So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

As I scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook, it seems like all my friends are having babies these days. I click “Like” on a hospital picture of a newborn baby being cradled by the beaming new mama while proud papa wraps his arms tightly around his wife and child. The couple looks lovingly into the eyes of their brand new baby. They seem so happy. The caption reads something like “Love at first sight . . . ” I feel a pang of guilt and quickly move on to the next post.

I always ache inside when I see posts like that. Probably because the birth of my son felt nothing like that perfectly posed photo. And the caption that would most accurately describe what I felt after delivering my almost nine pound baby boy would read something like “Exhausted, confused, and completely overwhelmed.”

In fact, I don’t ever recall that “love at first sight” feeling at all. What I do remember is the utter exhaustion I felt immediately following the birth of my son. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed as I clumsily held my baby to my chest for skin-to-skin time. I remember feeling awkward and uncoordinated when the nurse helped me latch my baby to my breast. I remember the weight of my eyelids as I desperately tried to stay alert for all the nurse’s instructions.

Besides the total exhaustion I felt, I had trouble bonding with my son and that left me feeling an enormous amount of guilt and shame. I remember looking at my baby boy during one of those painful nursing sessions. I expected to feel a deep mother-son bond but instead I felt like I was looking into the eyes of a total stranger. A baby stranger who was literally sucking my nipples raw.

Who was this baby? Was he really mine? Had I really just pushed this little human out of my body?

What is wrong with me? I thought I was supposed to feel an all-consuming love for my child. Where’s that “love at first sight” feeling?

The feelings of uncertainty and overwhelming guilt continued long after we left the hospital. The first night at home with our baby boy was anything but blissful. I remember sitting in the nursery, holding him to my chest and rocking him. For two hours straight, I rocked my newborn as my heart pounded inside my chest and echoed in my ears. I was paralyzed with fear that he would die from SIDS if I let him sleep in his crib.

Nothing came easy for me as a new mom. Breastfeeding was absolute torture until the night my husband made a 2 a.m. Walmart run to buy what would be my saving grace: nipple shields! I still remember the happy tears that flooded my eyes when I finally could withstand my baby’s strong latch without writhing in pain. I remember how quickly it soothed him to finally get a good feeding from me.

For weeks, I felt like I was my baby’s food supply and nothing more. I remember feeling jealous of family and friends when they would come to visit and hold the baby. I was jealous of their reactions to him. They all seemed to have the “love at first sight” glow that I never felt when holding him. I had trouble feeling love for this little human who turned my world upside down.

I still remember one of my many breaking points, this one at four weeks postpartum. I had just finished a midnight feeding, but as soon as I placed my sleeping son in his crib, he woke up crying to be held again. I remember the exhaustion I felt as I crumbled to my knees on the nursery floor, crying uncontrollably. My desperate cries woke my husband. He came to the nursery to find his son scream-crying in the crib and his wife curled up on the floor, sobbing just as loudly.

Today, almost eighteen months later, I look back at the first year of my son’s life and I’m amazed I survived it all. The sleepless nights, teething and sleep regressions. The insecurity I felt constantly as a new mom and battling postpartum depression for months before realizing I needed to seek professional help. Nothing prepares you for the life-changing sacrifices you experience as a parent.

Just as true, nothing prepares you for the joys you will experience as you watch your infant grow into a toddler. For me, toddlerhood has been my sweet spot as a new mom. I love watching my baby boy learn new things and make new discoveries about the world around him.

I love hearing him babble as he uses the cutest little index finger to point to things as he “talks”. I love when he says “mama” and wraps his little arms around me for a big bear hug. I love giggling with him as we chase each other in a game of tag. I love helping him build tall towers with his blocks and watching as he gets just as much enjoyment from knocking it down. I love when his chubby little hands reach up to touch my face when I’m reading to him. I love his wet, slobbery kisses. And I absolutely love that he sleeps through the night.

I may not have felt that “love at first sight” feeling when I held my son for the first time, but thank goodness, motherhood isn’t measured by emotions. And it certainly isn’t measured only by the day he was born or even the first year of his life. Just as a baby grows and matures into the different stages of childhood, a mother grows and matures throughout parenthood.

This deep-rooted love I feel now for my son was well worth the wait. It was worth every early morning feeding and sleepless night. It was even worth battling and overcoming the darkest depression I’ve ever experienced in my life. This love I have for my baby boy has been tried and tested, and through it all, it has been proven true.

Alaina V. Fletcher

Alaina is a midwestern girl, married to her one and only boyfriend who she met in her mid-twenties. Together they have a preschool son and 3 angel babies in Heaven. Alaina’s childhood love for reading and writing led her to earning a college degree in English. She’s a fair-weather runner and former dancer reliving her glory days in weekly Zumba class. She’s a writer, photography-lover, and work-at-home mom to an amazing little boy. Alaina writes about motherhood, miscarriage, depression & anxiety, “introvert life”, racial reconciliation, discovering your giftings & passions, and living a life of purpose & love. She’s been published by Her View From Home and TODAY Parenting Team. She’s the creator and writer of The Living Loved Movement at thelivinglovedmovement.com where she inspires others to live their lives through the lens of love. You can follow the movement on Facebook and Instagram.

You’re Not a Bad Mom, You’re a Work in Progress

In: Motherhood
Mom hugging child

I’m kind of hard on myself as a mom. In fact, most days if I were to grade myself on some sort of official motherhood report card, I think I’d give myself a “Needs Improvement,” which isn’t all bad. Nobody’s perfect, and the idea of working on being a better mom is great—important even—but I’m realizing more and more that when I see myself as a mom, I tend to focus on the bad. The things that need improving. All the little mistakes add up, and overall, I end up feeling like a bad mom. Nobody tells me this. It’s...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

So God Made a Mother With a Willing Heart

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter smiling, color photo

You may have heard it said that God only gives special children to special parents.   But, when God made the mother of a child who has special needs, the Lord did not need a special mother, the Lord needed a mother who was willing. God needed a woman who would say yes to an assignment that many choose not to accept. The Lord knew she wouldn’t feel qualified to raise a child with special needs, but that didn’t matter because God would equip her every step of the way. Since there is no such thing as a perfect mother,...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime