They aren’t kidding when they say becoming a parent changes everything.
For me, that day was 4 1/2 months ago.
the way I look at the world,
the way I relate to my husband,
the way I understand who God is,
and how I see other people as well – especially other parents!
There were many things I didn’t expect, that I wasn’t warned about.
I’m sure I’ll write more about what I’ve learned about life through this transition, but I wanted to start with one of the things that I hope will encourage other new parents out there.
1. Personal devotion time is HARD!
I have never had a more difficult time connecting deeply with God than when Luke was born. It’s something I think many women go through but are embarrassed to talk about because it’s not something the “good Christian” struggles with. For me though, my time in God’s Word was maxed out around 10 minutes per day – if that! It’s not that I didn’t feel close to God, or didn’t pray. I actually had moments where I would cry over Luke as I was praying.
You could even say that at times, it was the most I had felt God’s love as I was experiencing Him differently as I looked at my little baby.
There wasn’t any deep meditation happening though. I found myself longing to just sit in a worship service (without the baby) so that I could have a mental break from my new mom duties and focus on my God.
2. Leaving the house is impossible.
Sunday mornings include a whole set of obstacles that aren’t there the other days of the week for a mom on maternity leave.
To list a few…
1. Mom has to get more presentable than yoga pants and a messy bun. Shower, makeup, breakfast, actual pants, and a nursing-in-public friendly outfit.
2. Baby’s eat/play/nap cycle most likely will NOT line up with the service times. He will definitely be hungry right as you need to leave, or he’ll be in the middle of a nap. Every. Time.
3. Optional but ideal mornings include: eating breakfast, hot coffee, and the clothes being clean.
3. Church services are stressful
After arriving late to service, I struggled to continue to manage Luke’s needs while surrounded by friends and loud music and feeling like any noise he made during service would distract the room. For those who forgot (or didn’t know), babies eat, sleep and play on three hour cycles. My child does best when he is strict with that 3 hour cycle, and he’s awake only 90 minutes of that time! A normal church service is 90 minutes, not including socialization. No wonder this felt so difficult!
Being in the room is complicated. You want to worship with your baby in your arms because praising God while holding the biggest blessing He gave you feels so right. You also struggle because you know that you need time with God without your little one so that you can be the person God has called you to be during the week. The music is fine for you, but maybe not for baby ears. The child is loud during the wrong parts of the service, and you’re constantly trying to evaluate if you should take him out or not.
I had no idea the chaos of the day would keep me from spending much needed time in God’s presence. For those who suggest putting your child in the nursery for service, you need to understand that I LOVE my little guy and want as much time as possible with him. Every day he grows and develops and I don’t want to miss a thing. Letting go of your newborn is very difficult, and sometimes it is harder logistically to pass him off to another person. What new mom needs more planning in her life? No thanks!
I can say that after 5 months of this, I am like a plant that has withered leaves, and after one drop of spiritual water, all my leaves come out and I’m so refreshed. It doesn’t take much! I am so ready to get fully filled back up.
I am ready to overflow with so much of God’s Word that I pour out in the way God designed me to. I am ready to take what I have experienced and be an advocate for other new parents. I am ready to make the nursing mother’s room a full on HAVEN for mommies.
To the new parents who wonder if attending church on Sunday is worth it… it is.
You may miss every song, every announcement, and not ingest anything the Pastor says, but you’re there [one week I was 1 hour late]. I have learned that church attendance isn’t 100% about the service. Godly encouragement comes in many forms. It might be a conversation with someone in the lobby, or in a cup of coffee that’s already made [and still hot]! It might be in the nursing mother’s room with other moms where you realize you’re not alone in this journey. Dads, it might be when you’re walking the baby outside on patio quieting him down when God speaks something to you.
At Valley Christian we are constantly saying, Sunday services are God’s meeting and He sets the agenda. By honoring and attending a meeting that He called, I know that I am leading our family in the right direction. Let no chaos of life come between me and something important to my God.
Hey new parent, see you Sunday. Know that you have an ally in all other parents who have gone before you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Laura McLeod
I have been married to my husband, Anthony, since 2013. We have one child, born in 2018! I graduated from Northwest University with a BA in General Ministries. I worked in church administration for 2 years prior to being hired at Valley Christian, where I worked in Admissions, HR, and Youth Ministry before my current position.
At VCC since 2014