenty additional family members who will never hear a bad word said against them.
- Not feeling a night out? You have a ready-made excuse. Okay, so you could get a babysitter, or one of you could stay at home with the baby while the other goes out, but let’s face it – if you’re going to have a night away from the baby, you’re going to book into a hotel room and enjoy the simple pleasures of your past life – an uninterrupted bath, a hot drink that is actually still hot, and being able to leave the room to go to the toilet without hearing a betrayed wail. So when you’re invited on a night out but you’re just not feeling like it, mumbling something non-committal about wanting to be there at bedtime does the trick.
- Your friends’ weird curiosity will give you the chance to actually talk about your birth. People with kids are pretty dismissive about birth. It’s all ‘been there, done that, got the stitches (or no stitches, if you’re lucky)”. When you’ve given birth for the first time, especially if you shunned birthing classes and refused to look at the diagrams and so were pretty unprepared for what would happen <bitter experience>, it’s a bit of a shock to the system, and there’s a need to talk about it. Most friends will be a bit ‘ew, yuck, birth is gross’, but if you have a couple who are genuinely curious about even the gory bits, it’s a godsend.
- Your child will be spoilt rotten. I can’t decide whether this is a pro or a con, as spoilt children aren’t great, but I think it has to be a pro. We have such generous, lovely friends, who are so wonderful and kind and give SB so much. I’m not just talking material items here – they give her time and attention and fuss, and she loves it.
- Ready made babysitters. If your friends are anything like mine, there will be a waiting list of people wanting to babysit your child. The difficult part is summoning up the courage to actually leave the child with anyone.
Am I looking forwards to my friends having kids? Absolutely! Do I regret being the first of my friends to have a child? Not one bit.