My husband and I are new parents of a beautiful and brilliant baby girl, who is soon to be six weeks old. So yes, my maternity leave is almost over. I love my ministry positon. I do. And I love the children in our church. I want to be a children’s minister. God called me to this role, to this church. But the thought of being away from my sweet baby girl is killing me. Maybe it is the hormones, but all I have done this week is cry. And when I cry, both my daughter and my husband cry too. My house is not a pretty place these days. Do you think I will get over being emotionally distraught? Is it even possible that I might enjoy my ministry work again? Or will I be forever sad for deciding to not stay at home?
Broken-Hearted New Minister Mom
First of all, congratulations on the birth of your daughter! You have entered a new season of life as a mother, wife, and minister. The emotional distress that you are experiencing is common among new mothers and is certainly not limited to those in ministry—check out the fascinating article from The Atlantic called “What Happens to a Woman’s Brain When She Becomes a Mother.”
The birth of your daughter has triggered a seismic shift in your priorities. As you cradle your daughter in your arms and anticipate being separated from her, your ministry position seems more like a threat to your emotional well-being than a source of fulfillment. But in time, the sadness should diminish and you can once again find joy in your ministry. If your emotional distress does not subside, you may be suffering from postpartum depression, and you need to seek professional help.
Making the transition from maternity leave to minister will be challenging, so you would greatly benefit from talking with someone who has already successfully navigated this path. If a name doesn’t readily come to mind, contact Pam Durso, and she will be happy to help connect you to another minister who can encourage you in this journey of motherhood and ministry. Connect with other women in ministry who are at a similar stage of life. Ask them the questions that are racing through your mind. Don’t isolate yourself; nurture a network of supportive peers.
Remember, the God who called you to be a minister knew that you would also become a mother. God has begun a good work in you, and God will be faithful to complete it. May you find joy in motherhood and joy in ministry in the days to come.
If you have a question for Dear Addie, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The photo of Addie Davis is provided courtesy of Special Collections, Jack Tarver Library, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.