I will never forget the moment I looked at the positive pregnancy test for my first child. After my dis-belief caused me to take the second test, which of course also showed two lines, excitement was my strongest emotion. But there were twinges of fear and uncertainty as well.
A call to an OBG was top of my list the next day, and I found myself a bit disappointed that I had to wait 12 weeks before going in to hear my baby’s heartbeat! Yes, I chuckle at my complete lack of knowledge now, but, truly, I was rather ignorant.
But I will admit, that going to the store to register for a baby was far different from going to the store to register for a wedding. I had no clue what I needed…other than diapers of course.
I gleaned most of my information from family and friends who had already walked the pregnancy journey. I asked friends what they used and how they liked it. I soon realized, just like Christmas, weddings, and birthday’s, there is a large amount of commercialism, geared toward expectant mothers. From the “natural” perspective, diapers wipes, glass bottles, and baby wraps….to the “quick and easy” mother with disposable diapers, formula, and diaper genie.
There is also a baby fashion that will change from year to year. Colors that are popular for a nursery, and items such as pregnancy pillows, swaddlers, and wrap style baby carriers which could be out of sink with the next generation of mothers.
Even though I had little idea how to prepare, from day one of learning I was pregnant, a preparation for a little life began. Where to begin?
- Pray for the Little Soul. As many women, I did pray for future children…more that I would have them than for their body and soul. Once I realized the weight that a little life was actually growing inside me, I felt a weight. It is a weight I carry to this day…a sense of helplessness, accompanied by deep love for my children and hunger to see my children walk with God. The only treatment is to turn that weight into prayer. God created that little body and soul. He loves that little person far more than I do. And it is God, Who rules the rivers of the heart of man.
- Journal the Experience. Once she knew we were expecting, my mother-in-law sent a notebook that she had written about her experience with the pregnancy, and the birth of my husband. It was really fun to read through how she told the family, her awakening thoughts, and see little things like her weight rise with each doctor appointment. I decided I wanted to keep these moments I would soon forget. So, I used simple note-book paper as I began scribbling down my pregnancy experience and thoughts. A nice journal or baby book could be nicer ideas. Jim’s mother wrote in a journal fashion, I plan to give the notes to my children someday, so I decided to write in a letter format. It is a tradition I keep to this day. I wrote about it in more detail in the post: Letters to My Children.
- Take Ownership of Motherhood. This is something I wish I had felt more free to do as a first time mother, but it took me a couple months after my daughter was born for my ownership of who I was to her kicked in. I do believe there are many women who naturally feel confident in their newly existing mothership, and this is not a struggle. But for those who find themselves insecure, it is a great strength to remember that you are the one God chose to mother that little person and no one, not a doctor, not a family member, or any kind of expert must bear that weight. Every decision is yours to make based upon what you think is best for your child…right or wrong. That child belongs to God, and entrusted to you and must be seen in that way.
- Let wisdom be the guide; not fear. Within the first few weeks of discovering she is carrying a child, a young mother is bombarded with decisions. How to give birth, where to give birth, natural or epidural, vaccinations, tests, ultrasounds, which pediatrician….the list is truly endless. In our fear riddled world, my heart aches to see mother after mother basing her decisions for what is best for her child based on her fear. So often, a mother will read something or hear something and make a decision because she is afraid. I lean heavily into James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Again, going back to the first step in motherhood. Mommy’s must rest in wisdom and biblical truth for raising their children, not the latest post on Facebook.
- Rejoice! Oh how easy we become ungrateful for the most amazing gifts! Stretch marks, varicose veins, exhaustion, morning sickness, weight gain, emotional changes, sleep deprivation, and a rise in bodily temperate are all normal experiences for expectant mothers. Although I was very happy to be pregnant with our first child, I did struggle being grateful for the uncomfortable reminders of the person growing inside me. With each child, the preciousness deepened until with my last one, I could not wait for him to wake up and cry in the night so I could go feed him and snuggle a bit. I understand motherhood is a very sacrificial ministry, but each discomfort and sacrifice are only reminders of the joy and preciousness of bearing life and should not cause complaint. How many woman have longed for years to get morning sick and get a round fat belly! It is truly a gift.