Thinking of having a baby in the near future? I was given advice. The warnings. The benefits. But what most people don't talk about (maybe because they think they're out of line) is how quickly your ego gets thrown out the window.
Baby G was born on February 28, 2017 at 3:22pm. My pregnancy was on the difficult side with all day sickness from week six to 39 and contractions starting from week 28.
"But once you hold her in your arms and look into her eyes, it'll be worth it." <crickets chirping> Yes I love my daughter and wouldn't trade her for anything but I'm still recovering from the last 11 months.
I do, however, recall other comments like "you will learn to be a better leader in the workplace when you become a parent" and I'm starting to see why, hoping it holds true.
Create the Plan
I like to say I bring results and am quite productive at work and at home. It's amazing however how productive you are when you have a 40 week clock ticking.
At work I identified all the things I was leading. Working with my manager, we identified what was important and what could wait based on business needs. But what helped me get through it all was to avoid distraction.
Being at the company for almost seven years now, people know they can rely on me. So saying "no" was important now more than ever. And I learned that it was okay to say no and describe that it was based on the priorities. If there was a debate on the priority, it was resolved by putting all the cards on table and looking for the highest number.
It helps to know what needs to be done now and what needs to wait. And what's more crucial is your recovery plan. Who will do what in your absence or what will be done when something goes wrong?
I would rather take that ounce of prevention rather than the pound of reaction. Know what's ahead even when you don't know and have a plan of attack ready.
I may have spoken about control in the past but it doesn't hurt to hit the replay button. I couldn't help waking up at five every day with the worst nauseating feeling during my pregnancy. Every time I think something would work to prevent the runs to the restroom, it no longer helped by the following week.
So I told myself to adapt. From five to eight in the morning, then noon and sometimes three to six in the evening, I may be sick. I couldn't control the sickness from happening no matter how many times I changed my diet or tried medicine my doctor prescribed. But I could control how I reacted to it.
Too often, we invest in the things we can't control. We nag about what the universe has or hasn't given us. In order to achieve results, we need to keep moving forward and we do so by analyzing what's within our control in order to succeed.
This one has always been the hardest for me. But when I do look into my daughter's eyes, nothing else seems to matter in that moment. She is looking to be for love, care, food and comfort. I put her needs before mine regardless of the situation. And when I can't anymore, I am willing to hand her to her father so I can rest and recharge. That was not easy in the beginning.
I am the kind of person who does everything at once and doesn't usually ask for help. When you have a fragile human being in your arms, it can be dangerous to try and do it all.
And this got me thinking- how many times did I work more than 60hrs/week? How were my decision making skills? How was my attitude towards my team? My family.
Pride can get you in trouble. Just recently, I let my guard down. I broke down and asked for help. I stopped worrying about how I would be viewed and didn't care if anyone was keeping score, which no one wasn't.
I started to listen more to what my daughter was saying (through her facial and mouth expressions and different cries); what my husband wasn't saying through his gestures of feeding the baby or rubbing my back randomly; and what my body was telling me through the aches and pains.
It's still difficult and with her growing cycles, there will be different phases of difficult but I at least lowered the expectations and know when and how to ask for help.
My daughter is just over a month now and she's slowly recovering from her low birth weight and thankfully that was the only consequence of a risk we learned about in the second trimester.
She will start to walk and talk before I am able to publish this post. So I hope to carry this message with me through her teething phase, her kindergarten hurdles, her college acceptance essays and her final touches of her dissertation (oh right, I said low expectations before huh?)
But I also hope to think of this time when I take on that next big project or interview for a manager position.
Our pride can cloud our judgment and distract us from focusing on what's important. Multitasking can be productive but I've learned the time spent feeding my daughter for 20-40 minutes a sitting, cannot be replaced. It's crucial to her health, wellbeing and aura.
If you can see the result ahead of you, then that is half the battle of achieving it. So don't be afraid to breath and be vulnerable why marking your path. If you're persistent enough, you'll succeed, even if you have to change diapers six times between start to finish. Every moment counts in achieving the end result, which includes bonding with your baby or even your team.