- You eat meals however you can because you never know how long it will be until both your hands are free again (i.e. in the car on the way home when your baby has fallen asleep in the car seat).
- You are challenged with how well you function under the duress of sustained noise (i.e. persistent crying). Sometimes I remain calm, other times a few huff and puffs escape me.
- You see a new side of your spouse that is sweet and fun and inspiring.
- The day you finally feel confident about a particular aspect of taking care of your baby, it changes. They change, grow or just downright decide to be different than yesterday. Bless ’em.
- Even being an imperfect parent, you begin to see glimpses of God, the perfect Parent.
- You begin to pray fervently about things you probably never thought you would (i.e. Lord, PLEASE calm this baby’s mind and body because it’s been 2 hours of crying and I might start crying soon and nothing is impossible with you! or God, please show us your favor in Anna being content while I grocery shop).
- You begin to understand what your friends meant when they said parts of parenthood would come instinctively. I disbelieved this because of my lack of baby experience or knowledge, but you get a month in, look back and think ‘Hey, I’m doing it!’
- You acknowledge God’s fascinating design that you and your spouse offer unique things to meet your child’s needs. (Example: John handles confusing + uncertain moments with Anna better than I do so he does a marvelous job of encouraging me when I get overwhelmed.)
- It’s a healthy practice not to pitch your mental + emotional tent in the way a few hours go, because the next few could be vastly different! (Anna has a morning with no rest and lots of fussiness and I want to collapse inward in discouragement, thinking the day will be a long one. But then she finally enjoys a good nap and the day turns up!)
- You realize just how vital it is to read Scripture whenever and however you can because it refreshes and recharges you unlike anything else.
- You catch yourself daydreaming about his/her future days. What books and sports will they enjoy? Will they be outgoing or quiet? Will they be the jokester or the academic in the room? What of your traits will they have? what of your husband’s?
- You’ll find a balance between enjoying the current moments, the beautiful and the overwhelming, and looking forward to what 6 months, 2 years, 5 years holds and marveling she/he is yours to raise!
- You become bffs with the nurse at your pediatrician’s office. Karen and I are getting to know each other because I would rather get our doctor’s opinion than Google’s.
- You come face to face with your desire for control, because a newborn is not a robot and is entirely unpredictable. I catch myself thinking, Man, I wish she would go down for a nap so I could do X, Y and Z. And then I remember, This, Chelsea, is what you get to focus on right now. These early maternity leave days with Anna are a gift. Ignore the temptation of anxiety and pressure that says you should be doing more than meeting her right where she is.
- Like many before me have said, parenthood is sanctifying. One month in, I also believe it’s super fun, if you can trust God with every detail no matter how small and if you can choose to parent from a place of abundance in Christ instead of scarcity in yourself. I’m trying to practice both every minute of every day.
Height + Weight: She is currently weighing in at 8 pounds and 9 ounces, almost two pounds grown from her birth weight! Looking at pictures from our hospital stay, it’s amazing how much she has filled out and changed.
Clothes: Most of the newborn onesies still fit a little big on her, the shoulders looking more like box sleeves than a cozy shirt. But she’s getting there!
Sleeping: Week 3 held some long stretches during the day without any good sleep, and we learned the term ‘witching hour’ after a few nights of major fussiness. But, at the one month mark, we are settling in to more of a rhythm, with varying daytime nap lengths and some longer stretches at night.
Eating: Milk, milk and more milk.
Houston, we are almost at the end of week 36!
As many women in this position can testify to, my heart and mind are almost constantly whirring with questions, wonders, ideas, familiar desires and dreams.
Thought #1: Woah, how is this baby going to come out? (Which is polite code for: CAN MY BODY DO THIS?! THIS BABY HAS TO COME OUT.) I remind myself the truth: God wired and designed my body with the capability to give birth to this baby. There’s no certainty of how it will go, what I hope for might happen or the complete opposite could happen. Either way, God-willing, this human will come out healthy, breathe life, and we’ll rejoice.
Thought #2: It’s quite the feat to hold grace in one hand and preparation in the other. I’m doing my best to get everything I can completed at work before baby and maternity leave, but some things are out of my hands and I have to release it. We’d like to finish a few things around the house before she comes; if they don’t get done, it’s really okay. Purchasing, organizing, and packing hospital bags are all kinds of wise, but if it doesn’t happen the way I hope it does, grace.