days minutes after returning from our honeymoon two years ago, I started planning for and obsessing about having babies. I was ready, but I thought we should give our marriage a year before we added pregnancy hormones and diapers to the mix. Also, Mr. TTT wanted more time. He has always loved kids and was so great with them (I have a little brother who was only 4 when we started dating and he was amazing with him), but he wasn’t quite ready to have some of his own. So, we waited a year and I added baby blogs to my google reader.
One of the biggest influences on my beliefs about pregnancy and birth at that time was That Wife: a blog by Jenna, a Mormon and photographer who was planning a natural home birth (she now blogs about life with her baby and husband). I also remember visiting one of my friends and her new baby, and being amazed that she had her baby naturally with no drugs. The more I read (and not just blogs, I did some “real” research as well), the more I believed that natural childbirth was the best for both me and my future baby.
Another thing I was dead set on: I wanted a girl first. I love all things girly: ballet, doll houses, frilly dresses, and lots of pink. My husband, like most men, wanted a boy first. I remember saying that no matter what we ended up with, one of us would be disappointed. People always say that they’re just happy with a healthy baby, but at the time I was sure I would be disappointed if I found out we were having a boy.
After we starting trying to conceive and continued trying for a year, I came to realize one very important thing: I had no control. I had no control over when I got pregnant, I had no control over whether I was having a boy or girl, and I had no control over the type of birth I’d have. Sure, I could make a plan and go to the classes and prepare my mind and body (and husband) as much as possible, but that didn’t mean everything would happen the way I wanted it to.
This was a difficult realization for me to come to. I’m the first to admit that I have some control issues. I want things to go according to plan and when they don’t, I’m not one of those people who can just go with it. This is something I’m working on and getting better at, though. I’ve been seeing a therapist for over a year and at my most recent session, I was telling her about some class changes (remember I’m a high school teacher) that might happen next semester. I told her that things were still a bit up in the air, even though fall semester was coming to a close, but that I could handle whatever they threw at me. I know I used the phrase “oh well” because she congratulated me on coming so far and getting to the “oh well” phase. She reminded me how I was last year at this time and that I never would have been able to be so relaxed about a situation like this at that time.
Trying to get pregnant has taught me that I don’t need to be control all the time for things to work out just as they should. If things had gone my way, I would have had a baby around April 2011 and received a notice that I was to be laid off from my job that June. I would have had to juggle an infant while job hunting and it would have been a nightmare. I probably wouldn’t have gotten my current job because since I wasn’t on maternity leave I was able to prepare with colleagues and practice my demo lesson on my students. Sure, things might have worked out, but they also worked out this way. I’ve learned that all that stress over the perfect plan wasn’t good for me or anyone around me. I can let go more now and trust that everything will fall into place. And if it doesn’t, I’ll survive. My world won’t fall apart.
Part of this letting go is letting go of the perfect birth plan. It’s not something I can entirely control and that’s ok. If things go the way I hope they will, great! If not, oh well! After trying to get pregnant for over a year and having a miscarriage, now all I care about is carrying a pregnancy to term and having a healthy baby. I don’t care if my birth plan goes out the window the second I enter the hospital. I don’t care if I have a girl or a boy; all I want is to grow our family.
I’m certain that this will be an important skill to have once the baby arrives. While I can read the books and prepare for an infant, I know that things won’t always be perfect and I’ll have to adjust as I go along. I won’t be able to protect my child from everything or ensure he grows up to be a certain way. All I can do is my best, while remembering I don’t have to control everything.
Have your opinions about babies and birth changed since you became pregnant or started trying to conceive?