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Life rarely turns out how we planned. While this little ditty rings true for most of us, it is especially apt for mothers.
Whether we like it or not.
Before I had kids, I had a plan for my life. I subscribed to Fit Pregnancy well before the stick turned blue, and planned to follow their healthy, fit and fabulous guidelines to the letter. I would continue to work in my high-powered job, at the same high-powered pace throughout and after my pregnancy. The baby weight would fall off within a matter of weeks through marathon training sessions and perfect nutrition. My perfect kids would fit perfectly into my perfect life – sleep trained by 6 weeks, potty trained by 2 years and reading before preschool.
Needless to say, that plan didn’t quite work out. My first pregnancy ended 8 weeks early with an emergency C-section to deliver a tiny micro-preemie due to a bout of severe preeclampsia. My second son, though carried to full term, was diagnosed with a form of sickle cell anemia during his routine blood test at birth. Over a period of 2 years, I battled through an unexpected series of surgeries, included a double mastectomy at age 37, and we are now managing a recent ADHD diagnosis.
So much for my perfect plan.
While all of these things were gut wrenching, anxiety provoking and panic attack inducing, they each had a silver lining. Once I came to accept the fact that they weren’t going to go away (no matter how desperately I wanted them to), things became easier. Rather than fretting, kvetching and asking, “Why me?” I was able to research, prepare and execute a new plan. Once I came to accept my new reality, the fear of what might be melted away into the new rhythm of our family life.
Life is not perfect. Bad things happen. People change. Life intervenes. But, as a wise woman once said, life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.