New Mother Syndrome
By Donna J. Shepherd
I received an e-mail from a friend, its content riddled with errors. These werenít small mistakes, but glaring oversights. A few moments later, I received a second message apologizing for the first e-mail. ďPlease forgive me. I must be suffering from New Mother Syndrome. All I can think of is the baby.Ē
What mother hasnít felt that way when she brings home a newborn? What is this syndrome, and how does it affect us?
The New Mother Syndrome affects our thoughts. When I had my daughter, I obsessed over her. I could think of nothing else. Was she too hot or too cold? Was she hungry? Did she need a diaper change?
The Syndrome affects our sight. We develop tunnel vision. In a room full of people, we see only our precious tiny baby.
And it affects our heart. At times, I felt my heart would burst, as it seemed to expand with the love I held within for my firstborn. I couldnít imagine my heart having the capacity to love another child as much. That is, until I had another. My heart grew Ė again. Every new mother discovers the capacity for a new kind of love similar to God's agape love. Agape love is unlimited, as is a mother's love, regardless of the number of children she bears.
In Psalm 139, we read that God knew each of us before we were born, and he thinks of us. ďThine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.Ē
My son used to play soccer. When he put on his uniform and ran out onto the field, it became difficult to distinguish him from his teammates. But it only took a moment for this momís eyes to discern which child belonged to me. My ears became tuned like antennae to his voice. If he cried out in distress, Iíd run right to him, much to the dismay of the coach.
Just as our eyes and hearts focus on our children, Godís eyes and His heart focuses on His children. Psalm 34:15 says, ďThe eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.Ē
Isnít it reassuring to know the Lordís eyes are upon us, and His ears are open to our cries? I imagine that the heart of God swells with each person who accepts Jesus as Lord.
So if youíve been hit with the New Mother Syndrome, can you expect to recover? Never! Itís a chronic condition, lasting a lifetime. If you canít think straight in the newborn stage, wait until the toddler years. Then from about the age of five to twelve, the racket in the house is deafening and not conducive to rational thought. And the teen years? With many parents, it's back to obsession and worry.
Our vision remains fixed. From ball games and recitals, to graduation and marriage ceremonies, our eyes stay focused on our children.
Does the heart recover? Not really. It flutters with every childís cry, breaks with every fallen tear, and periodically swells with pride.
Motherhood is a privilege and a gift from God. Immeasurable joy fills my days as I do my best to be an example of godly love. Yes, New Mother Syndrome may be acute and chronic, but I thank God every day for the blessings associated with this affliction!