“Do not dwell on the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
The Pressure Cooker Effect
When I fell pregnant there was nothing anyone could have told me to prepare for the change that having a baby would do to me and also my life. For all the times I have felt pressure and stress – nothing could compare to the constant pressure felt with a new baby – juggling everything.
That feeling that you believe you can’t breath; that you are moving through the motions in a daze of feeding, changing, cuddling, attempting to get them to sleep – all the time thinking of all the things that you should be doing – getting on top of emails, doing the washing, cleaning (ok tidying!) the house – not to mention that little thing ‘they’ say about sleeping when bubs does (laughable!). Not to mention continuing to develop the business, grow events, appease everyone, manage staff, meet budget, get some sleep, rest, tale time for yourself. Be The Best Mother. Keep the maternal health nurse happy, work towards the next baby milestone, go to mother’s club, tell everyone how great you are doing. Smile. Cope. Get the baby to sleep without screaming. Do the books, update the website, answer e-mails, get some sleep.
You get it – around and around – and every day you survive.
Then I put this saying on my kitchen wall:
I believe Sophie would have been about 6 months. I realised that I was always striving for the next development goal. I was focused on her getting to the next age – where things might be a bit better. I was focusing on how stressful and painful it was for her to go to sleep (at 4.5 she still bugs me some nights). I realised that I needed to enjoy this very moment with my little girl – something I still do today. Enjoy the smiles, laughs, hugs of today – tomorrow they will not be there. I learn’t that it was OK to have her sleep in my arms if that was where she wanted to be – it wouldn’t be long until she wouldn’t sleep during the day – that she would be too busy playing and living life to want to cuddle for long periods. Enjoy that moment.
I finally got my head around being a relaxed mother – well in truth it probably took until she was 18 months old when I threw out day sleeps and she started to just go to sleep at night – albeit with me in her room – holding her, lying in her bed! That still hasn’t changed.
With my new identity as ‘relaxed mother’ starting to work for me, I turned my focus to the business – it was at this time that I made big decisions that affected so many people – but it took me out of that pressure cooker, and it is that pressure cooker that could have been my downfall if I had let it continue.
There was at no point that I ever felt depressed at this time – I have had depression – there were times I was sad, sometimes angry, and my poor dead mother seemed to wear the brunt of that. But I was never ‘depressed’ I never wanted to stay in bed, not face the world. I never felt sad and dark as you can when you are depressed.
I felt totally and undeniably out of control and unsupported. I would have liked to have planned the business better for that post-birth stage. I would have liked to have planned the house better for that post-birth stage.
Today I think ahead to the next stage – at the moment we are planning for primary school. I think about what routines need to be changed, and where possible start making small changes ready for the end outcome. I have learn’t more about how both my daughter and I and my partner responds to change and how we work together (or against sometimes). This has helped immensely.
All babies are different, and you never know how you are going to respond until you are in that place and position. Until you learn the ‘way’ of your new baby and how everyone around you will react and help it is difficult to plan – and as you would now all good plans can get dissolved very quickly with a baby.
When I was pregnant I planned ahead with all of my events and projects – I was probably about 2 months ahead of myself on all of the events I was working on. However, I was sick after I had Sophie, I didn’t bargain on having a c-section and I certainly didn’t plan to be back in hospital 2 weeks after having her. I really truly believed that I could just continue on, maintaining how far ahead in my planning I was and to run an expo 2 months after she was born and then another 5 months after that and then another 3 months after that…..and the cycle continued. I believed that if I just employed people that I could manage it all. I kept adding to the workload and not stopping to breath.
If I turned the hands back now I would decrease the events when I discovered I was pregnant, but I was in a time of growth for that part of the business – we had expanded our hire services, we were running more expos and being approached to do so. When your business is growing – and your mindset has always been to grow – why stop just because of a baby.
Before I fell pregnant I was starting to look for a new challenge – and I got it!
What did you do to plan for your baby? What did you find didn't go to plan and how did you cope with it?