You can trust me because I’ve had two kids, so now I’m clearly an expert. Okay all you moms with a flock around you, hardee-har-har. Yeah, I have much to learn... but let me have my moment of fame, yeah? My nine months are over, thank goodness! (And yeah, my second girl was born on Jesus’ birthday. I didn’t see them angels singing for her arrival now did I?) I may be sleep deprived, but yay I finally have my body back. Anyways, with that redundant update over... here it is: My Top 5 Facts for the New Mom.
1. Maternity Pants are overrated.
No seriously, they’re glorified leggings. FACT! Yes that elastic band is comfortable but the fabric was not meant for a woman’s body. They lack pockets and the material was far too thin. (There’s this thing called winter, and it’s freaking cold!) Literally, it’s wear and tear. Simply having bigger clothes like looser jeans will benefit the new mom before and after birth. And don’t worry, you had a baby... that’s proof your man thinks you’re hot stuff—so don’t sweat it and go for the sweats for a while.
2. Not everyone can breastfeed.
It’s worth a try and it will help you recover. But put your baby on the weighing scale often and listen to your healthcare professionals. The milk is free, comforting, and full of antibodies, but it’s not much help if it’s simply not there. Don’t let pride starve your child. Formula is bloody expensive. The cheap stuff is all filler—then there’s the bottles. Just do what you got to do so they get what they need.
3.The amount of ultrasounds you have will vary.
Depending on the child’s health and your health or anything concerning either, you may have more or less than two three visits with the sonographer. And yes, follow their instructions and drink the water! Some pregnancies require multiple tests, others few. Information is your doctor’s friend.
4. Birth is not entirely free.
In British Columbia, while most medical services are free to Canadian citizens there are few exceptions. Since circumcision is optional for traditional practices and not necessary for the child’s well-being, the parent would be billed. There is a small fee for the birth certificate.
Immunizations are free including the flu shot. The dental screening is free too. (This is awesome because they help you with brushing techniques, search for decay, and provide a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel.) BC Health even offer to check the infant’s hearing, again for free. After the child is born, a mother is given the option for a nurse to visit to check on the health of both baby and parent.
5. You will see a new side to your community.
Where I live, the pregnancy outreach centre downtown is where mothers can pause from their errands to nurse their child, find supplies like baby clothes or gear, and be educated by various experts. Child Development Centres are another incredible hub for connecting with other parents, children, and resources. By signing up for their newsletters, they will inform a parent on neat opportunities fit for the child’s needs and sponsored events bringing fun to the whole family. Extra hands make light work. I was blessed by my local church when they planned and hosted an open baby shower for us, saving us hundreds on clothes and supplies, and offering renown tips.
In summary, adding a child to your family is going to raise costs. But one might be lucky in saving big costs by breastfeeding, using cloth diapers, accepting hand-me-down clothes, and borrowing baby gear and toys. Even if your child is healthy, take advantage of the help others are willing to give you.
Photo credit: Dakota Corbin on Unsplash
Years ago, John Grisham wrote the novel Skipping Christmas about an empty-nesting couple who decided to pass over their festivities for a Caribbean cruise, because their only daughter was unable to spend Christmas with them. Looking at the costs, the husband’s idea would have saved money and exerted efforts by abandoning their traditions. (This book later became a holiday classic film known as Christmas with the Kranks.)
It’s a rather attractive idea isn’t it, since the winter season seems to add more to our daily schedule. From decorating the home, participating in church and community events, attending the work Christmas party, buying gifts, writing cards and sending off newsletters... oh my! The list goes on. Whether the family is on a budget or not, crafting their way through the season or shopping in the stores—sometimes this occasion can seem overwhelming.
What is the meaning of all of this? Why do we feed the machine? Can’t Christmas be simple? Why bother? Well, as Christians we recognize Christmas is not about the materialism, but the Messiah.
How do we explain that to our kids when what we say and what we do conflict each other? How do we share the good news of Jesus Christ when we are frantically following the culture of twinkling lights and turkey dinners? What good is it to war between the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ versus ‘Merry Christmas’ around little watching eyes? As a parent of young toddler who is a frolicking tape recorder, I am convicted to teach the importance of Baby Jesus.
It’s not easy.
Give a toddler a new toy and tell them it’s because of Jesus’ Birthday. How effective is that? Try explaining all of this is because a virgin gave birth to God’s son. Are you ready to define virginity? What if you mention there was no vacancy at the inn, the shepherds were startled by angels, or that wise men who tracked down the stars studied the sky to find the family? It’s a strange event we Christians celebrate.
We pick between the stable scene or Santa Claus, but both have been materialized.
Then there are the parents who choose to wait until their children are older before mentioning God. Why? Should we allow ignorance of His presence in our homes? Sure my child is young, but my responsibility is to train her in both physical and spiritual matters. Yes, she is still in diapers, but that doesn’t stop us from reading stories, singing songs, and using the given opportunities to explain Him.
For our family, I’m choosing this Christmas to teach this truth: The world needed a hero and God fulfilled His promise to send one. Jesus Christ is that hero, we call him the Messiah. Jesus was God’s way of saving everyone from evil and proving his love for us. Christmas is when we remember God sent his son, God in all His power became a man... starting as a helpless baby. The goal here is my child learns we celebrate what the LORD has done. (And as an added bonus, we learn something about God. For example, God keeps his promises, or God is generous.)
Christmas is a family holiday and to each kin, they have their own traditions. Let’s not get too caught up in the rituals that our little ones are left confused. They are so young; they are absorbing all our actions. Time with family is good. Dressing up and singing carols are fun. Dinners and treats are delicious. Being hospitable, generous, and forgiving is always beneficial. However a young parent should observe their surroundings then ask, “What is Christmas to my child?”