Psychology and labour

I’m excited for our baby to start the biggest adventure of his or her life! But I’m also nervous about my own role in that process. I want to make sure that I clear away any of my own barriers that might slow sweet little tuk-tuk from coming into this world when he’s ready.
One tendency that I need to lay to rest is perfectionism. It’s a ridiculous obsession for anyone, in any field. Nothing is ever perfect, and nothing in life is ever “done.” When you’re done, you’re dead (or rather, the reverse: when you’re dead, you’re done) but even then, inevitably, some things are left un-done. Embracing cycles, phases, new plateaus, progress and self-care rather than the perfectionism of a perfectly clean house and fulfillment of everything that “needs” to be ready for the baby is really really important. Everything that needs doing is done. We have everything baby needs: a safe, clean, orderly place to be born; healthy and loving and welcoming mom and dad; and a food supply for baby. In addition we have blankets, diapers, clothes and a place for baby to sleep. We even have a car seat to take baby places that are further away. Truly, everything essential is here. The rest is surplus.

Embracing the doing rather than the done is another aspect to work on. I enjoy doing. Doing gives meaning. But I can still obsess over what is done/undone and imagine that I’ll feel better once it’s all done. In fact, not true. We got most everything done by Sunday – and Monday was a low, slow day for me as I didn’t really have anything I needed to do, but wasn’t ready to relax and enjoy that time either. Remembering that I enjoy doing, so it’s good that there will still be things to do, is another mental switch to make.

There is life after baby. Another new mantra. I realize that baby will change our lives forever, but life will still go on. We’ll still be who we are, cook and shop and clean and relax and do all the things we do now. Though I will undoubtedly be fully focused on baby for the first while (months, truly), I will start spending time on other things after that. And I will find new things that I want to learn or do: baby massage, collaging or crafting, maybe get back into photography, sewing things, writing (a whole new subject to write about!), the list is endless. Not to mention renewed impetus to revisit ongoing interests such as decluttering, gardening, cooking, healthy food and lifestyles, family and marriage, etc. Baby is part of an expansion of life. I will continue to exist in that new life. I need to remember that too.

Finally, life changes and we change with it. Letting go of some writing goals is probably the hardest thing for me right now. What is the purpose of those goals? How do they relate to my identity and my bigger purposes on this planet? I believe I’m here for my personal growth and to be of service. From that perspective, caring lovingly for a child completely fulfills both those purposes. Writing articles for publication may be part of my growth but is not its ultimate measure. How I respond to the demands to balance and prioritize my time is probably a more significant aspect of these life purposes.

As I process these thoughts, at 40 weeks pregnant, I’m talking to baby and letting him know that we’re ready for him. Come on down, we’re waiting! Looking forward eagerly to your arrival, little one!!

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