I’m a firm believer in taking advice. In my mind, if someone has already discovered wisdom through experience it makes sense to listen to what that person has to say. So when I got pregnant with my first child, I felt blessed to have so many friends who had recently gone before me. With this wealth of advice, I thought, I’ll be the most well-informed mom on the planet.
I found out I was right about one thing—I was definitely well-informed. When I started the pregnancy journey, I thought I would end up with the crème de la crème of the baby advice world. But it didn’t take me long to discover two things:
- Every woman who has ever had a baby has advice.
- Every woman’s advice is different.
Right away I heard things that were contradictory. For example:
- Regarding changing tables, one friend told me not to waste my money. She said I would end up using the crib, the bed, or a blanket on the floor to change diapers … anything but the changing table. However, another friend shared that her changing table was invaluable, having used that piece of furniture more than anything else.
- Regarding diapers, I had previously heard not to use a certain name-brand diaper. It reportedly “leaked more than the others.” That seemed to be confirmed when a family member said her favorite diapers were the off-brand found at Wal-Mart. But all of that advice was overturned by another family member who vowed that the off-brand diapers “leaked more than the others” and emphatically recommended I use the same name-brand diapers that were previously condemned by the first mom.
Talk about confusing!
Advice from a Perfect Father
It wasn’t long until my attitude about guidance began to change. While I used to be excited to hear the advice from a veteran mom, I found myself dreading public places. I knew someone would give me her (or his!) best advice, which would soon be contradicted by someone else’s best advice, and then I would be even more confused. With everything else running through my mind, I felt overwhelmed.
I wondered how I could possibly remember everything I’d heard. I searched books and articles for the “real” answers. I looked for simple guides to make me the best mom I could be. But I found contradictions, even from the experts. How could I know what was the right way to do things?
I had no idea being a mom would be so complicated, but more than that—I felt so completely unprepared. Despite the vast amount of information on the topic of baby care, it seemed the more I read, the more I didn’t know.
Then in the midst of my frustration, I heard the Lord whisper my name, a gentle reminder to me that He is in control, not me. He is the one who formed my child in the womb. He is the one who knit together every fiber of my son’s being. In the words of King David:
… You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).
Here was the perfect Father giving me His best parenting advice, and that was: “Leave it up to Me.” It reminded me that even my best attempts at being the most prepared mom on the planet could never compare to His sovereign knowledge of my child … and His sovereign knowledge of me as a mom. I realized that I didn’t have to be the perfect parent—my child already had one. And if I will only listen to the heart of God, that’s the most important advice I need.
Realizing that I didn’t have to be in control of everything took a heavy weight off of my shoulders, and it allowed me to enjoy the fun things without being over-burdened. Through all the months of baby prep and body changes, I took away three lessons regarding baby care.
First, all babies are different. Certain things will and will not work for my baby. His shape is different than other babies; his personality will be different; his habits will be different. What works for one child doesn’t always work for another. The solution? Good old-fashioned trial and error. Yes, there may be some money wasted on multiple brands of diapers until I find the one that works best for my little one, but then I’ll know what conforms to him the best. Before my baby was born, I bought a couple of different brands to test those first days home from the hospital.
Second, all moms are different. What works for my friends might not work for me. My habits are different; my perceptions of life are different; my priorities are different. I may be the kind of mom who doesn’t use a changing table … or I may. In the end, I decided it was best to buy one for myself and see. Turns out I used it a lot. But for my next children, if I don’t take advantage of it, I’ll turn it into a bookshelf.
Third, and most importantly, God is in control. I don’t have to know exactly what I’m doing. As a matter of fact, by feeling somewhat scared and unprepared, I’m forced to put more of my trust in God’s divine love and care. By walking through uncharted territory, I actually use the gift of faith that God has given us. I can’t rely on myself, and I can’t rely on others for all the answers. But I can rely on Him—step by step, day by day.
Copyright © 2009 by Sabrina Beasley. All rights reserved. Used by permission.