Happy Tuesday, friends! Last week we kicked off a mini-series on some of the lies we tell ourselves, or are told by others, during postpartum. My hope is that by discussing some of these, moms will see that they are free to explore this beautiful journey in their own unique way and find what works for them.
Last Thursday we discussed the lie that you have to do it on your own, which can take on many forms. I talked about my struggle with PPD and how I believed asking for help was somehow admitting weakness.
The iPhone made it’s grand entrance shortly after my first son was born. Although I immediately wanted one, I held out for several years before taking the plunge into the world of smart phones. Crazy, I know.
Now, as I peruse Facebook, I can instantly see the status of all of my pregnant friends and know when their babies enter the world. There are few things that make my empty uterus jump more than the sight of a newborn on the screen of my phone, complete with squinted eyes, wrinkly skin and that pinkness that says, “I’m new here.”
And then there’s the moms. I see their tired faces and their bodies, still stretched from the life they once held, and I think how brave they are. Not just because they brought new life into the world, although few things braver than that, but because they are sharing it.
Make-up or not, they are letting people into a sacred moment in their lives. They are giving a little glimpse of the miracle which just took place.
I get it. After the birth of my second child, I was sharing pictures all over the wide world of social media. But after the my first son was born in 2006, well, let’s just say I’m glad smart phones hadn’t made their grand debut.
The first pictures taken of me after my emergency c-section remind me of a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Not only do I dislike sharing them with others, I don’t even like looking at them myself. I can see the shock and the grief on my face. I can remember the anxiety and the lost feeling.
I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know when the last time I slept was.
But in the midst of the uncertainty came an unexpected gift: my mother-in-law. She cooked and she cleaned. She rocked her new grandson and fed him during the 48 hours I couldn’t. And she didn’t take my picture.
As a person who has a difficult time asking for help, she offered me more than I could have asked for in my fragmented words. But I didn’t have to ask, because she simply gave.
New moms, expecting moms, and moms who have been there and back again, can I tell you something?
You have permission to forge into the life-changing journey of motherhood without an audience.
You have permission to bond with your baby without the an electronic device beeping notifications every five minutes. You can leave the dishes in the sink, keep your bathrobe on until noon and fluff the clothes in the dryer on repeat.
Jesus tells us in Matthew to, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) Friends, this isn’t just a physical rest but a spiritual rest. It’s a heart that is free of striving, people-pleasing, and weighty expectations of others.
So here’s my promise. If you want to share those first moments between you and your baby, I will enjoy them with you and marvel at those tiny toes and fingers. But if it’s weeks before you post your first picture or host your first “meet the baby” ordeal, I will support you with grace upon grace.
This road is hard enough without us feeling the pressure to be social media-ready and host-ready within days of birthing a baby into the world. We need support, yes. And I’m sure most of us want to share the joy of this new chapter with others.
But let us do it in our own time, in our own way, and without any added weight on our shoulders. Let us rest in knowing even if no one else sees, the Creator does.