Ministry Resources

Ministry Resources
Ministry Resources

What I Really Want to Say to The Mom Who Just Had a Baby

There are a lot of great baby books out there.  Many go into a lot of detail about caring for your newborn, taking care of yourself postpartum, and some even have helpful tips for Dads.  Before my first daughter was born I read those books with great enthusiasm.  I wanted to be prepared.  

Then after she was born I pretty much threw those books out the window and realized that no book, no matter how great it is, can actually prepare you for what bringing new life into the world looks like.  What helped me the most was hearing from moms who had been there. 

They had experienced the exhaustion of pulling an all-nighter with a screaming baby, only to go to work the next day.  They had been spit up on, pooped on, and their walls had been, let’s just say “christened.”    They understood the pain of the dark days of mothering, when the loneliness and doubt crept in.  And more than anyone, they could testify to what it meant to have your heart walking outside of your body every day. 

The worry.  The exhaustion.  The sheer delight in it all.

They got me.  And so today, I want to offer a little encouragement to you.  To pay forward the encouragement and advice that I was once gifted.  So here’s to you, my sweet sister.  To the mama who just had a baby.  

Hey Mama,

I bet you didn’t think you could feel so many emotions all at once, did you?

Overwhelmed. Scared. Exhausted.

And more joy than you have ever felt in your entire life. 

You look down at your precious little one.  You lock your fingers in their tiny little hands and you think to yourself I will never forget this moment.    

Things might seem a little blurry right now.  Almost dream like.  I bet you can’t stop looking at your baby, right?  Go on and keep looking, no one will judge you.  Take in each inch of their smooth skin.  Their precious bumpy head (don’t worry that will go away).  Their soft, little lips. Those sweet baby toes.  Oh, I can never get enough of those baby toes!

Sweet sister. 

I bet that right now you’re probably still reeling from the experience of becoming a new mama.  It’s still fresh.  Raw.  Sensitive.  Precious.  Hard. 

Just soak that all in.

Fast forward a few days and you find yourself bringing your baby home.  You step into your home and breathe in a sweet sigh of relief.  You are home.  Your own bed.  Your own sheets.  And no cafeteria food.  Bonus.

But you are changed

You are now a mother.  You have given new life to the world.

There are a few encouraging things I want to share with you.  But of all the things I share with you today, nothing is more important for you to know than this:

God chose you to be your child’s mother. 

I say it’s the most important because there will be times when you forget that important truth. Or you think He must have made a mistake pairing the two of you together for life.  But He didn’t.  There is no mistake.  God chose you.  Remember that. 

Here are a few more things you may find helpful to know:

Nights are often the hardest.   They are long and drawn out and if you have a fussy baby, they seem never ending.  There’s also a sense of loneliness that comes with nighttime.  I found it helpful to pre-record some of my favorite TV shows and watch them while I was up nursing or dealing with a fussy baby.  It helped the time to pass quicker.

I want you to remember that in the night, you are not alone.  It will be difficult and exhausting and at times will push you to your max, but there is hope. This is a fleeting season, though it may not always feel like it.

Sleep deprivation is no joke.  Maybe you have a great sleeper (lucky you), but maybe your little one is up every few hours with little reprieve on your end.  Lots of people will tell you to “nap when the baby naps,” and it’s not bad advice.  It’s just not always possible.  You still have a house to maintain, laundry to do, perhaps even other children to care for.  But Mama, please take care of yourself.  If you do find yourself having trouble resting and begin to physically struggle, consider getting someone to watch the baby (in your home if that’s more comfortable for you) and letting you rest.  Your body needs it and your baby needs a healthy mama. 

Your baby won’t be fussy forever.  Colic and reflux had my oldest daughter rarely finding comfort or contentment for the first 6 months.  The constant and unrelenting crying can and will drive you out of your mind.  But it does pass.  Which leads me to my next tip:

Reach out for help.  Don’t be ashamed to say that you’re struggling.  You are not superwoman.  You don’t have to handle everything. It is okay for mom’s to take a breather.   As one of my good friends often reminds me, “motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.”   

Even if it’s for a short time, take turns with your husband or see if a friend or family member can help you.  You need some peace of mind for yourself.  You need time to reset.  Watch your favorite TV show.  Get lost in a chapter of one of your favorite books, go grab something to eat (even if it’s going through the drive thru). 

Crying doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom.  On either end, yours or your baby’s.  Sometimes having a good cry releases stress and tension.  On the flip side, babies will cry…a lot.  Sometimes for no apparent reason.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do to help soothe them.  You are not a bad mom.  You have not failed as a parent.  (By the way, my favorite spot to cry was in the shower.  I found it soothing). 

Sleep deprivation can also cause you to be more emotional and sensitive.  Again, reach out for help.  There is no shame in that game. 

Watch your baby sleep.  It is one of the most precious times you can have with them. You get to be still with them, trace every inch of their little bodies and really admire God’s goodness and creation.  I still do this with my three year old.  It honestly never gets old. 

I also thought it would be helpful to hear from some other mom’s, so I posted this question on my Facebook page:

Moms, what would you say to a new mom who has just had a baby?

Love your husband. He may not always help or know what to do but do not leave him out, make time for him while caring for the new baby, you are in this together.” ~Leanne

“The days are long but the years are short. It takes a village to raise a child so ask your village for help, advice, dinner, whatever. It's okay to put the baby down and walk away for a few minutes. Crying doesn't mean you're a bad parent- it's just their only way to communicate.” ~Laura

“I will have to say even though you will feel guilty, please take a minute for yourself. It is OK to walk away for a minute. Also as a mother of 3 who dealt with postpartum depression with my first two, I can tell you it's OK to feel overwhelmed and it's OK to cry. So when I say to take a minute to yourself please take that minute or two.” ~Kelly

“When your toddler pulls the limp noodle trick in K-mart, don't even try to fight it. (At least until you’re out of K-mart).” ~Mary

And yes...let Dad help! Let him do things the way he wants too...do not micro manage or he will eventually stop helping. He is not gonna do everything the way you would and that is ok. Let him bond. Tell him he is doing a good job.” ~Stacy

“Remember, it's all a phase. The good and the bad. It's just a phase. Baby not sleeping through the night? Don't worry-one day they will. Teething pain? Hang on-those teeth will grow. But remember, the good parts are phases too. They are only little for so long so cherish it. Eventually they will stop asking you to play and your heart will break when you realize it. Appreciate the phases, it goes by too fast!” ~Kellie

And my last tip,

Grace, grace, and more of God’s precious grace.  You will make mistakes.  There will be times when you feel like you're failing or that you are not enough.  Remember, God chose you to be your child's mother.  No one else.  

You will get frustrated.  You may even yell.  Mama, God's precious gift of grace is there for you.  He does not expect you to know it all because He already does.  He has a purpose and a plan for your child and one of the coolest things a mom gets to do is watch that plan unfold.  

Give yourself grace.  Give your husband grace.  This is all new and in time you will learn to balance things again and gain some confidence as a mom.  

My sweet sister, I love you.  Being a mom can be a hard title, but you've got this.  Though the days seem long, looking back, they are but a breath whispered in time.  

What advice would you give a new mom?

What helpful resources would you recommend to someone who is going to have a baby?

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