Pregnancy Week 29/30: Expectations

My 29th and 30th week were spent celebrating Thanksgiving in sub 30 degree weather. Which may seem like an oxymoron. I mean, how do you give thanks when you are frozen solid? Beats me. But I managed somehow.

Thanksgiving was spent with my family in Idaho, most of us were either sick, getting sick, or recovering from being sick. There were also three toddler boys afoot who were simultaneously adorable and greatly increasing my appreciation that the next child joining the family will be female. Tea party anyone?

The holiday season has me thinking a lot about the changes that will be in full effect next year. It’s my last Thanksgiving and Christmas as a mother of one, a family of three.

As I look towards the new year, it’s clear to me that I really have no idea what’s in store for the next season of our lives. I mean sure, I’ve given birth and raised one child, but I feel like that experience gives me a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to setting expectations for the year to come. I can feel myself planning for this and that milestone, one’s that I experienced with Atlas, knowing full well that Eden’s journey will not follow the same timeline. While I feel a little more aware of the reality of diapers, doctor’s visits, and postpartum recovery — I’m ignorant to the true demands of raising a newborn with a toddler in tow. I can look back at how my first year with Atlas unfolded with an expectation that Eden’s first year will be the same, but I suspect strongly that would be a mistake. This is a whole different person I’m bringing into world– Heck,  I’m a different person. We’re a different family. Having expectations that certain transitions or freedoms will return at specific times is really just a recipe for disappointment and frustration.

As I move closer and closer to her due date, my goal is to stay open to what motherhood has for me this year. Letting go of all the ambitious goals and remaining present throughout the process. My focus will be on setting small daily goals for supporting my mental, physical, emotional health through reasonable and accessible habits. Things like physical recovery birth — whatever that entails, 10 – 20 mins of quiet reflection or journaling time, and finding pockets of time throughout the year to meet with my close friends.

One of my guidelines for this year’s “goal setting” is a little series of questions that I recently stumbled upon. I found it to be a refreshingly open-ended and gentle inquiry – while also effective in assessing where I am currently and where I would like to go.

If this strikes you as a helpful framework for the new year, or any new transition, I would encourage you to adopt it as your own.

  1. What do I want to start doing?
  2. What do I want to stop doing?
  3. What do I want to continue doing?

I like that they are simple questions that could have really simple answers. I also appreciate that some people (like me) tend to feel unsatisfied with simple, straightforward answers in which case, they can take these inquiries to a deeper level if desired.

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