I worried he’d be born on Halloween. With an October 30 due date, it certainly could have happened. He’d have to share his birthday with trick-or-treaters, candy comas, and scary movies. I detested the concept and avoided all labor inducing activities for a full forty-eight hours. (If you’ve ever been nine months pregnant, you understand the sacrifice involved in this decision.)
My nine-pound, linebacker-sized baby finally arrived, almost a full week late on Election Day. But, my propensity to worry wasn’t cured by this one favor from heaven. Instead, having a baby ushered in a host of new things to worry about.
Was he eating enough?
Why did he spit up so much?
Was all this crying normal?
Daily I found new causes for stress and anxiety. A friend announced at playgroup that her baby started sleeping through the night. (We could barely make it three hours in a row.) Another friend posted on social media that her baby rolled over. (My big guy didn’t seem to have any interest in rocking or rolling.)
Am I Good Enough?
So, I worried, researched and panicked. I spent way too much time googling, “What’s wrong with my baby?” The Internet just pours lighter fluid on anxiety’s flames.
I worried about my baby, yes. And, (what’s more true), I worried about myself.
Am I enough? Can I be a good mom?
Will I fail at motherhood—the biggest challenge of my life?
This November marks fourteen years. I can hardly believe that my baby now legally sits in the passenger seat of our minivan, feet resting on the floor mat. He grew and matured. Somehow he mastered eating, sleeping, talking, walking, and making it to the potty. Now, he reads Tolkien, quotes Churchill, and studies computer coding for fun. He even does the dishes.
Despite all my fears, the child made it to the eighth grade. The credit does not go to me.
An Ode to God’s Faithfulness
As we drive to a soccer game he’ll referee, I think of how different is to have him sit there beside me. No more contorting my arm backwards to shove the pacifier back in his mouth. No more lugging a twenty-pound diaper bag with us on every trip out of the house. The baby days are over and yet, my worry often isn’t.
I’ve heard that the best reminder of God’s faithfulness is to look back at all he’s done. And, I see how God’s hand never left us through those long, colic-filled nights.
I do remember his blessings, but somehow, I never outgrew my new mom anxiety.
Our problems are different now, bigger some might say. He can clearly tell me when he’s ready for dinner, but getting him to talk about tension in a friendship or feelings after losing a close soccer game rates a little more difficult.
I wish I had the courage to trust more. I wish I had more faith to remember that all my worry is wasted.
Then there’s the passage in Matthew where Jesus clearly instructs us not to worry. The verse that sticks out to me most is Matthew 6:27 which reads, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
None of my mommy worry has added a single day (or minute) to my life or to his.
None of my mommy worry ever made him fall asleep faster or helped him make new friends on the playground.
And, none of my mommy worry ever brought down a fever, soothed a disappointment, or cured a case of childhood anxiety.
But, the Gospel does.
If I allow the Gospel to speak into my parenting, I realize that the title of “Mom” has limitations the title of “God” doesn’t. Surrendering my desire for control, adequacy, knowledge, and (if I’m honest) super powers, to the only one who actually possesses all these things is the only avenue out of my worry and into something too few mothers experience. Peace.