One of my best friends is getting ready to have a baby. I sent her a card recently, and she said I could share it on this blog. What I wrote to her in the few minutes I spent writing is what I would say to any close friend who’s about to have her first baby. The front of the card says: “A cup of coffee and a good friend – ” and the inside reads: “Two things that will get you through just about anything.” And here’s what I wrote:
Including having a baby. (And go ahead and indulge in the caffeine, even if you’re breastfeeding. You’re going to need it.)
I purposely didn’t buy a baby shower card because we’re beyond that. I’m not going to be all sappy and tell you babies are beautiful. I mean, they are, but they’re not. Newborns are energy zappers that look like, in the words of Bill Cosby, lizards when they come out. No doubt you are embarking on the toughest journey of your life.
But I can honestly say that more than any journey so far, this one will be the most rewarding, often in ways that are immeasurable, so don’t even try to compare it to anything else. Having a baby and then nurturing it as the source of its survival and understanding of love and life is … indescribable. Parenting is messy, and challenging, but I wouldn’t go back to the way things were before – not even for a billion dollars. (Okay, maybe I would for a billion, assuming I could still have babies sometime in the future. I could do a lot of good for a lot of people with that.) Let’s say a million.
Creating another life that is half you, half (fill in the blank), is a miracle. It is awe-inspiring, God-affirming, and love-multiplying. I am here for you always, even in the middle of the night. (Especially in the middle of the night, as those can be the loneliest and toughest times.) Once you’re a parent, being awakened from the depths of REM sleep is amazingly doable. So enjoy every minute that you can. It will seem like just a distant memory not many months from now. And when you need to cry, allow it. When you need help, ask for it.
As in all things, God knows what He’s doing. Welcome to the greatest faith-stretching exercise. “Children are a gift of the Lord.” Psalm 127:3