There’s a quote for new parents that I love the most:
“Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, and better than you have ever been…”
Those words from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland were playing in the background as I prepared my baby son’s morning bath. The moment was special because for the first month, my mother had been there to assist, and this was the first time I was doing things all on my own. Everything seemed to be going smoothly when all of a sudden, I heard a loud splash, and saw that the basin that held Eli’s bathing water had fallen to the floor. I grunted out a sigh, more of frustration than of shock, because another task had been added to my list and I had no one to ask for help. With a crying baby to clean, a flooded kitchen to mop, and work that needed attention, I suddenly felt too overwhelmed. For a moment, a thought came to me that I don’t have anyone to help me. Elder Holland said I would be made more than I am, but why do I feel so inadequate and helpless?
I guess every new parent asks themself, the question, “Can I really do this?” Nothing can truly prepare a man and a woman for the role of being new parents. Inside the heart of a new mama and papa is a mixture of happiness, anxiety, helplessness, excitement and worry.
When my son first came home, I spent the entire night awake. He was making weird sounds that were unfamiliar to me. A million thoughts came to mind, and every single grunt, every little squirm and little complaint drove me into new mom paranoia. At his first pediatric check up, I was already beside myself with anxiety and paranoia. My mother and husband were both very supportive, but nothing could ever take away the awful worries that consumed my heart.
In an inspired moment, my husband spoke to me about the Plan of Salvation. When he asked me about what I felt about the Lord’s plan, I said I was grateful to know that I am Heavenly Father’s daughter. Immediately, my inspired mom asked me the question “So, what does it mean for you to know that your son, Eli, is also a son of God?”
At that moment, I could feel my resolve not to cry falter. I, inadvertently, was slowly becoming a faithless mother. I’d become too easily fearful with even the slightest of problems. I’d forgotten that, like me, Eli is also a beloved son of the Lord, worthy of all the merits of His blessings and protection.
That realization has helped me counter the fear that often came to my heart. Every time I looked into my son’s eyes, I realized how special he is and how privileged I am to take care of him. In this journey with my newborn child, I can testify that I am indeed in partnership with the Lord.
Being a first-time mom to a month-old little darling can be challenging in all aspects. There are moments when his crying is matched by my own. This stage has revealed my deepest feelings of inadequacy. However, knowing that the Lord has entrusted this child to me brings so much comfort. Like what my parents always say, I am not alone in the rearing up of this child. Oh, how many times have I been encircled in His arms and reminded that my sobs don’t fall on deaf ears.
To my fellow struggling new parents, let’s put more faith in our Father in Heaven who has a plan for our little ones. To quote Elder Holland, “The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you.” He will uphold us, and He will bring us the tender mercies that we need in the exact time that we need them. Day by day, we are given the opportunity to see miracles through our children. May we always cherish this new role given to us because it is noble and essential to His plan. When the nights are long and the exhaustion and discouragement are strong, may we remember that we have the Lord who knows everything. Let us rely on Him.
When we hold our children in our arms, let us be thankful for them, our little teachers that help us have a Master’s degree in Christ-like attributes. This fresh journey of ours will be a wonderful one, despite the tears, the fears, and the inadequacies, as long as we have faith.