If you read the last post / our latest life update, you know already that I had a plan for how James was going to be born, and that how it happened wasn’t according to my plan at all. I just wanted to take a quick second to encourage all mamas / mamas-to-be.
You’ve had 9 months to imagine how your little one was going to come into this world. Maybe you knew right away you wanted to be in the hospital, on your back, with the epidural team ready as soon as you walked through the doors. Maybe you wanted to schedule a c section. Maybe you were going natural in a birthing center in water or in squatting position. Whatever your plan, you had one. You had an idea of what “that day” would look like.
You’ve been pinning for weeks. The perfect list of what to bring and what not to bring. The things to be done at home before the baby came. You’ve been planning the perfect outfit to bring your baby home in. You’ve read article after article about “the best” way to deliver, to feed, to be a mom. Formula is just out of the question.
Maybe your story was that you had a plan, and your baby came obediently to follow it. My plan was shattered, and I struggled.
I struggled with feeling like I didn’t give birth, and that James was just ripped out of me. I was cut open, he was taken out, and then he was taken away from me. He spent 7 days in the NICU. That wasn’t in my written birth plan! None of it was. He was early, by c section, and away from us for his first week of his life when we weren’t sitting by him in that dark room. Oh, and he was given many ounces of formula before my milk came in. I couldn’t breastfeed; I had to pump while sitting in my own room, across the hospital from my baby.
I was so thankful to have uplifting women in my life to just say “it’s all okay, and you’re doing great.” Even before I felt like a mom, other moms encouraged me. It gave me motivation to stay strong. But still, I struggled with how things were happening; I’ve had 9 months to dwell on so much information and opinions, and I thought I knew best. I was going to brag about how long I lasted before getting an epidural, how he latched right away and never ever got formula, and how I loved being able to witness his first breath as I pushed him out.
After you announce your pregnancy, you’re met with SO. MANY. OPINIONS. “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” “You should do this, it’s best for the baby.” “It’s the best way to deliver.” And so on and so on.
The opinions don’t stop once you’ve had the baby either. Maybe people would like it to be called advice instead of opinions, but let’s be honest, we all know there’s a bit of judgment being passed if you decide on anything opposed to their “advice.”
I hope this isn’t taken as a rant or me voicing frustration. I love advice, ask for it often, and embrace all advice from experienced moms. What I’m talking about is the “advice” with the underlying tone of pride. The moms that think they’ve got it down perfectly (like I was going to do) and make others feel lesser.
So I just want to ask, moms, can we give grace and love to each other, and build each other up? To pass on encouragement instead of any hint of judgment?
A woman struggles enough without all the extra thoughts voiced to her. “Am I doing a good job? Am I doing the right thing? Is this best for my baby? Is it ok for me to eat this? Did I even brush my teeth today?!”
We’re all in the same boat – trying to do the best for our babies.
The best for my baby, was to come early, to be delivered by c section, and to get formula so his blood sugar wasn’t too low. All in opposition to my own plan. (Thank the Lord that He knew better!)
Moms, you know what’s best for your baby. You were chosen to be your little one’s mama! You were chosen to raise him/her. You were chosen to make the hard decisions about going here, eating this, vaccinations, formula, diaper brands, schools, etc. And you will be the one to cheer your baby on in their first sports game, to say ‘no’ even when it’s hard to, to wipe away the tears, to kiss the boo boos, to be up all night when they’re sick, to be their mom.
So moms, press on and be encouraged. Remember, you were chosen to raise your baby because God knew you would be the best mom for him/her. You are doing a good job! If you are loving, feeding, and changing your kid, you’re doing it. And that’s all that matters. Forget if your baby has formula. Forget if you don’t get organic diapers. Forget if you got around to cleaning the bathroom. Forget the ‘shoulds’ that are pushed on you from every angle. Love your baby and pray every step of the way. I’m still a new mom, but I think that’s recipe for success.
Mamas to be, relax. Know that everything that does or doesn’t go according to your plan is okay, and it’s the perfect outcome no matter what – you get to have a little human. He/she will run your life, but it’ll be the greatest love you’ve ever known. Be open to your plan being thwarted, but remember, in the end, you’ll have a baby. If he or she is healthy, it doesn’t matter how he/she came.
We get to love these little lives. Yes, it’s scary at times to be responsible for such a helpless being (that’s why we need to encourage each other!), but it’s beautiful. It’s your story, your family, and your baby that God has loaned to you. Our babies are His. He cares for them far more than we could. When we seek Him and follow His leading, we can’t fail at the high calling of motherhood, and He is pleased.
You’re doing good, mama!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
– 1 Peter 5:6-7