Thirteen. That’s the number of pregnancy and child care books I purchased to prepare for my daughter. I was so worried about not knowing or doing the right thing for her; I didn’t want to fail at being a mom. So I read and googled and asked questions. I spent hours each day preparing, like being a mom was a test and if I studied hard enough I would get a perfect score.
My husband and I were told we’d never have biological children. I knew there were different ways of becoming a mother and each journey was just as beautiful as the next, but it still stung. I tried not to dwell on what I felt I had lost and focus on the promise that God’s timing was perfect.
A year and a half later, we had a surprise positive pregnancy test. With it came infinite happiness, but just as much reservation. Would our baby develop healthily? Can I be the mother I desire to be? Will my child love me? It hurt so badly to hear we wouldn’t be pregnant and I didn’t want to feel that way again. I didn’t want to ruin anything. I spent my entire pregnancy with the feeling of inadequacy tucked under my maternity jeans.
The day she was born was the day those worries and fears were erased. I had never changed a diaper or spent more than a few hours with a newborn, but I knew I was made for her and she was made for me. Holding her instilled a confidence in myself I didn’t know existed. I wasn’t going to be perfect, but I didn’t need to be.
What those thirteen books would never teach me was to trust myself as a mother. There are days when I have exhausted every soothing technique and she’s still crying. I’m still learning how to burp her and one day I’ll be able to clip her fingernails. But now I know I’m not less than a mom for not having those instincts. I know the biggest instinct to trust is to love her.
As mamas we are blessed with one of the most amazing roles in our children’s life, but also the hardest. It’s not easy to trust your motherly instinct everyday, but when you feel like that just remember your instinct to love and care for your babies trumps everything else.
I keep positive prints and quotes around our home to help remind me of these truths. When I’m frazzled or tired, I turn to these words of encouragement and take the rest of the day one moment at a time.
I’ve made some mama inspired encouragement cards for you with some of my favorite mommy mantras. Place them around your home, in your office, or stick them in your back pocket. You can download them here.
I’d love to see how you use them! Take a picture and tag @momswoa.