First, Lord: divine patience. These last days bring an achy back and little feet between ribs and a tendency to wish away the hours. Give her patience. And faith in your timing.
May she be Courageous but Tender enough to be moved by the miracle within her
for it’s the courage that will carry her through contractions, and tenderness that she’ll need on the other side.
When the epidural is offered,
May she draw from every ounce of your strength
(but know that there’s no shame in accepting modern medicine).
Guide her, protect her
When driving to the hospital, changing into The Gown, walking the halls, watching the seismograph that is her contraction, clenching her teeth, gripping her fists, breathing deep, bearing down with all her might, the gravity, the adrenaline, the realization, birthing new life, finding familiar eyes, falling to pieces, and coming back together again. Only different. For ever and always.
Lead her away from insecurity
but not all the way to know-it-all. Carve for her a place that falls somewhere between assured and timid. Allow her the experience of fretting over diaper rash but give her the nerve to tell strangers “hands off” the sleeping newborn.
May she stand tall and walk proud down the path of young motherhood so that from her own experience she will gain wisdom and perspective and faith.
Grant her sleepless nights marked by feedings and diaper changes. These, I know, are weary times but so, too, are they the moments you intended. In the calm quiet and dim light, we come to understand needs greater than our own. We nourish and we soothe and we rock gently back to sleep and all the while love burrows more deeply than ever we thought possible.
O Lord, shut the mouths of well-meaning friends and strangers alike,
that she might be spared the pain of thinly-veiled criticisms and putdowns disguised as compliments. Successfully growing a human being is hard enough without the burden of simultaneously tiptoeing through a minefield of opinions on everything from breastfeeding to safe sleeping positions. May those that have gone before her remember. And shower her with grace.
And when she one day calls to ask how to administer a suppository or calm colic or soothe teething pain,
steady my heart, Lord, because nothing leaves me quite so vulnerable as the distance between us that ties my hands.
Be my eyes, Lord, that I might see her when–just as I did twenty years before–she lies on her bed and intently watches the steady rise and fall of her daughter’s chest as she sleeps, the flutter of her tiny eyelids as she dreams. “So help me if anyone should ever hurt you,” she’ll whisper, as she memorizes every curve of that tiny profile, the purse of sweet rosebud lips. There will come an instant of clarity that will wash over her like a rising tide and finally she will understand a mother’s love.
I suspect it’s as close to yours as one can get.