I know that the tears soak your shirt, your pillow, your bed. You want to hide under the covers, not come out, not see anyone. For if they came, you would think it necessary to shower, dress and stick on that “everything-is-ok” smile and nod as they proclaim the blessing of children, the precious treasure that a new baby is. And you would have to answer the question, “So, how’s it going?” and the words would stick to the roof of your mouth as you struggled to know whether to utter the ugly truth of your feelings, or just the sugar-coated words that everyone wants to hear. The nice words.
Here’s what I know. I know that you are in the throes of raging hormones. You are in the grip of the state of sleep deprivation that, as I recall, actually felt almost like a tangible, physical pain. You are trying to recover from major surgery. And you are worried about your sweet little one. You feel like you are drowning, flailing…. you wonder why other moms seem to have it all together, why they are able to “cope” better than you.
I want to come over and give you a big hug and let you know that although things seem dark right now, all is not lost. I want to let you know that you are doing the best that you can, and that is all that anyone expects of you. I don’t expect you to be “all put together”. I don’t expect to see a happy smile pasted on your face. I don’t need you to be revelling in the bliss of new motherhood. Some are able to, and that is great. But I’m not afraid of the raw ‘real’ and I want honest truth and I want you to know that I have been in the dark places that you find yourself in.
You are feeling like every new mom: scared, anxious, incapable.
Many of us felt that way in those early days. We felt like we were being asked to do something more than what we felt capable of, to reach beyond the end of our strength and ability. Some of us experienced the angst of our babies not latching properly, or not feeding properly. Or we were told that our babies were not gaining enough weight. We were sure that we were making a mistake by doing this, or by not doing that. All of us worried that God had made a mistake by sending us that baby.
But we know that God never makes mistakes. Never.
God wanted to bless you with this baby before you had even thought up the whole amazing miracle-idea of a new life. God knew that he wanted to give you this baby. Not someone else …. you. He chose you to be this baby’s mother.
And He knows that right now you feel incapable and not up to the task. You feel overwhelmed and like you are drowning. In the midst of the raging hormones and the endless cycle of feeding and the lack of sleep, and the tears, God is holding you and whispering into your ear, “It’s ok. Really it is.”
Can you hear Him?
Never think that you are incapable of being a mother. Refuse to believe that you are inadequate. This is a lie.
Do not believe that lie.
Pray for strength each moment. And get sleep when you can. Everything looks better when you have had some sleep. Just sleep and rest and eat and feed your baby. That’s it. Your top priority right now is to try to sleep in order to be able to deal with the rest. Ditch every expectation that comes your way. Take care of yourself. Take care of your little one. Don’t worry about anything else.
You are not failing. Honest.
Even though your head tells you that, do not listen.
You are not alone.
Even though your heart tells you that, do not pay attention.
For “… the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…” (Deut.31:6) He never leaves you, especially in the darkest, loneliest places. I know that you might not be able to feel Him, but His arms of love are wrapped around you, holding you tight. Honest.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t believe in God…. He still loves you and enwraps you with his presence.
But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze…. Do not be afraid, for I am with you…” (Is.43:1-5)
Believe the truth: You are not alone. You are never alone because God has promised that He will not leave you… ever.
With so much love and care, from one who has battled the darkness too.