Last Christmas we received the best present we could ask for: the birth of our daughter.
Although she is not our first child and I knew what to expect when it comes to having a newborn in the house, each child is different and has their own personality. It takes some time to get to know this tiny new person who has just arrived into our home and family. And even though I’ve had other children, it’s easy to forget just how draining a sleepless night can be or the challenge of getting dinner on the table in-between feedings and diaper changes.
With each new baby we’ve brought home, they have gently taught me some valuable lessons. Lessons I hope to keep with me even after this stage is over and gone.
Newborn days may seem long, but I’ve learned they fly by. My babies have taught me to savor each moment. Well, maybe not gassy fits of crying, but most moments! The process of slowing down was hard for me when I had my first babies—twins. Going from a full-time job I enjoyed to sitting on the couch feeding babies while staring at the wall was a shock to my system. It felt like life was going to stay slow forever. But it didn’t.
Each age, each stage of childhood has its joys and trials. Embrace the joys. Snuggle more. Wear fuzzy socks and yoga pants all day. Accept the slow down in schedule that having a newborn often brings.
If someone asks to bring meals or help in some other way, I’ve learned to accept. I’m one of those self-reliant types who likes to do things for herself, but I’ve learned the blessing of receiving.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive—and it may be more of a struggle to receive than to give,” writes Ann Voskamp in The Greatest Gift. This has been true for me. But having babies has taught me I can’t always do everything on my own and that’s okay. Allowing others to help me out has fostered community and friendship. So accept those meals or offers to watch other children. And if no one offers, ask for help. And if no one helps, remember how much you wanted help and be that help for someone else in the future.
Because babies tend to slow life down and change the day-to-day operations of a family, I’ve learned to be patient. Patient with myself—I will have time to exercise again. Patient with my baby—she will sleep through the night someday. I will get to have date nights out of the house with my spouse again. I will have time to blow dry my hair again. There’s no need for a heap of guilt if I can’t make it to activities, church, or have time to read my Bible right now. There will be time later.
I’ve been through this newborn stage before, so I’ve learned to savor the slowing down, the joy in accepting help, and the grace in being patient.
Because life will go back to its fast pace all too soon.