I lovingly dedicate this series to Danielle, my sister-in-law, who is expecting her firstborn and to all wonderful mothers new and experienced.
Dear New Momma,
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times by now: Your life is about to change forever. Any illusions that your life is your own or that you are the center of your story will soon dissipate. I heard it said once that motherhood is the the hardest adventure you will ever live but, also, the best. It is true.
No real adventure is void of challenges or hardships. They are what make the peak of the mountain exceptional. Each stage of motherhood brings new tests and lessons to learn.
I don’t know what I expected (because I thought I already knew motherhood would be challenging before I ever had a baby), but reality has proven to be a far cry from my daydreams.
I wasn’t thinking of exploding diapers, catching vomit in my hands, sleepless nights, early mornings, caring for sick children while being sick myself, dealing with the unbelievable drama of toddlers, hearing my child tell me I’m “not the best mommy,” trips to the ER, potty training horrors, or mommy guilt for not fitting the completely unrealistic role of a “good” mom at all times.
I was unprepared to feel anything but love for my child. Frustration or anger towards an infant or child was unheard of in my little mental book of motherly attributes. It does happen, though. It can happen in your first weeks of being a mother when you’re more sleep deprived than you thought possible and can’t figure out why the baby will not stop crying. It can happen when your toddler throws a epic tantrum at the most inconvenient of times. It will happen throughout parenthood and far more often than most of us mothers will readily admit.
Don’t be discouraged or afraid. Reality can be tough but, I promise you, there is much beauty to be found in the midst of even the most trying times. You will find an unwavering love. Unrelenting love from your Father will carry you through it all. It will fill you when you are empty and overflow and spill to those around you.
When you think there is nothing left to give, love will prevail. You will love because He loves you (1 John 4:19). You will clean up the messes because of love. You will help your child learn to cope with emotions correctly because of love. You will push past your negative feelings because of love. You will die to self because of a love that is far greater than any fleeting feeling. You will pray as you never have before.
You will discover the joy of watching your child grow. You will rejoice in the delightful sound of his laughter. You will feel the wonder of holding his little hand in your own.
You will come to understand that Motherhood is beautiful. Though it is difficult, it is wonderful. It is a evolution that will change you forever.
Take a deep breath, sweet Momma. Open your arms. Savor this role. This is love.