5 Thoughts Every Mom Has in Her First Minute of Parenthood
- Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 21 Oct
Becoming a mom is certainly the most joyous – and the most fearful – transition a woman can make.
How can it be both? Because although you’re holding a precious life in your hands, you’re also holding a tremendous responsibility. Because as exciting as it is to be a new mom, it’s also unfamiliar territory. And although being a mother is wonderful, there’s no going back. Ever.
After interviewing hundreds of mothers while writing my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, I learned what I believe are the five thoughts every mom has in her first minute of parenthood.
1. I can’t believe I’m a mom.
Christen, a mom of three boys, recalls that her first emotion as a mom was not the one she expected.
“All my life, I thought having a baby would be the most magical event I would ever experience,” she said. “I thought pregnancy would be beautiful and that labor… well… what could be so bad about labor?”
But after a grueling pregnancy, several false labors, and then induced labor, she finally brought her son, Carter, into the world. And then…
“Strangely enough, the earth didn't shake on its axis, angels didn't burst forth in song, and my heart didn't explode with feelings of maternal pride,” Christen said. “To be honest, delivery was a bit of a letdown. I was so tired, wired, numb, and sore all at the same time. I looked into the deep blue, questioning eyes of my son and all I could say was, "Oh my gosh. I just had a baby." I must have said that five times. I couldn't believe it. This new, tiny person was mine to nurture and cherish, and I could feel nothing. I think I was just in shock.”
But soon, the shock of motherhood fades into another emotion: gratitude.
2. I’m so thankful for this child.
Every mom who delivers a child feels that instant gratitude that the labor and delivery is over and the long-awaited child is here.
Moms who adopt are often overwhelmed with gratitude that the endless stream of paperwork, court dates, and sometimes years of waiting are finally over.
Kelly – whose only child Dexter is now 5 years old – said, “I remember feeling so thankful that he was healthy and perfect in every way.”
Christi, who adopted her daughter from China, remembers feeling grateful that the long international adoption process was over when her 1-year-old daughter was placed in her arms for the very first time.
“In those first moments, I knew beyond all doubt that this is what God had planned for me, with regard to motherhood, and that God brought her to me, and my family, through the miracle of adoption,” Christi said.
But after the gratitude, then the realization of the responsibility sets in. And that’s when the emotion of fear hits us.
3. What if I can’t do this?
It’s quite common for first-time moms to immediately start questioning their ability to parent their children.
Christen remembers feeling dread once she overcame the initial shock that she was a mom.
“After the numbness faded, I felt the next emotion: panic. Wait. This little person is now relying on me to survive. I can't do this. I have no clue what to do. I'm going to accidentally kill him. I just know it. All those months of pregnancy are going to go to waste because I'm inept! These feelings brought a surge of tears. My husband and family thought I was crying from joy, but in reality it was sheer terror.”
But Christen said the terror soon faded into a God-given confidence.
“As I watched my husband handle this tiny, seven-pound human in his massive arms, knowing that he had never held a baby before, I calmed down. I remembered all the experience I had with my much younger siblings, and I realized that I would actually be okay. I most likely would not accidentally kill my son. As this revelation settled in, a new one took hold: God knows exactly what my son's future holds. And because He knows everything, I can stop worrying about ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ and start resting in God’s knowledge, power, and protection. I can enjoy this blessing He gave to me and my husband and start discovering and enjoying our son.”
4. Wonder – This child is amazing. And so is God.
Christen said once she realized God was with her in her parenting, she was able to enjoy it. “I once again held my new son in my arms and took in every detail: his button nose, giant blue eyes, bald head, and almost nonexistent brows and eyelashes, and I felt a sudden excitement. A journey was beginning - an adventure with twists, turns, ups and downs and I was looking at it in the face of my new baby.”
Kelly remembers looking at Dexter and “envisioning which of our personality traits he will acquire and what he will be like as he grows older and how we might influence that.”
My sister, Sophie, remembers her thoughts as her son slept cradled in her arms. “I studied his lips, pink and pouty, his lashes long and full, his tiny fingers twitching, and the tiny dark curls glued to his head. He smelled like something that only God could create.”
And Christi said, “The moment I first held my baby daughter it was life-changing, and I was aware that it was definitely God’s plan. To know that a little precious baby, on the other side of the earth, was born to be my daughter was overwhelming, but also brought a sense of fulfillment to my life like nothing before.”
5. Love – How did I ever exist without this child?
Every mom I interviewed – even those who weren’t sure what kind of moms they would be – told me an unconditional, all-consuming love for their child was automatic within the first minute of parenthood.
Christi said, “The moment Paige was placed in my arms, in a hotel room in Nanning, Guangxi, China, I had an overwhelming sense that she was mine. She was the daughter that God chose specifically for me and my sense of love and devotion to her was very deep and was immediate.”
And I still remember Sophie’s first words after we learned of the birth of her son: “I never realized I could love something so much.”
Sophie recalls, “I heard my son, Escher, before I saw him. He was NOT happy. His cries were loud, assertive, and sounded like a meowing cat. It was the most incredible sound I had ever heard. And he was the softest, littlest thing I had ever seen in my life.
“Later that day, Escher and I were alone in the hospital room and I made him a promise that I would show him how awesome the world was. I promised to bring him on adventures. To laugh hysterically and cry together, too, if we had to. I promised to keep him safe. To always be there for him. My life was changed forever.”
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and best-selling author who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Couples Walk Together (co-authored with her husband, Hugh), When A Mom Inspires Her Daughter, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, or relationships, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: October 21, 2016