I’ve been a mum to Nixon for six months now. Crazy. Crazy how time flies, but even more crazy that such a little person can teach me so much. This boy has challenged me in every possible way, pushed me to limits I didn’t know I had, helped me see joy in the most mundane of days but one thing he hasn’t done is changed my identity and that is because I refuse to let him.
Being a mum is all things amazing and wonderful but it’s HARD. It’s hard physically, it’s even harder emotionally and that is why I wanted to write a word of been-there advice for women wanting to become a mum. As more and more of our friends start to ponder the idea of starting a family I felt this post was necessary. I fully believe that God has called us to be mothers, it is woven into our very nature to nurture these tiny miracles but they are not to be idolized and having them is not a right of ours – they are GIFTS. This notion that we deserve to have babies comes from society’s idea that whatever we want we get and if we don’t then something is wrong because we must deserve it. If you believe that you deserve this baby then stop and check your heart because it’s selfish; I have to do it daily. God owes us nothing, yet He gives us breath each day and how much greater joy is that of having a baby. Please, please stop with this mentality. From the moment God decides to give you and your husband a baby it is His and will remain His for the entirety of your child’s life. Everyday I remind myself that I have been given Nixon by God, he’s mine temporarily but He has always been and always will be God’s – end of story.
Even before trying to conceive I believe there are crucial steps to take. Talk honestly with your husband about his feelings towards starting a family. This doesn’t mean projecting your desires on him and hoping he agrees but being willing to truly listen and possibly compromise if the two of you don’t agree. If he truly doesn’t want a child yet are you willing to respect his wishes and wait or are you going to try to convince him otherwise? Take an honest look at the state of your marriage. Do you and your significant other do life well together? Do you love each other well? Do you love the other person sacrificially? If it’s a struggle now it’s not any easier when you’re tired, frustrated and busy with the needs of a tiny one. Do you serve the church well? Do you have a strong independent relationship with God? Do you also have a good marital relationship with God? Can you discuss your faith openly with your husband? Do you discuss your faith openly with your husband? In other words, is God the head of your household? Are both of you praying about it? Ask God if this is His timing or not and to bring other couples into your life (because trust me you’re going to need mom & dad friends). More practically, ask your mentors or people whose opinions you value if they think you’re ready and if they think your marriage can handle it. Again, you may not like the answer you get but humble yourself when receiving it and seriously consider it because they only want the best for you and your future family. Pray about it alone, tell God your desires but don’t demand a baby of Him – last time I checked He has never worked on our schedule. Remember that this baby would be to glorify Him, not you. Once again with all of this praying you need to be open to God’s honest answer, even if it hurts and means waiting. Finances, please take an honest look at your finances to see if adding another family member is a good idea. Now on that note, having a baby does not need to cost a lot of money if you’re willing to take things second-hand. Be mindful of what your child needs vs what you want your child to have. Kyle and I used Craigslist for a majority of our purchases and six months later I wouldn’t do it any different!
As a woman there is a lot we need to consider before having a baby. Are we healthy enough for it? Are there any health issues that might mean waiting is a better plan? An easy way to do this is to have a discussion with your doctor about if you’re healthy enough to get pregnant. Not just for you but for your baby. Any parent wants to give the best to their child and that includes from the very beginning. Being healthy (and in good shape) has more of an impact than I anticipated and I can tell you that I paid for it during my labour. Be active, eat well, drink lots of water – all the things everyone is telling you because if it’s important to your health it’s even more important when growing another human! This includes taking a prenatal vitamin for a minimum of one month prior to attempting to conceive as recommended by most doctors. Here’s something I didn’t consider when having a baby, how comfortable am I with my body and giving it to my husband? Struggling with that pre-baby only makes it a challenge as your body changes to accommodate a growing baby and post-baby…a nightmare. Now none of this was a result of how my husband saw me but how I saw myself. Do you have grace for yourself? Do you love your body the way God created it and if you don’t, do you have the determination to do something about it? Putting off what is rightfully your husbands because you feel ‘undesirable, fat, large, huge, etc.’ is a sin and will cause more sin in your marriage.
Once this child is born your life is changed, but please do not let it change your identity. You need to remember that God created you for a unique purpose, part of that purpose is mothering – no doubt. But that’s not all. If that was all I would go crazy at home, my world would revolve around Nixon 24/7 and that is not biblical. You need your own hobbies, your own friends, your own time out to do non-mum things. Do I love being a mum? 100%, but I am growing more and more thankful that God didn’t create me just to do that and that He is creative enough to give me other passions like teaching, writing and trying new things. Only recently (I mean in the last two weeks) have I learnt the importance of ‘me’ time during the day. Sometimes that means attempting calligraphy, sometimes reading, sometimes taking a nap but it is always time with God and always a break from the laundry, cooking, cleaning and pouring out of myself. By no means do I have my life all together and you don’t have to either but these are lessons learned about this I wish I had done before conceiving and things that hopefully will put you in a better place before adding a child to your marriage and things I will continue to work on forever. Mums-to-be, if you think that adding a baby to the family is going to fill a void in you, solve your marriage problems and complete your identity then I warn you with all the love I have, be wary of the idols you have in your life because the solution is more God not another human.