When I was pregnant, I approached it much like my job. I'm a professional organizer who brings order to client’s homes, offices and lives. So, at 13 weeks, when I found out the sex of the baby (boy), I immediately began reading about everything from circumcising to how to raise a strong, sensitive male. I spent hours researching every single product that I eventually put on my baby registry.
My husband and I designed the nursery together and by the time I was 6 months pregnant, everything was put into place in the dresser and changing table.
I hired a doula, ate organic, took prenatal yoga classes and did hip openers up the wazoo to prepare my body to birth. The diaper bag and my hospital suitcase were packed by 7.5 months. After all, you just can't be too prepared.
I wrote out my daily schedule, which included snuggle time, reading, feeding, my post-natal workout, Mommy & Me classes and time to grow my business. I daydreamed about all the fun things we'd do together like baking and crafts. I'd throw Martha Stewartesque birthday parties that would be Pinterest worthy.
I went into labor a week past my due date and after pushing for a ridiculously long time it became quite apparent that I needed a C-section. I looked at my husband and doula and said, "That's not how I planned it."
"That's Not How I Planned It" could be my motto for motherhood.
My son, Leo, was born beautiful and healthy but within five weeks we realized something was very wrong. He weighed less than his birth weight. Feeding time had become an all out scream fest with him latching, unlatching and fits of rage in between. He was diagnosed with muscular torticollis and immediately started treatment.
I wasn't doing much better. The C-section led to an infection in my incision, which led to having to take antibiotics, which in turn reduced my milk supply. Couple this with Leo's torticollis and we were both a hot mess.
My daily schedule got tossed out the window. Everything did!
Becoming a mom completely rocked my confidence. I was unsure of my abilities and myself. My brain was spinning with so much info, fear and self-doubt. This in turn made me take on even more things in the pursuit to be perfect. I lost the ability say no and forget about boundaries - I didn't have any.
When Leo was feeling better I packed our days with playdates, classes, walks, educational games and more. While he napped I cooked, cleaned, worked out and focused on my business. I did the same once he went to bed for the night.
I joined community groups and volunteered whenever asked. Clients would call me at 10pm or as early as 7am and why not? I dropped everything to attend to them.
This went on for quite some time. Years of running on empty, barely sleeping, doing all this stuff that I felt like I had to do to be a great mom or to be liked. It finally caught up with me. I got sick. Really sick. The signs had been there for months; not being able to sleep for more than three hours a night, panic attacks, crying fits, hot flashes, but it wasn't until my hair started falling out that I finally stopped ignoring them.
It took ten doctors and many tests to get a diagnosis. I had adrenal fatigue and stress (whether physical, emotional, or psychological) was the main cause. Guess what? I brought it on myself.
There's no magic pill for adrenal fatigue. No medicine for it at all. I was told I needed a complete lifestyle overhaul that had to include rest and stress reduction. I won't go into all it took to get better but it wasn't a quick fix. It was a journey to regain my health. I'm thankful for the patience of both my husband and my son as I stepped onto a new path.
I now have definite boundaries in my life and business and I say 'NO' often. We still have some busy days but it's balanced with chilling at the beach or hanging at home playing games or Legos.
My son has fabulous, memorable birthday parties but none of them will become a Pinterest hit. I don't bake - never enjoyed it, but we do visit local bakeries for our favorite treats.
I don't do things anymore to be liked. Those close to me love me for who I am, flaws and all. I don't feel guilty if I need alone time or want to take a nap in the middle of the day.
I'm no longer trying to be the perfect mom because I know she doesn't exist.
Getting sick was a good thing. It forced me to get off that crazy merry-go-round of busy and overwhelm. Trying to do and be everything in the name of perfection was exhausting. It made me grumpy, which in turn made my whole family miserable.
Getting sick is (one) the best things that could have happened to me because once I slowed down I could see everything in front of me. I now enjoy the time I have with my little one and share in his laughter. I'm in the moment instead of rushing onto the next scheduled activity.
That's not how I planned it. It’s actually better than I imagined and we’re happy.