By Kim Wagner
“Being a mother has been so much harder than I imagined. I have been in tears many times over the past few weeks and in the evening I have been very depressed. The only thing that helps is knowing that God is with me and He is teaching me through this process.”
This new mom’s words took me back several years. We were living in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, with our firstborn. My husband drove our only vehicle into the city for morning classes, followed by afternoon and evening responsibilities at the church where he served as pastor. I was left home alone all day, with no vehicle, no family or friends close by . . . alone with a crying baby. And it was hard.
At the time I felt like I’d never experience a restful night again, a relaxing moment, or even have the energy to accomplish cooking an entire meal. I felt like my daughter’s all day crying jags was proof I was a failure as a mom. I’d like to say that I drew closer to Christ during those months, but actually I spiraled into a pit of depression for awhile. I didn’t get dressed most days and felt like I’d never live a “normal” life again. But today, as I hold my first granddaughter, those days seem like someone else’s life.
If you’re struggling as a new mom, here are a few things to consider:
• Check out health issues: If you’re experiencing bouts of depression and extremely
low energy levels, talk to your doctor. You may need extra iron or vitamins. When my
daughter was six weeks old, I found out I was extremely anemic and that played a huge
role in feeling like I couldn’t cope with the load of a new baby.
• Ask for help: Invite a mom over who is further along than you are. Share your heart,
express your concerns, and ask for advice. Don’t let it become a negative gripe session,
but use this time to get some beneficial input.
• Environment: Let the sun shine in! Set a goal of one fun activity per day—nothing big
or strenuous—something as simple as taking the baby for a stroll in the sun. Don’t stay
in bed with the shades drawn and the lights off. Expose yourself to lots of light for a
• Laugh: Find a source of laughter — perhaps it’s a good-humored friend who knows you
need regular doses of comic relief. Choose to laugh rather than give into self-pity when
you’re battling for your sanity.
• Grab onto one word: Find a good daily devotional and read it while nursing or doing
an early morning feeding (even if your eyes are half shut) and look for one word you can
cling to that day. Scribble down the word (or verse) and keep it in your pocket to refer to
throughout the day.
• Cry out: Talk to Jesus. Let Him know you’re struggling. Let Him hear how you feel and
ask Him to help you see tangible evidence of His care (it is there—sometimes we’re just too wiped to see it).
• Worship: Fill your house with praise. Play lots of uplifting music. Check out my favorite
worship CD (it’s a lullaby journey through Scripture).
In my mind’s eye, I can see myself rocking and walking with a crying baby who wouldn’t give it up . . . that mom who thought she’d never get a moment’s rest or live a “normal” life again. And you know what . . . at about six months it all changed. That little one found out she actually liked sleeping. She took on a precious personality. She became the joy of our lives. Hang in there new mom—it’s challenging, but worth it!
(Moms, what is God teaching you about motherhood? Leave a comment below, with your e-mail address, telling us what you’re learning, and we’ll pick five of you to receive a copy of Erin Davis’ new book, Beyond Bath Time.)
KIMBERLY WAGNER is married to her favorite pastor, LeRoy Wagner. Their children include Rachel and her husband Adam, Caleb and his wife Lindsey, plus a growing tribe of grandchildren! Kim’s passion is Christ, and she desires to ignite women’s pursuit of God’s glory. She is a frequent guest on the Revive Our Hearts radio program, as well as a regular contributor to the True Woman blog. Kim has written several devotionals and resource materials for women and loves encouraging women to become students of the Word. She is the author of “Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior.” You can connect with her through her website: http://www.kimberlywagner.org/ where she’s transparent about what God is teaching her.