Life Giving Lessons from Motherhood!
On my first Mother’s Day with my baby girl, I want to celebrate all that motherhood has begun to teach me.
1. Embracing grace
Learning to give myself grace, receive grace, and extend grace through the ups and downs of being a new mom has been life changing. When my colicky newborn would not stop crying and I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and sleep deprived, I realized my identity as a mother was not based on my feelings. There was such freedom as I let go of the lie that when I perform well THEN I am a “great” wife, mother, or child of God. I discovered who I am does not change even in my worst, messiest and emotional moments. I am loved, accepted, and forgiven.
2. Letting of my expectations
Being a mama to my baby girl looks very different from what I pictured. Yet, it is so good. Growing up I thought I would be a stay at home mom. However, I now enjoy working full-time while also enjoying being a mama. I thought there would be an instant special bond with my new baby. Instead the first six weeks were an incredibly difficult and an emotional journey through breastfeeding struggles and postpartum depression. I quickly realized I needed help. There are many things that helped me but three things stand out: great counseling, support from good friends, and medication. By the time my baby was four months old, I once again felt myself. I was able to fully enjoy motherhood and embrace all the new changes. I’ve realized that motherhood brings different experiences and challenges. I completely support any mama doing what is best for her, for her baby, and for her family. Celebrating and encouraging one another’s journey makes us all stronger.
3. I am stronger than I think
My husband tells me that I am stronger than I think and I am starting to believe him. After being in labor for over forty hours, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. I’ve ran marathons before yet delivering my baby girl was by far my greatest accomplishment. The first four months of being a new mother often felt like an emotional roller coaster. Yet, my husband would say that I did not simply survive those first four months but that I truly thrived. In the midst of challenges, hormones, and emotions it was easy for me to quickly lose perspective. During this time, my husband spoke truth into my life and highlighted all the good things God was doing in me.
4. Continued freedom
For years I struggled with the fear of gaining weight and had a distorted view of my body. My pregnancy and postpartum displayed the absolute freedom God has given me. It was such a freeing process to gain weight during pregnancy. I was proud of my body because it was creating and carrying my baby. When my clothes were beginning to get tight and I wasn’t yet showing, I remember spending an evening trying to figure out what still fit me. I chose to silence the old lies and celebrate the fact that my body was indeed doing incredible work!
When I was preparing to go back to work, I went through my closet once again to try on clothes. I had just gone shopping for new pants that would fit. As I looked in the mirror, I also saw this little eight-week-old baby lying in the crib next to me. I choose to celebrate all that my body did. I gave birth to this beautiful baby girl!
5. Asking and receiving help
It is often difficult for women to ask for help. We are much better about giving than receiving. Yet motherhood teaches you how much you need others.
I called my best friend many times during the first six weeks of being a new mom. I was honest and tearful. I shared the good and the difficult. I allowed her to encourage me and give me a larger perspective than I could see in the moment.
When I found out I had postpartum depression, my doctor connected me with an amazing counselor. They both reminded me of the many changes you experience in motherhood, in your marriage, and in your life once you have a baby. It was wonderful to have a safe place to talk, heal, and process. I want to grow and become the healthiest image of who God has created me to be.
What lessons have you learned from motherhood?
I want to wish every woman out there a very special mother’s day! Every woman cares and invest in others regards if they have the official title of mother. Our world is a richer place because of every “mothering” woman!