When I found out I was pregnant I went a little nuts. Probably as nuts as any new mama does. I started freaking out about how much coffee I've been drinking (it's like 3 cups, y'all), the 15yr old rusty Jeep Wrangler I was driving around town, the margaritas I had with dinner last night, the list goes on and on. I started to examine everything I ate, every yoga posture I did in class,
E V E R Y T H I N G
I had high expectations. Maybe it was my young age, maybe it was the shock of getting pregnant while on birth control. Whatever it was, I was determined to be the perfect pregnant mama. I ordered 15 different books from Amazon, I tossed half the food in our pantry, I test drove a minivan.
A few weeks later, when the world came crashing down around me, I had to figure out a way to lower expectations. A miscarriage is an impossible thing to handle for any mama. A first pregnancy, completely unexpected and completely embraced ... it was like all the air got knocked out of me.
I lowered my expectations. When it was time to start trying for our 3rd baby, I had little to no expectations. After our second miscarriage that summer, those expectations were pretty much non-existent. Carrying little baby Theodore was nothing like carrying my older two. I had panic attacks before every prenatal appointment. I stress ate my way through the whole 40 weeks. I pushed myself far too hard and made it halfway through training for a marathon before cutting back to just a few miles each week. I wouldn't connect to my pregnancy. Couldn't connect. I had lowered expectations so low they were nowhere in sight.
There's a fine line between expectations that are too high and ones that are too low. There's nothing wrong with hedging your bets, and nothing wrong with celebrating and being excited. And there's a way for it all to thrive for those 40 weeks and beyond. Even now, with kids 5, 4, and 1, I still have to manage expectations. Too high and I'm often left disappointed, annoyed, ashamed. Too low and I'm distant, disconnected and - yet again - annoyed. The go-with-the-flow Bri, the middle road let's see what happens, that's where we need to be hanging out. Excitedly optimistic yet keeping it real and being safe.
My struggles with pregnancy and loss and managing expectations and confusion and fear ... that's why I'm so passionate about what I do. Helping other mamas navigate this time in their lives and giving them what I so desperately wish I had been given: support, love, clarity, understanding. Every mama-to-be deserves that. Every mama-to-be is entitled to that. Here's one time when raising your expectations is a safe bet.