To spend an evening surrounded by the people you’ve given your heart to, to let the evening glow and listen to the giggles and the singing and snuggle up with your baby in your arms, this is beautiful. And no pain from giving birth or long night with a baby could make these moments any less worth it. Those moments of pain have a beauty of their own.
When my oldest little girl was a baby, that was when shy feelings started becoming something beautiful instead of something ugly I had to run away from. God knew I needed my girlie in my arms. I had always been painfully aware of the “shy girl” inside me, but when I became a mommy, in those first few weeks and months the “shy girl” was all I could see of myself. And it was the ugly wonderful truth of the cross that spoke into my heart through the people God brought me. The truth that was powerful enough to make my ugly postpartum feelings – along with the shy feelings that had been such a large part of my life – so beautiful.
The postpartum, new baby life is what God used to show me my shy feelings as a gift instead of a curse. They were what led me to start writing here. And I’m blessed to experience postpartum life for the third time this October. (Pictures and info about my little Gideon below)
One of the most raw times in life for those small feelings to come are those postpartum days after birth when you are adjusting to the sudden hormonal changes accompanied with the major life changes that come from it all.
The arrival of baby is met after months of anticipation, some of the greatest feelings of anticipation a lifetime can know. All the hoping and waiting is met on a date that is often unknown until it happens and when it does happen the way it all goes is out of your control. There are bound to be numerous unforseen things about the way that day unfolds. And while you always know that the day your babies are born will be in the happiest of your life, nothing can so prepare you for birth, that the joy of the moment does not overwhelm your soul.
All at once, birth can carry with it the weight of joy, the weight of love and the weight of knowing that a life is in your hands. A soul that will last forever is wrapped in skin and placed in your arms for you to give life and nourishment to, for you to train and raise, for you to speak love into as this soul enters a world that is so broken.
And the weeks following can bring you more awareness of your own inability than you have ever known before. While you want to love this child perfectly, and value their needs more than your own, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just want to sleep through the night without waking up for your baby. Sometimes you wish you could take a shower without having to worry about whose going to keep the baby safe from big sister. The dependence you are met with can wear on you and you might even wish you were free to jump up and go somewhere without having to feed and change the baby before you leave and be prepared and ready to feed and change the baby again when you get where you’re going. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you remember how long it can take to feed a newborn baby or how hard and long a newborn can cry and make you want to cry until you feed them.
And sometimes you can feel like the worst mother in the world for even having the wishful thoughts in your head. So inadequate, so insufficient to be all that this baby needs. And, of course, you aren’t sufficient. You were never made to do it on your own. But accepting that can be so hard, so much harder than you think it will be.
And then, that’s just a small piece of the story.
This month I won’t be blogging, but my aim is to journal a little every day, and share those words, with a purpose.
My purpose is to share the small feelings of postpartum life and pray that they lead closer to Jesus.
Because I’ve known a postpartum life that felt so alone and thought I was the only one who felt this.
Because Jesus is able to shine through the dark feelings inside me.
Because I like the idea of having a place online to show up daily and remember that all the feelings inside me can lead me closer to Him.
If you’d like to join me, for the next month or so I’ll be sharing my new baby journal on Instagram under the handle @maggiejanaye and the hashtag #newbabyjournal.
May our small feelings lead us closer to Jesus. For all of us in the messy sweetness of life keep our eyes on You. You give the beautiful imperfections and offer them all as a way to see Your grace. The moments we most want to treasure never look picture perfect, but Your grace is too great for perfect picture frames. Be the Shepherd that guides us on down the broken road to the always unexpected show of how Your grace does its work in our stories. Amen.
Each of my babies have given me some of the greatest gifts of my life, not only in their own lives but in the gifts God offered to my heart with them in my arms. Such a treasure. Thank you for sharing in the joy with me here. I look forward to sharing more in November.
Here is our little Gideon Harley and my first journal entry after his birth.
“Gideon Harley was born on Tuesday just before 8 pm. I just can’t get over his sweet little face. Having my two little girls, I’ve been a little unsure during pregnancy of what it would be like to mother a son but getting to hold my own little man melts my heart. I’ve only mothered a boy for a few days but it feels beautiful. He has my heart.
He’s been my littlest baby – 7 pounds, 1 ounce at birth and the birth experience I’ve had with him has been so unique to my others. My longest labor. My first c section. The first time Daddy got to hold the baby first. The first time the family got to see baby before I did.
A few minutes after they told Luiz he had to step out of the labor room, the baby and I both went into stress and the c section had to be decided on without Luiz there. They couldn’t get me numb so they chose to put me under and in what seemed like seconds (an hour later) I woke up in a room alone and looked down to see that Baby wasn’t in me anymore. Luiz, Mom and Dad came in to see me and eventually my little guy came. The moment I met him didn’t have the grand newness of birth and I hurt to have not been there in those first few moments but I’m learning to treasure the moment we met as it was. I was told to stay flat on my back and he was laid in the crook of my arm. It’s hard to see a persons face from that angle, especially when you’ve been waiting to see it for months. But we got acquainted in our own little way and it was arranged by the one who knows and cherishes my desires and lays the very best plans still. The moment we met was special as it was.
The past few days I have known a deeper respect for c section mommy’s. When all you want to do is get up and cuddle your baby, it hurts to not be able to get out of bed by yourself. It hurts because you know the mommy you want to be and how can you be that when you can’t even go to the bathroom without help? When your baby is dependent on you, you became nearly as dependent as he is. You get to remember a bit more of what it is to be like a child and maybe while that dependent soil can feel ugly, maybe underneath, it has the nutrients that faith needs to grow.”
Those are some of my first thoughts after having Gideon. Thank you for being a kind listening ear as I step through them without having it all figured out.
This month, as part of my monthly audio series, I’ve sent an email letter on things I want to remember about seasons of waiting. (As September was one of the longest months of my life waiting for baby Gideon’s birth.) Also in that email, I sent the audio file for this month celebrating the ways God has used this waiting season, in its imperfections, to point me to the patience of His Love. If you haven’t received the email and would like to, you can sign up below.