Hope for the new mom

I’ve been a little quiet here.

Motherhood has changed me in more ways than I expected, and more deeply than I can put into words yet. I’m still processing the past almost five months, so I don’t feel that I have much wisdom to share about this new season yet.

However, lately I’ve been impressed upon by the concept of hope. Maybe it was the holidays, maybe it was the podcast episode I just listened to (more on that later).

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When Lydia was first born, nursing did not come as easily as I expected. I had seen a hundred women do it. Women have been breastfeeding their babies since the beginning of time. How hard can it be?

Very.

I sat and cried through many a feeding session because it was so painful. Mastitis completely threw me for a couple days. Not to mention the usual discomfort and struggle of milk first coming in. I was a wreck and wanted to give up. Finally I was able to see a lactation consultant; and as Josh drove me and our freshly fed baby home, I commented, “It just gave me so much hope, knowing this is all very normal and very manageable.” My resolve and desire to nurse my baby girl was renewed, and I felt like I could conquer the world (or at least this small area of motherhood). . .

Just because of a little hope.

Postpartum, or the fourth trimester, was very challenging. I don’t say this for attention or pity, but to let other moms know they aren’t alone:

I felt hopeless.

I didn’t feel connected to my baby. My body was healing and changing but still uncomfortable. My hormones raged, sending me on a roller coaster of uncontrollable emotions – most of them negative. I was constantly anxious about something terrible happening to my baby, or to my husband when he would leave the house. And, maybe worst of all, it seemed like no one else struggled with this. Hopeless.

But a friend, who has since become one of the dearest to me, came over several times, called me many times while I just sat and cried, and every time reminded me of truth. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who has ever dealt with this. God has ordained me to be this tiny one’s mommy. Things will get better. I won’t always feel like this. God is still in control. He sees me. He cares.

She gave me hope in a very dark season.

Right now, the sleep situation feels pretty hopeless. Lydia is an angel when she’s awake, but seems to despise sleep. Functioning on just a few hours of interrupted sleep is not easy, but here we are, somehow making it.

I was lamenting over how many times my daughter wakes up at night to someone a few days ago, and she sent me this podcast episode from Risen Motherhood, Momma Needs Her Sleep: Gospel Hope for the Tired Mom. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

The fact is, knowing that other moms struggle gives some hope. It lets us know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we will be okay. Getting advice on nursing or postpartum help or sleep habits gives a little hope. We can learn how to help ourselves crawl out of whatever hole we feel stuck in.

But more importantly than all that, we need the hope of Jesus Christ. My worth is not in how well my daughter eats or sleeps. It’s not in how I feel, and it’s not even in how well I mother my child. My worth, my identity, my satisfaction is in Christ alone.

He lived a perfect life, so I don’t have to beat myself up when I make a mistake. He died for my sinful reactions and biting comments when I’m sleep-deprived. He gave me the Holy Spirit to enable me to keep going when I am emotionally drained and feel unable to function. He is our Sabbath, our rest when we are restless.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus doesn’t promise to take away the work. In fact, it is those who are laboring, who are burdened, that He calls to. He gives rest in the midst of the work. He gives hope in the midst of the challenges. He lightens the load because He carries it with us.

And THAT is the Hope this momma needs.

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If you are struggling with PPA or PPD, please do not suffer alone. Talk to someone you love, feel free to contact me, or get help at https://www.postpartum.net/

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(PHOTO BY ANGELIQUE MIRANDA)

One thought on “Hope for the new mom

  1. It really does get easier! My first kid didn’t sleep either, and it was hard. It helped to adjust my expectations and not think “I’m not getting X done,” but instead to know that resting when I could and cuddling the baby was “useful.” Also, newborns and just-after-newborns are cute but BORING. They cry. They do not talk to you. It is draining constantly paying attention to them until your husband gets off work. Frankly, I could have done without the first six months postpartum. The good news is that the second six months is much better! They start moving and learning and they’re so much more fun, and if they aren’t sleeping you’ve somewhat adjusted and just been able to roll with it. Really, somewhere about 9 months postpartum is when I stopped feeling like someone had turned me upside down, stuck me in a tub of jello, and told me to run a marathon.

    In my case, Kid 1 (and Kid 2) never learned to nurse. It was fine. I pumped, then used formula. Clearly, your lovely baby is getting plenty of nutrition from whatever you’re doing, so that’s great! Kids 3 and 4 nursed pretty easily, but I know someone who had nursing problems only with Baby 6, and another person who had nursing problems only with Baby 11. They were both very surprised at how difficult it was, so it really does vary, not just from mother to mother but baby to baby!

    I hope you’re getting the support you need. We put our hope and faith in God, but He also gives us people like your friend to help out, and midwives and obgyns to help out when needed, too. We aren’t supposed to be doing this alone. I’m glad you included links to information about PPD and PPA, which, as you know, are very common and treatable, although they can be so distressing to new moms.

    Hang in there!

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