Being a parent changes everything. But being a mother also changes with each baby. Here are some of the ways having a second and third child is different from having the first.
— Your Clothes 1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your doctor confirms your pregnancy. 2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible. 3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
— Preparing for the Birth 1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously. 2nd baby: You don’t bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t do a thing. 3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.
— The Layette 1st baby: You pre-wash your newborn’s clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby’s little bureau. 2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains. 3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can’t they?
— Worries 1st baby: At the first sign of distress — a whimper, a frown — you pick up the baby. 2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn. 3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
— Pacifier 1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it. 2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle. 3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
— Diapering 1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, whether they need it or not. 2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed. 3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
— Going Out 1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times. 2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached. 3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if they see blood.
— At Home 1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. 2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby. 3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
I share all these amusing antidotes with you but because they help us understand how we love. As time starts to pass, we get comfortable, we get content, relaxed, and at ease.
I have to say that a mother’s love is without question one of the most unbelievable loves in this world. How many of you have heard of the Jessica Council story, a young mother who developed cancer during her pregnancy with her second child. The risk of surgery or radiation was too great for the developing baby. The choices were to abort the pregnancy or to risk the death of the mother. Treatment needed to be immediate. Jessica knew the answer, no treatment, no abortion, my baby comes first.
On the night of February 5, 2011, Jessica went to sleep with a headache and nausea. “She did not wake up.”
The following day Jessica was near death, and her husband gave the doctors the go-ahead to deliver by C-section. On February 6, little “Jessi” was born, weighing only 1 pound, 3 ounces.
Doctors had thought that Jessica was 25 weeks pregnant, but after they delivered the baby they realized that she was likely only about 23 and a half weeks along – the absolute threshold of viability.
“I can only testify to God’s grace on that, because Jessica died right when the baby was viable for life outside the womb,” says her husband. Doctors say baby Jessi is doing well.
You know that when Jesus died on the cross, He gave His greatest expression of love to us. He died for us to wipe away our sins but more importantly to give us eternal life. Can you image someone dying for you, giving their life? If we were there on Calvary when Jesus was crucified and we experienced firsthand His grief, His anguish, His pain and suffering and He said to us just as He gave up His last breath, I did this just for you, so you might live…Wow, what a sacrifice, what love…I can’t think of any greater love.
Remember when each of us made a commitment to the Lord, when we felt the weight of the world and our sins lifted off us, we had real joy, real love for the Lord. We started out loving God, loving others, loving ourselves, and loving the joy that we felt deep down in our hearts. As time goes on, we start to get used to each other, we start to be comfortable in our relation with the Lord.
Some of us have been in church for a long time, we pray the same prayers, we see the same people, we start to get into a routine and we have a difficult time of doing any other things.
Things start to become common to us or ordinary. We don’t like change; we don’t like things that upset the apple cart.
When we say the name of Jesus, or of God or of the Holy Spirit; do we say it as if it is nothing or is there a sense of awe, a sense of love, a sense of magnificence.
Have we grown use to God and we start to treat his name as an ordinary event in our life. If when we speak of God, we don’t keep his name on High, we don’t sense his wonderfulness and love… then God is just another word in a sense. The Jewish people believed that God’s name was so Holy that they wouldn’t even pronounce it. They didn’t want it to be recognized as common… they were in awe of Him and His love.
What is your true love for God? Is it like the first time mother who goes overboard in their preparation, their care, their love, their hopes, their concern, their thinking about that baby?
When you were first saved? Do you remember reading your bible every day, spending lots of time praying, having a feeling of love, a feeling of being safe, a feeling of security, a feeling of hope and trust in someone that truly loves you?
Take a look back; imagine a picture of you and Jesus when you first came to know him. God’s nurturing embrace, what a joy, what a feeling, what a love.
Is that feeling still with you today? God loves you more than Jessica loved her unborn baby, God loves you more than any mother loves her children and God loves you more than anyone in this world. No Greater Love will you find than what God gives to you.
Rev. Thomas Beckette is pastor of Nighbert Memorial United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.