A 1st time mom verses a 3rd time mom.

Nick and I can usually spot out first time moms and dads pretty easily now, especially when traveling. We were there once before, almost 5 years ago now. It's not the bags in their eyes, the cups of Starbucks or the huge over stuffed bags that give them away. When you're a first time mom you give your spouse that look when the baby cries, the "what do we do?" look. We see them bouncing back and forth to "shh" their little baby because the thought of them screaming on the plane is something they have been dreading. They are scared of what others might think and the unknown can be overwhelming.

Fast forward a few years later and maybe a few more kids and there is a very different scene, It might look something like this: They have the security check system down. Slip on shoes, one bag, and they only bring one of their kids. One bag filled with just the necessities: a few diapers, a plastic bag for the blowout they know will happen, some water, a change of clothes and that's about it. The baby cries and mom and dad just laugh or maybe even ignore the noise because they know their baby is just tired and will go to sleep soon. They walk onto the airplane with ease and look for other families to sit next to because if one screams they all will scream. 

A first time mom is in experiment mode. Learning what it means to be a mom and to care for a child. They do an amazing job trying to meet their childs every need. A third time mom knows how fast time will fly. How in hind sight all of those scary and unexpected moments will be fond memories of her early days as a parent. 

Whether you are a first time or third time mom the love you have for your kids is the same, unconditional. I have learned so much over the years but what I have learned most is to not sweat the small stuff because one day you will wish you had those moments back. 

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Blowout right as we entered the sky and multiple projectile spit ups. It's all part of the fun!  

Blowout right as we entered the sky and multiple projectile spit ups. It's all part of the fun!  

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Snug as a bug in a rug. Also, PSA Southwest now makes you bring birth certificates or st least a picture of it on your phone. Ooops

food for thought.

Guest Post by: Brooke Ventrua

Brooke Ventura is the associate editor at Modern Reformation magazine.  She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and daughter.  

As a first-time mother, I’d always thought that potty-training was going to be the war-to-end-all-childhood-wars—my own mother loves to tell stories of how she and my father were convinced I’d be going to my high school prom in diapers.  Apparently, only the promise of M&Ms or new books was going to get me to change my ways.  

Elizabeth may or may not take after me in that respect—at nine months, it’s anyone’s guess.  But if the struggle is even moderately like what we went through today, I’m ordering my Ambien now.  

According to the books, Elizabeth should have been feeding herself for a few months now.  There are reasons why I didn’t attempt it before, but I didn’t think a slight delay would be a problem—she sticks anything and everything in her mouth, so why should chopped up bananas be an issue?

Besides the fact that bananas are starchy and difficult to pick up, even for an adult—especially when you’re eating them off a slick plastic surface that provides no traction for chubby, inexperienced fingers—I think that it was hard because she’d never done it before.  The concept of feeding herself—instead of receiving food from me—was confusing and frightening.  The act of eating is elemental and intimate.  Adults take it for granted that when we eat, we’re nourishing our bodies and giving ourselves the ability to move, think, and work.  We forget that the food we eat has a significant impact on whether or not we flourish or falter as human beings.  It’s possible that a similar connection may be made between how we receive food as children, and how we relate to others as adults—to give food to another human being is to strengthen and sustain him in a profoundly emotional and physical way.  When that ritual is broken, and the one receiving the food is expected to give it to herself, what does it mean?

Whatever it meant to Elizabeth, it wasn’t good—the screams of frustration and the tears that poured over her anguished little cheeks was heartbreaking to see.  ‘Why aren’t you helping me?  Why can’t we use the spoon?  Why won’t you feed me?’  It took her anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes just to get the banana in her hand, and even then, it didn’t always make it in her mouth.  At one point, she simply face-planted onto the tray and sucked them up, like a little vacuum.  The hardest part was seeing the sense of betrayal and despair in her face.  My husband would say that I’m reading way too much into it—and he’d probably be right—but then, he also would have started feeding her himself two minutes after she began crying.  

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, St. Paul exhorted the fathers not to provoke their children in anger, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).  As one who has felt provoked by her own father, this is something I take seriously—my daughter isn’t my serf, but a fellow image-bearer and sister in Christ.  

Here’s the catch—my daughter didn’t come with an instruction manual.  There’s no booklet that says that when I introduce ‘feeding yourself’ at nine months instead of seven, Elizabeth is going to feel like there’s been a capricious change in the program and be provoked to anger.  There are no guidelines that give me insight into how God has made her that enable me to be careful and wise in my motherhood.  I’m literally making it up as I go along, watching her, learning about her, always praying for her and for myself, banking on the promise of salvation that is for me and for my child, and all who are far off, everyone whom Christ calls to himself (Acts 2:39).

Starting with bananas was a bad idea, but I persisted because I wanted the benefit of her increased development more than I wanted her temporary comfort.   There will probably be more scenes like this—where I’m trying to bring her up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, but where she feels like she’s being provoked to anger.  In an economy of sinners, the distinguishing line between provovation and instruction  is always blurred.  I’m never going to bring her up from purely pious motives, and she will feel provoked simply because she’s not getting her own way.  When those days come, I will remember that the promise of salvation is not just for me, but for my darling daughter, and that neither my best intentions nor my worst sin can change that.  

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this body is amazing.

 

Guest Post by: Aleigh Moore

It was the day after I had Oaklyn...

I was standing in our hospital room's bathroom about to tie my gown back up after nursing my new little baby.

She was snoozing away in her daddy's arms.

She was content, he was smitten, and I was sore/exhausted.

Right before grabbing the tie I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

My eyes widened and my already cloudy mind panicked.

"Why do I still look pregnant? She's out of there. What is still in there?"

The nurse came in a few hours later.

"I'm here to check your swelling."

"Okay good, my ankles seem really puffy and my fingers are extra swollen."

The nurse touched my ankles and looked up at me "Yeah you are still really swollen. I'll be back to check on you tomorrow before you leave."

"Oh, that's it" I thought, "I'm just swollen, it will all go back to normal soon enough."

The next day I was getting dressed to go home.

I brought a sweatshirt and leggings.

Very, very, tight, pre-pregnancy leggings.

There was no way I was going home in those. Especially with that diaper I had to wear.

Thank goodness I had the stretchy pants I wore to the hospital.

The next few days I spent much time weeding through my closet trying to find clothes that weren't too small or too big because I wasn't the size before pregnancy or during pregnancy.

Thanks to nursing, constantly being on the move with a baby that loved being rocked, and a fussy newborn that didn't like when I left her to go eat... I started to shrink rather quickly.

I was back in most of my pre pregnancy clothes with the exception of some pairs of jeans, in a few weeks.

But the loose skin, the stretch marks I didn't know existed, and the lost muscle definition haunted me every time I saw my reflection. 

I know every new mother thinks it. Of course, some more often than others...

"I miss my body before kids."

I was more limber, I was stronger, my skin was tighter, you could see my abs poking through, and I felt comfortable in my own skin.

What happened?

I'll tell you what happened...

Something amazing happened.

I grew a child in my own body for 9 months and 5 days.

I stretched and often ached but I did that.

My body did that.

I gave birth to a child.

I'll spare you the details, but that's no walk in the park.

I gave Oaklyn life.

My body gave Oaklyn life.

I have fed her for almost 7 months.

I have nourished and helped her grow.

My body has supplied her with food, it knew how to give her food.

I have rocked her and held her til my arms feel weak but she has been comforted during the fussiest times by being held close next to me.

My body pushed through the longest nights to help calm a little baby that was hurting, hungry, and had her days and nights mixed up.

When my mind told me I couldn't, my body kept going.

My body has recovered from the most amazing miracle and excruciating pain any human will know, because it is amazing.

It's hard to see the changes made and it's hard to work towards what I want to become.

I'm aloud to have a few thoughts, on occasion, of disappointment. 

I wouldn't be human if I didn't.

But, it is also so important to remember that this body has been through much sacrifice to bring forth the miracle of life.

And that is the most important thing this body will do.

I will still continue to search youtube to find that miracle workout to get rid of that darn pooch... but I will also strive to remember, and I hope that you mothers will too, that these bodies of ours sure have done some incredible things. 

Give yourself a little more credit because, your body is amazing

All my love,

Aleigh Joy

photo by Erryn Kowallis Photography

photo by Erryn Kowallis Photography