Two lines showed up, doctors confirmed it, family & friends were notified…We are having a baby! Suddenly, I found myself on all the mom-to-be websites, signed up for newsletters, purchased What to Expect when You’re Expecting — any information pertaining to pregnancy and babies, I wanted to own it.
Bound and determined not to fail at being a mother, I put expectations on myself.
I’ll eat the right foods, walk, read to this baby in my belly, drink one cup of coffee instead of four, sign up for Lamaze, water aerobics, avoid cold deli meats, elevate my feet and at any given moment tell you down to the second how far along I was and if my baby was the size of a poppy-seed or grapefruit. If anyone was prepared for having a baby it was me. As a matter of fact, I went into the hospital with so much confidence that I didn’t miss a lick. Nine months & 12 hours of labor later, I was still pregnant. The room was spinning, doctors were cutting off my clothes, I was sick (physically), and quickly had to make a choice that I was unprepared for … a C-section.
I didn’t plan for that. I didn’t expect that.
It was the first moment in this mom life that prepared me for the rest of the ride. Not only did I not expect the C-section, I was totally unprepared for the baby blues. Where were those in my mom books, newsletters, and advice from all the advice-givers? Those were the most unexpected of all. They hit me like a freight train with worn out brakes and a 16-year-old driver who just got his permit!
Three nights in the hospital later, it was time to go home. I expected to look blushing, walk out in skinny jeans with my glow in tow, new 9 pound & 10-ounce baby, and all the “free stuff” I could fit on my cart. Instead, I rolled out with a swolt top and bottom lip, snug maternity jeans, blistered up breast, felt like I was on a bare-back horse, and in a wheelchair.
Again, not what I expected.
What happened next stayed with me the entire time 9 years and 2 kids later — I left my expectations at the door.
New mamas: Leave the high expectations at the hospital door. If you’ve already had your children, leave the expectations at the door of your home or the bathroom door you are hiding behind, hoping for a moment of peace.
Set goals for yourself and family but don’t bind yourself to the point of feeling like a failure — you are doing a wonderful job.
Remove the expectations that you will be prepared for it all, because we aren’t and may never ever be. It’s fair to say I set my expectations high and from the first day, I wanted to be the best mother. Realistically, our children just need us to be a good mom, not “the best mother.”
Instead of setting myself and potentially my children up for failure, I caught on really quick — do what you can handle. Not what the books say you should do, not what social media portrays, not what your family suggest, not what a TV show says, do what you can and if you aren’t satisfied with it, you get to try again tomorrow.
5 Reminders to Offer Yourself Grace:
1. Let go of the past. Don’t carry over the mistakes of yesterday.
2. Be kind to yourself.
3. Give yourself the same grace you show other mamas.
4. “You are the apple of His eye.” Psalm 17
5. Pray for The Lord’s guidance.
Give yourself the grace that God gives you. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. If we were then we wouldn’t need Him. Ground yourself in the only truth there is, His truth. The closer your relationship is with Him, the more confidence you’ll have because His presence is where I found the grace to forgive myself.
Have Zest & Leave Expectations at the Door!