In this reflection, KCC team member, foodie and first-time Mum, Kat Fernandez, shares the joys and challenges of motherhood, and how her faith in God makes her parenting distinct. We hope you are encouraged by her words!
I’m Kat, 29, born and raised in Sydney. I have been married to Josh for almost four years and this year we welcomed our first baby boy, Leon. Josh and I both have parents who migrated to Australia from the Philippines. I love the Lord and have been a Christian since my early teens and I’m currently attending a Baptist Church in Western Sydney.
I enjoy dinner dates, weekend staycations and eating delicious food that releases our internal foodies. I used to own a food blog many years ago, so even though I’ve made the switch to Event Management, I still love to bake, take endless photos of food and secretly critique everything I eat as if I’m going to write a review about it later down the track.
2. What are the joys and challenges of being a first-time Mum?
If I can be honest, I have been met with mostly challenges in my first three months of motherhood. Of course the joys are there, but this newborn stage is tough! The biggest adjustment and challenge for me was the transition into motherhood. It wasn’t exactly smooth and no matter how much preparation I did in the lead up, I felt it was either thrown out the window or I didn’t prepare enough. For example, I couldn’t know what my baby’s temperament was going to be like during the day. Would he sleep, would he scream and cry, would he cluster feed? So as someone who thrives on schedules, routines and having everything planned and in order, I was forced to embrace flexibility, spontaneity and messiness.
However, with that said, in these three months I have experienced joy with each development and growth spurt he goes through. It’s a joy to watch him change and grow, knowing that my husband and I have the pleasure of nurturing him through these significant life stages. It’s mind blowing how the little things he does can bring so much joy. Like when he finally can hold his head up when he does tummy time, when he talks to me when I read to him, when he gives a huge burp after he feeds or when he finally does a poop after a long day!
3. What does being a Christian Mum mean to you? What makes Christian motherhood distinct?
Before we became parents, my husband and I joined the parenting class that was offered at my church to learn about how we could raise our son God’s way. This meant a lot to both of us because we wanted to make sure we had the right foundations in this new stage of life. We needed to be on the same page on how we would raise him.
I think this is what makes Christian motherhood (or Christian parenthood) distinct. God has planned for and called me to be a mother, so I must bring my son up to know and love the Lord. It’s my duty, alongside my husband, to be an example to him and to instill in him the biblical teachings and Christian values that will shape his life so he too will know Jesus as his personal Saviour. I can only trust that God will soften his heart as he grows so he can follow this path too.
4. How does knowing God the Father shaped your parenthood so far?
When I was really struggling the first few weeks of parenthood, I had to seek some counselling. My counsellor asked me at one point during a session ‘‘what’s motivating you to keep on going?”. I remember answering two things. One, that despite how difficult this all is, I knew God was not going to let me go. He’s got me. I know my strength comes from Him and I know that, like anything else in my life, He is there and I can get through it because of Him. And secondly, because of my love for Him, I love my husband and I love my son and it’s my responsibility to be there for them as wife and mother. God planned this for my life and I am to embrace it wholeheartedly.
After this session, I remembered to keep this always at the forefront of my mind. Knowing God the Father has been pivotal in my motivation to be a good wife to my husband and be a good mum to my son. It has helped me to have a better attitude through difficult situations. I can’t just throw in the towel, give up and say ‘I’m done’. Sure, it is not easy, I fail multiple times. I am definitely far from perfect. I still stress and complain. I still don’t know how I am managing to get through the day on minimal sleep. But I am always reminded, especially by my husband, to pray and seek God’s counsel and guidance, to forgive me for my failings and to help shape me into the mother He wants me to be for my son.
“God has been reminding me to live out the fruits of the Spirit…There’s a whole extra level of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that I am learning as a mother.”
So far, I think God has been reminding me to live out the fruits of the Spirit during this time. As Christians, the fruits of the Spirit are qualities of character that we are instructed to live out, but in the case of motherhood, I feel like all of these qualities are just heightened and are on another level that I have never experienced or thought of before. There’s a whole extra level of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that I am learning as a mother.
When my baby is crying and I have tried everything I possibly can to calm him down, I have to practise more patience, kindness and gentleness than I ever have before. When my baby smiles at me in the early hours of the morning when I have to feed him despite how exhausted I am, I feel more love, joy and peace than I could have imagined, and in this moment can only thank God for the gift of motherhood. It is a conscious daily effort and is a lot of hard work to put these into practice, but it’s something that God has been teaching me and strengthening me to keep on learning.
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