What I Learned In My First 2 Weeks With A Newborn

James is here! Today was his actual due date, but he came two weeks early. I have enjoyed having 14 extra days of baby snuggles, however, the learning curve with a newborn is steep. Even though the past two weeks have been full of joy, they have also been full of adjustment for our little family of three. Here are some notable takeaways from our first two weeks with a newborn.

9 lessons learned with a newborn

  • I see a couple Bible stories in a whole new light. Much of my pregnancy hormones (I’ll talk about those later) have channeled themselves into anxiety and fear. I was virtually paralyzed putting him in his cradle the first night Tim and I were alone with James. Was he still breathing? What if he choked and we didn’t hear? You get the idea… My mom reminded me that [pullquote position=”right”]God has a special place in his heart for moms and all our emotional nuances[/pullquote]. On the cross, Jesus took specific care of His own mother. He know’s our worries and instead of dismissing or discounting them, he empathizes and pays particular attention to our needs.
  • I also have a new found respect and awe of Abraham’s faith when he took Isaac up to the altar, knife in hand. I love Jesus, but I’d be hard pressed to do anything to harm James, even if God asked me to. Wow, Abraham for trusting that God had a bigger plan. Wow, God for sacrificing His own son on our behalf.
  • People say it all the time, but it’s true – you don’t know how much you will love your baby until they are in your arms for the first time. The depth of love I feel for James is overwhelming.
  • Hormones are a raging bull. (I had originally chosen a more choice B word, but bull works.) I have cried almost every day – when putting James in the cradle for the first time, looking down at his sweet face while I was feeding him, laying down to sleep, in the doctor’s office, watching American Idol… My Tim is such a patient man. (You know it’s true love when your husband holds you until you have snotted and sputtered and turned puffy and red as you blurp out all your fears and failures.) Don’t let the bull freak you out. Hormones are inevitable. Since you can’t beat them, you might as well run with them.
  • Fear is my worst enemy. Specifically, fear of SIDs or some other deadly thing. And it’s very counterproductive. [pullquote]I firmly believe that God is in control and when we open our hands and intrust those we care about so deeply to our Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that His ways are above our own[/pullquote] – sometimes resulting in painful, grievous circumstances. I praise God for our little James and have come to rest in the truth that we are both eternal. If we were separated on this Earth, we would be united again. That’s pretty much what makes me able to sleep (haha!) at night.
  • Celebrate the small victories. Mark it on the calendar when your baby makes that first yellow, seedy poop. Do the happy dance when they sleep well. Take a mental picture when they smile, even if it’s just a reflex or gas. So, when your baby doesn’t sleep all night or he peed through a third outfit, you can remember those little victories and know there’s hope for a better tomorrow.
  • Humility. I wrote about the difficulties of letting Tim serve me while I was pregnant a couple weeks ago. Well, that’s been nothing compared to what he, my parents, our family, and friends have done in the days following James’ arrival. Laundry, meals, errands, cleaning, burping, changing, holding and more has all been done by others so that we could sleep, shower, and adjust to being a family of three. It’s humbling to need/receive so much help. I am immensely grateful for those we love giving so freely of their resources.
  • It takes a village. Raising children (speaking with only two weeks experience) takes many hands. As witnessed by the thoughts above, we have many to help. The thought of not having those hands is daunting and makes me poignantly aware of all the parents who don’t feel surrounded and supported by community. [pullquote]I want to be more intentional about being that community for other people. [/pullquote]
  • Unplug! My phone has been in Do Not Disturb mode for the majority of the past fourtneen days. Tim helped me turn off all my social media notifications when I went into labor and I haven’t looked back since. The need for undisturbed sleep and a precious little bundle that should get my whole attention has finally prompted me to do something I should have done awhile ago. [pullquote position=”right”]I may not be timely with texts or Facebook messages, but I feel less hustle and more love[/pullquote] (thanks for the catch phrase, Shauna!). I want to be present for my son and my family, not feel the pressure to write blogs or keep up with social media.
  • Every baby is different. Just like every pregnancy is different, every little one is unique and special. Getting advice is great, but nothing can compare to you and your spouse getting to know your baby and their specific needs. Being a prayerful and intentional parent goes farther than feeding schedules and daily routines (those will probably change tomorrow anyways).

Photo Credit: Hepburn Creative (yes, that is our little James…)

Dear AJG {31 Days of Letters}

Like I mentioned before with Dear JAG, this is NOT a cute way to announce that I’m pregnant.  I just have some thoughts for my future daughter.

Here’s to hoping you are as chubby as I was. I love baby rolls!

Dear AJG,

If the thought of your brother terrified and thrilled me, I have no idea how to explain how I feel when I think of you, my sweet one.

My heart trembles at the privilege of raising a little girl to become a woman after God’s own heart.  How do I communicate what a precious jewel you are in God’s sight, as well as mine?  How do I help you understand that you are loved, valued, and adored by an earthly family and a heavenly family?  How will I ever let go when I want to hold you close forever?

I know the trials and turmoil that come with being a woman (in any season), trying to follow Christ.  I know how difficult it is to ignore all the worldly voices and listen to God.  I know how easy it is to place your value in corruptible things and how vastly empty and dangerous those things are to your spirit.

My heart aches for the first time you experience those hardships.  Everything in me wants to take all of the hurt and pain and tough decisions away, to carry your burdens for you.  But, pressing stronger than my urge to shelter you from suffering is my desire to see you take solace in our Savior.

Your Abba is the source of comfort, love, dignity, and strength.  He, alone, gives you eternal value.  I pray that His truth is imprinted on your heart, mind, and soul.  I pray for peace to surround your heart, for gratitude to be ever on your lips, and for joy to spring up like a well inside your soul.

Your Grammy is a fantastic example of what a mom should be.  She has pointed me to Christ in all manner of circumstances.  She models a heart that yearns to know God more intimately.  I can’t wait to share my mom with you!

I can only hope that God will reveal Himself in my imperfect, broken, fumbling attempts at motherhood.  I hope that you see God’s redemptive power in my life, a life with which you are so intimately intertwined.

And what I really want you to know – like deep down in your soul, at the core of your being – is that you are a beautiful creation, an exquisite masterpiece, loved imperfectly by me and loved perfectly by an adoring Father.

With love to my beautiful girl,

Mom

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.