Friends, we’ve reached our third and final part of this series on the lies we tell ourselves and hear from others as new moms. My prayer is that you’ve been encouraged or given a helpful word to share with another mom who is struggling. This journey is filled with so many highs and lows, but it is so much sweeter when we have a community to help us along the way and speak life into our dark places.
Today we will talk about the lie # 3: You have to mother like those who’ve gone before you.
I did not purchase a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t on my gift registry, and it never found a place on the bookshelves lining our family room.
Although I did buy a book outlining the various stages of pregnancy and postpartum, I soon realized there were no written words which could prepare me for this calling in life. During the first few weeks and even months, I floundered around searching for those maternal instincts I was supposed to have and they were nowhere to be found. It was as though the mothering gene had skipped my spot on the family tree.
My baby cried incessantly and everyone wanted to offer advice as to why. He was hungry. He was wet. He was teething, gassy or colicky. I didn’t know whose voice to listen to and the magnitude of all of them echoing in my ear sent me into a panic.
I was convinced a monkey could do a better job taking care of my child, and the recommendations of experts from books like Baby Wise left me feeling more dismal than equipped. As I dealt with the effects of PPD and tried to take care of my son, God sent a friend who kept reaching out and pursuing me even when I was a recluse who barely left the house.
She told me things would get easier. She gave me encouragement when I wondered if I was doing anything right. But most of all she was there. She was a steady calm in the chaos of this new season and didn’t retreat when I had nothing to offer her but my presence.
Eventually, my role as a mom began to feel less like a set of ill-fitting clothes and more like me. I still had good days and bad ones, but I was seasoned enough to realize the bad days didn’t define me. The more I forged ahead and continued waking up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other and loving my child, the more I realized something.
No one else can create your formula for motherhood. It is as unique as your DNA.
Sure, we can take sprinkles of this direction and that one, using the advice of others in a process of trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But in the end, if we trust the abilities God gave us and believe that ultimately, we know our child better than anyone else, we will find a rhythm that is completely our own.
And as we keep dancing and learning new steps as we go, the result will be nothing short of the beautiful.