A friend of mine is about to have her first baby. She’s had all the showers, is closing in on the final weeks, and just finished preparing her baby’s nursery and posted some photos of it.
It is darling. Coordinated but not forced, cozy but practical, comforting and inviting and life and love and dreams for this new life are in each detail on the dresser, each hanging on the wall.
I got to the picture of the rocker perfectly positioned next to the crib, bunting draped overhead, and stopped as tears sprung to my eyes.
I stared at the rocking chair and the darling room and the prayed-over life and the perfect setup and all I could think was: She doesn’t even know. She doesn’t even know.
So to the mama’s about to have your first baby, here is my heart for you:
The hours upon hours that you are going to sit in that rocker, rocking and nursing and feeding and burping and singing and shushing are going to be some of the best of your life but also some of the most difficult. Sometimes comforting the baby, sometimes crying with the baby because there’s nothing else to do. The rocker will become the only place you both can get any sleep, so you will settle in.
Some nights you will find yourself memorizing the weight of her body against your chest and other nights you will wish for this season to just be over already because you’re not sure if you can go another day.
You need to know how motherhood is absolutely hard and demanding and constant and tiring and wild and sometimes we’re a bit of a mess because of it.
But you also need to know about the joy.
You need to know that there’s the beautiful and the hard and the worth-it parts of having children and somehow, miraculously they can all be tied up in the very same moment.
It’s sweet but also a little bit bitter sometimes too. It goes fast but also slowly sometimes too. That sure, it’s hard, but it’s also so good and that it is totally possible for something to be both- that feeling one doesn’t negate the other.
You’re going to be knocked to your knees and overwhelmed and awestruck that you get to be the one to love this baby. You’re going to get to the end of yourself and be so exhausted and so frustrated and have so many questions without answers and be so overwhelmed that you are the one that has to parent this baby.
You’re going to sit in that rocking chair with tears streaming down your face when your baby reaches up and touches your cheek for the first time and you’re going to sit in that rocking chair with tears streaming down your face when you wish you were sleeping rather than holding a fussy baby.
And then, mama, something amazing happens. You begin to learn that you’re the exact mama that this baby needs, but they are also the exact baby that you need.
Because through them you learn how strong you are, because of them you learn about love and resilience and trust and grace deeper and bigger than you ever knew before.
You learn that when you’re at the end of yourself, it’s okay because there is grace for this.
You’re going to learn that we don’t need to try so hard, be so perfect, have it all together, all we need is grace upon grace.
Because you’ll set out to be the best. You’ll set out knowing exactly how your birth experience will go, how long you’ll nurse, how you’ll discipline, what words you will and won’t say. You’ll set out knowing exactly the kind of mama you’re going to be.
And then you will find yourself threadbare and undone with a baby who is not responding to any of the things you were sure would work. You’ll find yourself with a spirited toddler not paying attention to your three-point discipline system. Maybe you’ll find yourself doing that thing you swore you would never do because it buys you a few hours of sleep. You might yell, or nurse the baby to sleep, or pull him into bed with you, you might lose your patience more than you thought you would.
And you’ll both be fine because there is grace for this.
You’ll realize you don’t have to have it all together, you don’t have to be the best, you don’t have to try so hard. All you need to do is be present right where you are because this is your portion and there is grace for this.
God gives strength anew every morning, manna for this day, grace for this moment.
You’ll see that you have no idea what you’re doing, you don’t have enough to get through tomorrow, you can’t muster the energy or the strength or the patience or the brain power to make another meal.
But as the days pass and you see that you are doing that thing that you once declared yourself not strong enough for, you see that it is because God’s presence goes with you and behind you and before you and within you.
And as the days unravel and you do your best to gather it all up, you turn your head toward Him, seek grace for this moment, and carry on.
You begin to settle in. You will begin to make decisions not based on what other people will think or because of what a book says but because you have learned to trust your gut and you’re acting in love and you know that you’re doing your best.
It’s everything and nothing, it’s the constant needs and the wide open minutes, it’s the exhausting and the mundane and the everyday ordinary and the ache of knowing that these moments are so fleeting, this season so irreplaceable.
So mamas about to have a baby: It’s going to be tiring and it’s going to be wild but they’ll witness you come alive.
And so mama, as you prepare for this new life to enter your world, preparing your heart, preparing the nursery
Settle in, carry on, be okay with the mess, become comfortable with being undone
Because there is grace for this, and when we cling to this indelible grace instead of our pride or our plans or our wounds, when we offer up our nothingness, opening our hands to the buckets of grace for even this, we see that the new creation, the new life in our house
is our own.