Tuesday, September 18, 2012

manufacturing happy

Here's how I felt on my wedding day:
Exploding with joy. From every pore. I've never felt so not-anxious or frustrated or panicked in my LIFE.
And why? One theory is that I was so. glad. to not be planning the wedding anymore. (Have I mentioned I fcking hated being engaged? It's in the Top 5 Worst Periods of My Life list.) I don't have any other theories.
Leading up to the wedding, we did a LOT of marriage prep. Pre-Cana (classes and take-home work), one-on-one with the priest, sessions with a peer couple, etc. And we talked. About all the things. Or at least as many of the things as we could remember to discuss. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on everything, but at the end of each discussion, I felt confident that I was making a good decision.
Because - let's be clear - you can love someone. And you can want to tie your life to theirs. But there is no BAM I LOVE YOU LET'S GET MARRIED I AM UNWAVERINGLY SURE OF THIS DECISION moment. At least there wasn't for me. I'm unwaveringly sure of it NOW but that's because I vowed to marry this dude every day for the rest of ever, so that's what I'm doing. So far, it's super easy and fun. We'll see how it goes later on.
Point is, I went through all the doubt-feelings before the wedding day. I'd already had all my freak-outs. I kept waiting for the panic to set in that holy EFF I was getting MARRIED, but it never showed. I would check in with myself, seeking out the terror, and all I would find was me, rolling my eyes, being all, "We've been through this. We're cool. OOOH MIMOSAS!!" Which boils down to: I felt pretty amazing on a potentially scary, transformative day. Because I'd done al the prep work.
Now I want to feel that on the day I become a mom.
What is more transformative than parenthood? Survey says: nothing. OK, parenthood and probably a stroke or some sort of spinal/brain injury. Those things can really change a person. But as far as stuff I can plan for goes, parenthood. And I know that giving birth COULD be terrifyng, frustrating, stressful. But maybe I can choose to make it joyful? There's no way I'm getting out of the pain. That's just ludicrous. But I can at least try to have the attitude that every contraction is bringing the kid closer (you know...figuratively). And remember that The Foliage is going to be a parent too, and that I'm not alone in the process. Nature says my body is totally capable of childbirth - the odds aren't so great for lifelong monogamy, so nature's on my side for this one! Handy.
Here are things I did pre-wedding that I think helped the most:
  • Chose to hang out with couples that were good role models. I still do this. If you surround yourself with negativity, it's much harder to be positive. As far as labor goes, I'm trying to read only good birth stories. Or if one comes up in which an emergency occurred, focus on the end result, of healthy mother and baby.
  • Completely stopped doing Wedding Things when I went to get ready for the rehearsal. If it wasn't done by then, it wasn't going to be done. I'm going to try to remember that anything that isn't done when I go into labor is still do-able post-baby, or isn't necessary.
  • Did the prep, based on real examples (we spent a lot of time talking about issues we'd seen arise and become destructive in couples we knew). I know exhaustion and body image are some things that will be a concern for me, so I'm trying to be as healthy as possible throughout the pregnancy so I can be strong and capable during labor and afterward. Trying to be the parent I want to be NOW instead of changing all my habits later. Except cursing. I really haven't addressed cursing yet, and I don't know if I will. Third trimester lines up well with Lent, which is when I annually clean up my mouth. We'll see.
Any other ideas? I'm trying very hard to avoid all the fear-mongering and the natural-birth-naysayers. But both are the status quo, so it's a little tough.


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Jo said...

I laughed my ASS off about the comparison of parenthood and the stroke. :)

We've lately been surrounding ourselves with people who we really respect as parents. Luckily our friends are pretty kickass parents, but we've been asking them questions, staying with them for a few days, etc. Getting a better idea of what life is like.

I am also a crazy research person (read a million marriage books/blogs/did couples therapy/etc.) so I have already read a ton of pregnancy and parenting books. It's kind of absurd.