Anxiety & Motherhood
“I have a baby. We have a baby. That’s our baby." Zach and I said this to each other just about every day, trying to let the reality sink in. Even though we had nine months to prepare for this life transition, some days it didn't even feel real.
It was amazing. Every time I woke up it felt like Christmas morning, remembering I had received the best gift in the world.
It was scary. It felt like I checked to see if she was breathing 20,000 times a day.
It was tiring. Sleeping for more than two hours at a time? I had forgotten what that was like.
It was beautiful. Seeing my husbands’ features on this tiny, precious baby was surreal.
It was purposeful. This girl NEEDED me. 24/7.
It was confusing. I remember getting home from the hospital and crying in the shower because my baby was no longer inside me. Even though pregnancy was so hard and I prayed so.many.times. for it to fly by. Somehow I was mourning her not being safe inside anymore.
It was overwhelming. Trying to heal and recover and tame my protective maternal instincts as people gushed over her and passed her around. My emotions were fragile and my body was weak.
It was exciting. Each day anticipating what new sound or expression she would make, hoping she’d keep her eyes open and stay awake for just a little longer.
It was life-changing. I had a new name: Mom.
People kept telling me to cherish every moment because it flies by so fast. And they were right.
It was hard to soak it all in that first month, though. Through the exhaustion, life felt like a blur. But it was a miraculous blur. Filled with light and color and happiness and a love like no other.
People said I’d understand God’s love in a whole new way. And I did.
I also understood my dependence on Him in a whole new way. I would collapse under the pressure of needing to be enough for this sweet girl without Jesus. Sometimes that pressure still creeps in - feeling like I'll always need to get it right for her, but knowing I won't. The weight and responsibility of parenting is real. #Momguilt is real. But I'll never be perfect, and on my own I’ll never be enough.
Through the hard sleepless nights, when the pressure would start to pile on, I kept coming back to this verse: “He will supply all your needs.” I finally looked up the Scripture to read the context of it, and found these familiar verses nearby, in Philippians 4: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Peace. Yes, that's what I needed. When the worried thoughts crept in at night, "Is she breathing?" What if something happens to her?" What if I let her down?" "What if she doesn't come to know Jesus?" "What if she gets hurt?" "What if I feel tired forever?" "What if I can't remember who I am outside of being a mom?" "What if being a mom is lonely?" "What if I can't protect her from getting hurt?" What if she's not getting enough milk?" What if, what if, what if.
"Do not be anxious about anything." Okay. Take a deep breath.
"In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." I'm thankful for that next step. God doesn't say, "Just stop worrying and go to bed." He says, "Pray. Talk to Me. I want to hear what's on your heart, what you hope for, what makes you afraid." There is freedom telling Him everything you feel. "Cast your cares" isn't just a cute phrase, it truly is a burden transfer off of me and onto Him. I can feel the shift. And He can take it. He's got it.
He will supply everything I need to be her mom. He will supply all her needs here on this earth for as long as she's on this earth. His will is better than mine. His perspective is perfect and clear. He’ll work through my mistakes and shortcomings, and do what only He can do. His way is best, whatever it is. And I can trust Him.
I don't have to worry. I feel like moms are notorious for being "worriers." And I get it now. I've never wanted to protect someone so much in my whole life. But God's Word says, "Do not be anxious about anything." The peace He provides is truly supernatural, because it sure doesn't come naturally. I could never conjure that up on my own. But it's real. I've felt it. And I have this confidence - through the amazing, scary, tiring, beautiful, purposeful, confusing, overwhelming, exciting, and life-changing seasons:
If you find your anxiety overwhelming, talk to someone. You are not alone. It is not weak to ask for help, it's how we are supposed to live in community with each other. I've been learning this the hard way. Lately I've finally started to talk to others about what I'm going through, and He has used people in my life in ways I never imagined! We are in this together.