by Alexandra Kuykendall
"The hospital is where the constancy of motherhood begins: there is no difference between night and day. The baby needs to be fed every two hours. The nurses flick on the lights in the middle of the night, making their nurse announcements about needing to check a vital sign or, worse, my stitches.
That first night the nurses took Gabi to the nursery. "You sleep now, while you can, and let her be with us for a few hours. We'll bring her in when she's hungry," they promised. The idea that Mom needs to take care of herself to take care of the baby had started during pregnancy. Eat the right things. Don't eat the forbiddens. Get sleep. Avoid stress. Drink water. Continue to exercise. Take care of yourself so you can take care of the baby. Now the baby was out, no longer part of my body, and the nurse was telling me the same thing. Take care of yourself so you can take care of the baby.
And so I slept. After what seemed like only five minutes, the light came on. Really? It can't be time. But I heard the cry. The newborn cry that sounded so frantic, so awful to my ears, and made me sit straight up. I now knew she was my baby. My eyes started to tear, and I wanted to protect her, to stop that awful, painful scream. There was relief in my response too. I felt like the mom. That bond must have been in there somewhere, because I couldn't wait to hold her. I thanked God that something in my heart had clicked, had been opened, to know I'd been created for this.
I looked over at Derek, who was still adjusting to the blinding light in the room. Didn't he hear his baby's cry? How scared she sounded? He didn't seem to get it. he wasn't jolted up like I was.
"She's hungry," the nurse announced, and we started the new foreign process of trying to nurse. This thing that was supposed to be so natural but in reality was so awkward. By that point I'd lost all sense of modesty. The gown came off, the pillows were arranged, and I tried to get that sweet but squawking baby to latch on. I was sweating, I needed her to stop crying. I wanted to do this right. I wanted to give her what she needed.
I'd uncovered a new kind of love. A love that surpassed anything I'd ever felt before. It consumed me from my bed head to my delivery-pedicured toes. I was the mom. I didn't come to that realization in the way I'd expected, but the result was the same: a mother was born."
All of the women who attend MOPS & MomsNext have at least one thing in common: we are all moms. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of the children entrusted to us. This is where MOPS & MomsNext comes in - we are here to take care of moms. We give mom a chance to take a break, catch her breath, and have other moms to talk to. As moms, we all need this! Our MOPS year has begun. Our first meeting was held on 9/10 and we had a great time. We played a get-to-know-one-another game of "Have You Ever?" which turned out to be quite humorous and fun.
The theme for this years MOPS year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embrace Your Story". Being a mom is messy, yet, there is beauty in that call to be a mom. We chose our table centerpieces for the year to be messy, yet, beautiful, just like mothering.
Part of the theme is "Embracing Your Story" so we are going to have journals throughout the year & will be using them at each meeting. But, you can't just have boring old journals lying around, so we decorated ours!
As we begin the MOPS & MomsNext year, we reflect on the theme verse for the year: Ephesians 2:10
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
God created each of us to be mom to our child. May we see that His work is good. May we see that we are masterpieces, even though it is messy.