Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When I gave birth to my son, my body was wrecked. Even though I had an easy pregnancy. Even though I (technically) had an uncomplicated delivery.

Looking at my baby’s sweet, sleeping face, I could almost forget about the pain and rest in the joy of this profound, unconditional love. But the minute I sat up, the minute I needed to go to the bathroom, the minute I started walking . . . I remembered. I grimaced. I whimpered. The pain of third-degree tearing and an episiotomy didn’t immediately dissipate.

It was weeks of soreness. It was my husband filling up spray bottles and drawing witch hazel baths (for soaking, not washing). It was taking pain medication and sitting in an almost lying down position because anything else was uncomfortable. It was nursing and snuggling and changing diapers with a dim awareness that I didn’t know how this new scarring would heal.

RELATED: You’re Allowed To Be Disappointed in Your Birth Story

I never regretted having my baby. I never regretted the pain or the tear. Going through labor and having our son forever imprinted in my mind as one of my favorite memories. It was awful. I threw up for three hours with every contraction. I pushed for three hours and wondered if it would ever end. But it was worth all the sweat, dehydration, and sweet blue-eyed gazes full of warmth and encouragement from my husband.

The second the doctor held our baby up so I could see him, it was worth it.

My son’s wrinkled, old man face squished in a squall as he marked his territory with a spray of meconium (first poop). At that moment, my husband and I were a family in a new, indescribable way. My heart overflowed in a deluge of sobbing smiles.

As weeks passed and healing slowly occurred, I learned riding a bike was a mistake. I discovered exercising, even months out, resulted in a soreness I never expected. Jumping jacks didn’t just make me urinate myself. They hurt. As I vented and complained and worried, my husband only ever encouraged.

I learned how to nurse, dream feed, and change diapers in semi-darkness. I learned there were times I had to let the baby cry if I was going to make it to the bathroom on time. I appreciated long hot showers for the decadent wonder they are.

Woven into all of our new struggles was a peace and purpose found in the sleeping face of our child. New motherhood is simultaneously a place of complete vulnerability and raw strength unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

Then came another hurdle after having our baby. You know, the PG13 kind. The kind mommas talk about quietly, wondering how bad it will be.

The kind we put off for what feels like an eternity because we’re scared and just not ready. The kind we both want and dread in turns.

RELATED: Sex – What We Aren’t Bringing to the Table

But here’s the thing. My husband was careful to let me feel desired and not pressured. He was intentional about making me feel beautiful. He didn’t ignore the stretch marks and flabby stomach, pretending I hadn’t changed. He praised what my body had done, lending his eyes to my own.

He didn’t expect IT from me. He didn’t expect me to be ready because we were married and having sex is part of being married and it had been X, Y, Z amount of time. Without ever saying it, he gave me the feeling of being anticipated. There’s a difference between something feeling expected and something feeling anticipated.

He wanted me so much he would wait for me to be ready. He looked forward to me. And that distinction helped me anticipate us, too.

It seared the support he had shown me in the delivery room to every day after. It reminded me it wasn’t just that he wanted or needed something from me, but he loved me.

Our imperfect, shared love remained the unchanging thread which bound all of our newness together. We were experiencing a new kind of intimacythat of bleeding and tearing and pooping and birthing. Birth had held no regard for my dignity, but in it we’d found a deeper unity.

No, birth isn’t easy. No, figuring out how your marriage bed looks after having a baby isn’t easy. There isn’t an all-consuming answer that fixes every problem, mitigates every fear, or eases every pain.

But there is this shared love between you. A baby who screams you are my comfort while our husbands are trying to figure out how to comfort us. Sometimes, we need to remember they just want to step in and protect us (their wives) from the little ones wreaking havoc on their bodies and destroying their sleep. Sometimes, our husbands just want to hold us instead. Sometimes, their innate need to protect narrows down to only you, and we have to help them see the whole picture. We’re all struggling and learning together.

RELATED: The Key to a Thriving Marriage Isn’t Sex—It’s Intimacy

To the parents who didn’t get to bring their baby home, I can’t imagine your grief or speak to your heartache. Your baby mattered. You and your baby still matter. The relationship you are forging with your spouse is valuable and important.

You are experiencing unity in a new way too, and I pray that unity brings healing. Grief changes us irrevocably, yet the bond you are forming amid your pain is one of unspeakable strength and beauty. In all its darkness, I pray you remember that you, your marriage, and your story, hold a profound worthiness no one can take away. 

We all need the gift of being gentle. With ourselves. With each other.

It won’t look the same. You won’t feel the same. It won’t always be beautiful or easy. 
But trust me, this season you’re in won’t be forever. When you’re tired and cranky and just want time alone, give yourself that space. Then go back and remember the love that started it all.

You have that baby because you loved him first. He wants to be with you because he loves you still.

You have that longing because your story isn’t over. It’s still being written.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Rachel Weidner

I'm a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home writer, coffee drinker, and book hoarder. I love taking pictures and eating chocolate. Writing helps me stay sane, so I blog about motherhood, marriage, faith, and everything in between. You can find me on Facebook at Forever Dreaming Writing by Rachel or on Instagram at @foreverdreamingwritngbyrachel.

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading

Dear Helmet Mama, It’s Not Your Fault

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding baby with helmet, color photo

I’m a helmet mama. It’s something I never thought I’d say, but there it is. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Of course, at first, when the doctor referred us to see a specialist for “flat head,” I thought, “Oh, please no. Not my baby.” I’ve seen those babies, and I’ve always felt bad for them and wondered how their heads got that bad. And I’ll be honest, I’d usually pass judgment on the mother of that baby. So how did I end up with my own baby having a helmet on his head? It’s called torticollis—and...

Keep Reading

Thank You to the Nurses Who Cared for My Baby First

In: Baby, Motherhood
Infant in hospital isolette, color photo

I wish I knew who she (or he) was and what she looked like. Was she young or older, experienced or just starting out? How had her weekend been? Was she starting or ending a work shift at 2:30 a.m. that Monday morning when they ran me into the surgery room? The first few days after my son was born, he was kept in intermediate care as we recovered from an emergency C-section that saved both our lives—his by just a few minutes. I occasionally managed to shuffle over to see him, but was pretty weak myself, so the nurses...

Keep Reading

Hey Mama, This Is Your Labor & Delivery Nurse Speaking

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby looking up at labor and delivery nurse and smiling

First of all, mama, I want to congratulate you! Whether this is your first baby or not, I am honored to be here with you through this experience. Before you ask me, no, I do not care if you shaved your you know what. There are plenty of other things I’m thinking of, and that is not one of them. I’m so happy to be here for the birth of you and your baby, but most importantly, I’m happy to be here for YOU. It doesn’t matter to me if you want to breastfeed, it doesn’t matter if you want...

Keep Reading