Friday, February 17, 2017

Motherhood: Controlling a Control Freak

Motherhood has a way of taming the type-A woman

I could never trust a carrier would hold my baby safely

I have always been the type of girl that wanted to live in a controlled environment. A self-controlled environment.  If I bought furniture, I prided myself in making it last forever, looking almost brand new. So I'd cringe when people would fall down on the couches and chairs instead of sitting down gently. Eventually I'd say something out of my annoyance.  In college, when I had my first apartment with roommates, I would argue with them about how their unsavory food odors permeated the house, or how they'd use the shower without cleaning it afterwards.  I guess I could blame it on my family and say I got it from them. I come from a family that either refuses to take pictures, or demand any pics they are included in to be submitted for their approval. The phrase "back-seat driver" was probably coined after meeting my family, because it's not getting to your destination that counts, it's whether you followed their directions on how to get there. And now it's rubbed off onto me.  But ultimately, I have to account for my own behaviors.  While others saw it as being controlling, I simply saw it as being prepared. For the most part I saw that being prepared benefited me a lot, so it reinforced my behaviors and I had no thought to change.

...And then along came a spider.

A baby guy actually.  Here's how things changed my attitude:

 I had read so many books on how best to get through pregnancy and birth loving it, I just knew that my planning was foolproof. "Girl, your baby will come how they want to come. Don't worry about it,"  women kept telling me.  Then they would tell their stories about how things didn't go the way they planned. I would think to myself that their situations wouldn't apply to me because I had planned the proper approach.  I'm laughing just remembering my thought processes back then. I had it all figured out: I'd have a natural birth- no medications, and I'd breastfeed.  I started a group of other moms-to-be to get out and be active.  I'd read that staying fit helped with childbirth, so we did water aerobics, walks, and other preggar-friendly activities (of course we ate too!).  I drank fennel
and fenugreek teas to increase my milk production because I was determined to avoid formula.  I told my husband that we wouldn't need to add it to the baby budget, I created a birth plan to get my placenta to my doula so she could dry it into pill form for me to take for my recovery period.  Yes, I had it all worked out. Too bad for all my planning they induced my labor before my due date- citing a little bit of fetal distress.I was in my "natural" labor for 13 hours before they told me I had only dilated 1 cm.  A little while later I got the spinal block-which paralyzed me from the waist down. Then they gave me an epidural by accident on top of all that. I was in such a loopy state by the time my son's fetal distress became an emergency, I couldn't properly react. My son came via an emergency C-section, my Obstetrician was out with another mom during my emergency so the other doctor didn't even ask me about a birth plan- who knows what happened to my placenta.  And on top of that, my milk didn't come in!  My son started losing weight before the hospital started giving him formula. I was so hurt and disappointment. Ugh. It was tragic.

Did I learn my lesson then? Yes. But did I stop?  Nope.  I then began trying to control my son's development, trying to match it with what I'd researched on infant development. The first day he was home, we began tummy time with him.  While I'm guessing I could've waited for at least a week, I thought I'd start him immediately.  And he did just fine, so it encouraged me. Solid foods, I wanted him to start not when he wanted it start but when I thought he should. So imagine my disappointment when he refused it.  His teeth came in less than a year, so I was fine with that. But I was biting my nails as we got close to his 1st birthday when he wasn't walking.  And the people around me didn't help. Friends and family would say, "Oh, he's not walking yet?  My baby was walking at XX months."  All these thoughts were going through my head as I assumed the reasoning behind him not walking.  Finally, on his birthday, he began to walk! Still, the lesson hadn't sunken in... I was the same with him getting off of the bottle, do what I could to control the situation, and then when I'd give up, he'd do it.  On his 2nd birthday, he refused his bottle- just like that.  But it didn't quite click for me until I got fed up with him trying to learn to potty.  I'd read that you shouldn't rush your child into pottying so I didn't start working with him until he exhibited "the signs".  You can read more about how pottying finally clicked here.  I had decided that I was going to forget about what others around me were saying and how it made "ME" feel, and focus upon what my son may have needed to feel more comfortable.  I let go, and he wound up pottying very shortly afterwards.  We still have night-time issues, but I've now learned to wait until HE's ready, not me.

I've learned so much in these 3 short years, and am still learning.  Needless to say, I don't cringe when someone falls onto the couch anymore, because I have a little one now that actually jumps on it.  Me trying to keep my car clean is a thing of the past. I just clean it up when it needs it, and learn do deal with crumbs... It's been a hard road, but I think motherhood may have cured me of most of my control-freak tendencies.

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