The last several months have been by far the most rewarding yet challenging, exhausting yet joy filled months of my life. In September I gave birth to my first child, a sweet and happy little boy who has brought me more joy than I can put into adequate words. While the transition into parenthood has been exciting and fun, there have been plenty of tears, self-doubt, frustrations and sleepless nights.
I can vividly remember being transferred to the mother and baby floor from delivery and recovery while holding my newborn, after 30, yes 30 hours of labor, and the nurses loading me with information of things I needed to do and remember. In that moment I felt so overwhelmed by their laundry list of notes that I was supposed to somehow remember, but also overwhelmed that this little human that I was holding is my (and my husband’s) responsibility.
Now, almost 6 months later, my functioning on sleep versus coffee has leveled out a bit, and I can look back and reflect on how much I have learned since that moment in the hospital. I know I have a lifetime of learning, failing, and growing to go, but I wanted to share a few things (among many more) that I have really been trying to implement and focus on that has helped me keep things in a healthy perspective.
1. Everyone’s Experience is Different
Comparison is such a dangerous trap to fall in. I could probably write a whole blog on the dangers of comparing postpartum bodies, breastfeeding vs formula, what your baby is or is not doing, the list could be endless…. It is so overwhelming to feel like you are not doing enough or doing things right, especially in such a heightened state of emotions after those first few weeks or few months.
Social media is the easiest way to spiral down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and insecurity. While it does provide me with a lot of good resources and tips, I have to tread carefully when I am looking at other people’s experience online. One thing I tell myself when I start to feel myself starting to compare is that my reality is my reality.
Someone else’s experience or 10 second reel on Instagram is not my reality or my experience and that is okay, so why am I getting worked up over something that is not real for me. It is not healthy for me to take someone’s joy or achievement and turn it into my failure or shortcoming. It could also be said of the opposite and judging others and having the mindset of “well my way is better”. It’s a false narrative we have created in our heads. Comparison is the thief of joy.
2. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
This is one that I have really had to work on. I don’t know if it’s more of a pride thing and not wanting to admit I need help or the feeling of not wanting to burden anyone else. The phrase “it takes a village” has held true for me and there have been so many times where I have tried to juggle it all and I end up frustrated and accomplish nothing by trying to do it all on my own.
It has been a lesson in humility, and I find that I am a better mom and wife when I know my limitations and ask for help. It also brings joy to others to get to help and feel like they are contributing.
3. His Mercies are New Every Morning
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
– Lamentations 3:22-23
I have held tightly onto this verse and the mindset that every day is a chance for a new and fresh start. During the good days and the bad days, His mercies are always new and they never end. This verse brings me great comfort and peace knowing that each morning allows for a new start. I don’t have to dwell on the mistakes of yesterday, but I get to start each day with a mindset of gratitude and dependance on God and His mercies.
4. Presence Over Perfection
I listened to a podcast the other day where a pediatrician spoke about the importance of being present with your child. She spoke about how parents can feel this need to be busy bodies running around the house making sure the dishes are done and the laundry is folded, but her challenge was to take those extra 15 minutes to be present with your child.
Listening to her speak about that reminded me of the story in scripture where Martha and Mary had Jesus at their house. Martha was so worried about serving and was upset that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping her, to which Jesus so graciously said to her:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
– Luke 10: 41-42
It is easy to get caught up in this feeling that everything needs to be organized and perfect so that I will feel better, but I find myself missing time from what is important and what will fill my cup. Those 15 extra minutes with my child or spending time in the Word will bring me much more joy than the laundry being folded and put away.
I know that I have only experienced a drop in the bucket of what is a lifetime of lessons to come, but during these past few months, the Lord has been teaching me and refining me in so many ways. I could probably list out several more lessons that he has taught me, but I feel like those are 4 things I have really been trying to focus on and will continue to do so. It has been such a joy-filled journey so far and I am trying to approach this new season with an open mind and hands ready to receive what the Lord has next for me.