I was recently asked to share some thoughts at a baby shower for a new mom who is unexpectedly beginning motherhood in the NICU. I love a good alliteration and so these 3 G’s came to mind as I reflected on motherhood as a fellow, former NICU mom:
GRIEF, GROAN, and GLORY.
No one anticipates motherhood beginning in the NICU. No woman dreams of being wheeled onto a unit, meeting a tiny child covered in tubes and lines, living inside a box. A mother dreams of holding her baby. Bonding. Feeding her baby. Lying her child in a crib. Having a baby shower BEFORE the birth of her baby.
Expectations and dreams of motherhood are often not realized until they are not met, and the sting of this is felt profoundly as you sit at a NICU bedside, holding back tears, trying to cope with the trauma you’re experiencing. Grief is real and wields its accompanying emotions at unexpected times and in unexpected ways.
Which leads me to a second G, GROAN.
Not only do we groan, but all of creation groans in this fallen world. Pregnancy complications and premature births are evidence that this world is not as it should be – evidence that we are eagerly awaiting a Savior to return and establish His Kingdom, ushering in the new order. The former things will pass away – sin, suffering, pain, and grief. No more tears. No more hospitals. No more IVs or ventilators. No more loneliness or mom guilt. And as you await that day, our coming King invites you to pour your tears out before Him. To know that in Christ you have access to groan before your Heavenly Father.
In your GRIEF and in your GROANING, there is the GLORY, my third G.
GLORY belongs to God, and one of the great mysteries of motherhood (and really all of life) is that God is glorified in and through the grief and groans of His people. God is glorified when we find our hope in Him as we suffer. And God is glorified when His people reflect His love for one another in community, coming alongside one another in joy and in sorrow.
May you know the Father’s love in the lonely, joyful, sad, uncertain, exciting, bittersweet moments to come in motherhood. Rejoice in the godly women who surround you and want to love you well. Invite them to come alongside you in motherhood… when you have much to celebrate, when you need tangible help, when you feel misunderstood and lonely, when a new milestone surprises you with joy and laughter, when an unexpected diagnosis is given…
Fellow NICU mom, our Father is sufficient for your grief and your groaning. To Him be the glory.
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