Dear Momma,

I recently saw a pregnant Momma ask on Instagram for advice as she becomes a first-time Mom, and as I went to write her a response, I realized I had a lot on my heart to share. I’ve been thinking about the transition of welcoming a new baby myself as we’re about to have our second little one, and in the midst of that I’ve felt an almost gravitational pull toward new Mommas. It’s not because I think I’m an expert or have some magic secret to share, but it’s because my heart is so tender toward this season of a woman’s life. I want to give the Moms I see a hug, invite them to take a deep breath, look them in the eye, tell them what an incredible job they’re doing, and encourage them to let go of all the pressure they’re putting on themselves.

maternity photos_mattye woodcock

I expect that much of this comes from the fact that it’s what I needed more than I ever realized in my first months of motherhood. I’ve learned so much since Fox was born, and I can only imagine all there is yet to learn.

Let me paint a little picture of myself for some context.

I’m a creative, an idealist, and a hopeful romantic. I love when this all comes together for dreaming big dreams, making things special, and loving people well. I don’t love it when this all comes together in the form of unrealistic expectations, pressure to be perfect, and focus on things that aren’t what matter most.

As you might imagine, with these qualities, approaching the birth of my first child I was really feeling the pressure (from myself) to live up to this grand life experience. I felt like I needed to know all the things, do all the things, and prepare all the things so I could be the perfect Mom for my perfect baby.

Perhaps this true story paints the picture even a little more clearly: on February 1, 2017, when I was most definitely in labor, but in total denial (my due date was February 21), I sat with two of my closest friends (who were far more aware of how close I was to giving birth than I was), and I just kept saying “but I haven’t finished reading BabyWise!”

Like. that. matters. Lord, help me.

Half of you may be thinking, “oh friend, that’s not healthy,” while the other half may be thinking, “yes! I get you—this is me!”

maternity photos_mattye woodcock

In my attempt to control everything to be “just so” I came undone. This is why my heart is so tender, and part of why I’ve felt such a conviction to speak life and truth to other women in this season.

After feeling all of this for months, reading that gal’s Instagram post finally pushed me over the edge to sit down and type out what is on my heart to say to you (to us), sweet Mommas.

maternity photos_mattye woodcock

Dear Momma,

Take a deep breath.
It’s true, you’re not in control,
But someone is—remember God’s got this.
He goes before you, and He has created you to do this.

He chose you to be this baby’s Momma.
This baby.
This baby whom He loves more than you ever could (which will seem incomprehensible most of the time), and He has entrusted His little loved one to you, for a purpose.
You will doubt that at times, but it won’t make it any less true.

The world is full of information, directions, and formulas.
Don’t let all the rules and opinions rob you of enjoying your child and of being the Momma you’re called to be.
Your heart can tell you how to calm their cry better than any book.
Your prayers can be tailored to them better than any sleep schedule.
And you will be loving them longer than any parenting method’s popularity lasts.

You’re learning to be a parent just as they are learning to be a baby.
You won’t do it perfectly, and that’s part of the beauty.
Loving and learning require great doses of grace,
And great doses of grace are good for us.

You’re a good Momma.
You are.
Allow yourself heaps of grace, extra long snuggles, and tears when they come.
Cherish the moments for they only last a season.
The changing seasons aren’t something to fear; they’re something to embrace.
The growing, changing, and loving becomes more rewarding with time.

Sit back and receive the gift of your little one.
Take another deep breath.
You’ve got this because God’s got you.
I’m cheering you on, Momma.

Photos by Mary Margaret Smith Photography