In the beginning… there were books.

When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I was working a full-time M-F job as an administrative manager, and spent most of my weekends at a bar or party. Like most women, after the surprise, panic, tears of fear & joy, then finally acceptance of the huge changes that were about to happen, I got the book What To Expect When You Are Expecting. Every month, I would compare what I was going through with the chapter in the book and feel good that I was doing everything “right” according the “the book”. When I was 31 weeks along, I started to get high blood pressure and exhibited the early signs of preclampsia. Because I was still working full-time, my OB suggested that I cut back on my hours, working 24 hours/week instead of 40. My supervisor (who was 4 years younger than me, mind you) was not happy with this doctor’s note and after a couple of days of stewing about it, he called me into his office at the end of the day and told me “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any part-time positions available.” I went back & forth with him, asking if he was really firing a pregnant woman (I was so proud I didn’t cry until I left the little maggot’s office!) and he assured me that I was just going on an “early maternity leave” and that my full-time job would be there after I had the baby (it wasn’t). I ran home, cried to my husband & craved about 20 beers like I never craved before. The next morning, I went to “the book” for advice about what I was dealing with – I mean, come on, it had advice on EVERYTHING about pregnancy, right? Well, not about THIS! Hmmm, maybe there’s some advice about it in What to Expect the First Year ? A few random tips about going back to work, or telling your boss you AREN’T coming back, etc, but not much about how to deal with losing a job and becoming an instant Stay At Home Mom. 

Thing is, there are a ton of books out there that claim they will help you through pregnancy & motherhood, but if you are like me, you cross-reference with the web, doctor, other books, etc, and then you have conflicting advice that only makes you question your own instincts, and let’s face it, doesn’t really help you at all! It took my stubborn self almost a year to ditch the books and start trusting my instincts, doctors, friends & family. It was one of the best things I ever did for my sanity. Let me tell you, the first year of my 2nd child’s life was SO much easier and honestly so much better! I cherished and truly enjoyed every moment instead of playing the “can’t waits” and making sure she was hitting all the milestones when she was supposed to. Ya know what? If your baby hasn’t rolled over at 8 months, you can worry then, but most of the milestones will eventually happen. My 2nd child didn’t walk until she was almost 16 months old. I may have freaked if it were my 1st child, but we knew what we were in for once she started walking, and she was already causing enough trouble crawling. And ya know what? She never did walk, she ran!

It would be nice if all the answers to parenthood were in a magical book. Nothing can prepare you for all the unexpected surprises that come up along the way. Every pregnancy, every child and every parent is unique. Burn your books, shut-down the computer and trust your instincts. You will be a better and more confident parent because of it! 

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6 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Amen!

    *And, you are an amazing writer.*

  2. Posted March 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Well said! Look forward to reading more…. 🙂

  3. Posted March 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh, my thoughts on this topic. Reading that “What to expect” book didn’t fully prepare me for the fact that it isn’t so easy to simply go to the hospital and have a healthy child. The people that do are blessed and incredibly lucky. I was naieve and thought I would go to the hospital, push like they do on TV and have a baby.

    My husband and I were one of those families who landed in “holland”. Although we didn’t fully understand it at the time, our first born has special needs.

    I too am a momma that needs a beer, and I embrace the fact that even mom’s who like to tailgate, shop too much, and drink beer with the neighbors in the driveway can have a child with special needs. It can happen to anyone, and it does.

    “Nothing can prepare you for all the unexpected surprises that come up along the way.” A very true statement!

  4. Posted March 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said! I think those books are part of the reason I didn’t enjoy my 1st’s baby years. I was always in such a hurry for him to make it to the next “milestone” that I never stepped back and enjoyed the moment we were in. My 2nd now has some medical problems, and although they are not too serious, they’ve made me appreciate the little things more, each and everyday.
    I can’t wait to read more from you and look forward to hopefully getting together for a beer or two sometime. This momma needs a beer too!

  5. Posted March 30, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Cheers for beers! And for you. Love the post…very true. You have to do what’s best for you and your family. Plenty of books, websites, family members, and strangers will let you know what they think is the right way, but in the end you have to go with what you believe works best.

  6. Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    I love your excellent writing Kelli!

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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