Thinking about surviving the first year of motherhood is definitely something I had on my mind as we expected our first baby.
And I cannot believe that my little guy is already a year old! I would argue that entering into motherhood is probably one of the most transformative times of our lives.
When I think back to the days before we first welcomed our little one into our arms, I remember spending a lot of quality time with my husband and with the Lord.
I had been having contractions for a few weeks before going into labor and so we were pretty much staying at home and laying low. I reflected and journaled and prayed and anxiously awaited this new life and our little baby’s arrival.
When it came, we couldn’t be happier! Our lives were forever changed and we wouldn’t go back, not for a second! But with a new baby comes a lot of challenges and very little time for anything at all. It was incredible and yet so exhausting. I learned so much and grew in so many ways over this past year.
So today, I want to share with you some of the most powerful encouragements I learned this year to help with surviving the first year of motherhood. If you are a new or expecting mom, I hope these can be an encouragement to you! And if you are a seasoned mama, I’d love to hear which of these, if any, helped you through the little years!
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Rest is From God Alone
One of the most characteristic experiences of the first year of motherhood is lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation and becoming a mama go hand-in-hand. And I am not one to do well without sleep.
I feared this part because, with my chronic illness, my body did not ever function well without sleep. Not to mention, I’d become a grumpy mess if I didn’t sleep well!
I was amazed at how well I handled night after night of getting 2 or 3 hours of sleep. And then how I handled the nights of sleeping no more than 2 hours at a time. And yet, sleep began to form into an idol for me.
I’d tell myself - if I only get 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours of sleep, then I will be okay.
But when I didn’t hit that number, I’d be overcome with discouragement, anxiety and hopelessness.
This was when I realized that rest comes from God alone.
God is the one who provides us sleep, and yes I would pray for that.
But even if I did not sleep, God would sustain me. God would give me the rest and the strength I needed to live out His calling on my life as a mom.
I began to cling to this truth and it strengthened me. It focused me on what was important and gave me the strength to continue on encouraged and hopeful.
The Calling of Motherhood is One of the Most Important
Before becoming a mama, I talked a lot about finding our calling. This is something I have spent a lot of time focusing on throughout my life as I’ve sought out God’s will for me.
Those first few months of motherhood do little to ease you into this new and consuming calling of being a mom.
Every waking moment is spent with a baby in your arms. A baby that it is your responsibility to feed, to care for and to help sleep. You barely have time to shower and eat yourself, let alone focus on other things that you found purpose in during those first few weeks and sometimes months.
Over time, I began to find moments where I could begin to focus on the other areas of my life again. I began to find time to work and to write and it was refreshing.
But even in those moments, my heart was torn. Because I knew that motherhood was the mission that God had called me to.
It can be hard to leave behind all that we had done before to take on the mission of motherhood. And yet this is one of the most beautiful and powerful displays of living out God’s calling in our life.
The calling of motherhood is so unbelievably important. This is something I will be talking about more here in the coming months.
But living out this call, nurturing our children and growing them up in the Lord, is one of the most important callings there is. Search Scripture and you will discover this too.
Surrender is Essential
I’ve struggled with the concept of surrender for years. This is not new to me. But when you have a child, I’ve learned that it becomes all the more difficult and yet all the more essential.
I’ve heard it said that a child is like a piece of your heart walking around outside you. And as that child grows, we have less and less control over them and their lives.
As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. I must choose every day to trust God in my anxiety. And this involves surrender.
But honestly, surrender becomes so much harder when your heart is split in two. No longer do I just have to surrender my own heart, but I have to surrender my child to the Lord daily.
I have to remember that God loves him more than I ever could. I have to remember that God chose him for a purpose. I have to remember that God’s plan is good and better than anything I could imagine - no matter what happens.
This is a mindset we must choose every single day. Satan wants us to believe that we have control. He wants us to feel anxious and relying on our own strength and understanding.
But as we choose to surrender each day to the Lord, surrendering our own hearts and our children, we will see God’s glory displayed in our lives. We will find peace and freedom that comes from God alone.
I am forever grateful for the friends and family who came alongside us during this time and really answered the call to carry each other's burdens with meals, holding the baby so I could sleep or shower, and the constant support along the way.
If you know a new mom, these are some great ways to help her so that she can not only enjoy this time but also it will show her the love of Christ and His grace! What a great way to be a light 🙂
I have learned so much about surviving the first year of motherhood. I’d love to hear in the comments if any of these encouragements resonated with you. Or if you have any powerful encouragements to add to the list!
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