With a new baby comes a myriad of love and joy, but along with the good comes another side. Newborns require near-constant attention and care, and this often leads to a lack of sleep, a lack of energy, and, occasionally, some mental health decline. Many moms experience anxiety and brief “baby blues” within the first weeks after giving birth, and up to 20% can experience more intense symptoms–postpartum depression.
Whether you’ve dealt with postpartum depression or struggled with fatigue, it can be hard to juggle newborn care along with physical and spiritual care. We asked CHM moms of young children for their tips on how to stay steadfast in their relationships with God and the care of their newborns.
“During late-night feedings or mid-morning naps while your baby is asleep in your arms, take the moment to connect with God. Share with Him your joys and struggles–He wants to hear it all, and He wants to give you the grace and strength to bring glory to His name through your vocation of parenthood.”
“There will be times when reading from a physical book–even the Bible–feels difficult, particularly when you’ve got your arms full with a hungry, crying baby. However, in today’s world, spending time in the Word can be done through many formats. Setting up a variety of tools beforehand (hard copy book, audio, app, video, etc.) is a good pre-labor project. Here are some examples:
- Download a Bible audio app for those busy days when you can’t sleep or your hands are preoccupied, but you do have the energy and capacity to listen to God’s Word. Even if you fall asleep, hearing the Word of God as you slumber can only help.
- In a similar fashion, perhaps find some YouTube videos of the Scripture being read aloud.
“Lean into the body of Christ—more specifically, your local church. Ask some key friends and mentors to take turns texting you a Scripture verse along with an encouraging note or a written out prayer for the day. Establish ahead of time that late nights and little energy means your responses will be limited. Perhaps you can set up a schedule where their texts come just before bed, so you get a spiritual pick-me-up when you wake up for a midnight or early morning feeding.”
Katlyn Stryker, CHM member
“I remembered the Psalms and how the Psalmist’s honesty brought closeness with God. In our troubles, it can feel as if God is miles away because our pain or despair is so palpable—when in fact, God is nearer than ever. Specifically, Psalm 94:17-19 (NLT) has been near to my heart:
Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
“I’ve met God as my sustainer as He carried me through days of physical exhaustion. I didn’t know I could survive and still be a good mom; there was a stretch of 48 hours where I didn’t get to sleep or a break from parenting when my husband was sick. God reminded me of the story of Elijah when he wished himself dead and God provided him rest and food so that he could carry on. Elijah’s hardships didn’t magically go away, but God certainly sustained and revitalized him (1 Kings 19:5-18).”
Newborn baby care
“I found that having a newborn baby involved a lot of sitting. Sitting and holding, sitting and nursing, sitting and playing, etc. It’s very easy to nurse your baby with one hand and scroll mindlessly on your phone with the other. I realized early on that I didn’t want my baby to look up at me and notice that my attention was elsewhere. In those early days, try not to miss a single opportunity to look into their eyes and bond with them. As you sit with them, intentionally choose to talk to them, pray over them, or read aloud to them. For me, it was about recognizing my priorities and acting with intention. Choosing to engage with my baby rather than my phone was a small but invaluable investment.”
“You need a pile of snacks and hydrating liquids near your nursing and/or feeding station. For some, spiritual strength–and logical thinking–can deplete quickly when the body isn’t also fed physically. Women are supposed to eat and drink twice as much while breastfeeding, so taking care of yourself physically is important for cognitive and emotional functioning.”
Katlyn Stryker, CHM member
“Remember: God designed you to be a mother. No matter what, He has set every moment in place. Trust your instincts. You will know what is best for you and your baby’s health. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a mother. You are unique by God’s hand. Don’t feel burdened by needing to ask for help. If you are overwhelmed with daily tasks, recovery after birth, or even need some personal time alone, let those around you help. You aren’t any less of a mother by doing so.”
Lauren Hunter, CHM member
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