The First Year
Becoming a first time mum, meant that besides the obvious cliches (which I’ve now come to realise are all true) about the sleep deprivation, the life is ‘never the same’ thing, it’s a blessing to shower, be glam etc… I felt like I needed something more.
The advice ‘this too shall pass’ is a dreaded quote that kept being thrown around by my midwives and other veteran mums as I struggled through breastfeeding and sleep regressions and teething nights.
I get it. It does pass. But how the heck do I get through it right now? In the moment as I’m physically pulling out my hair. And screaming internally......
I had to learn to let go and release expectations that I placed on myself because of what’s out there in the form of books, ‘must haves’, ‘must do’s’ and learn how to do this motherhood thing stress free and effectively.
Firstly, the daily surrender is key. Asking God to help me with this immense responsibility that is motherhood was my saving grace. I didn’t have to do it alone. I didn’t have to meet all of the expectations. I didn’t have to measure up to any standard. I just needed Him. His grace. His love. His compassion. His wisdom. And then ‘mother’ from that place.
Secondly, I was honest to God and my ‘safe’ peers about the anxieties and stresses that came with each month. I noticed a lot of beautiful rosey quotes out there that mums groups were talking about that didn’t always relate to my experiences. God was ok with that. He said ‘Cast all your anxieties onto me, because I care for you’ and that’s exactly what I did. As I went through the hard times, I knew in my heart it wouldn’t last forever because He carried me in those times.
Thirdly, let the Holy Spirit be your guide. I was quite stressed about ‘weaning’ my child - which is just another term for feeding. Why we need a special word for it is beyond me, but anyway, I am no domestic goddess and the thought of cooking a human their ‘first foods’ was petrifying. But I prayed about my anxieties and let Him guide me. He led me to a book called ‘Flavour-led weaning’ which talks about introducing flavours early in order to enlarge your child’s palate. I did everything the book said. Gave my son apple and ginger purées and peas with cardamom. By the time he was 1, he was a champion eater (with only 2 teeth mind you) and barely refused anything.
I still look back at our ‘weaning’ journey and think ‘How the heck did that happen?’.
The answer: His grace. Him giving me the grace and patience and wisdom to learn what to do and how to do it.
Finally, no matter what, ‘You are all your child will ever need’. You can buy the most expensive clothes or hand me downs, let them play in the sand or buy them dollhouses, breastfeed or bottle feed. At the end of the day, they just need you present in order to feel loved, secure and confident. You are enough for them & you’re their mama. Nothing can ever take that away from you.
You are special, chosen, set apart. For your child. Now go mother in freedom, take each day as it comes, be grateful for all the moments (good or bad) and know that there is nothing more powerful than a praying mama.
Andrea is a wife to Adriel, first time mum to Levi who just turned one last month. She is a Registered Nurse by profession and Fashion is her creative outlet. She has learnt to find rest in this new season and embrace motherhood.