It’s an interesting thing being a first time mom. Even more interesting is learning how to care for your first child in the confines of NICU walls. Between the breathing tubes, alarms, flashing lights, and wires there is a beautiful, tiny, precious soul yearning for your love, care, and touch.
For me, it’s a stretching experience learning to mom in the NICU. I’m a hesitant person naturally; I tend to take to new projects and experiences cautiously until I know I can handle the situation successfully.
But babies can’t wait for that amount of confidence.
I realized my hesitancy for caring for Uriah came from my stifling, constricting desire for perfection. A million excuses of why I shouldn’t do something filled my terror-filled heart. I’m not capable of changing his diaper; what if I make him choke? I’m not qualified to pick him up; what if I hurt his neck? I can’t hold him; what if he should need suctioning? There were a million reasons for why the nurse should help Uriah instead of I. A million what-if’s keeping me from cradling my son as only I could. A million possibilities of what I could do wrong.
One day, I held Uriah up against my chest for the first time. He was breathing-tube free, IV free, and around 6 weeks old — high time for some good cuddling. The physical therapist, who placed him on my chest, left the room and eventually Uriah began to slump into an adorable, albeit uncomfortable, lump. He needed to be lifted into a more comfortable position.
I struggled to place my hands where they needed to be to support his head and body so I asked Dalton to help me. In the midst of four hands, two bodies, and my worried whispers we managed to get Uriah back into the position he needed to be but not before his head bobbed a bit recklessly like all new born heads do.
And guess what? He didn’t die. He didn’t break or fall a part like I had been dreading. Oh, he got wide eyed wondering what on earth was so hard about lifting a seven pound baby up mom’s chest. I got a look like, “Wow, Mom, why was that so rough?” but that was the extent of it. My little, fragile NICU baby survived my inexperienced handling. He braved my imperfections and came out fine if not better.
Motherhood isn’t about being perfect. It isn’t about how awesome you are at kangaroo care or how attentive the nurses think you are. Motherhood isn’t dependent on the amount of ounces you can pump or how fast you can change a diaper. In that moment I learned the same lesson I’ve been learning forever: my worth isn’t dependent on how well I do something.
So, dear Momma, take a piece of advice from me. Breathe. Breathe in, breathe out, and relax. You won’t be perfect. You’ll struggle, you’ll learn, and you’ll grow. And so will your baby — thanks to you.
Welcome to Mommyhood. A new place to embrace the fact that you’re worth more than your performance an accept the grace of your loving friend, Jesus.
What do you think? Are there challenges in your life forcing you to face your imperfections? Do you need prayer as your brave this season of life? Comment below — I love to hear from friends and this is a great place for community.
Love, blessings, and late night coffees,