It’s funny what you remember sometimes. I’m sure you have found over the past several days that women want to share with you stories from their pregnancies or perspectives they gained on childbirth or parenting. A couple that were shared with me come mind, “they don’t call it labor for nothing.” My friend Donna reassured me that, “your body knows what to do, just let it do it.” I remember a particularly funny story about how this lady’s baby would scream every day in the late afternoon for an hour, and both parents tried everything to console her to no avail. Finally, they ended up turning on a shop vac to drowned out the noise and at the end of the hour the baby was calm and happy. I haven’t had to try that last suggestion. But I have learned that each pregnancy is different because each child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. So I’ll share with you some truths and some generalities and pray that something can be a help to you in the days ahead.
The first is something on labor.
It was a personalized version of 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”… that ye may be able to bear that baby!
John 16:21 has been my go-to labor verse: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” And truly all the pain fades far into the distance as you hold your precious baby in your arms and wonder in amazement at the goodness of God as your look at that new little life that He has entrusted to you.
Now something on postpartum.
It’s a strange time of mixed emotions and shifting hormones. You will be doing many new things and some may not come easy or natural. For example, it took me and my first-born three months to get comfortable with nursing. We cried together and sometimes at each other. Back to those hormones… they do wonderful things that make pregnancy and nursing possible, but they can also wreak havoc on a sleep deprived mind. Remember to cast down imaginations that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God and bring them into the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Think on those true, lovely, just and honest things (Philippians 4:8).
I can remember standing at the top of the stairs and being intensely afraid of falling down the stairs with the baby or dropping the baby. I would have gone crazy if it weren’t for prayer and knowing I could trust God and ask Him for the safety that only He can provide. Make sure you also talk to your husband and keep him in the loop because, though a wonderful man, is not a mind-reader! Let him know what’s going on so he can help.
Now for parenting.
I was thinking of John 16:21’s application beyond the delivery room. “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” In a spiritual sense your travail will intensify after your sweet baby arrives. You’ve already started praying for him, and I imagine singing songs and reading to him. But now you will be living a life of real faith in front of little eyes that will see you for who you are, good and bad, and will know your inconsistencies. He will have some of you and your husband’s same downfalls, and for some reason it will aggravate you more to see it in your child than it does in yourself. But all the shepherding, all the praying, all the confessing and forsaking of your faults to the Father (all the travail, so to speak) will be worth it when your child believes on Jesus and through Him enters into life, everlasting life at salvation – the new birth.
You have the Word to ground and guide you. You’ve been given good examples, too. Read and listen to other’s stories, just as you are now. You will find no end to people’s opinions on how to parent. Remember, God gave this baby to you and your husband. Don’t let others pressure you into doing it their way. You, as mom, have a sixth sense about this baby. I think this is why you and not dad will hear every little squeak, moan and whimper through the night. You are connected to him in ways that no one else can be. He is yours and you have a reliable sense of what you’re doing. Don’t let some know-it-all (whether it be a doctor or another mother) make you think otherwise.
There are plenty of times you’ll need heavenly help. He’s already promised to give it. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not” (James 1:5). And there are times you could use an extra pair of hands. I’m not good at doing this, but know when you should ask for help. Perhaps there’s a teen who would love to be around a baby and see motherhood in action. Take good people up on their offer to watch the baby. You need time to refresh and stay excited about the amazing but challenging job of being mom.
My last bit of advice is from Patch the Pirate – cherish the moments.
“Life is a vapor that appeareth for a little while and vanisheth away” (James 4:14). You will experience this truth is ways you never have before as all those baby stages come and go faster than you can keep track of. God may give you a house full of children or this may be your one and only. So love him like he’s your only child. The days may be long, but the years fly by. Find the joy in the moment. There will be times that it’s very difficult to do because of fatigue or stress or anxiety, but look past those temporary discomforts and praise the LORD for the gift of motherhood in the midst of the trial. You have been given the responsibility to grow and nurture life – both physical and spiritual. You have been blessed, dear mother. Praise the LORD!
This article was a devotion written by Katie Lytle for a baby shower given last month. Katie is a member of Haven Baptist Church in Schuylkill Haven, PA. She is a nurse, a devoted wife to Tim, mother to three sweet girls and is expecting another little blessing this spring.
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