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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Expecting Perfection: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

My mom used to drive me crazy. (Yes, she reads the blog. Don't worry; she's well aware. In fact, she's probably reading this saying - used to?)

When something wasn't going the way I wanted it to, or thought it should/would/could, I'd get very frustrated. Very often, it wasn't pretty.

My mom would say, "It's all in your expectations."

This infuriated me. I jumped to the conclusion that she was suggesting I lower my expectations. I found that shocking & insulting.

Poor mom. I'm certain she did not want me to settle. I'm certain she wanted (and wants) me to be happy. I'm certain she still thinks I could use some work in this department.

She's right. But I've come a long way.

For one thing, I understand that you can change your expectations without lowering them. For another, I've gained a bit (just a wee bit) of patience. I understand that my expectations may {*gasp*} take time to come about. Finally, I understand that you have to make choices. You can't be in even 2 places at once, let alone 12. You can't be all things to all people.

For whatever reason, this was a lesson I had to relearn as a parent.

The following statements may make many other mothers want to murder me, or at the very least, never read my blog or speak to me again:

  • My pregnancy was wholly without complication. I loved it.
  • My birth experience was absolutely perfect. I loved it.

My whole perinatal experience was wonderful, and I certainly wouldn't trade it. However, I honestly think it warped my thinking a bit. (Along with all those insane hormones! ... and my natural proclivities for insanity.) I thought since the birth had gone even better than I'd imagined, so too would I be an even more perfect mother than I'd imagined.

I was a good mom. But it wasn't good enough for me. I spent many of my daughter's sleeping hours berating myself for what I didn't know & what I wasn't doing right. Finally, somewhere around 6 months, I got more comfortable as a mom & accepted my imperfections - that parenting, just like life in general -- is a journey.

You guessed it, fellow guilt-lovers! Then I felt guilty for not enjoying the early days enough! And around & around we go!

Recently though, I feel like I've gotten off the merry-go-round. My old hang-ups have not magically disappeared. Fixing them seems more imperative now that I am a mother. (I truly do not want her to inherit this!) Her cognitive development has accelerated so much, it seems exponential. It's made me realize that we are all moving forward. It's made me realize that she won't remember whether I was perfectly well-adjusted when she was 2 months or 2 years old, but she will when she's 6 or 12 years old.

So, I'm working on me. (Mom's gonna love this.) My number one priority has been to redefine my expectations. Expectations of myself, certainly. But also of my daughter & my husband. And of my mom & dad ... Co-workers, cashiers, other drivers, .... you get the idea. There will be more on this to come!

I have loved every day of my daughter's life. Early on, I may not have enjoyed as much as I should have or as another mother could have - but a lot and as much as I could.


  1. Love the baby pictures! And good for you for taking your mother's advice. I think I need to do some redefining, too :)

  2. It's an ongoing process for sure! I think it may consume my whole fall semester off from school! :)