You never knew you could love like this, did you?
That first cry. It’s etched forever into your heart. How you absolutely melted over the weight of someone so small. In an instant, you were changed. Forever. This precious miracle, truly a gift straight from Father, is yours.
You just stare. Scribing every sweet line and wrinkle into your mind. Breathing in the smell of newness. Memorizing the exact spot where that bald head rests on your chest and the way those tiny legs curl up under that sweet rump.
Storing it away, because that’s what you do with things so sacred.
They say “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but in those first few days, when you should be sleeping, you stare. Because there isn’t another time quite like this one, in motherhood. So stare as long as your tired, heavy lids will allow.
Sleep changes. There is definitely less of it. But when you’re able to nap, you hear every detail of that babe sleeping. A sneeze, a position change, the crinkling of a diaper, it all wakes you. I know you wonder if you’ll ever really sleep again. You will, mama, you will. It’s amazing how the Father gives us a grace in motherhood, to do the things we think we can’t. It’s like you realize at some point in those first few days, your strength. His strength.
You’re doing good, mama.
If you’re anything like me, you might have a moment when you wonder exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into. You’ll feel completely unqualified regardless of everything you’ve read about raising a tiny human. Uneducated, no matter how many degrees you hold. And unprepared for this life change no matter how prepared you thought you were.
Every mama you know has felt this way too. And know it won’t be the last time either. That’s the beauty of this thing called motherhood. It takes lots of leaning. Leaning on your husband, leaning on family, leaning on friends. Leaning into Father. Pressing into Him in the middle of the unknowns. Make this a practice now. Bring Him every little thing about that sweet babe. He’s the best parent of all. And you have access, because of Jesus, to all of His wisdom.
Let’s talk about that man you now call Daddy. I know at times it feels like so much is needed from you. Especially in those first few weeks. But just as much as that tiny one needs you, your man does too. He needs to know he isn’t being replaced. He needs to know that you still see him. He needs to know that life may look different, but you’re still his best friend, his lover.
Tell him you see him. Tell him he has never looked so sexy as he does cradling that babe. Put the baby down, and kiss him. Really kiss him. Let him know that he comes first. Remind him that tiny bundle of perfection came out of the overflow of your love. Just like you’re learning what it means to be mama, he’s stepping into a new name too. Respond in grace. Extra grace. Always grace. And remind him you need grace too. Then when you feel you’re more deserving. Remember, it’s better to give than receive.
Those days and nights sometimes run together in the beginning. You feel proud when you curl your hair and put on make-up. You might feel like your wardrobe is solely yoga pants and t-shirts for a while. That's okay. Some days, you'll need to wear that baby and get all dressed up, make-up and all, only to cuddle back up with that sweet babe on the couch. But, pretty soon you’ll find a rhythm. A new rhythm. And you won’t remember what life was like before this new one.
You're so beautiful, mama.
Right when you feel you have a handle on it, when you actually sleep long enough to dream, a growth spurt comes out of nowhere, and you feel like you are starting all over again, learning what they need. How to mother, now. It’s like that, motherhood. Find a mama you love and respect. Let her pour into you. Your baby will be different from hers, perfectly unique, but it’s smart to listen to all of her wisdom. You’re going to want all the sound voices in your tribe, raising this one. We were never meant to do this thing alone.
Sometime in the rocking back and forth in the early hours of the morning, it will hit you. This love. It’s like nothing you’ve ever known. And the Father will whisper with the dawn how this love, what you have for that sleeping one, can’t compare to the love He has for you. The way you dream over that babe, how you delight to meet their needs, the way you would lay your very life down. Doesn’t scratch the surface of His dreams for you. How He longs to meet your every need. How He gave His very first, very best, His baby boy, to lay His life down. For you.
Just as a new mama tenderly cares for her newborn baby, the Father tenderly cares for you. Just as no detail goes unnoticed by you regarding that sweet one, there isn’t a detail of your life the Father is missing. He is perfectly caring for you with the tenderness you care for that baby. In this beautiful season of learning what it means to be mama, of soaking in every second of that fresh sweetness, know your Father is doing the same to you.
This season is so beautiful. But I’m learning, they all are. There will come a day, all too soon when you’ll fold those tiny newborn clothes one last time. You’ll probably cry when you put them in the box. But just know, what’s coming next is just as beautiful, just as sweet. But for today, just stay right where you are. Breathing in that sweet smell, cuddling that tiny body as it curves around you, and watching those sweet eyelashes flutter in and out of dreams.
The Father planned perfectly for this sweet babe to be called yours. He will give you everything you need to mother. Just keep leaning in.
You’re already such a good mama.
All photos by Rachel Ackerman Photography.