I’m really excited to welcome Becca J. to the blog for today’s Motherhood Monday!
Becca and I met while I was in college. Her husband, Blake (who officiated mine and Sam’s wedding actually), was one of the associate pastors of the college ministry I was involved in. I looked up to Becca from the time I met her on. She is wise, sweet, and gentle. By her life, you can tell that she loves the people around her well. Becca is the newest mom I asked in rounding up answers for this blog series (so far). As she says below, when she answered these questions, she had just had her Thomas 3 weeks and 2 days prior. Becca’s wisdom and trust in the Lord’s faithfulness is what stands out to me in her answers.
1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)
I just had my first child, Thomas, exactly three weeks and two days ago. It’s still hard for me to believe I’m a mom! It all happened so quickly, and yet there were points in the journey that seemed to last forever. Blake and I decided to go off of birth control back in late January. Within the first month, we were pregnant. I remember feeling funny one week, so I picked up a pregnancy test on the way home from work. I took it as soon as I got home, and sure enough, I was pregnant. I stood there in disbelief for about five minutes, then in hysterical tears and laughter for about 30 minutes while walking my dog around our neighborhood. (I’m sure our neighbors thought I was crazy.) I tried to think of a creative way to tell Blake, but I couldn’t contain my excitement, so I just called him and told him while he was at work. The following nine months started out blissful and easy, but the last trimester was slow and exhausting. I was tired of moving so slowly and not being able to breathe. Plus, I had just taken a new teaching job, and preparing current and future lesson plans for maternity leave was quite an undertaking. I started maternity leave at 38 weeks, but day after day passed, and still no baby. I probably walked more in those two weeks than I had throughout the entire pregnancy trying to get that baby out. There were nights of Braxton Hicks contractions, but they would fade away eventually. Then Election Day rolled around, and I already had an appointment with my doctor for that morning. We went in, and (surprise!), I was already four centimeters. They sent us over to the hospital at about 10:30am, and Thomas arrived at 5:52pm. They placed him to my chest, and all my fears of being void of maternal instincts or not having a connection with my baby melted away. I cried and laughed, and cried and laughed some more, and fell in love with that little boy instantly. He was and is such a gift.
2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?
I’ve learned about another layer of God’s love for me. It can be trying to have to be there constantly for this little human who is so needy and dependent, and to not always even know what he needs … and to do it with a patient and gentle spirit. But to remember that my Father has loved me with such inexhaustible patience and gentleness gives me the desire to do the same for Thomas. And it’s not just a past tense, God has loved me this way, type of love. God is continually ministering to my needy, dependent spirit even now, in the middle of the night when I’m incredibly tired and stressed and wondering how I’m going to keep this mothering thing up. That everlasting, continual, round-the-clock faithfulness is still extended to me, and so I can continually lovingly bear with this little one in the same way, even when he is fussy and demanding.
3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.
Along with my answer to number 2, my answer to number 3 also involves God’s love for us. When Thomas was born and they handed him to me, I was just on cloud nine, not paying attention to much of anything besides his face. When they took him from me, I looked down, and there was poop everywhere. EVERYWHERE, people. I didn’t even realize that he had left that little surprise for me while I was holding him. Normally, I would have been grossed out, but I seriously did not care one bit. Blake and I just laughed and then cried some more. When it comes to your child, you don’t mind getting involved with their mess. Even though I’ve been told countless times that God loves me, there is always that lingering thought of His reluctance to get involved with a mess like me. While yes, our sin does sadden God, His grace abounds all the more.
4.What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?
I’m sure I’ll experience much greater challenges in the future, but so far, for me, the toughest challenge has simply been trusting that God will make a way for us as parents. He will give me the physical energy and stamina that I need. He will provide for all of our physical needs. He will help us to balance work and family. He will give me the words I need to raise this child in truth and love. Yes, we will make mistakes along the way, but there is no need to be anxious. When I submit everything to the Lord and remember His sovereignty, I can trust that He is good and will make a way.
5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?
If I had to write a job description for a mom, I would say that the type of person required is someone who abides in Jesus. She doesn’t have to be perfect; she doesn’t have to know babies like the back of her hand; she doesn’t have to have it all figured out. When I go to Jesus, He provides the patience, He provides the wisdom, He provides the perseverance, and He provides the grace. When you look to Him, He equips you to be a mother. He is the ultimate source of all of those nurturing, motherly traits that we moms want to portray the most. So don’t look to yourself in order to be a good mother; and don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes. You’re wasting your energy. Instead, go to Him. Don’t try to draw water from dried up lands; go straight to the source, Jesus Himself.
6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?
Something that was a big part of my family during my childhood was a love for God’s Word. Our family devotions looked different during each phase of my childhood, but my parents always valued time spent together reading and discussing the Bible. Obviously, that’s hard to do with an almost four-week-old, but I’ve already started listening to the Bible aloud each morning, and as I’m working around the house, I’ll put on sermons and listen with Thomas as he hangs out in the Baby Bjorn. While I didn’t always fully absorb or appreciate what I was hearing at the time, I’m so thankful my parents instilled within me a respect for the Bible. The seeds that they planted have grown into beautiful fruits in time, and I hope the same happens for Thomas.
7. If you knew someone who just found out they were pregnant with their first baby, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.
One practical tip I would give to a first time mom is to choose things you really like, even if they are a little more expensive, when you’re making your registry. Who knows? Someone may be really generous and purchase it for you, or a group of people may go in together to give you that item. I was blown away by the generosity of our family and friends! If you don’t end up getting something that you need, you can just purchase that item at whatever price works for your budget later. A piece of wisdom I would give is to be confident in your story. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, labor naturally or with the help of medicine, take all of the offered birthing classes or not, own it. Do what is wise for you and your baby. Also, keep an open mind. Labor often does not happen like mothers expect it to; whether you have to be induced, wind up getting an epidural, or labor for hours on end, each story is beautiful. Don’t expect to be completely in control; trust the Lord and take it one step at a time. Just like your baby is ultimately God’s, so are you. Trust Him.
It is so evident that Becca (and her husband, Blake) trust the Lord and continue to lean on Him and learn from Him through their parenthood journey. I also love Becca’s job description for a mom when she says, “She doesn’t have to be perfect; she doesn’t have to know babies like the back of her hand; she doesn’t have to have it all figured out.” I told y’all she is wise!! What encouraging words to read. It is such a gift to release ourselves from the standard of perfection when it comes to motherhood.
Thank you so much, Becca!! You encouraged me and challenged me in the best way. I’m infinitely grateful for the times you have spoken into my life, including this interview.
What was your favorite thing that Becca said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or someone who is expecting? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.