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A couple nights ago I visited my friend, Violet, and her newborn baby girl—a perfect, happy, healthy, five-pound bundle of joy named Brooke. Beautiful gifts truly do come in teeny tiny packages.

The visit was filled with excitement! The young couple was clearly overjoyed to be new parents, and they were doing an amazing job caring for their newborn baby girl. But in between the oohs and ahs, the giggles and tickles, I couldn’t help but notice the exhaustion in my friend’s eyes, and, sadly, the tiny tinge of discouragement —  a feeling often shared by new mothers trying to take on the world on only three hours of sleep.

As she detailed both the overwhelming joys and discouraging moments of being a new mother, my heart was jumping out of my chest. I felt for her. I felt excited that she was holding in her arms the baby she had dreamed of for so long. I felt proud of her for taking on motherhood with evident bravery and grace. I felt honored that she felt comfortable enough to be so honest with me. And I felt sad that—right there in her living room as we sipped sweet tea—she was doubting herself, as so many new mothers do.

I probably didn’t hug her soon enough, and I regret that.

As a single gal who’s had exactly zero children, I can only sympathize so much. Yes, I’ve taken care of a lot of babies. I’m known in many circles as a professional babysitter. I enjoy it! But, motherhood, through my inexperienced eyes, is something all together different.

Motherhood is a heavenly gift and a heavy responsibility.

Motherhood is a bundle of joy and a pile of worries.

Motherhood is a natural instinct and a learning process.

Motherhood is an eternal reward and a daily sacrifice.

Today, sifting through iPhone photos of precious Brooke, I remember my friend. I remember my many friends who are caring for newborns in the wee hours of the morning. I remember all the mothers who just might remember how it felt when they were in Violet’s shoes.

Funny, as I write this blog, I realize it has nothing to do with dating, and I don’t care. Sometimes my heart takes me off course. And today my heart beats for my friend. I wish I could move in with her to help out (though I’m sure her ever-loving and supportive husband might object). I wish my full-time, downtown job didn’t prevent me from trekking out to the suburbs more often to visit. But, for now, I offer what I can — my words. And for what it’s worth, they come from the bottom of my heart.

Violet, hang in there. You are not alone. Even sitting in the nursery during a midnight feeding, even when your husband is at work and you are fighting exhaustion to the tune of a crying newborn, you are not alone. God is with you. And I am praying for you. I can’t explain it, but even though I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, God does. And I pray he holds you in his arms, as you hold your sweet baby girl.

You are a great mom. I believe in you.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

With love,

Your friend and Brooke’s favorite babysitter,

~Ruth