spiritual practices with newborns: a new series

Here we go again! Settling into Newborn Land…

It’s a strange place to live. Everyone keeps odd hours. Crying is common. Spit-up and strange smells are expected. Nothing is ever clean.

But it’s a sweet place to stay, too. Newborn neck nuzzles and curled froggy legs. Milky breath and fuzzy fine hair. Sleepy smiles and softest skin.

The newborn time turns brains to mush. Hearts, too. It reverses routines and casts aside comfort. It makes you crave quiet and sleep so desperately you can taste it.

But it also reminds you how simple life can be. Sleep, eat, repeat. No lofty demands, no stressful schedules.

Just the babymoon cocoon of those dearest and nearest, wrapped up in the needs of the littlest.

On our third sojourn into Newborn Country, I’ve noticed how quickly the days are spinning by. Mostly thanks to two big brothers who never got the memo on “sleep when the baby sleeps,” choosing instead to play/yell/laugh/eat/whine/run/tantrum while the baby rests.

So the only long, lazy stretches of gazing at my sweet babe are reserved for the wee morning before anyone else stirs.

In those hazy hours before dawn, I think about the practices of caring for a baby. How simple, yet how laborious they can be. How feeding, diapering, and comforting a newborn fill every hour of every day.

If you’ve spent more than five minutes surfing round this blog, you know how my thoughts wind God-ward. So lately, as I nurse and change diapers and rock and swaddle and soothe, I’ve been thinking about how these simple acts can be spiritual practices.

How everyday care for babies teaches us about God and who God created us to be.

Over the next few weeks, as I’m adjusting to life as a mother of three (and a writer with fewer brain cells), I’ll be wandering through Newborn Land, eyes open to the spiritual practices that come with caring for baby.

Feeding, cleaning, rocking, singing, holding, soothing, and resting – to name a few.

Clichés about babies pile up faster than dirty laundry, and advice for new parents abounds. But would you believe Scripture has something to say about these spiritual practices, too?

For those of you in the trenches of Newborn Land (or Toddler Territory, or Preschool-Ville), I hope this new spin on well-worn activities might breathe fresh air into your tired bones.

And for those of you whose days of diapering and nights of rocking babies are now far behind you, I hope you’ll share your wisdom with those of us who still have far to go!

So enjoy this spiritual enlightenment on spit-up and soggy crib sheets…

Here’s the complete series on spiritual practices with newborns:

And my 4-part series on how to pray with a new baby in your life:

For more reflections for new parents, check out the book Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting!

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12 Comments

  1. jennyjennygenesis on 9 June 2014 at 7:43 am

    Thank you for this, my heart goes out to you during this beautiful and difficult phase! Your writing is inspiring!

    • Laura on 19 June 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Jenny! Beautiful and difficult all at once – oh yes!

  2. Ginny@RandomActsofMomness on 9 June 2014 at 11:14 am

    Awww … love that sweet photo! That whole “baby burrito” swaddled look is so precious.

    The newborn period is so odd and surreal . You described it perfectly as life stripped to its basics (minus the basic of sleep, at least for moms!). Looking forward to hearing your musings on the spirituality of it all. Hugs and blessings.

    • Laura on 19 June 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Ginny! One thing’s for sure – this newborn time is making it hard to keep up with all kinds of communication, blog comments included unfortunately! But I love what you say about the surrealness (surreality?) of time with newborns. It does feel otherworldly, to be up at strange hours and trying to function in the real world with sleep-deprived-head. But life stripped bare can be a good thing, too. I forget how simple it can be!

  3. […] if you missed the rest of the series on spiritual practices with newborns, check out feeding and […]

  4. […] time/writing time has been nonexistent. But I have been slowly working on the next posts in the spiritual practices with newborns series to start back up next week! (Note to self: setting the bar low for postpartum expectations […]

  5. […] with the practical side of spiritual practices with newborns, here is the 2nd in this series of simple ways to pray while caring for a baby: all day long, up […]

  6. […] Wondering how to be more mindful with a new baby in your life? Check out two more ways to pray – all day long and up all night – and the complete series on spiritual practices with newborns. […]

  7. these are the waning days « mothering spirit on 22 August 2014 at 8:15 am

    […] three long months in which I learned to love a new soul, with all the bodily love that babies bring. In which I was wrapped into the enfolding embrace (sometimes smother) of life […]

  8. Eat, Pray, Sleep - Collegeville Institute on 1 September 2014 at 4:01 pm

    […] series on spiritual practices with newborns includes reflections about feeding, cleaning, comforting, beholding, and holding a baby. It also […]

  9. a summer of paradox « mothering spirit on 1 September 2014 at 4:25 pm

    […] put together this post on our Collegeville Institute blog about my summer series on spiritual practices with newborns. I’m touched by their words and hope you will enjoy it, […]

  10. Peanut Butter & Grace on 12 October 2015 at 9:42 pm

    […] can find expanded versions of these ideas and many others at Mothering Spirit’s “Spiritual Practices with Newborns“ […]

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