Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alternative to Forced Sharing

I was in our church nursery today and decided to try something. Two kids were having a disagreement about who should get to play with a key. First of all, I heard them out, and they had totally valid concerns. See, the key went to the car that Kid A was riding, so she felt she needed the key to drive. Kid B felt he should get to play with the key because he had it first. They both wanted me to step in and say they should get the key. Kid A asked me to "make him share."

And then maybe it was because I was tired and didn't feel like playing referee, but my answer surprised them both.

I said, "To be honest, I don't really believe in making someone share. You probably don't hear a lot of grownups say that, do you?"

They both blinked at me.

I blinked back. Because, really, I didn't know how this was going to go. I've been playing the sharing game because that's what you do because that's what all the parents do because you don't want your kid to be the entitled jerk who won't share.

As much as I think the word "entitlement" gets thrown around a little too much when we talk about young generations, let's think about this for a minute. Who is likely to feel more entitled in a forced sharing scenario? The kid who is being forced to share or the kid who gets the toy that another kid has for...what reason again? Oh, so your kid will learn to share. Except, does forced sharing actually teach anything? Or does it just cause frustration and resentment between friends and between child and parent? Because really, when we force sharing, aren't we actually showing our child that the other child's wants are more important than theirs?

These were my thoughts during all the blinking going on between the nursery kids and me.

I broke the bewildered silence first. "Okay, I'm not going to make him share. When he's done playing with it, you can have it. While you're waiting, you can play."

Kid B bounced away with the key. Kid A hung her head. I sympathized. "You feel sad that you don't get the key. I understand."

Then I stepped back to watch how this would play out because I had no idea. Kid B started playing with another toy and was only holding the key in his hand, not playing with it. Kid A pointed this out. So then I asked Kid B if he could let Kid A have the key since he wasn't actually playing with it. I don't know if that was the right move or not, but it worked out. He agreed and handed over the key.

And then he realized he wanted it back. So he asked Kid A if he could play with it again. She said he could when she was done. Kid B said, "I'm mad."

"You're mad." I said. You know, validating.

"Yeah, I'm mad because I want to play with it but I have to wait."

I said, "I glad you told us how you feel. I understand. I get mad sometimes too. It helps to say it, doesn't it."

"Yeah." And then he kept playing.

And not even five minutes later, Kid A gave Kid B the key. And that was the end.

So let's recap the highlights.
-Emotions were named and validated with both kids. Emotional intelligence is important.
-They learned to hear and value each other.
-We talked out solutions, giving them the opportunity to think critically and creatively.
-They learned how to wait. Super important in a culture full of instant gratification.

I couldn't believe how well it went! Probably because, like I said, I've been playing the sharing game. And in the sharing game, kids just get frustrated and parents are constantly playing referee instead of guiding. Forced sharing isn't productive. This alternate approach takes some effort and creativity on everyone's part, but that's what this parenting gig takes, right? Just wait your turn to try this out. 😉

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mom Guilt is a Butcher

Mom Guilt is a masked robber.
The mask says, "I'm here to make you better! You can do this mom thing better than that. I'll help you."
But behind the mask is a liar.
Behind the masks is a stream of, "You're not good enough. The other moms are better. Your kids are going to pay for your mistakes." While you're distracted, she robs your joy.

Mom Guilt is a butcher.
Mom Guilt says, "Let's dissect what you did. That yelling? Awful. Why can't you be more calm? You circumcised your baby? You should have known better. Why didn't you research?"
But the butcher kills.
Mom Guilt places peace on the table and slices through it with a knife. Scraps are all that's left.

Mom Guilt is a snake oil saleswoman in a cheap suit.
Mom Guilt has a briefcase full of brochures. Account after account of your wrongs. Take a seat while she sells you despair and hopelessness. It only costs your heart. And don't worry, dear, it's all in the name of doing better, being better....better better better than you are.

Shine light on the robber.
When the butcher comes for you, wield the double-edged sword.
Shut the door in the saleswoman's face. She has nothing good to offer you.

You are a human being. Flawed but redeemed. Learning but favored. Falling but saved.
You are a mom. Sometimes you yell. Sometimes you choose wrong. But all the time, you are your children's world. "Learn better, do better?" Sure. But above that, give yourself grace. Drink grace. Bath in fragrant grace. Give grace like God gives breath to each day. Like He gives grace to you right where you stand.

"Three times, I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me,'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Want more encouragement for crunchy living, gentle parenting, and Christian faith? Follow Her Arms Are Strong on Facebook and join the closed Facebook group.

Related posts:

Forgiving Myself for My Son's Circumcision

I Regret My Son's Circumcision

Monday, August 21, 2017

Natural Birth Story

Finally, after a year and a half, I've finished writing M's birth story.


M's due date was February 4, and he was born February 6.

That morning, after a week of freaking out, afraid I'd have to be induced for going over, I finally surrendered to my body's timing, M's timing, and God's timing. My husband, Gary, offered to shop with me at Joann Fabrics (and he hates that store, God bless him) for some craft supplies so I'd have something to do to keep my mind off the timing of everything. After we went shopping, we returned home, and I was sorting through some beads when labor struck!

First real contraction

For some reason, I thought I'd be a unicorn who wouldn't have labor pains and wouldn't know I was in labor until my baby's head was poking out. Crazy, right? My dreams of a unicorn birth crashed with that first exciting contraction. It was a deep, DEEP ache I had never felt before. I had already been dilated to 3cm for a month, and I don't know if that helped with the speed of things, but my contractions got to 5 minutes apart or less right away. Bloody show happened, and I called my family so they could meet us. Eeeh!! While we waited for my family, I took a shower so I would be fresh. Contractions got really freakin' real in the shower. So real that I threw up after getting out and told Gary I needed help standing and walking.

At the hospital

When we got to the hospital, they checked everything. All looked good, and I was dilated to 6cm, so they admitted me. Yes! I passed out my natural birth plan, which requested that they not even offer me an epidural or any pain meds, and I got right in the tub to help with the pain. I had been nervous about being naked in front of nurses and my birth team (Gary, my mom, and my sister), but labor became my one and only focus, so I announced, "I don't care if you all see me naked!" All thoughts of modesty were so far gone.

Our "this is it" moment

Gary and I had some time to ourselves. He massaged me in the tub, and this is where we had that big moment that rocks your universe and makes you go "whoa." By the end of the day, our boy would be born, and our lives would never be the same.

A drop in heart rate

M's heart rate dropped a little bit, so the nurses made me get out of the tub and into the bed so we could get hooked up for monitoring. Which I didn't want, but I was okay with it and going with the flow. I just wanted M to be safe. His heart rate went back to normal, so they thought the tub was the cause and didn't let me go back in. Now I was SO COLD and trying to relax through the shivers.

The calm

Through the contractions, I closed my eyes and focused on breathing and keeping my body relaxed. Every nurses who came in made me feel like such a rock star because they were all amazed at my self control. My birth support team helped a lot with massages and encouragement.


At 8cm, the contractions got more intense and my self control and calm started to fade. I told my team I didn't think I could do it. It had been 8 hours of labor, and my water hadn't broken. My OB offered to break my water and told me that it would speed things up and had no risks (which I now know isn't true), so I agreed. This was the least natural part of my birth. She broke my water and within 20 minutes, my body started pushing on its own! They told me to stop because I was only dilated to 9cm, but I had no control over it. So they helped my cervix dilate to 10cm, and it was time to push.


I wanted to give birth in a squatting position, but my OB said I had to be on my back. I went with it because I honestly didn't feel like I could move into the squatting position anyway. Gary and my mom held my feet while my sister stayed by my side. It was about twenty minutes of pushing with the contractions when they said they could see his hair! A couple more pushes and he was out.

My sweet, beautiful boy

They laid his slimy, wiggly little body on my stomach. I held him, so afraid I would break him, and said, "My sweetheart, my sweetheart..." He was born at 10:05 PM with red hair like me, 7lbs 6oz, 19 inches. With fuzzy little shoulders. He was perfect and finally here.


I wanted to give M the time to initiate breastfeeding on his own with the breast crawl, but the nurses helped position him instead while we were skin-to-skin, and I went along with it because I was distracted and excited by my baby. He latched right on! A natural.

Just the three of us

Gary and I had an hour of alone time with M, cuddling him, soaking up this beautiful change in our lives before we introduced him to the rest of the family. It filled my heart to see Gary and everyone else in our family hold him for the first time. There was so much love.

My favorite moment 

Every time a baby is born, the mom gets to ring a bell that plays a nursery rhyme chime through the whole hospital. Since M was born so late at night, they told me I would have to wait until morning. We didn't actually get the chance until we checked out of the hospital. The nurse wheeled us to the bell. I snuggled M close and pushed the button. The chime announced to everyone the arrival of my baby boy, and that was my sob-happy-tears-because-my-dream-has-finally-come-true moment.

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I would love to hear your birth story! Feel free to share in the comments.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Infertility makes me irrational.

Last time a friend announced her pregnancy, I was nothing but genuinely happy. Now for some reason, another friend just announced and I got that stabby jealous feeling. We're not even trying for baby #2 yet. If ever.

Infertility isolates me.

I want to talk about my feelings with my infertile/angel mommy friends because I know they would understand, but at the same least I have a living child. So maybe they wouldn't want to hear it. Other people don't understand what it's like, though. I have no one to talk to.

Infertility makes me angry.

Angry at whatever in the world caused me not to ovulate all those months. Angry at a world that poisons our bodies, robs wombs, ransacks dreams. Angry that people say, "All in God's timing..." when God doesn't cause the pain of infertility.

Infertility makes me afraid.

What if it happens again? It was so hard last time. I'm afraid to hope it can be different. Can I walk with my husband through the fire again? I'm afraid of getting burned.

But most of all...infertility does not define me.

In fact, I reject infertility. The name of Jesus is higher than the name of infertility. I'm heir to HIS promises. I will not let jealousy or fear cloud my eyes. No, my eyes are placed firmly on the One my soul trusts, my Healer. I'm allowed to have a very human moment of jealously, sadness, fear, and anger. But I refuse to stay in that place and let infertility take up more space in my body, mind, or soul.

Infertility is defeated.

Related posts:

Prayer of Comfort for the Infertile and Mother of Angels

When Back to School is Hard

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why Parents Should Read YA Novels

Maybe this comes easily to me because I've still never grown out of YA Novels into preferring adult novels, but I think parents should read YA novels. For one thing, reading what your kids read is a great way to connect. But even more important than having something in common is the empathy you'll feel for what it's like to be a teenager (because let's be was much longer ago than it feels) and the insight into how teens are affected by their parents.

Sarah Tipton offers a chance to foster this empathy and insight through her tension-packed Christian YA novel, Betrayal of the Band.

Here's the book blurb from Amazon:

"Three friends. One summer. Countless consequences.

Lured away by a college band promising more singing exposure, ambitious high school senior, Zoey Harris, abandons her boyfriend, her band, and her values. 

Justin Conrad is determined not to make the mistakes his dad made that nearly tore their family apart, so he will support Zoey's every decision--even if he knows it's the worst decision for her and for him.

Being a drummer is all Sawyer Mahon has. When Zoey abandons them, Sawyer sees his future fading faster than the crash of cymbals. After all, what good is a drummer without a band? 

But after one wrong kiss, more than just the future of their band is destroyed. Can Zoey, Justin, Sawyer, and their band survive betrayal?"

Zoey, Justin, and Sawyer are each authentic teens with depth and flaws who face tough choices. There were so many times I wanted to yell at the characters, "NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP IT." That's the mom in me who wants to shield these characters from pain. Haha. But at the same time, I get it. Their mistakes make sense. I understand them. Because I'm a person who has made mistakes too. YA novels help us move outside of that parenting tunnel vision we can get, where were tempted to let our thoughts be 100% "NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP IT." YA books expand our vision and remind us that behind the mistakes are real, complex people with their own desires, feelings, and struggles. Then we can approach our kids with understanding and grace in those situations where they make choices we aren't thrilled with.

In Betrayal of the Band, Tipton also does a fantastic job of including the parents and home life as a part of what shapes the characters.

Zoey wants so badly to honor her mom's memory, that she's feels responsible for making choices that will make her mom proud. That's a tall order for anyone. Where do her own desires and needs fit? Can anyone effectively live their own life if they have this pressure to make someone proud?

Justin has overprotective, strict parents and sees his mom as a hypocrite. It's interesting to explore whether this straight-and-narrow character is a product of his strict upbringing, and whether or not that perfection is more than skin-deep when crap hits the fan.

Sawyer is raised by his single mom and doesn't know his dad. The relationship between Sawyer and his mom is my favorite relationship in the entire book because they're so real with each other. I could gush about these two all day. But as great as the relationship with his mom is, he has some demons in regard to his absent dad.

The nature vs nurture debate is always interesting, and I believe both nature and nurture shape a person. Parents have a lot of influence. And I bet each of us could use a little more empathy and connection no matter what age our children are.

Do you read YA as an adult? Have any YA novels given you insight into the teen/parent relationship? Tell me about it!

Want to read Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton? Here are some helpful links:

Hard copy is out! Digital download is available for preorder and drops August 11.

Facebook page

Facebook group


Twitter: @TiptonSarah

About the author:

Sarah Tipton shares Alaska with her characters, where she lives with her family, including some adorable pups. She's a homeschooler extraordinaire and crochets when she's not running, spending time with her family, and daydreaming plots.

Visit Her Arms Are Strong on Facebook for more content on crunchy living, gentle parenting, and faith-filled motherhood.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Breastfeeding Advice from Moms Like You (Plus World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway!)

I love breastfeeding so much, I'm excited to kick off World Breastfeeding Week 2017 (August 1-7) by offering a partnered giveaway with other crunchy mommy bloggers! I also asked regular super moms like YOU for their best breastfeeding advice for first-time breastfeeders. Check out these nuggets of breastfeeding wisdom from real moms who have struggled, persevered, overcome, breastfed, and know what they're talking about. And be sure to enter the giveaway! [THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.]

"My biggest advice is to find and build a support system before baby is born. A good breastfeeding support group like La Leche League can work wonders when troubles arise." - Courtney

"Nothing in life comes easy, but in the end it's worth it. The same goes with breastfeeding. It's a journey of ups and downs. It creates strong bonds and gives your baby whatever they need. There's times where you'll love it and other times, you may hate it. That's perfectly okay. Ride it out, the first three weeks are the hardest. This is a journey you'll never ever regret or forget." - Jasmine

"I would probably tell new moms to be careful who they listen to. Double check the advice given to you with an evidence-based source. So much bad advice is given. La Leche League is a great resource." - Caitlin

"First of all, breastfeed without fear. When it's 3am and you're up again nursing your baby, remember it goes so fast, cherish those moments. When you're in the middle of a nursing session, put your phone down, enjoy the moment. When you feel like giving up, remember why you started. Breastfeeding is so hard, but it's the most amazing bond I've ever shared with anyone. Don't give up, ask for help if you are struggling, it takes a village.. seriously! And lastly, it's going to be hard at first, but I promise it's all worth it. 💚 #breastfeedwithoutfear Oh and, trust your body!!" - Cheyenne

"2 weeks. Give it 2 weeks. It will get easier! You can do this! Take a breastfeeding class before your baby arrives, you will not regret it!" - Jaime

"Don't listen to your doctor when you're told to supplement or stop breastfeeding due to 'insufficient' weight gain. Seek the support of breastfeeding experts instead (because doctors aren't). Like le leche league.
Also, don't get discouraged if you feel you aren't producing enough. Odds are, you are! Seek the help of an expert." - Syn

"Best advice is take a babymoon and enjoy those oxytocin vibes. Snuggle up with that baby for the first few weeks to a month. Lots of skin to skin. Keep baby at breast as much as you can. Their suckling will help your body with a good supply. Feed on demand and use earth mama nipple butter after every single feed for the first while until your nipples get used to the feedings. Drink lots of water and enjoy every minute of this amazingly beautiful bond with your baby. Remember the days are long but the years are short and with breastfeeding your sweet little nursling you're giving them the very best in life. ✨💛 Trust your body. You got this, mamas." - Kelly

"Enjoy every minute.  I am still nursing at 31 months and it was my very first time bf.  My older 2 (16,14 years old) I didn't bf. I didn't realize the importance and bond that bf is and creates.
So I set goals for 6 months, then a year, then I was like when he's ready we will be done so here we are.  He nurses now about 3 times a day and I know he could self wean anytime so I'm preparing myself for that with this being our last child.  The advice I would give that was given to me by my nurse on L&D and I have never had a problem at all was to go bra-less as much as possible especially when you are leaking a lot air helps prevent yeast they said, also wear loose bras don't wear them tight. Also I nursed on demand and sometimes in the beginning it was hard, but it quickly became easier the older he got. Lots of times I slept without a shirt on just to make sure they had enough air so I am very grateful that my nurse told me these things.  Also I always used my sons organic soap to wash his bottles 😉 with because it was so gentle, non drying  and then he would have the smell of his baby wash when he nursed. And last thing is I was very careful about the deodorant I used.  Only organic. So I hope that helps someone enjoy this special time as a mom! ❤️" - Carol

"Something my doctor at the hospital said-

"The beginning is the hardest part. He said, 'Breastfeed for 2 weeks. If you still feel like quitting, then quit. Most moms who WANT to breastfeed will make it to their goal as long as they make it to two weeks.'" - Ali

"Despite what they say the first week does hurt. Baby and mom are figuring it out together. But the bond is incredible." - Aubrey

"Don't give yourself the option to fail." - Misty

"Do not let ANY doctor tell you to
supplement. Immediately ask for a lactation consultant (my hospital had it free and they came and visited a few times)." - Caitlin

"Check for lip and tongue ties.
Remember that their stomachs don't hold much so frequent and small amounts are what they need." - Manda

"Breast feeding doesn't come natural to everyone. It can be difficult when 'it's all on you.' It can and usually does hurt for a bit until you fiqure it out, together. Nursing strikes are real, sometimes babies cry for other reasons then hunger, if baby is growing and wetting diapers you are making enough. Rest. The dishes will get done, the bed will get made, the laundry will get washed...eventually. Breath, rest and feed your baby. It will all be done before you know it. The bond is incredible and when it's over you WILL miss it and you will be so thankfully you did it, for your baby and for yourself." - Stacy

"Only 1 in 10 000 women physically can't produce enough milk for their baby. Babies cry. It doesn't necessarily mean you don't have enough milk. And if you do supplement, you can go back to full time breastfeeding later. Anything is possible if it's what you truly want." - Lana

"Education and support are two of the most important things that make breastfeeding successful." - Diana

"Don't be afraid to supplement if you feel you need to, for whatever reason, if I hadn't I wouldn't be as present of a mom. Ppd can creep in quickly.when you are struggling to breastfeed, don't be afraid to reach out for help even if it means you have to give formula to get that help." - Kayla

"Don't watch the clock! Feed on demand. Your letdown may feel like pins & needles. Cabbage leaves are great for engorgement but don't use more than once. Be prepared for a letdown and a puddle at your feet. ;)" - Rhiannon

"You can NEVER drink too much water! One thing I learned super fast was to have a water bottle in my hand at ALL TIMES everywhere! Also, never forget your leak pads! You think you won't need them, but you will!!" - Natasha

"Breastfeeding is hard! It may be natural but that does not mean it comes easily! By the time I had my fourth I had breastfed a combined total of 3 years and 1 month and I still had problems in the beginning with my 4th. Like to the point of tears. Stay determined and you will get there!" - Kati

"As a FTM I had this idealized vision of what BF would be like. I wish the following was shared:
1- Nipple Cream is essential and also have nipple shields on hand - your nipples are going from virtually untouched to being latched on/sucked on multiple times a day/night
2 - You will be feeding your LO around the clock - so in a 24hr day, you can expect to be feeding roughly every 2hrs in a day/night.
3- Invest in a good breast pump. My first was terrible - I splurged and got the Medela Freestyle with the handsfree pumping bra - life changing.
4- Invest in slow flow bottles with nipples made for BF babies - have your partner do at least one feeding a day for you so you get a break. Do pace feeding so baby doesn't get flow confusion.
5- Drink tons of water daily and eat a snack every time you pump: A granola bar, a piece of fruit, trail mix, sliced veggies etc - any snack works to keep you from feeling drained.
6- Freeze at least 5/6 bags of breast milk for future use in baby's first year (in case you are no longer breastfeeding) for that first fever, bad cold, etc.
7- Prepare yourself mentally: BF is challenging, especially in the first 4-6weeks until you and baby find your rhythm.
8- Take good care of yourself. Happy, healthy babies have healthy moms." - Jill

"Even if you feel like you have the energy or desire to leave the house, sequester yourself for about 2 weeks at home and focus on learning to BF. Leaving home makes BF difficult. Your baby may sleep the whole time, causing you engorgement problems, and nursing in public is awkward during those first days of learning for both mom and baby!

"Have a head of cabbage in your fridge! Put a leaf in your bra to reduce engorgement if you find yourself suffering from melon size-and-hardness boobs." - Sarah

"Make an appointment with a lactation consultant if you're having trouble, reach out! You're not failing anyone (including yourself) by asking for help. This is new. You just gave birth, it's ok to ask for help!

"Definitely find a fairly large water bottle you love's going to be your best friend. 😊
Also, healthy snacks on your side table by your cozy La-Z-boy chair. Put your feet up, try to enjoy the sitting around. (Once the kids get to being mobile, they never stop lol.)

"I wished I would have known about this gadget when he's eating on one side and I'm leaking precious (gold) milk on the other. Milk catcher. Also good for hand pumping when your milk let down is too hard for baby. Or when he just wants 'the good stuff' and not the thirsty milk. (Thirsty milk comes before the hind milk...not sure of a better way to put it.)" - Jessica

"If you are struggling, there is help! The percentage of women who actually *CAN'T* breastfeed is extremely low. If there is a problem, there is help. Talk with someone at a local La Leche League (there is one near you, I promise). Talk to an IBCLC not just a 'lactation consultant.'

"Also, lip ties and tounge ties are a real thing that can cause real problems. If you have a painful latch, seek help please! Its not meant to hurt!

"Breastfeeding is never something to feel shameful about, regardless of what others say. Know your rights! It is your right to feed your baby, covered, uncovered, standing on your head, whatever makes you and baby happy! Breastfeeding women are specifically exempt from being charged with any sort of indecent exposure etc. in all of the U.S. (Unless you live in Idaho...come on Idaho, get it together!) And there are only 2 other states that don't specifically have laws that protect public breastfeeding. Basically, feed your baby and don't worry about who you may offend! ❤❤" - Becca

"Dont fear what others think or the looks you may get while out in public. Know your rights. Block everything out an imagine it's just you and your baby." - Tameka

Now for the exciting giveaway! One beautiful momma will win the ultimate prize package of:
-Kiinde breastmilk storage system
-Evenflo breast milk bag adapters
-2 NursElets
-A.M. lunchbox/ bottle cooler
-Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter
-2 pro BFing infant shirts
-and a $25 Amazon gift card!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who participated! Click on this link to see if you won! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related posts:

Breastfeeding Without a Cover Doesn't Compromise My Modesty

10 Ways to Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Purpose of a Hope Onesie

As I write this post, 17-month-old M is napping in my arms. I'm having one of those moments where I just gaze at his innocent little face and tear up because he's my dream come true. A dream I almost stopped hoping for month after infertile month when the pain of not conceiving felt like too much. It hurt to hope only to be crushed by the weight of monthly disappointment.

But I'm glad I held onto hope because he's here. He's right here in my arms and he couldn't have been more worth the wait.

If there's anyone reading this who is struggling to conceive and struggling even harder to hold onto hope, I want to share with you the hope onesie.

The hope onesie started on a day when my heart broke over two pregnancy announcements. I was jealous. Angry. Sad that it wasn't me. I sat down and wrote a letter to my future baby, and then I went shopping. Here's an excerpt from the letter:

I'm going to go out and buy a few baby clothes because I hope for you with such a fire! I haven't allowed myself to do it yet, but I need this today when my dream of you seems so far away. You're going to be here one day, and you'll need some clothes. 

This is the hope onesie I bought that day.

The purpose of a hope onesie is to prepare for the baby you're hoping for. In the words of Pastor Joseph Prince, "'Hope' in the Bible is a confident and positive expectation of good." So if you're hoping for a baby, back up that hope with preparation for your baby! This is a show of faith. A way to prove to yourself that you believe.

I took this hope onesie out of its box month after month to hold it, pray, and imagine my baby wearing the onesie. This was the big hope onesie, but there were others too. Every month I wasn't pregnant, I had a good cry, I got angry, I laid it all out in front of God, and then...I went to the store for another onesie for my baby. I bought some gender neutral, some boy, some girl. It didn't matter. What mattered was that through the jealously, anger, and sadness, I chose hope. I turned my hope into something tangible I could touch when my waiting felt hopeless.

Here's a picture of my M wearing the hope onesie almost two years after I bought it.

This was a huge, surreal moment for me, the day he finally fit it, and I saw a complete living picture of what I had only dreamt of and prayed for all that time.

For those of you in the wait, I know how hard it is to hope. But don't give up! Go out and buy a hope onesie for your baby to show yourself that you believe, that you have an unquenchable hope. Your baby is going to wear that onesie one beautiful day.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

"We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:2-7

Related posts:

When Back-to-School is Hard: a Letter to those Experiencing Infertility or Pregnancy Loss

Prayer of Comfort for the Infertile and Mother of Angels

How my Past Infertility Affects My Motherhood for Better and for Worse

To the Infertile From Someone on the Other Side