In the fourth instalment of our 2022 Mother's Day series, KCC team member Patrizha Yeomans, shares the joys and challenges of being a first-time Mum. In this interview, Patrizha shares her struggle with anxiety, sleep deprivation, and feelings of failure, and how through all the challenges, she’s learned to trust in God, the “perfect parent”.
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Patrizha and if you’re wondering, it’s pronounced like Patricia! I was born in the Philippines but grew up in Singapore where my parents still reside. In 2015, I moved to Sydney for University and have since moved to Albury to be closer to my in-laws. I’m married to Matt, and we have a four-month-old named Henry. I’ve grown up in a Christian home and have been blessed to know and love Jesus for as long as I could remember. When I’m not on maternity leave, you’ll find me working from home coordinating social media for KCC! In my spare time, I’m usually whipping up something in the kitchen, making a mess in my sewing room or I am curled up with a good book.
2. What are the joys and challenges of being a first-time Mum?
Just watching them grow is such an incredible joy. Experiencing all the firsts–their first smile, their first babble and watching them interact with the world is genuinely so special.
On the flip side, sleep deprivation is a form of torture! Physically, it does take a toll on you and as someone who gets cranky with little sleep, that has been a huge struggle. On top of the tiredness, the time spent looking after a little one means that it’s been a challenge to read my Bible like I used to. Some days I’m so exhausted that my eyes may be reading the words, but my mind has completely spaced out. I’ve had to adapt and do things a bit differently, like praying on the go while I’m feeding or washing the dishes. While I miss the time I once had to read and pray, I know that this is also a season of life that God has placed me in.
Another challenge of being a first-time mum is being a first-time mum! Even though I feel like I prepared for motherhood like an exam with all the reading, google searches and more, nothing’s quite prepared me for the real thing. I thought babies would be predictable but in fact it’s been quite the opposite. You think you’ve figured out their sleep or feeding, but then they change things up in an instant. I thrive on routine and predictability, so I’ve had to be more flexible and adjust as they grow.
There are many joys scattered within the challenges. God seems to provide them when you least expect them, and it gives you that encouragement to keep going.
3. What does being a Christian Mum mean to you? What makes Christian motherhood distinct?
Being a Christian mum means having the responsibility of raising Henry with my husband to know and love Jesus so that one day, he can call Jesus His Lord and Saviour too. As many parents say, ‘time flies’. They are only little for so long and it’s a privilege to have so much input in their lives in these young years. I want to not only teach him God’s Word but also ‘walk the talk’, modelling what it means to be a follower of Christ.
I think what makes Christian motherhood distinct is that we rely on God’s unchanging Word and His wisdom to parent. It’s so easy to turn to culture to get the answers and I often find the wealth of information and opinions on the internet can be overwhelming. Have a question? There’s probably an online forum or a Facebook group where you can find a million different answers. But as the authors of the book, Risen Motherhood phrased it: “The gospel proved more hopeful than any online article… more helpful than any book we could buy, and more sustaining than any quick fix we shared with one another.”
“What makes Christian motherhood distinct is that we rely on God’s unchanging Word and His wisdom to parent.”
4. How does knowing God the Father shaped your parenthood so far?
There have been days when it feels like nothing has gone right and that I’m completely failing as a mum. However, I’m reminded that Henry already has a perfect parent in God, and I should trust in Him. While I am quick to be irritable, impatient, and tired, our God is always ‘compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love’ (Psalm 103:8). Knowing God the Father also means that I’ve been given the opportunity every day to show His love through my parenting. He extends me grace even at my worst and that is a humble reminder to extend that same grace as a parent too.
“There have been days when it feels like nothing has gone right and that I’m completely failing as a mum. However, I’m reminded that Henry already has a perfect parent in God, and I should trust in Him.”
5. What is something God has been teaching you in pregnancy and parenthood so far?
It’s been a journey learning how to surrender everything over to God and remembering that things are not in my control. I struggled with severe anxiety during my pregnancy and even now as a mum, I find myself worrying about a myriad of things. However, God has been reminding me that He knew Henry before he was even formed, and Henry’s life is in His hands. Even when I’ve felt completely helpless as a mum and not knowing what to do, He's taught me that I can always bring things to Him in prayer.
God has also been reminding me that my identity is not in my accomplishments but in Christ. So often I find myself striving to find value in how much I accomplished in my day. How organised my house is, whether I’ve cooked all the meals for the week, or whether I’ve deemed myself a ‘good enough’ mum. And while productivity isn’t a bad thing, I’m reminded that I’m limited. I’m thankful that ‘His power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9) and my worth doesn’t lie in my works but rather, what Jesus has already accomplished on the cross.
“I struggled with severe anxiety during my pregnancy and even now as a mum, I find myself worrying about a myriad of things. However, God has been reminding me that He knew Henry before he was even formed, and Henry’s life is in His hands.”
Enjoyed this read? Read the rest of the series!