Dear Baby

**The following post is one of my first published works.  It can be found in the paperback, New Life Within:  Real Babies.  Real Moms.  Real Stories.  It was such an honor to be approached for this project, and even more so to be one of just two proofreaders selected to assist the editor prior to printing.  Thank you in advance for reading.  Hope it blesses you.


Dear Baby,

How could I have known how you were going to change my life?

I used to spend hours in front of a mirror; I’d brush my hair, my long, thick hair. I’d paint my nails, and lotion my legs after a long, hot bath. I knew every freckle, every scratch, every detail of myself. After all, who else did I have to pay attention to every day and night? Then, you came into my world, and I have traded those tendencies for a new form of pampering. You. I would trade every beauty tool, every manicure, bubble bath…anything…to spend my time running tired fingers through your feather-soft curls, scrubbing your teeny, little toes as you splash me wildly with lukewarm bath water, massaging lavender-scented baby cream all over your sweet, soft skin. I have memorized every inch of your God-painted canvas. I know that you have a second piggy on that pudgy little foot that bends slightly to the left, and I could draw that little, round birthmark with my eyes closed. You are precious to me. How could I have ever known just how precious to me you would be?

I sang to you in the car every morning on the drive to work. Before I knew if you were a girl or boy, and you were a wriggling little bean in an ever-expanding bump, I’d sing. It was my time to be loud – to be quiet. I’d sing to you, for you, at you. Sometimes I would sing to you a praise song at the top of my voice, and other times, I’d whisper you a lullaby. How would I have ever known that those car ride serenades would seem so small in comparison to the songs to come? As I cradled your newborn body in my arms each night, singing over your tininess…I would melt inside at the awesome revelation that God says He sings over me too. Just as I sang over you, He sings over us. (Zephaniah 3:17) That alone would have been enough to make motherhood amazing, but then, you got a little bigger, and one night, you decided to sing my song to you right back to me. How could I have ever known that your voice would make such an imprint on my soul? That the soundtrack of my happiness would come from your lips?

Your innocence is the light in my world.  Your laughter, my favorite sound.  I thought I was creative, until I heard you playing make-believe and realized that your imagination is genius.  You read my eyes and know me.  You heard my heart beating from the inside, and somehow, I think you always will.

You call me “Mommy.” I call you “tangible joy.” You call me “Mother.” I call you “Baby.” You call me ‘Mama.” I call you “Angel.”

No one on earth loves me like you do. No one on earth needs me like you do. No one on earth sees me like you do. I say ‘earth’, because I know where your love for me comes from. It comes from the same heart that has gifted me with my love for you. God. I have loved you with an everlasting love. You love, because I first loved you. (Jeremiah 31:3 and 1 John 4:19)

Dear Baby, I don’t know what life has in store for you and me, but if what has been is any indicator as to what is coming…I know it will be nothing short of Heaven.

my love is a sunset

image credit: tommyscapes via photopin cc

Not too long ago, I was thinking about my postpartum experiences (I have delivered three babies to date). I began considering all of the emotions that follow a birth. You’ll read about ‘baby blues’, post-partum depression, crying at the drop of a hat… Delivering a baby, combined with the all of the raw and new emotions, hormone adjustments, parental responsibilities, and paradigm shifts can really create a complex experience for most, if not all, new mothers. I often think in pictures, so imagine, if you will, a work of art. Some of the brushstrokes are deliberate, detailed, prepared for, yet others are spontaneous splatters that you create in the moment and embrace with faith and abandon. That’s motherhood. It’s a living work of art and your life’s masterpiece.

As I was considering all of this, I was struggling with the differences that came with each birth experience and the bonds I had felt I had made, or not made, with each child. When my first daughter was born, I felt such a sense of awe. She amazed me. Becoming a parent amazed me. Every moment, milestone, and detail was like a revelation. I was overcome with the desire to love and protect this child with every ounce of my being.  It was a fierce and passionate love.  I probably became the epitome of “Helicopter Mom”.

Before conceiving my second daughter, I miscarried a child. The weight of that loss, coupled with a complicated pregnancy really wore on me – mind, body, and soul. My ‘bright and shining one’, as I like to call her, really fought to be here, and even her birth was a battle for this mama. I can’t tell you whether or not all of those things affected my ability to feel ‘normal’ afterwards, but ‘normal’ I was not. I felt very disconnected, like I had to fight for even her love. The emotions were not familiar for me, and I carried a great deal of guilt during those days. Even though I know I never had to, I would often find myself trying to win her smiles, laughter, and kisses. It was such a difference from my first go at being “Mommy”. It felt stormy and intense in a completely unique way.  The passion was there, but the peace and security that I wanted desperately to feel was not.  I feared that she wasn’t getting what she needed from me, emotionally day in and out.

Nearly two years later, my third daughter came to be, and just like the second was different from the first, the third was an experience all of its own as well. With this child, I felt a peace that I had yet to know. It was as if I acquired a new level of trust with myself and the world. No longer the ‘Helicopter Mom’ that emerged with the first, and no longer the sad and striving mom that was ridden with anxiety after the second, I seemed to have found a stride and a balance.  Then it happened.  Even my peace made me feel guilty! What was it about this time around that made me feel this way? What was it about this child?  Those were the tough questions that would plague me throughout the day.  I struggled and wrestled and worried if any of this reflected my love for these children and if they could feel any of the effects if it had.

And then it hit me.

“Your love is like a sunset.”

What?

Yes.  My love is like a sunset.

I think perhaps God was depositing a little imagery into my worried mind. (After all, the One who created me knows that I think best in pictures.)  A mother’s love for her child is a sunset. Have you ever seen a sunset that you couldn’t find beauty in? That you couldn’t appreciate? Every sunset is a masterpiece. Every color, no matter how dark or light, adds to its splendor. One majestic sunset can’t be stacked against another. One child can’t ever be more or less loved than another. That is my love for my babies. If I had to paint a sunset for each of my children, for the first, it would consist of fiery oranges and golds. For the second, it would be deep – made up of the most beautiful purples your eyes have ever seen. For the third, it would be serene and light, made up of wispy blues and pinks. That is my love for them. It is complex, but it is beautiful always. I no longer carry guilt when I look back on those days. Instead, I see in my mind’s eye the masterpiece. I see the sunsets, and I feel the love depicted in every hue.

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New Life Within Project : “Dear Baby”

I was approached last week out-of-the-blue by a coordinator of this project and extended an opportunity to contribute a writing for an upcoming book. It’s a book featuring a compilation of stories written by moms on how motherhood has positively impacted their lives. I really prayed about it, because I wanted it to be the right message. One of the goals behind the project is to encourage expectant moms to choose life. That issue is very dear to me. I was really honored to be asked, and so now, I am asking for you to cast a vote for my work (if you like it, of course!), so that it will be chosen for publishing. Thank you so much in advance!

Here is the link: “Dear Baby”

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