Dear First Time Expectant Mom.
You just found out you’re going to have a baby. Congratulations!
Now let me tell you what you’re not going to hear from all the well-wishers and advice-givers.
- You’re more selfish that you thought. Nothing will reveal how selfish you are than a baby who depends on you for every ounce of its life. Up until you deliver that baby, you’ll even be breathing for the baby. It can’t do anything without you. When I had my first child, I thought I was pretty selfless already. I was wrong. So wrong. I was not prepared for the level of self-denial required of me. Trust me, neither are you, but you’ll adapt. And it will be worth it.
- Your life will never be the same. A baby will be life changing. Maybe not in the ways that you think, but definitely life changing. From this moment forward, life will be divided between Before Kids and After Kids. It’s even more monumental than when I got married. If you’re doing it right, your child will become a constant reminder that eternity is the goal and earth is temporary. Don’t let anyone convince you that a baby shouldn’t be completely life-altering.
- Your perspective will change. Priorities, values, goals, how you view yourself, your motivations –it will all be changed and altered by this little one. And it should be! If you didn’t alter your behavior under the immense responsibilities of a new baby then I would worry that there was something psychologically or hormonally amiss. Things that once seemed really important will not anymore when you look into the face of that baby.
- You will let yourself go. Be it a little or a lot, you’ll not be able to always hold yourself to the standard that you’ve been accustomed to. This is okay. Moms get criticized for it, but let’s be honest. What’s more important: that you have mascara and a clean blouse on today? Or that your baby be fed, bathed, clothed, and loved? You will choose to put his or her needs above your own. This is not a problem –even if others criticize you for it. This is good. You’re learning that baby is more important than your vanity, that a little soul is more important than temporary things.
- The responsibility will seem crushing. A baby is a huge responsibility. This child’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well being fall squarely in your lap. If the weight of that doesn’t feel crushing, it’s only because you don’t yet understand it. You will. And it will. Breathe. You will define normal for this child, so be intentional about your choices. But never forget that God gave you this baby because He knew you were the right person for the job.
- It’s okay if you’re not sure what to do. As parents, as adults, we often feel like we’re always supposed to have all the answers. Let’s be honest: we don’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When in doubt, seek advice and pray for wisdom.
- Sometimes you’ll wonder if you made a mistake. When it’s 2:30 AM and Junior has been screaming for 4 hours and you can’t make him stop, you will have second thoughts about parenthood. That’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you an honest one. But never, never breath a word of those doubts to your kids. Take it to God and ask Him to remind you that this is what He has for you.
- God will use this child to develop your character. I wish someone had told me this before I had children. I wish it didn’t take me a dozen years to figure this out. God will bring a child into your life who will challenge you. He might even look or sound like a relative you don’t like. He might even annoy you or rub you the wrong way so that you learn grace, kindness, and patience. Or you can be unteachable and create additional friction and resentment. But God’s doesn’t want us to behave in a way that embitters our children.
- Most parenting styles today –even “Christian” ones– ignore or gloss over the commands to not embitter your children. It’s repeated more than once in the New Testament and is one of only two instructions given to parents today (in the Age of Grace). This has been the single most important part of my parenting and a large part of why my children and I still have a decent relationship even though they’re teens.
- It’s going to hurt. I’m not talking about labor and delivery. Everyone knows that hurts. I’m talking about loving someone so much that you feel like your heart might burst. I’m talking about being so worried or heart broken that you feel like you’ll never stop aching. I’m talking about loving someone so much that you just begin to get a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father feels about us. This child will disappoint you. He will break your heart. He will say unkind things to you. Forgive him just as God does us. You are his first view of God, so be a good representative.
This are just a few things I’ve learned in 15 years as a mom.
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing on this earth more wonderful, more fulfilling or more valuable than being a parent.
Remember to enjoy each stage while you can. Before you know it, they’ll be driving and talking about college.
Rock those babies, because babies don’t keep!