When I think about all that I’ve read about what it means to be pregnant and a mother of young children, I am overwhelmed with advice, warnings, other’s experiences, statistics, research. We are supposed to do this but not that unless this other thing is present then you should really try this. If all those things fail, curl up in a ball and suck your thumb because you are a failure of creation.
My freezer was half full of chicken, beef and turkey bones I planned to use to make bone broth but ended up tossing (you know, because bone broth is the renewer of most things right in your gut). The other half of the freezer consisted of chicken and calf liver, both of which I had every intention of dehydrating, powdering and making into pill form because of the health benefits for nursing and pregnant moms. It never happened. Add in a few old frozen bananas and you now know why you never see me shop in the frozen section. There is never enough storage.
There are like 500 kinds of foods we are supposed to avoid during pregnancy.
-Eat fish! But don’t eat too much fish because of mercury.
-Eat dairy for calcium! Oh, but not that dairy because it is not pasteurized.
-Always wash your vegetables!
-No raw eggs (goodbye cookie dough)!
-No deli meat!
It’s a wonder the human race has survived all these years.
Forget about food. What about all the other advice?
-Some nameless older individuals advised me to toughen my nipples with a washcloth before breastfeeding. Guess who complied?
-Rub your perineum with coconut oil before birth to loosen it up and prevent tearing…
-Do Kegel exercises so you don’t pee your pants when the baby stands on your bladder…
-Exercise and stretch these certain ways so your body is prepared and the baby is in position…
-Rub your belly with coconut oil because no one should have stretch marks after their baby is born…
-Never sleep on your back because your baby could die…
-During labor, relax, despite the watermelon coming out of your vagina…
-Never lay your baby on its belly because it could die…
-Don’t use a crib bumper because your baby could die…
-Use this product so your baby doesn’t die…
-Never use a pacifier or your child will be stuck in the Freudian oral stage…
It’s enough to make you go mad, which is the real reason why new moms don’t sleep. Forget the fact that we are in essence a dairy cow, called upon every two hours for a milking, our eyes are pinned open at night with the knowledge coming at us from every angle about all the ways our child could die or be permanently damaged. My local MOPS group is my mental health asylum, where others like me go to get treatment in the form of laughter, coffee and the occasional meltdown.
For those who know me, you know I value healthy eating and lifestyle, I co-slept with my last one until 9-months old and nursed her until she was 2 1/2. I just finished a batch of chicken broth, I take probiotics, make fermented foods and plan to go o’natural during labor, so this rant is for myself as well. The thing is, with all the mommy bloggers and articles and research at our fingertips, it can be paralyzing to make decisions. Knowledge is power, but with the inundation of information, I find sometimes there is too much for my brain to process.
We must not forget that we are not in this alone. God is with us.
The Holy Spirit is The Comforter, so who better to go to for learning about comforting our children? He is ever-present, so who better to go to for advice on being present in our kids lives? God is all-knowing, so who better to go to for wisdom on what to do in every situation?
“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth… You know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you (John 14:15-17 MSG)!”
The key? Not just listening, but listening to the right voice. His voice. I can think of many times His voice guided me in regards to decisions with my daughter, even the small decisions.
If I were to put my trust solely in mommy bloggers and research to decide for me, everyone would have told me something different, from one end of the spectrum to the other.
This leads each of us to the question, “Where does our hope come from?”
Does it come from doing everything right? Does it come from doing everything like the mom with whom you compare yourself? Does it come from following every bit of research, every recommendation exactly?
If we put our hope in those things, we will always be disappointed. I lost my first pregnancy even though I did everything right. I lost two others as well. All would be hopeless in those situations if my foundation was on anything but God. Speaking of Christ, scripture reads, “Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it (1 Peter 2:6 MSG).”
So, as I move forward as a mother to young kids, I will do my best and be wise with the information I have, but I will not measure my success on what research I’ve read, who I see succeeding or how many mommy blogs I’ve referenced. My success is based on who I decide to listen to and on whom I place my hope.
Now excuse me, I have a pot of bone broth on the stovetop to which I must attend.