How to Conquer an Unexpected Challenge

Dear Mom,

Do you wonder if a mother robin is surprised when her little hatchling breaks through his shell? She’s been anticipating this sweet, downy arrival. The nest is cozy. She’s probably in search of some succulent food for that brave little beak that has been tap, tap, tapping at that shell to break free. Then those constant chirps reach her ears. Is she really ready for the unexpected challenges?

Maybe you felt this way coming into motherhood.

I think this is something you never can quite prepare for in totality. For me,  I celebrated the transition of carrying my first baby in my womb to that baby in my arms. The joy of motherhood had arrived! But amidst the welcome to the world gifts and the ecstasy to finally behold my daughter’s face, there was a quiet sadness that shadowed my heart. As a new mom, I didn’t expect this gaping lack of happiness. 

Motherhood began with an unexpected challenge.

For me, motherhood began with the excruciating pain of an unexpected c-section. To make matters more difficult each time I tried to meet my baby’s needs to nurse, I felt horrible. There was no pleasant bonding experience. Just frustration and more pain. I also encountered a clenching fear. What if I couldn’t take care of her? I was her Mommy. What if I didn’t know what to do? What if I fail at motherhood?

What if I didn't know what to do? What if I fail at motherhood?Click To Tweet

All of these emotions and the physical toll on my body was more than I bargained for in becoming a mom. I loved my baby more than words could describe. I loved that I was her mommy. There was so much joy to be had in these life changing moments, but I needed reassurance that the hard things wouldn’t always last. In those hard moments, it felt like a never-ending tunnel. I needed to see the light at the end!

I had two unexpected sources of light.

Two things that helped me endure the tumultuous changes of early motherhood: milkshakes and meals. At the time, my mother lived only seven minutes down the road and she brought me chocolate milkshakes on an almost daily basis. The first couple of weeks I bitterly struggled to successfully nurse my daughter, but these milkshakes were lifesavers. Also, my church set up a meal train for me while I was recovering so I had dinners to look forward to on a nightly basis. In fairness, it wasn’t just the treats and food that helped light up that dark tunnel, it was those moments of connection. I looked forward to my visiting with my mom. When those lovely church women brought meals, I anticipated having human interaction. Something else that blessed me tremendously during that time was the knowledge that my visitors were diligently praying for me.

Just showing up is one of the most powerful actions we can do for someone when they are struggling. I think that it is a candid snapshot of love. Of course, showing up with milkshakes and meals doesn’t hurt either.

Conquering the unexpected challenges started with community and prayer, my two beacons of shining hope. Life wasn’t instantly bliss and there were still many more hurdles to overcome, but I began to find a more joyful rhythm of motherhood. Like a mama robin, I found a song in my heart once more.



What are some of your unexpected challenges? How have you conquered them?

I would love to hear your answers in the comments!

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