Letting Go of Parenting Expectations
Posted by MAJALIWA BASS
As a parent, how often has something not gone according to plan for you? For me, the reality of parenting hit right away when my birth did not go as I imagined it would.
I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I wanted a home birth, specifically a water birth at home. When I went into labor, my husband blew up the birthing pool. After a while, I decided I wanted to get into the pool. My husband started running the water. Soon after, he realized the apartment was flooding because he forgot to plug the bottom of the pool.
As he was trying to stop the flooding, he knocked over a mason jar. It broke, and he got glass in his foot. I wanted to help him, but I could not focus on anything but getting through the contractions in my back - That’s right, I had back labor. Another part of reality I was not prepared for was having back labor.
Due to the flooding and glass-breaking fiasco, I did not have the water birth I had dreamed of for the past nine months. We had no time to fill the pool up because this baby was ready to come out. I decided to get in the shower in hopes of the warm water easing my pain.
Well, when I got to the bathroom, I sat on the toilet and that’s where I ended up giving birth! Yet another turn of events.
All of my expectations were thrown out of the window. But, do you know what I did? I adapted and overcame my obstacles.
I had back labor. Okay, great! Let’s learn how to cope with it. I could not have my dream water birth. No problem, let’s figure out what the next best option is.
You see, the thing about parenting is that it’s going to go your way about 5% of the time. The other 95% is all about adapting.
How often do we let other people get into our heads and tell us how our lives should go? I’ll admit that I often think about what others will think instead of what I truly want. I think we create these expectations in our heads, and then we get crushed when things don’t go our way.
Had I had my dream water birth, I would not have this hilarious story of the great flood of 2020 in my apartment that ended with me giving birth over a toilet. I love my birth story! Looking back, it’s totally okay that things did not go according to plan.
So, how do we let go of our expectations in parenting?
I think the answer is to develop the ability to adapt. It’s completely fine for things to not go as planned. Realize that you are a great parent and you’re doing a great job, whatever that means. Remember that your priority is making sure your children are happy and healthy. Everything else is just the little details.