As a birth doula, I’ve seen every kind of birth imaginable. Breech births, twin births, c-section births, and natural births. I learn something new every time, but one thing remains the same: a mother’s love. It doesn’t matter how long it took that baby to get out, once a mama holds her baby for the first time, everything stops. Nothing else matters, and love is all there is.
I wish we could bottle and sell this post-birth experience because I’m pretty sure it would solve all of the world’s problems. But alas…our memories are short. Somewhere along the way — between the diapers and the potty training and the fears of screwing our kids up — we tend to forget how beautiful that immediate post-birth moment was. But here’s the thing: God doesn’t want us to forget!
In Genesis 12 and 13, we hear about Abram building an altar to remember the goodness of God. He does this several times: once after hearing God’s promise to give him land for his descendants (Genesis 12:7), another time after some weary traveling (Genese 12:8), and again during another life transition (Genesis 13:18).
You guys, doesn’t this describe motherhood?! “Descendants,” “weariness,” “transitions”… I feel like God knew we, too, would need a visual representation to remind us of his presence, lest our #mombrains get the better of us!
A year or so ago, this fact hit me intensely. I was trying to recall positive memories from my third daughter’s first two years of life, and I couldn’t. (I know…worst mom ever.) To be fair, three kids is a lot to manage, but my forgetfulness wasn’t all due to that. It was because of fear.
You see, my third daughter has severe eczema and a life threatening tree nut allergy. We uncovered these findings during her first two years of life which caused me a lot of stress and worry, almost to the point where those feelings had snuffed out every last positive memory!
Until I looked at her baby pictures.
Tears of love spilled down to my cheeks as I looked at her beautiful cherub face. Was it covered in eczema? Yes. Did it look incredibly beautiful to me? Absolutely. I didn’t see fear, stress, or chaos in those pictures. Only JOY, LOVE, and PEACE.
I was reminded in that moment of how present God had been. So I built an “altar.”
It wasn’t anything creepy. (Promise.) I just printed out a few pictures that made me smile and put them up in my bedroom so I could always remember God’s goodness and love.
And you can do this too!
- Print out some special pictures that make you smile.
- Create a journal for your child/ren. If they’re old enough, have it be a two-way exchange of conversation.
- Commit to writing each child a letter on special occasions, like birthdays or graduations. (Make sure to print off two copies, though: one for you and one for them, because you will need a reminder of those memories too!)
- Create a LEGO town, collage, mosaic, or paint-by-number with your kids — anything that will remind you both of the love you have for each other and for God.
These simple traditions will become our “altars”. We do this to remember the gift God has given us in our children. Our intentionality builds deep connections, too. Not only with our kids, but also with the One who blessed us with them.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to three girls who seeks to parent them by the fruits of the spirit. She’s been to 20 countries, loves to write & laugh (a LOT), and can’t get through the day without eating popcorn! You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @jonnameidal.