Being blessed with the miracle of birth and holding your baby for the first time is something you have to experience in order to understand the full weight of the emotion and love that goes with this new season in one’s life.
However, the fairy tale of motherhood that I dreamed about throughout my pregnancy was crushed when I became a mother for the first time.
The responsibility of raising this tiny, totally dependent human being rattled me into a nervous stupor. My mother came to stay with us for a week or so after Janno was born and when she left I cried for days. I questioned whether I would be a good mother or whether I would just mess up everything! I didn’t know what to do with this crying baby. I didn’t understand his needs and the more he cried the more insecure I became about my own capabilities. Bottom line: I was an anxious mother with the deep belief that I am worthless, unqualified and a total failure. I battled through many insecurities and a lot of heartache before I reclaimed my value as the best mother my child could ever ask for.
Mia was born five years later, and I promised myself a total revamp regarding what I believe about myself as a mother and what I speak into my own heart about motherhood. I decided before she was born that I will keep the following truths close to my heart:
- Love can never reach a point of full capacity. There is a love that flows from you when you hold your baby for the first time. This love cannot be explained; you have to experience it to know and understand its full weight. You can never love your child less and even if you have more children, your heart won’t get crowded. Your heart space for love increases and grows endlessly.
2. When I’m sleep deprived and irritated, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother and that I love my child less. During the first month of Janno’s life, there was limited sleep and the adjustment to a baby in the house was a big one. I felt guilty for being irritated and tired. My heart was set on giving my child ALL I could possibly give him – my full devotion – and now I was dragging myself through the day, battling to keep my eyes open. I felt disillusioned. The message of being an overall failure as a mom rang strong in my ears. Sadly I believed it.
When Mia came along five years later, I was smarter, had more confidence as a mother and I better understood the wonderful journey God had planned for me as a treasured and capable mother. I was also sleep deprived with Mia, but when I felt overwhelmed I took a pause (a minute or two to get my emotions back on track). When Mia went to sleep, I also took a nap. Dishes piled up and there was a load of things I could have done in that quiet moment, but I realised that none of those things were more important than my family. When I’m well rested, I can take care of everyone much better.
- Babies cry. That’s what they do. When babies cry, they are trying to tell you something and crying is the only vocabulary they’ve got at the moment. A crying baby can be nerve-wracking to say the least. I used to tick all the things my baby could possibly need or that might be wrong: milk, nappy change, burping, too hot, too cold, tired, over-stimulated, cramps, wanting to be held and comforted, etc. Most of the time, I hit the mark somewhere on my list. I also realised that my baby cries a certain way when she has certain needs. A dirty nappy cry sounds different from a hungry cry. Watch and listen carefully to identify those subtle cues.
- I am the best mother my child could ever have. If that were not the case,God would have given my child to somebody else. I am the best person for the job and that’s why both of my children were entrusted to me. That is the truth.
- I refuse to take unwanted advice. If you would ask 10 people advice regarding your baby, you will get 10 different answers. Choose one or two close friends or family members that you trust and ask them when you need advice. As for the unwanted advice-givers, just nod with a smile, then walk away confidently and follow your own heart.
MommaMia Tip: Embrace the confidence of the lioness as you enter this new season of motherhood. All you need is love and all the other things will fall into place. How great and faithful is the Lord. He promises that He will give us everything we need for every task He gives us – that includes parenthood – and He will give it to us exceedingly abundantly, to overflowing (see Ephesians 3:20).