Thursday, November 11, 2010

Advice for New Moms

At a baby shower recently, I bought a journal and everyone who came wrote a piece of advice for the new mom. We had some serious and some funny advice written in the book. Fun!

I also asked my Facebook friends for some advice. Debra said:

Talk to your baby like an adult. Talking to your child in this manner makes them smarter.
Teri opined: 
Babies are not born to be infants forever. Children have eternal spirits that need nurturing. Mothers plant seeds that can grow love and accomplishment or rebellion and pain. Yes, children make their own ultimate choices, but mothers have enormous power.
Jewel advised:
A parents' biggest responsiblity is to prepare their child to live without them someday.
Judy said:
 Don't rush anxious for the next. Enjoy what they do today as your God given treasure. You'll blink and they are off to college.
Victoria started early:  
Read to your baby from the womb on. I was in college while pregnant both times and I read my textbooks aloud. Both kids were speaking in full sentences by the time they were one!
If you could offer just one suggestion, what would it be? Please leave your advice AND your website or blog URL.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Mother Syndrome - Baby Shower Devotion

I received an e-mail from a friend, its content riddled with errors. These weren’t small mistakes, but glaring oversights. A few moments later, I received a second message apologizing for the first e-mail. “Please forgive me. I must be suffering from New Mother Syndrome. All I can think of is the baby.”

What mother hasn’t felt that way when she brings home a newborn? What is this syndrome, and how does it affect us?

The New Mother Syndrome affects our thoughts. When I had my daughter, I obsessed over her. I could think of nothing else. Was she too hot or too cold? Was she hungry? Did she need a diaper change?

The Syndrome affects our sight. We develop tunnel vision. In a room full of people, we see only our precious tiny baby.

And it affects our heart. At times, I felt my heart would burst, as it seemed to expand with the love I held within for my firstborn. I couldn’t imagine my heart having the capacity to love another child as much. That is, until I had another. My heart grew – again.

Every new mother discovers the capacity for a new kind of love similar to God's agape love. Agape love is unlimited, as is a mother's love, regardless of the number of children she bears.

In Psalm 139, we read that God knew each of us before we were born, and he thinks of us. “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

My son used to play soccer. When he put on his uniform and ran out onto the field, it became difficult to distinguish him from his teammates. But it only took a moment for this mom’s eyes to discern which child belonged to me. My ears became tuned like antennae to his voice. If he cried out in distress, I’d run right to him, much to the dismay of the coach.

Just as our eyes and hearts focus on our children, God’s eyes and His heart focuses on His children. Psalm 34:15 says, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”

Isn’t it reassuring to know the Lord’s eyes are upon us, and His ears are open to our cries? I imagine that the heart of God swells with each person who accepts Jesus as Lord.

So if you’ve been hit with the New Mother Syndrome, can you expect to recover? Never! It’s a chronic condition, lasting a lifetime.

If you can’t think straight in the newborn stage, wait until the toddler years! Then from about the age of five to twelve, the racket in the house is deafening and not conducive to rational thought. And the teen years? With many parents, it's back to obsession and worry.

Our vision remains fixed. From ball games and recitals, to graduation and marriage ceremonies, our eyes stay focused on our children.

Does the heart recover? Not really. It flutters with every child’s cry, breaks with every fallen tear, and periodically swells with pride.

Motherhood is a privilege and a gift from God. Immeasurable joy fills my days as I do my best to be an example of godly love.

Yes, New Mother Syndrome may be acute and chronic, but I thank God every day for the blessings associated with this affliction!

(If you'd like to use this column in your newspaper, blog, magazine, or any other format, please email me. I get a lot of requests for use at baby showers. I'm happy to email a .pdf. Thanks! - D.)

*Websites where you can find New Mother Syndrome include:

Christian Work at Home Moms
Christian Mommies