“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
This is one of my ALL TIME favorite mantras. Some people may think that it breeds mediocrity, but I think it’s a fantastic way to keep our do-it-all, be-it-all tendencies in check. I can be very hard on myself for not having a good attitude, relentless motivation, and endless self-control.
From what I’ve experienced thus far, pregnancy can either foster a greater sense of perfectionism or have the opposite effect where I feel license to completely shirk personal responsibility.
- I must dress cute all the time. I have to show off my belly and get the perfect Instagram pic.
- I must eat perfect all the time. My baby deserves the BEST nourishment and it’s a crime for me to fill my body with anything less than whole, real foods.
- I should be active everyday. I want to stay fit during my pregnancy.
- This may be the 270th review I’ve read for this stroller, but I have to pick the RIGHT one or I’ll totally regret it. What if the wheel falls off or the straps are too loose, or the basket is too small?!
- I would never allow a doctor to administer an epidural… or narcotics. or take my baby away before skin-to-skin, or cut the cord too soon, or… or … or.
- Why dress in anything other than sweats? I’m huge and uncomfortable and it doesn’t matter what I look like.
- The baby wants ice cream. And I need to eat for two remember?
- What’s the point in working out? I’ll hurt myself and it’s not like I’ll ever “get my body back”.
- The OB-GYN knows what they’re doing. I just let them call the shots cause it’s not like I’ve gone to medical school.
- I just walked around target and grabbed the cheapest baby stuff I could find. No use in getting nice stuff when he’s just going to grow out of it.
There’s a huge difference between our perceived ideal and complete disengagement. During my pregnancy, I’ve been trying to focus on the middle ground. I try to insist upon certain things when I feel it really counts but I’ve allowed a lot of margin around things that I believe are secondary issues or I’ve even put off decisions until they are actually pertinent. For example:
Perfection: I need to workout today. If I don’t then I won’t have a fit pregnancy and I’m putting my health, strength, and recovery at risk. Apathy: Working out is useless. I’ll get fat either way.
I’m feeling a little tired today. I’m going to take my dog for a walk and see if I have more energy later for a prenatal yoga class. If not, that’s okay. I can always try again tomorrow after a full night of sleep.
Perfection: I really want some carbs, but I’m just going to have some eggs with greens and avocado cause that’s what a “good mom” would do. Apathy: Pancakes for me! Make it a double stack.
I’m going to make some gluten-free toast with lots of butter and eggs and a big side of fruit! I’ll make sure I have enough protein at lunch but if I’m craving carbs then it must be for a good reason and I shouldn’t deprive myself.
Perfection: I would be so disappointed in myself if I ended up needing a caesarean. All I want is a natural birth for my baby and to avoid the many side effects of major surgery on the postpartum period. Apathy: I don’t care how it happens as long as he gets out of there!
I’m doing my best to prepare for the birth experience that I desire, but there are many circumstances outside of my control and when the time comes and if interventions are suggested, I trust that any decision I make will be what is right, compassionate, and safe.
See! There are lots of ways to find the middle ground when you feel like you’re being sucked into either side of the spectrum.
Here are some other great compromises for the perfectionists out there!
Perfect: Hair done, makeup applied, cute maternity outfit on point.
Good: Hair clean, some mascara and chapstick, comfy black leggings with a cute flowy top and sandals.
Perfect: Salad with salmon and roasted vegetables. Kombucha to drink.
Good: A bun-less burger with lots of ketchup and mustard and a lemonade.
Perfect: Nursery painted, stocked, and decorated just in time for his arrival!
Good: A place for him to sleep, a changing table filled with all the important stuff, and my mommy girlfriends on speed dial for all my frantic in-the-moment questions.
This journey has been incredibly liberating for me. I’ve let go of many of my perceived expectations, but I’ve also surprised myself with my ability to be strong, resilient, and level-headed during a particularly unsettling time. Here are some GOOD choices that I’ve made over the past 8 months.
- Choosing to leave an integrative practitioner with excellent credentials because I did not care for her bedside manner and choosing instead to give birth with the midwives at a birth center ONE MILE from my house.
- A glass of wine. sometimes.
- Sushi instead of brisket.
- Sometimes brisket.
- A nap instead of a workout.
- A workout instead of researching car seats.
- Hand-me downs.
- A birth class that supports my belief in natural, unassisted birth but maintains open, non-judgement to interventions if you so choose.
- Moving boxes, coolers, furniture, and grocery bags even when people tell me I shouldn’t lift a finger.
- Using a cart, a helping hand, or flat-out asking for help when I want or need it.
- Binge-watching Quantico instead of going outside.
- Going out in the sun when I’m in a bad mood.
- Wearing shorts when I feel like my legs shouldn’t be seen in public.
- Wearing leggings pretty much everyday cause that’s what is most comfortable.
- Wearing something dressy for a date night because I deserve to feel pretty and celebrate this new body.