Birth is holy, treat is as such | A letter to my pregnant self

Dear Adriel,

You are becoming a mom. Finally, after 32 long years your dream is coming true! And guess what? It’s going to be even better than you imagined.

I know that right now it seems like pregnancy will never end… but enjoy these last days. Soon—when he’s not all tucked up safely inside of you—you will have to share that precious boy with the world.

Don’t stress about him coming too early or too late. I know you’re concerned about your parents flying in from overseas and being there for Levi’s big debut… But your clever little one will actually be one of the few babies that decide to come on his due date. Isn’t that fun?

{What you couldn’t have known then.}

As his birthday approaches, I want to tell you a few things that I’ve learned since then. I hope you’re taking notes, because this stuff is good. First of all, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times… but seriously, hear it one more time: life is about to drastically change. Don’t worry, you’ve prepared as best as you possibly can. But just know that you can’t fully prepare for the best parts of life… like this one.

{You were made to give birth.}

The day of Levi’s birth is going to be so incredible. It will be hard work, but you will sail through it. You are much tougher than you sometimes give yourself credit for. In fact, most all women are. You were made to bear children… and soon you will get to see that in reality. You have nothing to fear, nothing to be anxious for.

{There will be a change of plans.}

I’m sorry to break it to you, but Levi’s birth will not be un-medicated, or in the birthing pool, or most of the ways you’re imagining it right now. You know that little inkling that he might be breech and you could possibly end up having a C-Section? Well, let’s just call that a mother’s intuition, because… you’re right.

Of course you won’t discover this until twelve hours into labor, but don’t be afraid. You’ll handle it beautifully, with grace and confidence. God knows that you can handle it; He’s promised to never let you go through anything you can’t handle, remember?

{Remember to look beyond yourself.}

In those moments when you’re first told the news, remember to tell your midwife that you love her and you’re not mad at her for misinterpreting Levi’s position correctly in time to try and move him. She will be feeling incredible disappointment and failure in that moment… and she, too, will need some reassurance and encouragement.

She’ll later tell you how much your sweet attitude and response meant to her. Because as much as everyone tells you this day is about you and your sweet boy, the reality is that many others around you will also be effected by this miracle of life and how you bring your son into the world. Birth is holy, treat is as such.

{first night together… a few hours old.}


{Prepare to behold glory.}

The surgery itself will go quickly and smoothly and the doctors and their teams will do just as great as your midwife would have done. It will be different, but no less amazing. They’ll take wonderful care of you.

More importantly, be prepared to meet the most gorgeous being you’ve ever laid eyes on. (And on that note, no need to worry about your baby being cute or not… He is seriously as cute as they come… everyone says so.)

{a few hours old.}

You will look at his face and finally know:

This is what glory looks like.

{one day old and still in the hospital.}

And even though you won’t get to hold him straight away like you had always envisioned, when you do finally hold him any of the disappointment from the change of plans will feel small and petty as it melts away in the wonder of that moment.

{Be anxious about nothing.}

And about breastfeeding… Yes, you’ve heard all the horror stories and you’re prepared for the worst. Your willingness to try as hard as you can and your commitment to persevere through those first few difficult weeks as you try everything in your power to make it work is noble and wonderful…

But guess what?

You are one of the lucky ones who finds breastfeeding a breeze. So let’s just forget those worries now. No need for them. During those first moments of holding your dear son on your chest, he will easily find his way and begin nursing naturally. It will be as if you’ve always been together.

The ease of breastfeeding will be grace to you amidst the mixed emotions that come with your unplanned surgery. Enjoy it and give thanks for it.

{Let yourself be taken care of.}

Now about going home… You’re going to need to stay in the hospital for five days due to a mild infection. As much as this doesn’t sound ideal to you right now, please know that it is. We all know your inclination to try and be superwoman, but this is not the time. You really do need to take it easy and let others take care of you. Being in the hospital will gently force this upon you. This, too, is grace to you. Embrace it and enjoy being served. Receive.

You do need to be warned, however, that in Australia husbands aren’t allowed to stay overnight with you in the hospital. I know this is different to home, and it is understandably hard, but you can handle this. During those five long nights you will enjoy some precious moments with your son, just the two of you. Do you best to look on the bright side. Your homecoming day will come soon.

You know what they say about recovering from a C-Section, and so it’s no surprise that you will be frustrated by the prospect. But this is another area that’s not as bad as you might have been led to believe. Within a few days of being home you’ll be ready for some short day trips, and by week three you’ll be able to drive again. Yes, there’s some lingering pain and you have to be careful, but you most certainly won’t be an invalid and you won’t even be housebound… so let’s just dispel that fear right now so that you can enjoy the afterglow of your son’s birth.

{Love: madly, deeply.}

Be prepared to love like you’ve never loved before. You are going to have moments where you’re singing to that little boy, or even just looking at him from across the room while someone else takes a turn holding him… and it will feel as if your heart will explode with a deeper love than you’ve ever experienced.

You’ll begin to understand the love of God in a deeper way, you’ll fall in love with your husband in a more profound way, and of course you’ll love your little boy enough to honestly want to give your life for him if need be.

It’s a fierce, strong, solid love that’s decorated with sweetness and laughter and more kisses-on-the-toes than you ever dreamed possible. It’s a love that will drive you to miss him when he’s tucked up safely sleeping. A love that causes you to gaze at his photo when you can’t look at his face before you. A love that feels eternal and timeless and extravagant and pure. A love that begins to define you anew.

{You will step onto a roller coaster.}

But along with those highs there will be things that stretch you at the core of who you are as a woman. Insecurities will be revealed that you don’t even realize are lurking under the surface of your smile. There will be moments when fears that are new and foreign to you will seem to come out of nowhere and corner you in the dark.

You need to know that you can handle all of it. You are as ready as you’ll ever be. With the help of your husband and God and the loved ones around you, you will learn to ask for help, you will learn humility, you will learn patience, and you will learn to trust yourself more than you ever have yet.

{Having a child will grow you.}

As magical as it is, being a new parent is difficult. There will be times when you don’t know what to do and times where you second guess yourself. In those moments you need to try and remember that you’re the mom… you really do know what’s best, even if your emotions are telling you otherwise. You might sometimes feel like you’re grasping at straws, but the good news is that you and your son and your family will all learn and grow together.

I also want to warn you about the times when you’ll want more than anything to trade jobs with your husband. There will be days when you want to call in sick… or at least take a lunch break or sign off at 5:00pm. Those days are especially difficult because the reality is that you simply can’t.

But the sooner you figure out how to get some time for yourself to refresh and recharge, the better you’ll be able to handle those days. You’ll work it out. Just be deliberate. And in the meantime, know that having those days and those thoughts doesn’t make you a bad mom.


{You are the expert.}

And lastly, I can’t emphasize this enough… Every child is different just as every mom is different. Trust yourself. Go with your gut. Listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t work, just try something else. There are no “rules” that you have to go by.

Parenting is—and should be—fluid and organic. One lesson learned will flow into the next. Listen to the advice from others, read the books and websites that you need to, but when it all boils down, remember that you’re the mom and you know what’s best.

{Wash your brain in this truth.}

You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. This needs to be your new mantra.

Make sure that you don’t try to be perfect or you’ll make yourself feel miserable in your failed expectations. But do remember that perfect has nothing to do with great.

Sear it into your mind… carve it into your heart… write in on your hand… post-it note it around the house if you need to: You’re a great mom.

me xx

Dear friends, if you could deliver a letter to your pregnant self, what would it say?


| Originally published on Ingenue Mom on September 3, 2010 as a guest post. |

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010
do not reproduce without written permission

About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Jhen.Stark
    12 October 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I've decided to write myself a letter to my pregnant self, but on Joss 1 year birthday. Because there was so much of me a year ago I couldn't see past no matter what anyone told me.

    I so loved that you posted this again!!! Is it weird that I bookmarked this page? I just love your letter!

  • melissa d.
    12 October 2010 at 2:13 pm

    i love this! i want to do one for sure!

  • Mellisa Rock
    12 October 2010 at 2:25 pm

    This is an amazingly good post – your really got to the core of all the emotions that women face when confronted with the changes in birth plans, life and self after delivery. Utterly wonderful! So glad we are in the same tribe. You are an inspirational blogger for sure!!

  • Kristina Ruth
    12 October 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Great post! Love it.

  • Casey Martinez
    12 October 2010 at 3:18 pm

    What a great idea to write a letter like this. Mydaughter would really appreciate it someday! This was sweet to read and I related to it all!

  • Mandy
    12 October 2010 at 3:35 pm

    1st thing before I forget! You were such a beautiful pregnant lady, you just radiated love and joy! And Levi – what an adorable newborn. Seriously!

    Okay no onto the post. I love it. I think it's something we should all do. I should do it, as well. The task seems so overwhelming, though. To write a letter to my pregnant self – knowing what I know now. I am so inspired by this post! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chic Mamá
    12 October 2010 at 5:08 pm

    this is so lovely! the pictures are so amazing and capture every moment beautifully. =)

    I love the love deeply part. motherhood truly is a rollercoaster that will turn your life around and make it ten times better .

    I will write in my letter to better prepare for the hospital, for myself so I don't end p in hospital clothes, since I was busy thinking what Id bring for my little one. lol

    PS. love the photography lessons, catching up on them. =)

  • Chrissy MacCEO
    12 October 2010 at 6:15 pm

    This is a very sweet post – gave me chills! So glad you could reminsce this way through your blog.

    Visiting from Lamby 🙂

  • Emily @ Finding My Aloha
    12 October 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I love this! Lovely sentiments and beautiful pictures. I wish I couldve recieved a letter like this from myself. It would say to keep faith, everything will be ok and that precious little baby will finally be born healthy and not to fear birth because it will be the easiest part of the pregnancy.

  • cooperl788
    12 October 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I loved your letter Adriel! It was so sweet, so true, and so loving to the person you were before you had Levi. If I could write a letter to me, I'd say Relax! You're about to embark on the best ride of your life. And trust your gut – even though everyone says it's a boy, don't be sad. Your hunch is right. You're carrying a Georgia, not a James, and she's everything you hoped for and more!

  • The Empress
    12 October 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Aren't you a beautiful mother, with pictures just as beautiful.

    And that little baby with the toothless grin, oh , goodness.

    And, yes, you are a good mom. I wish more mothers would say that to themselves.

    It is hard work… and we need to recognize what we do.
    Lovely, lovely, post.

    Thank you

  • Emma
    12 October 2010 at 7:30 pm

    What a lovely post! I think all pregnant women should read it 🙂 I love the pictures too!! x

  • Kerry McCullough
    12 October 2010 at 7:42 pm

    This is a great idea! Mine would say that nothing ever goes as planned, so don't let it stress you out. Learn to go with the flow, and a healthy baby is a healthy baby- no matter how he got here.

    By the way, I wanted to answer your question about the blanky bear (not sure if you get an email when I respond to comments)… I got it as a gift, so I'm not sure 🙁

    I found them on Amazon, though. They're called 'flatos'. There's a direct link to it in my post. I bet they have a bunch of different colors. Good luck!

  • Barb
    12 October 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Ohhh I LOVE it! It has been almost 8 years since Ive given birth to my baby…and your letter birngs back so many of those feelings and thoughts. So wonderfuly written!!!
    Your Lamby Tribe friend – Barb

  • Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom)
    12 October 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Yes, I remember this beautiful letter to yourself when I read it over at Ingenue Mom. Love it so much. You are a beautiful Mother and so blessed with a beautiful, healthy boy. 🙂

  • bigguysmama
    12 October 2010 at 11:29 pm

    What a wonderful post! I never thought of writing something like this to my kids years ago. What a great way to capture what you were feeling! The photos are beautiful!

    ~Mimi from the Lamby Tribe

  • Jesse and Taylor
    13 October 2010 at 1:31 am

    love this, so good 🙂

  • Becca
    13 October 2010 at 3:36 am

    So, I'm crying. Big hormonal wuss over here. I love this.

  • Annette
    13 October 2010 at 5:15 am

    What a beautiful letter–don't you wish you had it beforehand? It would have taught you to stress less and enjoy the moment. I wish I had one to follow beforehand too? There's so much wisdom. Yes, I need to repeat the mantra "You're a great mom" again and again too. Maybe one day I'll believe it without a fight 🙂

  • Jessica
    13 October 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Beautiful post and accompanying pictures! And, I love the idea of compiling all that you have learned about birth and beyond in a letter to yourself. It's amazing how everything that we think we will care about before we become mothers goes out the window when we do. Motherhood, at least for me, has helped me put my life in perspective. It has made me a better person, a stronger person. It's a blessing! I heard others say this, but I never really "got it" until it happened to me.

  • Amber
    13 October 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I just found your blog while looking through the Paper Mama pics. I really enjoyed this post………..and the photo in your header is just AWESOME!!

  • Anne Prado
    13 October 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Just re-read your post (though I'd already read it at Ingenue Mom). SO encouraging!! My daughter will be 1 this month, and this still encourages me. Just sent your link to a pregnant friend of mine. Keep up the inspiring work!!

  • Nessa
    13 October 2010 at 7:22 pm

    love this, the words, the photos… thank you for sharing.

  • Laura @ The Things I Said I'd Never Do
    14 October 2010 at 2:39 am

    This is beautiful. I also didn't get the unmedicated, birthing tub birth that I wanted (though I narrowly avoided a c-section)and I wish I could go back in time and tell my laboring self that it all will be fine.

  • Wining Mommies
    14 October 2010 at 3:24 am

    This post is amazing. You seem to have captured everything for every mother out there.

    I think I would tell myself that I can only do what I can do, and not to feel guilty about the bedrest, the 8 week premature birth, or the month in the NICU. I would tell myself that it wasn't my fault and I did everything I could do to keep my babies inside. And that once they were born, they knew I was there with them and took strength from me as I sat at their bedside from morning to night until they were allowed to come home. I would tell myself that I didn't let them fight alone, and that now, almost a year later, I have two strong healthy boys who don't resemble the weak premature 4lb babies they once were. And I'm telling myself right now that it's ok to be crying as I type this.

  • viviene
    14 October 2010 at 4:16 am

    i NEED to go back here before i become a mother =)

    i love the photos =)

  • Ms. Jenni [xo]
    14 October 2010 at 4:19 am

    I beautiful beautiful post – writing content and pictures all together. Loved it lovely lady! =)

  • Chelsey - The Paper Mama
    14 October 2010 at 9:18 pm

    This was a very sweet post. It's amazing how much we worry when pregnant. I'm so happy everything has been wonderful for you.

    I'll have to write my pregnant self a letter too. 🙂

  • Brandy
    16 October 2010 at 1:47 pm

    OMG! Your amazing! Very sweet letter!!
    And holy shit, your beautiful! My mouth was dropped open when I saw the pics of you just after birth!

  • Baby Making Mama
    16 October 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Wow, love this, and the photos! I found your blog through SITS and I think I'm in love!

  • eof777
    17 October 2010 at 1:55 am

    You gave everything in this post and it's a blessing to you and your baby that this wonderful post has been created for posterity. I just completed roll call on the SITSGirls site and when I went to click on the comment above mine to do the usual comment for a sista on Saturday, it was you.
    I had to chuckle that we Lamby team members are definitely connecting with each other everywhere.
    Have a great SITS Saturday!

  • Cupcake Dreamer
    18 October 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Words to live by. I certainly couldn't have said any of that better than you did. I feel in a similar boat. I'm 30 weeks pregnant with my second child and a bit anxious and nervous at the same time.

    Thank you for your inspiration on motherhood.

  • Charissa
    2 February 2011 at 1:15 am

    I've posted on your blog a few times, but nothing regular. That fact, in no way, represents how much your blog means to me. I'm releshing and soaking up all you have to say…everyday.

    I'm less than a week away from hitting my half way marker of pregnancy. Time has really flown by (and I know it will continue to do so). I found this post today and tears started streaming down my face. You are such a strong woman of God. It shows in every way. I've learned so much about faith through your blog. Thank you for these amazing words of wisdom. I'll treasure them the last 20 weeks and hold to the fact that God gives us strength and peace beyond our understanding.


  • Physical Therapy Assistant
    10 June 2012 at 6:43 am

    Physical Therapy Assistant…

    Thanks a ton for posting the post to your website. I was trying to find this bit of info for 2-3 weeks but was unable to find any information on this anywhere else!…

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