Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Matthew 19:14
Having children is a blessing and a gift from God. With that comes a huge responsibility that will test your patience and give you so much in return at the same time.
I was ask to give advice to first time expecting mothers. Sadly, my mind went totally blank. What can I tell these moms-to-be? The only thing I could say was, “You will never be feel prepared and yet somehow God provides all that you need.” This is very true but when I reflected on the question there is so much more to be said. So here’s some brief advice to first time moms-to-be:
- You will never be SuperMom. Ask for help! Call on those who have offered help. Let me know if you do become SuperMom because I want to know how it’s done.
- Breastfeeding hurts and may stress you out. Guess what? You don’t have to do it. I have yet to be completely successful at it. The issue with breastfeeding is when a mother fails at it she feels like she’s the worst mom in the world. After my second very painful breast infection, I called it quits. It was difficult to not have the feeling of guilt consume me. Just remember your baby will grow with formula or breast-milk. I know plenty of intelligent and successful adults who were formula fed. I encourage every mom to try it but please have a back-up plan. You will not be SuperMom!
- Personally, the bond between my children and I was instant. I was filled with this powerful urge to protect my child and an overwhelming surge of unconditional love. I strongly encourage the kangaroo method as soon as possible after birth – it seems to help with the bonding process a lot. If you do not feel a connection to your newborn right away…wait for it. If you don’t feel a connection after a few days, please talk to your significant other or a trusted friend or family member and try to figure out why. Sometimes when our bodies go through a traumatic event, like labor, and crazy hormonal changes, signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression can happen. You will not be SuperMom! Do not be afraid to ask for help!
- The hospital bag. You will laugh at how many things you pack that you don’t use. I recommend the following must-haves: some nice soft and comfy clothing for yourself, toothbrush and toothpaste, a nice infant gown for the baby while in the hospital, a going home outfit for baby, snacks for you and the coach, and labor socks. Oh yes, labor socks. I hate it when my feet get cold. I pick out a special pair of extra-long socks with lots of character. The hospital provides a ton of things and you are charged for it even if you don’t use it – so take it all home.
- Don’t fret about labor, it will happen no matter what. By the time you’re 9 months pregnant you are so uncomfortable that you want the baby to come out. I recommend preparing for after the delivery. Ask a close friend or family member about the changes your body and mind can go through and how to cope with it all.
- Remember when raising your child that you are the one in charge, not the child. This will become more apparent in the toddler years and then again during the puberty stages of life. Pray for strength and guidance and ask God to give your child help in understanding the difference between right and wrong. Do not be afraid to punish your child. Make it age appropriate. If your child is extremely strong-willed, pick and choose your battles. I’m not a fan of spanking and find great success in just taking things away. It can come down to a “power of the wills” – just make sure you have the stronger will. Every child is different. You can raise three children the same way and get three totally different outcomes. You will not be SuperMom and sometimes you children will not be super as well.
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. –Proverbs 29:17
- Finances are something you can never be prepared for. It’s amazing when you put your trust in the Lord and pray for guidance and help. For some reason we always were able to make ends meet. I can’t explain it. You just naturally adjust how you spend your money. You make sacrifices here and there but you gain so much more with the special gift God gave you.
- Raise your children to know God and understand that anything is possible. Teach them what Christ has taught us – to love everyone!
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. -Proverbs 22:6
I could go on and on but will end on this: Learn from your children. Before my daughter came into my life, I was a very busy person. Always needing to do things in a hurry. She likes to stop and smell the flowers wherever we go. She has taught me to slow down and enjoy the world around me. She has opened my eyes to things that I normally wouldn’t see. God provides so many blessings to us if we just let ourselves notice and accept them.