I’m a new mom. My daughter is two months old (seriously? how is she already two months old?!). I really have no idea what I’m doing in many ways, and we live a lot of our lives through trial and error. Somehow, my little girl is still thriving, so I guess we are figuring things out. Sometimes it feels like I’m a total failure, like I’m drowning and have no idea which way to swim for air. Most of the time, things are wonderful because I can look at this precious girl and she makes everything okay.
In these past two months, I have learned so much. I’ve learned about myself and about my husband. I’ve learned about the people around me, and about God and His goodness. Here are five big things I’ve learned (so far) from being a mom.
- Everyone has an opinion, but they aren’t the ones raising your kid.
Before having my baby, I kind of realized this. People gave me advice about everything during pregnancy, from what to name her to whether or not I should have an epidural. I had no idea that it would get so much worse after she was born! Everyone has something to say about how you should parent your child. Random people in the grocery store will tell me what I should do. People at church have opinions. My family members give me advice. There is so much information flying at a new parent, it’s difficult to know what to do.
I will say, one of the most helpful pieces of advice came from our pediatrician, who said, “Listen to all of the different opinions and then do whatever works for you.” Once we started doing that, I felt so much better! As a new parent, it’s easy to fall into the trap of hearing everyone’s advice and trying to do it all perfectly. Well guess what? No one is perfect, and you are going to mess up! (I’m still coming to terms with this.) So I have learned to take everyone’s advice and input, as well-meaning (or not) as it may be, and do whatever I darn well please!
2. When you have a baby, the amount of love you can have for someone will shock you.
I loved my daughter when I was pregnant with her. I would talk to her and think about her all of the time, and I dreamed of the day when I could finally hold her in my arms. But let me tell you, when they put that tiny baby on my chest for the first time, I felt a love like I had never known could exist. How could my heart be so full? It felt like it would burst with all of the love I had for this little girl.
This is both a beautiful and terrifying thing. A mother’s love is honestly the most powerful emotion I have ever felt, but with it comes so much fear – fear for her health and safety, fear about whether I’m doing things right, fear over the future… the list goes on. But I have learned to cling to God and find solace in the fact that before I ever knew my baby, He knew her and He holds her.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
3. Time passes so quickly.
People always told me to savor the little moments with my baby, because they don’t last. I never knew how true this really was until she was here. How in the world is she already two months old? She has changed and grown so much in these two short months, and I wish it would all just slow down! The first few weeks having her home were so hard, but now I wouldn’t trade that for the word. The hard times may not have passed as quickly as I would have liked at the time, but I learned that both difficult and wonderful times are gone in the blink of an eye. It’s important to stop and savor them before it’s too late.
4. You can be nostalgic about things that haven’t even happened.
I often think about what my little girl’s life might be like, and what ours as parents will be like in connection to this. I pray for her health and safety and happiness every day, and I find myself getting nostalgic about her growing up – which hasn’t even happened yet! I just feel like time is so fleeting, and even though she hasn’t done this or that yet, I know I will miss it once it’s over. I think about her not being a baby anymore and I get so sad, even though she will still be a baby for some time. I find myself pre-reminiscing (a new word I just made up; you’re welcome) about her taking her first steps or crawling into our bed at night or being able to hold her on my lap while we read stories. I am already missing these things that haven’t even happened. I just want each moment to last forever, but as we already learned, time passes by too fast
5. You will gain a new understanding of God and His might.
This is probably the biggest lesson for me so far in motherhood. I have truly seen the work of God’s hands in a very real way. He somehow saw fit to give my husband and I this tiny baby as our own, and what a miracle she is! Just looking at her, I am filled with wonder at the awesomeness of God and His plan for us. It makes me think, how can anyone look at a new life, let alone experience it coming into the world, and not be awestruck by it?
I have also been amazed at the depth of God’s love for us as humans. How in the world could He possibly love me enough to make me this little girl’s mom? And then when I think about the fact that he somehow loves me even more than I love her, I am sometimes moved to tears (okay, I cry pretty easily these days, but it’s still pretty amazing). Our God is truly a god of goodness and love, and I have seen that more than ever since I became a mom.