It is rather daunting to be a first time mother, no matter how old she is. Also, it is very hard for her to imagine what it is like to be a first time mom, no matter how much she tries to prepare herself before hand. Below are some of my personal experiences when I had my first baby, and some solutions that I have found to overcome those challenges.
Lack of confidence. I remember when I had my first baby; I didn't know how to hold her. The nurse in the hospital just passed the baby to me unhappily because I insisted on breast feeding her. When she saw that I was holding the baby incorrectly, she reprimanded me, saying that I would break the baby's neck. I felt so ashamed of myself. I had gone for prenatal classes, and I knew the theory of how to hold a baby, but when it comes to the practical part, I had no idea how I should carry the baby.
The solution: Be confident and know that you have in-born mother instinct. Do not let either the nurses or doctors to push you around. If you are unsure of anything, ask first. Get your husband to stay with you for a while.
Postnatal depression. After I came back from the hospital after delivery, I went into depression. I was feeling really lousy. I felt that the whole world was against me. I felt so pitiful. The worst part was that my husband couldn't understand why I was depressed. He couldn't see the reason why I should be depressed. That time, we didn't know that most women go through post natal depression after delivery. So, he felt that I was being difficult, and I just kept on crying and crying. I was stressed out and frustrated all the time. We were definitely not prepared for this.
The solution: Be prepared for post natal depression, talk about it before the delivery. There are certain teas that would help with the depression, once you are aware of it, you would be more accepting of the situation and will get out of it faster. You can also apply some aromatic oil such as jasmine oil to reduce depression. More importantly, always get enough rest.
Challenges with relatives. Amongst all these chaos of adjusting with my new role as a mother, there were also problems with over-caring relatives who came to visit. They were quick to judge, but slow to understand. They couldn't wait to play with the baby, and didn't like the baby to sleep when they are awake. They insisted that everything should be done their way. There were also a lot of 'well meaning' relatives who provided a lot of theory, but little hands-on help.
The solution: Again, you were given the baby, do what you think is best for the baby. You will find that even with subsequent babies, there aren't complete "best known methods" to cater for all. Every new baby is a new experience and it is unique. When I had my third daughter, I thought that I knew a lot because I already had two but, she proved me wrong! So, your baby and you will find your equilibrium! Here are some tips. It would be good to get someone close to you to stay for a while the first 2 to 4 weeks. Try to get your husband to stay home as well. While you do not need a lot of relatives bothering you, 1 or 2 can be very helpful during this period. Postpone or avoid any visits from well meaning relatives. Tell them to come a few weeks later.
In a nutshell, I feel that it is very important that a first time mom have a support group that can help her go through the initial period of being a mom. This should start when she is pregnant. It makes a lot of difference when she knows that there are a lot of people out there that are going through or have gone through what she is going through. And that she is not alone, that she is not the only one that is facing this challenge.