Updated: Mar 2
I’m a planner. I like to go into a situation with as much information as possible to ensure success. I like to make sure I have everything I need in case ANYTHING happens. I mean, I worked in emergency preparedness for years. I loved it and that takes a certain kind of person. Mass fatality planning, who wants to plan for that? Me! For the last 9 months, this is how I’ve been preparing for the birth of my first child. I’ve read several birth books, took an 8-week birth class, and have my go-bags fully stocked and ready to go.
And now I am learning and growing with some first lessons in parenthood:
#1 I AM NOT IN CONTROL
First of all, I have no idea when this baby is coming. I don’t know what my first signs of labor will be. I may even be confused if I am in labor at all. I don’t know if my plan to have no drugs and low intervention will actually play out how I want it to. I don’t know what crazy person I will turn into when I’m in the throes of labor.
And labor is only the beginning. After my baby makes his way into this world, the real work begins. It’s kinda surreal being here at 39 weeks and realizing, oh shit, we really made a living breathing human being that is going to grow up and be their own person with their own personality and opinions of how things should be.
#2 PARENTING IS HARD
Not because children are succubuses who take all your time, energy, and resources. It’s hard because you are suddenly thrown into an extreme period of self-reflection, self-doubt, and spiritual and emotional growth.
Parenting is not for the weak. In fact, I need to start high-fiving every parent I see on the street. I’m already feeling the heat and this little one is still curled up in the safety of my womb.
#3 WORKING PARENTS HAVE IT ROUGH
How will I balance working and parenthood? I’ve been accustomed to measuring my value in society based on what I’ve accomplished through my career and what bullet points I can add to my resume. Now I need to restructure that vision of value and success.
I want to live in a world that values all parents for the work they do at home and in their careers. I’m obviously a proponent of social and work-based programs that support families. But first, I need to figure out what it means to me. How does one feel successful as a parent and in one’s career at the same time? As a business owner, how do I support my employees to be successful in both?
I feel pretty good about getting through the sleepless nights, the endless diapers, and navigating all the unsolicited parenting advice that will come my way (Well, ask me again in 4 weeks). But I can’t prepare for who I will become that moment I meet my child for the first time. I can’t prepare for how my priorities will shift when I become a mother and so far American society is not offering me an answer.
So this is the beginning. My first blog post of becoming a mother. Stay tuned for more writings on introducing solids, cloth diapering, the first tantrum, navigating parenting with my partner, and my continual personal growth as I figure out what it means to be a mother.
Wish me luck.
Alanna Beebeis a certified Positive Discipline Educator and the founder of Sproutable. She has 10+ yrs experience in public health & early learning communications, and equity & social justice policy development. She is a former board member for WACAP (now HoltInternational.org), an international and domestic adoption and foster placement agency. She is also a parent and former nanny. You can find other blogs from Alannain theNew Mama Blogs.