Uncovering the Lies of Postpartum {Part 3}

uncovering the lies of postpartum

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.

uncovering the lies of postpartum-3

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.

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9 thoughts on “Uncovering the Lies of Postpartum {Part 3}

  1. Abby,
    Thank you so much for this insightful series debunking the myths of the “perfect” mother and addressing the reality of post partum depression. I might also add that I was labeled as having post partum depression and it was really the tip of the iceberg. I was later diagnosed with OCD (anxiety disorder) and depression. Sometimes the birth of a child and the toll it takes on our body and mind can aggravate chemical imbalances that were already present. I encourage your readers to seek medical/professional help for post partum depression that doesn’t go away in time. Great insights!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    • Bev, thank you for shedding some light on this for our readers. That information is certainly important to keep in mind. Thank you for continually blessing me with your insights and encouragement here, friend. Love and hugs to you.

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  2. This is really excellent, Abby!! I am a grandmother now, but struggled with all the things you note when I was a new mother and I ultimately learned there is truly a special grace for motherhood. Now that my children are grown and parents themselves, I have heard them say they could not criticize me for any days where I blew it because they have now realized how often they have as well. Grace!!! God bless you for the clear evidence of how God is using you in this series.

    Blessings,
    Pam

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  3. Right on point, Abby!
    “No one else can create your formula for motherhood. It is as unique as your DNA”
    I am heading over to catch up on your previous posts. Thank God i am on academic break now!
    Blessing sto you

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  4. I’m a grandmother as well as still parenting my youngest child. I can relate to the feelings of shame and guilt you mentioned when my mothering experience didn’t measure up to what the “experts” wrote. Ultimately, I believe that God does equip us through His grace when we lean on Him. Praise God for that!

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  5. Abby,

    These are such freeing words. It really is true all through their growing up years (and even into adulthood) that God has put into each us our own unique style of parenting, our tolerances, our strengths and weaknesses This sure helps with letting go of much of the mom guilt. Thank Abby. I’ll be sharing this!

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  6. This third post is the best yet in your series, Abby. I remember how confused I’d be when I listened to the experts or to words of advice I wasn’t asking for. It went lots better when I listened to my instincts. I had a sweet sister-in-law who confirmed my instincts when I asked her, but she was wise and kept her mouth shut otherwise. I try my best to keep my mouth shut with moms younger than me, but I’m not always successful! Still growing and learning here!

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