August 12th marked a change in everything we knew and understood in the Andrews family. It’s the day a second line appeared on a little stick and all the plans we had or knew were essentially destroyed to be remade into something better and more amazing then we imagined.
Sometimes the path we are on curves or turns in a way we didn’t anticipate. It’s happened to me more times then I can count and I imagine it’s happened to you as well. We are humans after all, pretending that everything is under our complete control…until it isn’t. Often my twists and turns come in the form of children and this is true for us this go around as well. Baby number 6 is due to arrive in April of 2018 and while this wasn’t “the plan” I like this one better.
There are so many quotes from wise people about changes in our plans because having control of our lives is just an illusion we hold for short periods of time. Sometimes the changes are unwelcome and some times the changes are dreams come true. In both cases, it is still hard to wrap our head around or deal with the new chapter or new path we are headed on.
Now that I’ve had 16 weeks to digest our upcoming change, I feel I can offer a bit of advice to help you navigate these changes:
- Don’t feel pressured to feel what you “should” feel. I love being pregnant. I love my kids. However, I was feeling a mixture of anxiety and fear along with my joy. I homeschool and this baby is due in April. Would we finish on time? How was I going to navigate the school year with the normal pregnancy symptoms?
- Be okay with what you ARE feeling and know that your feelings are natural whatever they may be. Give yourself time to grieve what was or what was going to be. Give yourself time to worry over what is coming or is. You feel what you feel because it is YOUR truth and YOUR reality.
- Be pro-active. When I found out we were pregnant with #6, I was in the midst of a weight loss program, which included diet changes and an exercise program. While I was excited at the prospect of a new life, I was devastated about the change in my dietary plans and the prospect of gaining weight when I had just worked so hard to lose it caused no amount of anxiety. As soon as the most important people knew about the pregnancy, I contacted a friend and my exercise coach to see what changes I needed to make. Then I met with my diet coach and made the appropriate diet changes. My being active I took back some of the control I lost and developed a new plan for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy weight gain. I’ve had to revise that a few times with the development of nausea and spraining my ankle. However, I am gaining weight right where I wanted to be and within what is healthy for the baby.
- Be willing to change. I’m not going to downplay the challenge this is. However, resisting change will only make the change harder then it could be or cause new difficulties you don’t need. Change is a necessity of life. If we can do our best to “go with the flow” then we will find the path easier to navigate.
- Find things to be thankful for. Sometimes we need to to force ourselves to be thankful when we don’t yet feel thankful. Engage your kids in this activity because they can think of the best things. Don’t just say thankfuls out loud but write them down to refer to later when any anxiety or depression might strike.
- Write it down. There is documentation that shows how cathartic writing can be. I don’t keep a journal but I scrapbook and I used this as way to document how I was feeling. If you are not a writer, talking to someone works too. Whether you use your spouse or vent everything to your friends or family. Six kids are a LOT for some people to deal with and I was afraid my friends would start to disappear and I had the courage to tell one of my friends and she was quick to relieve my fears. I could’ve kept the fear to myself but by sharing it, I eliminated a lie I was telling myself and a fear which wasn’t necessary.
Start there. Then take baby steps and before you know it, you will look forward to the future and you will enjoy the ride.
Welcome to the new normal!