We have a new little one! We welcomed sweet baby Ivie into our family a week ago. Already, I can’t imagine life without her. It seems like all we do is feed her, change her diapers, and hold her as she drifts off to sleep. But occasionally, she stays awake long enough for us to look into her curious eyes to catch a glimpse of who she is. In these quiet moments, I have had some time to ponder. And I have learned some important lessons that change my perspective on motherhood and my children:
When Ivie was first born and placed on my chest to meet, hold and comfort her, I was instantly filled with a huge amount of love. I had never seen her before, and yet, my heart expanded to make space for her. I had a surprising thought come to me: If I had to go through it all again—meaning the challenges of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery—in order to have her, I would do it in a heartbeat (that might sound like a light statement, but this whole process has gotten harder for me each time). If the sacrifices were considered an “investment” and she is the “return” then it is well in our favor to make that investment again and again. I’m so glad I had this realization, because there were times during my pregnancy when I wondered if I could really go through this again. But I’ve decided if I stay focused on the outcome, then I can do it. Not only can I do it, but I want to do it. I remember a conversation with my sister-in-law after she had an extremely dangerous delivery with her sixth child. Both she and the baby were in danger of their lives, but were miraculously saved. I expected to hear her say that she was probably done having children. But when asked the question, she sincerely offered, “I hope we can have more.” I marveled at her attitude. Now I think I understand.
Our three other daughters got the chance to come into our delivery room soon after Ivie was born. They gathered around and watched with amazement as she was cleaned off, measured, checked, and diapered. Then they beamed with excitement as they each had a chance to hold her for the first time. Throughout this first week, their interest has only increased. All day long they come to us with their hands washed, asking if they can hold her. They talk to her, sing songs to her, stare at her and laugh at her funny faces. They want to lift and carry her, burp her, change her diapers, choose her clothes, and constantly offer her a binki. In essence, they LOVE her! We acquired another great asset this week: a trampoline! It’s been the perfect distraction to give me some quiet alone time with the baby. Well, the other night, Millie made a statement: “Mom, if I had to trade one of them [the trampoline or baby Ivie], I’d trade the trampoline. Ivie is specialer.” I can’t think of a better gift that we could have given our children than to have another sibling to love and care for, and experience life with.
Remember Who They AreLate at night, when the house is quiet and I have Ivie to myself, I stare into her face and get lost in thoughts of who she really is. Her body is limp and helpless. She is completely dependent on us for everything. She is just learning to move her hands and fingers, and click her tongue to show us she is hungry. And yet, when I look deep into her eyes, I see that she is a full-grown spirit. She is a beloved daughter of God, who has come to earth to gain a body and experience her earthly test. When I remember who she is and where she came from, I feel honored with the responsibility to be her mother. With this perspective, I want to do all I can to provide for her needs. I don’t feel burdened by the care that she requires. Instead, I have joy in this tremendous blessing of motherhood.
All Children are as Precious as Newborns
As I look into Ivie’s face, I marvel at her innocence and purity. She is new and sweet and priceless. I often have flashbacks to when I held our other daughters as newborns. I remember when they were just as precious, innocent, and sweet. And I’ve had the realization that our older children are still just as precious and innocent as Ivie is. It’s harder to remember this sometimes (like when they make sad choices to disobey or talk back to us). But having a newborn again has helped me cherish our older children for who they really are. I’ve been reminded that even though they are growing up, they are still just as dependent on us for our love, mercy, care, and sacrifice. I’ve had more love in my heart for them this week, and cherished them for who they really are.