Yes, you, my love. You, who just carried a baby for nine months and grunted and groaned a lot and tried to be thankful that there was this new little life growing inside. I want to tell you some things.
I know how hard it was for you, there at the end. Because you were sick of those pants with the wide, elastic-y middle, that had to be stretched out over your big ol belly, just so they would stay up. I know how much they itched, but aren’t you glad for pants? I know your friends are glad that you had them. : )
And I know how much you worried along the way, even though you tried to trust Jesus as much as you could.
How much you wondered if you would make it to the end and if your baby would make it into the world and if she’d be okay once she got here. I saw how scared you were on the way to the hospital with the icy roads and how nothing felt safe enough and you kept thinking, “If we can just get to the hospital, all will be well.” And then when you got to the hospital, “If I can just get an epidural, all will be well.” And then, “If I can just have this baby, all will be well.” Until finally you realized that comfort was always just around the corner and you wanted to be content and thankful for the moment that is now.
And then your sweet baby came around 10 at night.
And your doctor was amazing and the nurses were amazing and your husband was amazing and the epidural was amazing and she was just so amazing!!!
So, you cried when you held her, because she was so beautiful and she made it and you couldn’t comprehend how God could think up another human being and gift her to you, like that.
And you cried, because the cafeteria workers kept bringing you food and you thought about Aleppo and all the mommas with their kids who don’t have any hospitals and who don’t have any food and you wondered how unfair life is. That you could have all this, and that they have all that suffering.
And since you’ve been home, you’ve cried like forty times a day. Because the snow outside is lovely and it makes you feel hushed and quiet. And you cry because the neighbor plows your drive and the other neighbor brings you food and your friends send you gifts and check on you and you are so cocooned in love.
But, you also cry because it’s hard. You forgot how hard it is to nurse your babe, for the first week. How much it hurts and you have to practice your breathing exercises. And you forgot how sore your body would be and that even though you love people, you just can’t muster up the energy to go anywhere.
You cry because the world still doesn’t feel safe enough. And in the middle of the night, you miss your momma. And while you’re drinking your coffee, you miss your sister. And your dad calls and you cry because your dad called and how sweet is that, that your dad called?
My love, I give you all the permission in the world to go slow. To stare long into your newborn’s face and keep singing her your songs because you don’t get any of these moments back again. I give you permission to just sit on your bed and hold her and enjoy her and rock her and smooch her cheeks because she’s only little for just a little while.
And my love, I know you’re embarrassed about your tummy, because you still look about 6 months pregnant. It’s okay. You don’t need to exercise right now. You just need to rest and heal up. Your body will eventually go back to normal, so just let yourself be, okay? Don’t be mad about it. Or feel shame. You just delivered a human being into the world. Be gentle with yourself.
And dear self, keep trusting Jesus. In the middle of the night, when you’re worried about the weather. When you’re worried about your kids growing up in the world. Jesus is a good, good Shepherd. Remember Isaiah 40:11: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.“
Just let Jesus carry you and your babes close to His heart. And when you feel weak, keep praying for the weak. When you feel fragile and vulnerable and not quite safe, keep praying for those around the world who are exposed to the elements and without a home and who are lost and hungry and cold and in need of safety and comfort. Thank your Father for what you’ve got. And give. Give wherever you can.
And get some rest, okay? Enjoy your babe.
When you cup her little head in the palm of your hand, remember that God adores you, like you adore her. His heart is kind and tender and just so good.
Lean into Him. You are loved, my love.
(And welcome to the world, Haven Noelle! We’re all so in love.)