Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

For my 4-week-old daughter’s baptism, we had a small group of family and friends at the church with us and a few attending virtually. It was our first real outing after she was born. I prepped for three days to make sure it would be smooth, knowing my family, my parenting, and my post-baby appearance would all be on display. 

Afterward, I connected with all of our guests and received calls and texts of congratulations and well wishes for our daughter. Attached to all those sweet conversations were compliments for meabout how great I looked and how together I seemed. These comments were made genuinely, but with each one, I found myself uncomfortable and unsure how to respond. 

RELATED: Admire the Baby, But Don’t Forget to Nurture the Mother

They didn’t know how when they told me I didn’t even look like I’ve just had a baby, that it hurt my feelings for reasons I can’t articulate or even really understand myself. As though showing any evidence of just having had a baby is something terrible. But the irony is . . . I made a careful effort trying to make myself look like I hadn’t just had a baby. 

I suppose at the end of it, it just felt like I was somehow tricking everyone. 

When they said I seemed to have it all together, they didn’t see the days of prepthe thoughtful choosing of outfits, the strategic packing of diapers, snacks, and extra clothes, the obsessive coordination of the day’s timing. They didn’t see the spit up I had to carefully wash and comb out of my hair right before we left the house. They didn’t see that in order to take 15 minutes to style my hair in the first place, I had to spend an equal amount of time negotiating screen time with my toddler. 

When they said I looked amazing, they didn’t see the number of times I stood in front of the mirror in a sort of dress rehearsal, examining how my postpartum body looked in my chosen outfit. They don’t know I was wearing two layers of shapewear in order to tighten the look of my very squishy belly. They don’t see that at four weeks postpartum, I was still bleeding. 

They didn’t see that as I stood holding my baby in that church, in the most important moment of her baptism, half of my brain was elsewhere. It was worrying about the eyes that might be on me, whether they could see the milk leaking through my dress or the exhaustion on my face. 

Do I wish they saw all of this? I don’t know. This is the complicated insecurity that has grown in me since becoming a mother. 

I want to make it look effortless, but I’m also desperate for them to acknowledge how hard it is. 

I want them to think I’m a natural mother but also realize how much I’ve had to learn. 

I need to know they approve of my post-baby body, but I can’t stand for anyone to comment on it. 

RELATED: You Are More Than Your Postpartum Body

I don’t know what type of compliment would land well with me right now. But it doesn’t matter. What I realized through this reflection is that I need to spend a lot less time worrying about how I look and seem to others.

I need to put away the scale and just hold my baby, soaking in the way she looks at me. I need to stop worrying about the mess in my house and sit on the floor with my toddler, noticing the ways he grows and learns each day. I need to live in the little moments each day of feeling empowered, important, and sometimes even superhuman. I need to let others’ opinions, good or bad, bounce off me without a second thought. Instead, the only thing I’ll allow in will be the love I feel from my family. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Katie Oakley

Katie lives in Ontario, Canada with her amazing husband, 2-year-old son, and newborn daughter. Until recently, Katie has always been very career-focused but has recently embraced life at home with her littles. 

A C-Section Mom Simply Needs You to Hear Her Story

In: Baby, Motherhood
Newborn baby crying in doctor's hands

As an expecting mother, I was told all about the sleepless nights. People made sure to give their opinion on whether I should bottle feed, breastfeed, or exclusively pump. I was told which swaddle to buy, which sound machine worked best, and when to introduce a pacifier. They told me about sleep training but that it really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t get any sleep anyway. Whenever I would mention how scared I was to give birth, I’d always get the same response: oh. honey, don’t worry, your body will know what to do. I remember listening to calming meditations...

Keep Reading

Feed Them—and Other Ways To Help NICU Parents

In: Baby, Motherhood
Parents holding hands of premature baby in NICU

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our reality as NICU parents to a healthy, brilliant NICU graduate. Our child was born very prematurely and spent weeks in the NICU so he could grow and stabilize. My first experience as a mother of a baby was shattered in so many ways. Trauma still lingers, but I am so grateful for all I have learned from our time beside our little baby in his isolette bed. One thing I learned was that some people who really want to help support NICU parents really don’t know how they can. Here are some...

Keep Reading

From Baby to Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy asleep with legs tucked under his belly

The sweet snuggles and sighs are slowly making way for more crawling climbing and exploring each day. And just when I think my baby is gone, you snuggle into my chest, convincing me I’m wrong. I watch as you excitedly chase after your sis and giggle as you share with me your slobbery kiss. RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows Daytime hours bring playful adventures as I watch my baby leave, but then a sleeping bum curled in the air makes me believe that these cherished baby moments haven’t...

Keep Reading

Having Two Under Two Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and newborn lying next to each other on a bed

My baby was 14 months old when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. He had just learned how to walk, still requiring me to walk behind him holding both of his hands above his head so he wouldn’t topple over. In other words, my baby was still very much a baby, and I couldn’t believe I’d be adding another baby to the mix. Excited, but mostly terrified, I researched and read more articles than I can count on what it’s like to be a parent of two under two. These articles more often than not use...

Keep Reading

I Thought Failure to Thrive Meant I Was Failing

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby drinking bottle, color photo

Failure. That’s all I read. It’s all I saw. It was the only thing I could focus on. I’m sure the doctor said it at some point during the appointment, but it wasn’t until it was right there staring at me in black and white that it clicked . . . “failure to thrive.” I was officially failing my daughter. A couple of years down the road, I now realize how irrational and far from the truth that was, but at the time, it was all I could focus on. I wish more than anything that they had a better,...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

New Mama, It Might Not Be Okay Now but It Will Be

In: Baby, Motherhood
New baby looking at camera, black and white image

It was 2:30 in the morning, I was sitting on the bed with tears streaming down my face, my 7-week-old son crying in my arms. Everything hurt—my engorged breasts, my cracked and bleeding nipples, my back where I had taken two epidurals. It hurt to sit, not only from birth but from the stitches, and I was tired. “It’s okay,” my husband said, rubbing my back in small conciliatory circles, but it wasn’t okay. When they placed my son in my arms for the first time I cried tears of joy, made promises for the future, bolstered by the love I...

Keep Reading

“Please Help Mommy to Be Patient, and the Baby to Stay Alive in Her Tummy.”

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler with hand on mother's pregnant belly

“Please help Mommy to be patient, and the baby to stay alive in her tummy.” It was my little girl’s daily prayer during my pregnancy. That prayer for patience—it stung a bit even though I had told her she could pray that I would be patient. It wasn’t necessarily that she or her sisters were testing my limits, but this pregnancy rage had gotten to be a real thing. If there is one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I can’t do it on my own. I need the help of my Heavenly Father, and I need others. I...

Keep Reading

I Know I’m Done, but I’ll Always Want Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother touches nose to baby's smiling face, close up color photo

I was sorting clothes into tubs to donate, consign, or keep for my 1-year-old, and I came across a newborn outfit amongst a bunch of bigger kid clothes. I had gotten rid of all of my 1-year-old son’s newborn and infant things last year, but he still seems small and baby-like to me, compared to my 5-year-old. But I’m telling you, when I held up that teeny-tiny outfit, my heart broke. It looked too small to be real. To fit anything other than a doll. But, it did. My older son wore it on his first Christmas. I know I’m...

Keep Reading

I Lost You Just as I Started Loving You

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
first trimester ultrasound image of baby

I didn’t know I was already losing you just as I was starting to love you. I didn’t know while I was so excited and hopeful for all the things to come, you were already leaving my body. And my heart. I didn’t know something like this could happen in what feels like both an instant and an eternity. That it would feel like it was just yesterday we saw those two pink lines and yet here we are, eight weeks later, without even an ultrasound picture to hold. I didn’t know how angry it would make me that life...

Keep Reading