face this great, wild world with arms wide open: a parenting pep talk.

April 4, 2013, Michaela Evanow, 16 Comments

Part of the struggle of having a child (and one with such massive issues) is the pain of letting go.

But all parents go through some major lessons. I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I wish I really knew before giving birth.

If I could talk myself through it again, I would most likely say:

You have to let go of your desires, your dreams, what you envisioned, your plans. Those are all things involving self. They need to be let go. I think many of us go into parenthood blindly, assuming everything will be okay. Just because you don’t want something “bad” to happen to your baby, just because you feel like you couldn’t handle a special needs child, or a deaf child or a child that has autism or anorexia …don’t think it won’t happen. You might have to prepare your heart. Don’t take that the wrong way, and assume I’m jaded (I don’t know, maybe I am), but in one way or another your life will be drastically touched by this child. And pain will come: for some, once their wee one is born. They may face difficulties right away. Some come later, much later. Maybe it’s not a health related issue at all. Maybe it’s a mental, spiritual, or emotional issue. Maybe nothing happens and life is perfect. But, I’m pretty sure this is impossible.

I guess I just wish someone had told me about the stretching and the pain and the tears that I would shed over this little one. Not happy tears. Scared tears. I wish someone had said gently, “Just prepare yourself. Not necessarily for the worse, but be ready in your heart to let everything go to God. Get ready to face some intense struggles. Get ready to have your life flipped upside down. Get ready to see your mate in a whole new way. Throw out all your preconceived notions about motherhood and what you want it to look like.”

And then there are the little things. The small, insignificant things that we sometimes put a lot of energy into. If you want to cloth diaper, do it. If you don’t, don’t. If you do for a few months and then stop…awesome. If you want to paint your nursery and buy the newest, shiniest things for your little one, the best of the best, because hell, it’s your BABY, well, don’t worry about that stuff. It gets old fast, and in the end, if you can’t afford it, don’t bother. This is coming from me, I am a product junkie. I like to research things because I think it’s fun. I grew up going to the grocery store with my dad, just because I loved it. But, even I learned the lesson that in a few months time, you don’t care what you have. And sometimes your opinion changes, so don’t spend $800 on that thing because you might hate it anyway.

Strollers? They all suck in one way or another. Car seats? Swaddling? Sleep training? Vaccines? Figure it out as you go and do what your gut tells you. But in the end—your baby, boy or girl, “healthy” or not, is the cherished gift and they don’t give a rip about any of that stuff.

Embrace the season. Embrace it all, smush it to your face. The loss, the grief, the joy, the debt, the kitchen arguments, the midnight feeds, the mounds of laundry, the sickness. Just let it go. Just let our good God wrap you up in His arms and change you.

Everything will change. You probably will yearn for the days when it was just the two of you, man and wife, traveling the world. I often reminisce about those adventurous trips we took when we were just Jay and Michaela. I miss them. I just miss being able to take off, to drink or eat whatever, do whatever without a schedule, stay up all night because I want to.

I miss just having head space that is my own. And yet, at the same time, I love not thinking about myself.

Give yourself a big heart hug and remember, you were first a child, raised by your own mama. Lean on her, glean her wisdom. It takes time to grow up. Pay attention to friends around you that have similar parenting styles. Pay attention to friends that have different parenting styles, and learn from them all. Ask questions, be humble, prepare to have your heart broken wide open. Embrace it all.

God is good, in grief and torment. He is good in the sunshine and with a full belly.


Photo courtesy of Apple Blossom Families.

God is always good, no matter what. He never changes. Take this into your heart, claim it’s truth and face this great, wild world with arms wide open.


  • Reply Naomi Peters April 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Thanks Michaela… thanks for opening your heart to see God’s Goodness and beauty in the midst of motherhood, waiting, disapointments and daily heartache…. and then sharing it all. You are such a blessing and encouragement to me and countless others. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.. My parents ( sig and ruth toews) are in simple church with your in laws. Naomi Peters

  • Reply Melissa Naiad April 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    I LOVE this post, Michaela. It’s all so incredibly true. Jared an I were just talking yesterday about the shock of becoming a parent, and how it’s impossible to understand until you become one. People say that your life will change, but it doesn’t just change, it’s totally flips on it’s head, and you’re left with the most amazing little being. Life becomes a constant struggle, but also so rewarding, and nothing else seems to matter anymore. There’s so much fear and pain involved, maybe not for everyone, but it’s so true that you have to let go of your expectations, and just go day by day.

  • Reply becca: exile fertility April 6, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    another incredible post. thanks for honestly engaging the truth of life, the reality of vulnerability, how we aren’t in control of much more than our responses (didn’t teegan used to say something like that?) and another call to LOVE our children unconditionally and today, whatever that looks like right now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, is it? Love you and appreciate you so. -b

    • Reply Michaela. April 7, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      Yes it’s true, our responses are key. I’m sure it was Teegan who said that 🙂

  • Reply Debbie Tuit April 5, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Ah-h Michaela……you got me again! I need shares in the tissue company. The God given gift you have to put into words what is on your heart *and on mine) blows me away….brings me to tears…some happy…some sad (only because the truths you share resonate so deeply to the realities of my life….. and in my heart) You hit the emotional nail on the head over and over. I literally wait with anticipation for your next post!!
    Again…31 years ago, I, with 5 friends, was prego with our Nick. All us girls spent all our time planning perfect nurseries, pre-school or not?, go to the USA to get the greatest fashions for our new babies??All OK…yet… Boom, we had our Nick first in the line of six. Down Syndrome. Out of the mouths of all my pregnant girlfriends, suddenly all the “stuff” was not first on all the mom minds. Suddenly…..health, being able to parent, bringing their babes up to know the Lord…..that was important. You put it all best, so I won’t repeat on what is really important???? All of motherhood and parenting took on a new precedence.
    Thank you again precious Michaela for just putting all the right words and emotions to a mom-to-be, or an older mom of a 30 year old son, like me.
    I am so-o-o blessed by you kiddo. we pray for you, your marriage, and your precious Florence everyday!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Years later, you are adding sense to our walk. You are a gift!!
    Bless you, Jason and your precious, and very blessed daughter.
    You represent Jesus, young lady!!

    • Reply Michaela. April 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Wow, this is incredible Debbie. I love your comments!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Means a lot.

  • Reply Carol Bednarski April 5, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Michaela, Your words are wise and true and speak to my mother-heart. The letting go never ends, no matter how old your children are. The issues change, the pain takes on new shades, it comes, it goes, and all along the Lord is good, and He brings waves of Grace, and even Joy in the deepest waters. Thanks for putting so beautifully the Truth….that we can trust Him….that everything is going to be OK and in fact it already is. God Bless you.

    • Reply Michaela. April 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Thanks for this Carol. Comments like this means a lot coming from such seasoned mothers, like you!

  • Reply Andrea Lubberts April 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Thanks Michalea for this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I am currently 6 months pregnant and feeling very overwhelmed with the many little decisions a parent feels required to make before the birth. But I love how you say to figure it out along the way and just cherish your baby as a gift. It’s so much pressure to try and figure everything out and be the perfect parent and hope that all your dreams about your child come true…. But that’s not how life works and that’s not even the point. Loving each other, to me, is the point. I needed this reminder. Thank you:)

    • Reply Michaela. April 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Oh, well thank you for sharing that Andrea!

  • Reply Leslie Wilson (@blessedleslie) April 4, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Hi, I loved this..it is so true that we can never prepare ourselves for whats ahead. I have 5 children(25,23,20,18,14) . Some have run away and come home, others are stubborn and rebellious and break my heart, but God is good and He loves us and cares for us, I am praying for you.

    • Reply Michaela. April 4, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Thanks for sharing with me Leslie!

  • Reply Chelsea henkel April 4, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Love how you write girl! So inspiring…I hope I can be just like you when I face pain. Your adventurous wild heart is still wild and free..I admire that. Love to you and jay and kisses to your sweet baby girl! She is so beautiful:)

  • Reply kali gillespie April 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Amen! Love your bold courage and passionate embrace.

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