A note from Chris Adams: Last week, guest writer, Allison Pickett, shared some of her motherdom story and practical suggestions for how to help moms in real, down to earth ways. You can read that article here. This week, Allison is sharing something a little more personal with insights into the early days of becoming a mom. When we understand the struggles in a mom’s life, we can find more effective ways to minister to her real needs. Even though I didn’t experience childbirth, I felt many of the same things after becoming a mom. It was one of the sweetest yet scariest times of my life! Perhaps you will relate to this young mom, and if you have forgotten what it was like, this will sound familiar to help you reengage with where these moms are.
In order to pay tribute to this momentous occasion, I’m going to write my sweet baby a letter. He’ll never read it, of course, because there will be no Internet after the zombie apocalypse, but the thought is nice.
I am so happy that you are a part of our family and that we have the privilege of raising you. You have changed everything for me and your dad. We used to be young, bright-eyed, and bouncy. Now we are old, weary, and certainly saggy.
The moment I discovered I was pregnant with you was the very moment I got sick and continuously vomited for the next nine months. It wasn’t pretty (I wasn’t pretty), but your dad took care of me and maybe even gave me a peck on the cheek every few days to keep up morale. What a man!
I had no clue about anything regarding tiny babies. I didn’t even know that being scared was optional. I just walked around with my big bump like, “La la la, don’t I look silly with this belly? La, la, la, guess I should buy a package of diapers. La, la, la, I’m blissfully ignorant of all things baby related!” Then things started getting real. “Pardon me, why are these two words placed next to each other? I’ve never heard this combination before. Is ‘breast pump’ a typo?”
One morning, around 5 a.m., my water broke. Your dad was in Chicago (a distant land from Shreveport, LA), and I was home alone, lying in a puddle in the bed. “No! Please, no! Not now!” I sighed sadly. “I’ve peed the bed at 5 a.m. This is highly inconvenient.” Suddenly, I realized I could be in labor, but I was alone and knew NOTHING. So I took a quiz on Google and the scientific results confirmed I was going to meet you soon.
Your dad barely squeaked in to hold my hand and welcome you into the world. You were an adorable, bright blond, wrinkly, little alien. I had no idea what to do with you. I didn’t know how to hold you, change your diapers, soothe you, get you dressed, or bathe you. You might assume some things would come naturally or they are self-explanatory, but not for me. The doctor might as well have handed me an Algebra book. I was lost.
Each day was a scary adventure. How had God entrusted me with this task? This was clearly meant for people who used planners and actually read full articles, not just the titles. I think the scariest part was how much I loved you. My heart was so full it ached. I told your dad that I had never experienced this brand of love before. You didn’t have to do anything to earn my love. You didn’t have to prove yourself. There were no conditions. I just loved you because you were mine. It was the first time I felt I understood God’s love for humanity. We don’t have to prove ourselves; there are no conditions. He just loves us because we are His.
I cried a lot in the beginning because I felt inadequate and inexperienced. Sorry for sobbing on you all the time, buddy. Aren’t you happy I cry less now? Now, if I cry, it’s generally at some highly emotional, G-rated, children’s film you and your siblings insist on watching. Why do the parents always have to die? It’s too much.
With time, I’ve learned to just do what works for us each day. I’ve relaxed a lot and usually just roll with it. The bad news? You won’t be the child who benefits from my “chill mom” lifestyle. You will be the one who catches the brunt of my mistakes and fears because you’ll always be the first. The first to walk, the first to school, the first to date, the first to drive. I’m sorry about this; there’s no way out of it. We get to practice everything on you. I hope you’ll have a luxurious job that will afford you the therapy you will surely need.
No matter how much I mess up or how much you mess up, I love you without bounds. There will never be an instance when my love for you will cease and I will strive to give you the grace that God has always given to me. You made me a mama, and I feel so thankful for you, your ridiculous smile, and your clever little thoughts.
Happy birthday to my first baby.
So, what do new moms need?
- “You will survive,” are precious words to a new mom because in the early hours of the morning after zero hours of sleep, she’s not so sure that she will.
- New moms probably won’t make it to every women’s Bible study or event. That’s OK. She’s struggling and needs to feel loved even when she misses, not condemned for her absence.
- A hug can change a mom’s perspective on life.
Next time you see a young mom with a tear-streaked face, wild hair, and wearing pajama bottoms to church, go give her a hug. Listen to her for a moment. And set up a time for you to bring lunch by to her. It could change her life!
Allison Pickett lives in Monroe, Louisiana with her husband and three wild ones. She regrettably loves soda and sweatshirts but proudly loves fresh air and spinach. You can read her blog at allisonpickett.wordpress.com.