I’m now 8 weeks postpartum with my second child and although I’ve been blessed with the sweetest, most mellow little boy it has been hard. But not at all in the way that I expected. I was sure that my days would be filled with infant crying and sleep deprivation. Yet, those two things have been very minimal. The hard part is my daughter who’s all the sudden an intense, emotional toddler that I hardly recognize. And although her incessant neediness and crying is very draining, I’m wondering if it feels harder than it really is just because it’s not what I was expecting.
Which leads me to wonder if having expectations sets us up for failure?! I find myself clinging to this idea of what I thought my postpartum period would be like. I was ready to be super busy nursing, cooking, cleaning, resting, cuddling and multi-tasking. Of course there is a lot of that happening, but majority of my time is spent managing melt downs. Not what I had imagined.
I think having expectations is natural but typically only brings about disappointment…the perfect first date didn’t go as planned, the dream job isn’t at all what was promised or the big event was a disaster. When what we expect to happen doesn’t happen or looks much different than what we hoped for we can experience hurt. So do we need to try and be more open to and accepting of uncertainty instead of idealizing every new situation?
In some ways I’m very happy my expectations were not met especially as it relates to the demeanor and routine of my newborn. My little guy has exceeded my expectations! And I’ve decided that having any type of expectations with a toddler will only lead to insanity so I’m choosing to let go.
Moving forward I’m going to try to manage my expectations a little better by leaving room for the unexpected and by being less rigid and more flexible in my ideas. I will also accept whatever comes my way with as much emotional maturity as I can muster up and enjoy the experience in its wholeness. Lastly, I will continue to be grateful for the copious amount of goodness in my life. Especially my two awesome kids!