I see the excitement dancing in your eyes as your rub your burgeoning belly. Your wistful sighs and Pinterest boards full of all the perfect nursery ideas and baby names.
I watch you waddle around and rub your back and drift off into another daydream about what motherhood will really be like. And I smile. I smile because I remember, though it was more than a decade ago, being where you are now.
I remember the high ideals and the absolute wonder at the flutters and rolls and kicks from within.
I also remember the uncertainty. The fear of what if I mess up? What if we don't bond? What if I don't know what to do?
Sweet mama-to-be, I just want to hug you and tell you you're already doing a great job. Some may tell you to reign those dreams in and attempt to bring a good dose of reality with their horror stories of labors gone wrong or babies who don't sleep.
Well, friend, let me tell you. I have no horror stories to tell you. No pearls of wisdom to scare you straight. Sure, I have things about all of my labors and newborn days and toddler years and elementary years I wish I had done differently, or things out of my control I wish had happened differently.
But I can't say I regret any of it, other than worrying some of the most precious times of my motherhood away. Worrying over sleep schedules and feeding habits. Worry over whether or not I was being spiritual enough, routined enough, fun enough, kind enough.
I lost so many hours and days and years to worrying about getting it all wrong, and I want to help you avoid the same pitfall.
Oh, you'll worry. You'll worry whether or not she's too hot or too cold. Did she eat enough. Is she ready to sleep on her stomach, or should you swaddle or not.
But, dear sister, let your focus be not on getting it perfect, but on getting is present. Be there for her. Be all there. When you're exhausted and she's sleeping and you're tempted to feel guilty for wanting a nap when there's dishes need washing and clothes in the dryer. Just be there. Be with her. Be asleep.
If you focus on loving Jesus, loving your husband, and loving your kids, you may make mistakes but you won't fail. Let Jesus be your guide to all things sleep training and diapering and breast or bottle. Let Grace be the order of the day, order of the years, order of your home.
I won't promise that you'll love every minute of being a mom. In fact, I can almost promise you that you won't love every minute. But when you focus on Jesus, drink in His word even if it's a sip at a time, there's no way you can go wrong. Because love begets love begets more love. And if God is love, and you're finding yourself—your identity, your motherhood—in Him, then love will win. Even on the dark days. In the hard seasons. In the fatigue and in the joy.
So, dear Mom expecting her first—don't worry about getting it right. Just focus on getting with Jesus, and kissing your babe, and you'll be just fine.
And when it gets hard, we're all here for you, cheering you on, holding you up, watching your back. Because that's what sisters do.