These days, I’m learning to be flexible. For the past eight and a half months, my husband and I have been preparing for the arrival of our first child, a daughter. As all you moms and dads know, preparing for the life-altering experience of parenthood is a very joyous and exciting time, but it can also be filled with feelings of anxiety about the child’s health, doubts about your abilities to parent, and general fears of the unknown. I’ve had my share of all of these feelings—just ask my husband!
There have been the days of disbelief, tears, needed hugs, question marks and body aches. But then those were outshined by the better days of giddiness, content, pure love and amazement of this little life we’ve yet to meet. As my husband and I have journeyed through the trimesters together, we’ve tried to prepare mentally and physically for what’s ahead. At the onset of finding out I was expecting, I abruptly quit my excessive coffee and sweet tea habit and accrued a hefty pile of childbirthing and parenting books to digest. We toured daycares and secured our spot on the months-long waiting list of our chosen facility. We transformed my home office into a nursery and began to hoard hand-me-down baby items from generous friends. We interviewed pediatricians, toured the labor and delivery ward at the hospital, and, much to my husband’s excitement, took a four-week childbirthing class, in which we spent a total of 12 hours learning everything we thought we newbies would need to know to get us through the childbirthing experience and first days thereafter.
Then came the lesson in flexibility. The day I planned to present my “birth vision” to my doctor to let her know I intended to have a non-medicated, natural delivery, we learned our baby is in a somewhat compromised position. With her breech presentation and some other complicating factors—the details I will spare you—my doctor and the high-risk doctor she consulted, recommended a delivery by cesarean at 39 weeks. Needless to say, this was a big bummer, although having a “go” date appealed to the planner in me. There are many things in life that you can easily brush off with the old cliché, “Just go with the flow,” but having major abdominal surgery to deliver our daughter, no matter how safe and successful C-sections have become, wasn’t something that I could easily let roll of my back. This wasn’t our plan!
Now, with a couple weeks to adjust to Plan B, I’m realizing I’m not always the easygoing, laidback person I thought I was. But I’m trying hard to grasp onto the freedom that flexibility can bring to hard situations and realize that in the coming weeks, months and years ahead, being flexible is going to be more important than it’s ever been before. And being able to rise to the unexpected events of parenthood with a flexible approach is going to be a much needed asset, not to mention a quality I might like to exemplify for my daughter. Just like in farming, the obstacles of nurturing lives and providing sustenance are unforeseen and the changes that will inevitably occur are unknown, no matter how much you prepare. While it’s important to have a master plan in motion, it can be even more important to have the willingness and ability to adapt your plan when needed. I think we’ll find that, as the quote above states, when we’re infinitely flexible, we’ll be constantly amazed by what unfolds. And as a soon-to-be parent, I’m looking forward to being amazed every single day!