. . . for Lauren and Lauren: Dear Katie,

July 21, 2013

Dear Katie,

I'm so excited to have a woman that I admire and greatly respect share on my blog today.  Sybil is one of the sweetest and wisest woman I have met through blogging and she has been such an encouragement and blessing to me.  I asked her to share some advice to a new parent and loved it when I read it before our baby was here but love it even more now that I think about it in regards to our sweet Addilyn.  

Hi Friends! I'm Sybil and I blog at Peace it all Together. I am both thrilled and honored to be writing here today. If you're reading this post, it means that Katie's baby girl has been born and that she is spending time in Addilyn's presence, taking in every detail of her new life, as a mommy.
A little about me....I am a 38-year old wife and mom of three. My kids are 10, 8, and 5. My husband and I were both born and raised in the central part of California, and that is where we currently call home.

When Katie asked me if I would write a post about the motherhood lessons I would share with a new mommy, I thought I could say it best in the form of a letter. A letter to Katie, my dear blogging friend, and the newest mommy I know.

Dear Katie,

Motherhood is challenging. Motherhood is blessing. Most days are an appropriate balance of both. So much so that you don't even realize that each have occurred. Some days you will experience so much more of one or the other that your heart will either be full of joy or overwhelmed with fear. At least this has been my experience. 

I am not a perfect mother, and certainly don't feel qualified to offer advice, but there are a few important things I have learned since beginning my journey in parenthood.

Be honest. Among the coos and giggles, and late-night snuggles, there are many things that will happen with your baby and you that may seem strange or wrong. Since every child and mother are different, you may not have read about these things in a book. That's okay. Just don't be afraid to tell someone how you're feeling. 
If you've had a good day, share all the things you loved about it. If it seems like you just had the worst day of your life, tell someone that too. If you tell the right person, there will be no judgment, just love and support.

Take photos. As a new mom you will be tired and, as a result, your memory of your baby's early life may be affected. I am forever grateful for the photos I took of my son as an infant. Because most of what I remember from his first year are the struggles, it is wonderful to have photos proving that he did smile and he did sleep, even though it was rare. These photos are the reminders we mothers need, especially on the rough days. 
Also, as your little girl gets older, she will likely love looking at these photos of herself. You can use them to tell her the story of her birth and early life, making even more memories with her.

Ask for help, not advice. As you know from your experiences with infertility, all women have different experiences with motherhood, from conception to birth to caring for an infant. The advice that one mother would give may not work for you. So, instead of asking for advice, ask for help. 
If you need a shower, a nap, or a walk by yourself, find someone to sit with the baby for a few minutes. Ask a friend to bring you lunch or dinner. Wake up your husband in the middle of the night to soothe the baby, so you can take a break.
Most importantly, pray for God's wisdom as you make decisions with this life that He has entrusted to you. Don't forget you are not alone.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what type of diapers you use, where your child sleeps, whether you breast feed for a month or a year or make your own baby food. There are no guarantees with any of these. There are no rules. There is only you and your little girl and what works for the two of you. And, all that really matters is...

Love. The greatest gift we have to offer our children is our love. When asked to state the greatest commandment, Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind." and "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Because if you love, you are are putting the needs of another above yourself, you are working to promote their best-good. If you do that, you can't go wrong.

With love and prayers,

Thank you so much Sybil for your beautiful letter!  What wonderful, wise and loving advice.  I know I will be reading this post many times in the future.  I look forward to hopefully some new blog posts this week, as well as catching up on some of your lives soon too! I miss you all!



Simply LKJ said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Amen. As a mother of 2 girls ages almost 20 and 23, I could not agree more. I love her suggestion of asking for help rather than advice. Believe me...you will get your share of advice whether you asked for it or not. But, do NOT be shy about asking for help. It is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness as a new parent. It means you recognize what is best for you, your sweet child and your family. Parenting is HARD! It can be exhausting at times. There are plenty of people ready to jump in and love on you and your sweet family...they just need to be asked. They don't offer for fear of overstepping their boundaries and do not want to make you feel inadequate should they suggest they help. They do however mean well. Praying all is well, and you are all now home.

Simply LKJ said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Oh, and a bit of good news...Elie got a teaching job! Special Ed, High School, AND...she is the HEAD Cheerleading coach!!!! Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers.

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thanks so much for letting me share! Can't wait to see more of your baby girl and to watch as you grow and change as her mother. Love you!

still being [molly] said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

this is beautiful <3

Denise said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

beautifully written.

Susan Jeffries said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Just beautiful Sybil! It is so nice to see Christian moms supporting and encouraging each other. Blessings! Susan

Helene in Between said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

oh i love sybil!! such a great post!!

Amanda Bumgarner said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing! Great post :)

Autumn said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Great post!

Kim said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I love this. All of these things are so true. I'm grateful for the photos I took, the time we were able to spend together (I was a stay-at-home mom for the first 9 months of her life, and have been a stay-at-home mom again for the last 8), and the pictures I have of that time to remind me that it wasn't all colic and breast-feeding issues. And of course, all the love we have been able to share. As long as you make an effort every day to love her the best way you know how, you really can't go wrong.