While listening to Wake-Up with Taylor this morning on my commute to work this quote form Christine Hassler author of Expectation Hangover, caught in my mind.
Pregnancy, birth and parenthood are all overwhelming in themselves without the added pressure of expectations – be they your own or someone else’s. I am a planner by nature and therefore by default always have expectations for everything. In the not so distant past I was constantly dealing with disappointment and the worst part was it was my own doing. Over the years I’ve been able to recover a bit from my ‘expectation’ habit and I am determined not to be plagued by unnecessary disappointment especially in regards to motherhood.
As I listened to Christine talk about the importance of setting goals, not expectations, I realized I luckily had accidentally done that for myself with my baby Dan V. Just because I had goals, doesn’t mean that expectations didn’t sneak their way in.
My goals were simple…
- Birth Plan = Come through on the other side healthy with a healthy baby
- To breastfeed (BF) if possible and hopefully make it to 6 months
- Find childcare that suits our family and our newest addition
When you’re pregnant it seems like one of the biggest topics of conversation as well as a subject area ripe for opinions – do you have a birth plan? are you going natural? For my own sanity I determined no plan was better than a plan for me. Will I prefer to have my water break naturally? I dunno. Will I have an epidural? Maybe. The only thing I knew for sure was I wasn’t going to get in a bathtub – I can barely even comprehend sitting in one in my own home which I know is scrubbed and scoured there was no way that it would be relaxing for me to use one at the hospital! Going into birth without a plan was the best plan for me. I was terrified that if I had a plan I would be devastated when things did not go accordingly. For me, no plan was the right way to go. I was prepared to go with the flow and do whatever I felt was necessary in the moment. (We’ll pretend that I didn’t breakdown about not having Dan V in August… more on that in another post).
Another huge topic of discussion revolves around breastfeeding (BF) – whether or not to BF, how long to BF, the list goes on. Fortunately with V we skipped all of the horror stories surrounding BF – no or poor latch, low or no milk supply, etc. I really had no excuse not to. Would I have stuck with it if it had been more difficult? I’m not sure. I remember speaking to other new moms or moms-to-be that had goals loftier than my own and feeling anxiety over my choices – had I made the right decision? When things were winding down, I started to feel guilt creeping in. Should I try to pump more to keep my supply up? It would be awesome to have my body back to myself, is that selfish? I had made it to 6 months (and V’s 8 teeth) with a stockpile that lasted another 2 – what was there to feel bad about?
For us, and so many other working parents, the childcare conversation was incredibly challenging to navigate. Since my husband, Dan IV, and I decided we would both continue working full-time, we needed to determine the best situation for our family. Daycare seemed to be the solution that was right for us, though not easily arrived at. The childcare/child-rearing issue is always one that gets a lot of attention and opinions. Personally, I felt like there was no solution that fit perfectly – including me becoming a stay-at-home-mom. At first I would get really down about putting my tiny little V in daycare. I wasn’t prepared for how I felt about going back to work and leaving V with anyone other than myself. I certainly wasn’t prepared to discuss the merits of every childcare situation and what that means for our family. It was distracting and, at times, consuming. Over time I realized that others were not putting expectations on me, I was doing it to myself. People were just asking questions about our daycare because they were genuinely interested in our life not because they were passing judgment.
Guilt and disappointment are both so counterproductive – why waste our precious time with it?
A work in progress…