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I feel the warmth radiating from my weeks-old baby girl’s body onto my lap. She sleeps soundly. But I can’t. My jaw is clenched, my forehead is wrinkled, my body is tense. I’ve been in complete survival mode.

Our baby girl unexpectedly made her appearance one month early due to some placental deficiencies and was born at three and a half pounds. I wasn’t prepared. 

When I saw my sweet girl, my heart was instantly taken over by immense love and immense fear. Fear grabbing me with every thought, every breath. I wasn’t prepared. 

She spent some time in the NICU but not as much as they expected. She was described as tiny but mighty. She overcame all odds given to her. I wasn’t prepared. 

We had to feed her every two hours to fight off lethargy. Giving us only 30 minutes of sleep between each feeding. Exhaustion took on a new meaning. I wasn’t prepared.  

RELATED: The Nights Are So Long

Bringing home a less-than-four-pound baby from the hospital brings some extra challenges. Feeding her with a syringe, checking her temperature regularly, many frequent weight checks, and much more. I wasn’t prepared.

We moved into our house a month before her arrival. Even though we thought we would have two months before her arrival. Boxes still full and projects untouched, yet welcoming a new life into our home. I wasn’t prepared. 

My body healed quickly, but my emotions didn’t. The stress leading up to her birth and the stress of labor overtook my emotions. Nothing like I had expected. I wasn’t prepared.

My love for my husband grew immensely as I watched him care for his baby girl and for me as I struggled through anxiety, fear, depression, and a body I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t prepared. 

Marriage became really hard after having her. It seemed like a constant battle to connect with each other and grieving what we had before her. But also not wanting to change a thing. I wasn’t prepared.

My body felt foreign, ugly, weak, not my own. New rolls, less muscle. I didn’t know how to see myself. I didn’t know how to handle this new me while taking care of a whole new person. I wasn’t prepared. 

Fear crept in and overtook my mind and heart, debilitating me at times. It overtook my thoughts, my actions, my marriage. Something I hadn’t struggled with before. I wasn’t prepared.

So many new things in this season. Things people don’t prepare you for. Things I never knew existed. Feelings and emotions I never wanted to feel. Body pains I wish I had never felt. It all rushes over me. 

RELATED: Being a New Mom Is Hard and It’s Okay To Say It Out Loud

I take another glance at my baby girl. My heart has exploded with a love I didn’t realize. I wasn’t prepared. 

I will do anything for this sweet baby girl. Anything. I wasn’t prepared. 

Realizing our sweet baby girl’s life has been given to us to steward is a weight that is unexplainable. I wasn’t prepared. 

Joy through the pain because every ache, sore, fear, and tear was and is worth it. More than words can explain, completely worth it. I wasn’t prepared. 

Fighting the desire to wake your baby just to see their deep blue eyes or cuddle them while they are tiny. Or sneak into where they are sleeping just to watch them because you miss being away from them. I wasn’t prepared. 

The role of being a mom coming so naturally even amidst the fear, stress, and adversity. I wasn’t prepared. 

People don’t talk about the stress, the adversity, the fear. And they can never fully articulate the love, joy, and peace once you have your baby in your arms. I wasn’t prepared. 

I feel her warmth against me. My heart swells with love. I choose to not let the fear overtake my mind tonight. I unclench my jaw, relax my body, and close my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for so many things. But I was sustained. Sustained by the prayers of our friends. Sustained by my faith in Jesus

Survival mode is over. I wasn’t prepared, but I was sustained. And whatever else may come in this season of motherhood even if I’m not prepared, I know I’ll be sustained. Sustained by the true sustainer, Jesus.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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