Dear Mama Kendra,
Congratulations! I hope that this letter finds you happily recuperating from giving birth to an adorable, healthy baby boy. Please accept these words from your former self—written weeks before you were filled with the joys of having a newborn, and also before the days of total sleep deprivation—with all of the love and good intentions with which they were written.
You will likely look back and laugh at what you were thinking in the days leading up to the birth of your son. Keep in mind that as a new mom, you are in an unprecedented emotional and physical place, one that you couldn’t previously imagine or fully comprehend. Resist the temptation to completely disregard these words, despite the fact that they were written from a position of inexperience and idealism: sometimes the wisest messages emerge from the shadowy waters of innocence and naïveté.
My prayer is that you had the beautiful birth experience you were hoping for, but even if things didn’t go perfectly to plan, you can rest in the knowledge that pregnancy and labor are behind you. . . the fun part has begun! I realize that right now, in your first days and weeks as a mother, you might not be feeling like things are “so fun,” but if life with a newborn is challenging or feeling unmanageable right now, remember that things WILL get better. Everyone has told you that although the early days are wonderful, they are also hard. But they will not last forever. Treasure this time, for you will never have it again. Spend time loving and cuddling your son, breathing in his newborn smell, admiring his precious little features and absorbing his fresh newness. Sing songs to him, read to him, pray over him. The laundry and the dishes can wait, but these moments will slip away. Make them count!
During these early days of motherhood, recognize your limitations and don’t be too proud to accept help. People will want to help you, and receiving their offers is not a sign of weakness on your behalf. Your only job right now is to take care of yourself and your baby. That being said, if you truly do not need or want any help, it’s okay to say no. Trust your gut, and make decisions about accepting or declining assistance without having any ulterior motives or lingering feelings of guilt or regret.
Remember all of those classes you took and those books you read in preparation for motherhood? The knowledge from those classes is likely still swirling through your mind, and those books are still sitting on your bookshelf, ready to offer guidance. Feel free to turn to these sources if you need them, but give yourself permission to totally disregard all of the advice you have read. Trust your instincts, even when they aren’t in line with what the “experts” have told you. Whatever you do, remember the wise words of your instructors: do not go on the internet after 10:00 pm! Nothing good can come from frantic middle-of-the-night Google searches. If you legitimately need help, turn to the lists of phone numbers you’ve made for such occasions. It’s okay—great, in fact—to call your lactation consultant or pediatrician asking for guidance; that’s what they are there for!
As a brand new mom, your newborn is clearly your number one priority right now. However, make sure that you don’t neglect your main partner in crime, the fabulous husband who has traveled alongside you up to this point. He wants and deserves your love and attention now, too. Your son will grow up one day, but Luke will be by your side until the very end; continue to make daily investments in your marriage. And remember that daddy wants to join you in loving on your bundle of joy, so be sure to include him in all those snuggles.
Above all, do not take this precious child for granted. As you hold your baby in your arms, reflect on the the many years you longed to be a mother and the physical aching you felt to have a child of your own. This little boy was prayed into existence, and you have been granted the priceless opportunity to be a mommy. Now that your son is here, you have the privilege and responsibility of loving and providing for him. Carry your responsibility with levity and pride. Thank God for every moment you have with him. Never stop telling him how much he is loved and cherished, by both his earthly parents and by his Heavenly Father.
You are a wonderful mom. You might doubt that at times, but you love your child, and that is all that is needed to make you the perfect parent for your baby. Believe in yourself, and trust God to carry you when you are weak. With HIS help, you are destined to succeed!