Some of you may remember that post where I wrote a letter to my 'sixteen year old self'...yes?
Well, today I wanted to write a letter to myself as a new mom... because it's also a lot of things I want to say to all young/new mamas out there.
So here it is:
Dear mama Mel,
Congratulations on just making it through the most intense, horrific, wild and wonderful event of your life - birthing that stubborn little girl into this world! I am so proud of you, and amazed at your strength to just do what you did! (However, you really should have just told hubby Ben to 'stay up at your head'... sooo, give him time to come around from the post-traumatic shock).
There's just a few things I want to tell you, but I know you won't hear me.
Yeah, that's your first issue - listen to those who love you.
I know you feel like you've read all the books, and know all the strategies to enact on this new child. I know you feel super sensitive to anyone telling you how to 'do your new job'. But, remember that those who love you, and are offering advice, are doing so because they... wait for it... LOVE you. They aren't being super-judgey-pants and trying to point the finger. Their suggestions aren't saying 'hey, you clearly suck at this gig'.. they're saying 'hey, I've walked this wild road.. can I help you watch for the potholes?'. So yeah, turn down the defensive, and tune in to all the sage help from mamas who have gone before you.
Next, savour these moments.
I know.. you want to slap me for saying that. When the baby just won't settle... the screaming through the nights seem endless... and the window seems like the appropriate place to throw your darling child through... you just want to be DONE. Savour this?
Just know it's a moment. It feels like eternity... but you'll turn around and the child will be rushing out the door to school. The nights will be quiet... you'll stare at the ceiling and long for just one more night of that rhythmic two-step with the warmth of their weight against your chest.
Lastly, this new chapter of your life is ushering you into a massive identity overhaul.
It seems as though the labels are all laying on the table before you, waiting to see which one will stick. Will you define yourself as the 'hippy-all-natural-crunchy' mama? Will you be the productive, nothing stops me from keeping the house clean, mama? Do you co-sleep? Do you breastfeed or do formula? Check, check, check. These boxes start to feel stifling.
It seems like your previous identity is being burned up on this altar.
Because, yes, this is sacrificial living at it's truest form.
Giving all you having to this tiny being who can give nothing back.
Your wardrobe, your schedule, your free time, your social calendar, your diet... everything becomes focused on nurturing this child.
There will be moments you resent them for this reality.
You'll grow weary of constantly having to think about someone else before yourself.
The craving for 'me-time' will feel like that dangling carrot... that insatiable longing to just dive headlong back in on yourself will taunt you.
Trust me when I say this:
Do not resent the gift of selflessness this child forces upon you.
Keep yourself on this altar.
They are God's fingers at work in you.
They are burning away your pride, your self-righteous reliance, your petty pursuits.
Hide your identity in Christ alone.
Your life will become sweet incense.
Oh, one more last thing... I'm not going to tell you how many kids you end up having, but they are a treasure. Just know, the best present you can give them is your presence. You can't afford all the latest child gadgets, newest outfits, and wild vacations... they don't care.
Because, you know what? Our soon-to-come son just woke up from his nap crying.
You know what I did?
I held him.
Rocked him back and forth.
Whispered: "It's ok, mama's here".
He snuggled in and stopped crying.
The two most powerful words you have to give.