Parenting Expectations Revisited

When I was pregnant, I decided to meet with a midwife and go to a birth center.

When Asa was little, I learned all about the “crunchy” parenting things people were doing these days.

Asa has a Baltic amber teething necklace. (And full disclosure: I’m not sure if it works. It SURELY doesn’t make him drool less, as some parents claim.) Now that I’m writing, I’m a bit at a loss for what other “crunchy” things we do for him.

Let’s revisit a few of the things I THOUGHT I was going to do but didn’t:

  1. Make my own baby food. Some people do it. I would have loved to! I just didn’t have the capacity, and that’s ok.
  2. Co-sleep. Asa slept with us when he was little and our house let in cold air through the windows. Once he got bigger, though, he moved around a LOT and took up most of our bed. We all slept better when he was in his own bed. We sleep BEST when he is in his own room. After about 7-8 months, Asa moved from our room to his own, and I am not a bit sad now. IMG_20180212_153015_600.jpg
  3. Let Asa self-wean and eat table food early on. Asa had a super sensitive gag reflex until he was 11 months old. He wasn’t even eating oatmeal and baby food on a regular basis until he was probably 8 or 9 months old.
  4. Never let Asa eat sweet things or processed foods. We don’t let Asa walk around with cookies or candy, but he loves tasting new things. Except ice cream. He doesn’t like ice cream, but I think that’s just because it is really cold. Asa’s food staples at the moment: fruit, yogurt, and bread.
  5. Avoid ANY screen time for the first 2 years. When the only way I can get Asa to stay still enough to clip his fingernails is to play a video clip, it is worth it. Otherwise, Asa has claws. It isn’t great for a young child’s brain development to watch a lot of television or stare at screens. We did pretty well avoiding screen time that first year, but when you occasionally go to restaurants with screens, you just let go. Also, at the end of a long day, we have let Asa watch a movie with us. Or part of one.

Parenting has been a number of lessons in letting go of expectations. Letting go of rules. Embracing the moment. Occasionally letting Asa throw his food on the floor while I try to load up the dishwasher. There’s a place for teaching and discipline, yes. But there’s also a place for letting go. Asa will remember the fun times he had when I was present way more than all the super crunchy things I did for him to live a hippy life.

Is there something you thought you would do when your first kid came along but didn’t do? Is there something you anticipate wanting to do but not actually doing it?


Advent: What It Feels Like to Wait for a Baby (And Comfort for Those Still Waiting)

I wrote this blog post on November 29th, but I want to share with you these honest thoughts and feelings I had before Asa was born on December 2nd, 2016. May the Lord use them to encourage and comfort.

In a world full of darkness and fear, I am learning to hope. I am learning to trust.

Nine months of pregnancy all began with a scare. Just 10 days after Landon and I discovered that we would be parents, we lost that joy. For four and a half days, we grieved and mourned the loss of our blueberry-sized baby. I sank into sadness and depression and apathy with one whole month of the school semester left. Emotionally, I did not have the strength to focus on academics in the midst of such sadness.

Spiritually, too, I was drained. We were not yet planning to start our family, and I was supposed to graduate with my undergraduate degree December 2016. A baby due in November 2016 would be a lot to handle with just one month left of school. However, we began to look forward to meeting our little “Blueberry.” When we thought we lost him, I didn’t understand why God would prepare us to receive such a precious gift only to snatch it away. I didn’t understand what He was doing.

Then I saw a doctor. Our Blueberry was okay… His heart was still beating… His light was still shining…

And I had a big choice to make: I could cling so tightly to this gift, terrified to let go lest I lose it again, or I could trust that the Lord’s plan was good and perfect and beautiful, whatever it held in store for us.

As Mary did when she sat at Jesus’ feet, ignoring Martha’s nagging to stress over the details of a meal, I believe I have chosen the better portion. I have taken my fear of loss and laid it at Jesus’ feet. I have chosen rest for my soul despite the possibility of hurt. Trust can be so scary if you don’t have Someone trustworthy to rely on.

Sometimes, my heart is tempted to stray away from trust. It is tempted to clutch tightly to the gift Landon and I are waiting for, despite God’s tender call to release my grip. At times, I tremble at the possibility of our little boy’s heart giving out so late in my pregnancy and feeling no more baby kicks. No more kneading on my bladder when our baby needs more room in my womb. No more.

Occasionally, I must talk myself down from a ledge of fear. The fear that I will fail. The fear that something tragic will happen to my child. The fear that my son’s heartbeat will stop and mine will have to continue on without his. These are just a few fears mothers experience.

That fear is a reality for so many parents. A worst fear realized.

“No parent should have to bury their child.”

Yet it happens in our world of darkness and despair. I will never stop wishing that this would change.

Sometimes, my heart is tempted to feel guilty that I thought I lost my tiny baby and didn’t. Sometimes, I don’t share my story for fear I will awaken painful memories in another woman’s heart and incite bitterness in her soul.

I don’t want my guilt to crowd out gratitude. It is not my merit that preserved Asa’s life thus far. It is God’s mercy. A mercy I do not understand. A mercy I wish would touch each broken woman of our world.

In a way, it does. Somehow.

That little baby we have all been waiting for… He came. He is the One we wait for each Advent as we celebrate His first coming and anticipate His return. Then, 2,000 years ago, the Father endured the death of His Son so that we might have life and joy and hope.


That is a hope and joy that will never be snatched away from the broken heart of the believing woman. The darkness cannot extinguish the Light of the Gospel.

My prayer for this season for those who have lost hope is that you will open your heart to healing and joy. I have had a taste of your pain. The teensiest, tiniest taste. And I mourn with you. I pray for you. My heart grieves with yours. May the Great Physician heal you and the Holy Spirit comfort you as you enter this season of waiting and wishing and anticipating.