Two nights before Katherine was born, I wept. I sat in bed and just cried.
I will always remember the conversation that Spencer and I had. It was the last night just the two of us would spend in our home. The next day family would arrive and the following day we would have a child.
Life would never be the same.
I knew it was coming. I had almost ten months to prepare. But no preparation takes away that top of roller coaster feeling. Preparing doesn’t make that final moment before the leap any easier to handle.
I mourned the things Spencer and I dreamed of doing and would no longer be able to actualize. I mourned the quiet Saturday mornings we spent together and the sweet Sunday afternoons. I mourned the adventures we couldn’t embark upon and the risks we couldn’t take. I mourned the life we pictured we’d have before having kids.
I simply wept and mourned in the arms of my husband. We shared such intimate conversation and prayed such raw prayers.
When constant excitement from others bombards you, how can you share your sadness and questioning of God’s timing with them? What do you do when your authenticity would disappoint or hurt or confuse others?
I learned I don’t have to be vulnerable with everyone. But when I chose to be vulnerable with the Lord and with my husband, fears were eliminated, worries were destroyed, questions were answered, joys were delivered.
I walked into labor on October 16th already exhausted from a hard pregnancy and already emotional from crazy hormones and dwelling on a changing life. (Read more about that here.) When 11:19 pm came and Katherine finally arrived, I expected some sort of physical relief. But the pain continued and I was completely wiped out from everything.
I jumped from a hard pregnancy to an exhausting labor to the crazy life with a newborn. And those first six weeks of life with Katherine here was hard. Very hard. For both of us. I was an emotional wreck.
People offered to help us out whenever we needed it, but I didn’t even know what to ask for. People asked if I was loving motherhood, but all I could do was smile and nod. People wanted to know if she was a good baby and how she was sleeping, but I had no idea how to answer that without having to fight back tears. Some people tell you to get out of the house while others tell you to stay home. Some people tell you to feed your baby on demand while other tell you to stick to a schedule. Everyone has differing, strong opinions on how to get babies to sleep. And everyone provides plenty of comments, stories, and advice.
People asked why we didn’t take weekly update pregnancy pictures or maternity pictures or lots of hospital pictures or newborn pictures. (And social media has a way of making you feel bad about that even if you aren’t asked.) Through pregnancy it was enough to just do laundry and dishes, keep a clean house, and make dinner. Once Katherine came it was an accomplishment to just get through the day and stay sane and emotionally stable. Nursing was anything but easy the first two weeks. (I kept telling myself what the pediatrician at the hospital said, “Just get through those first two weeks and you’ll be fine,” which turned out to be true.)
I’ve slowly learned to take everything people say with a grain of salt. What works for your baby might not work for mine. What helped you might not help me. I wish I hadn’t read all the books I had. My head was filled with opposing ideas and differing views. I’ve learned that you need to have grace with yourself on the journey of parenthood. And I’ve learned it’s okay to do things differently than others; you just do what’s right for you and your baby.
It’s hard for me to admit to others that the journey has been hard. I’m a strong person, know perseverance, and live with joy, but those first months were exceptionally hard. I finally can admit I had postpartum depression. I just wasn’t myself and didn’t know how to get back to it.
Life wasn’t the same.
But once we hit that six week mark, the sun began to shine a little again. I was no longer a complete emotional wreck. As I went in to my doctor’s appointment, I was reminded of the verse he shared with us, Psalm 127:3, which declares that children are a gift from the Lord. My mind and heart were renewed that day. God entrusted Katherine to us. That thought overwhelmed me and allowed my mindset to completely shift.
I’ve learned that what might be a challenge for me, might not be a challenge for others, and that doesn’t mean I’m weak. Every circumstance and every person is unique and different, especially when it comes to pregnancy and babies. I’ve learned that the Lord reminds us of such simple truths when we need it most. He restores and refreshes, redeems and renews. His grace is truly enough each day. I’ve never been more certain of that. I haven’t slept through the night in over eight months. In my exhaustion, He constantly sustains me.
Life will never be the same.
And I’m so very glad. My mourning has turned into rejoicing as we build our family.
I rejoice that God has trusted us with Katherine in His timing. I rejoice that we have the opportunity to love, nurture, and raise this little girl. I rejoice that she is so healthy. I rejoice that I have an incredibly amazing husband to go through this life with. I rejoice for this life God has granted us and all that awaits us. I rejoice in the mundane; I rejoice in the chaos; I rejoice in all I’m learning. I rejoice with every smile, every little giggle, every new discovery my little girl makes. I rejoice in each new day with my family and cannot wait to see how the Lord grows us.
Those first six weeks were rough. But we got through them. I’m so very thankful for the hard times. They make the good times so much sweeter.
And life is all the more sweet with our little Katherine Elizabeth by our side.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.