Life is a series of new experiences. It’s true that you can be in a rut and think your life is the same life day in and day out. For the most part we get new experiences and events that come in and shake things up. These experiences or events can be of your own doing and planning or they’re not planned at all. Some are good and some are bad. I find that with every new chapter or appendix of your life you build up expectations in your head. Sometimes it’s only one or two small expectations and sometimes it’s a laundry list of expectations. We build these ideas of what’s about to happen because we want to prepare ourselves.
I know I don’t like going into dark unknown rooms. I don’t like going to new places for appointments in fear of everything falling apart. I can go as far as not wanting to go to the movies for the newest blockbuster worrying that maybe it’s not that great. Right now the expectations I’ve been running through have to do with my pregnancy. Everyday I feel like I can add one more to the list, big or small. I then realized something the other day. All my expectations, all of them, can be applied to almost every other facet of living a human life. It made me wonder, are expectations really contingent on the chapter you’re about to turn? Or are we expecting the same thing over and over again with hopes of different outcomes? Does the reality of each situation either live up to or shatter what we were hoping for or fearing come true?
Here are some examples of the expectations I’ve been creating that I’ve been able to say, “Hey, wait that is actually true for life.” Deep stuff, man. Deep stuff.
Expectation: Becoming pregnant won’t slow me down. Pregnant women worked in rice patties, squatted had the baby and went back to work. I can do this.
Reality: We all want to be some sort of Superwoman/man. We want to be invincible because that means we aren’t weak. We want to take every day by the horns and drive it into submission. And why wouldn’t we want that? We started out as creatures who were literally in life or death situations every day. I don’t think we lost that gene. Our lives now may be more comfortable and not so stab stab kill kill a mammoth for dinner, but we still know that there is that fear of being weak and letting the mammoth get you first, by stampede. I’m pretty sure they ate grass and flowers not humans.
Expectation: I’m so spoiled being a housewife and being pregnant. I shouldn’t sleep in because other pregnant women don’t get to. They have to get up and go to work and talk to people.
Reality: We compare ourselves to our counterparts constantly. I know I do. It’s human nature. We have measuring sticks all around us. Sometimes we feel like we measure up and sometimes we feel a few inches short. To be honest, is it crazy for me to feel guilty for sleeping in because other women don’t get to? Yes. Of course it is. I am growing a human and that’s a 24/7 job. I am lucky enough that I get to be a housewife and be pregnant. The hand off is that I am then going to be a stay at home mom. For some people they may look at me and think, “She’s a stay at home mom, I go to work every day away from my child. I get a break, she doesn’t.” We do this with all parts of life. Lifestyle, jobs, marriage, family, friends, so on and so on. We have a need to see if we’re doing better or worse than the people around us because it gives a sense of how our life is turning out. I really wish we didn’t have to though. Not caring what others are doing is a fabulous luxury.
Expectation: Now that I’m pregnant I will eat more healthfully and exercise more.
Reality: Um sure, that’s what I thought I was going to do. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought this through my adult life. Just replace pregnant with, the new year, or after that doctor’s appointment, or after this break up. We all want to be a healthy versions of ourselves. We want to live as long as possible. With our new age comforts around us that is difficult. It’s easier to eat chips and dip and watch the Patriots pull out another win than getting up, changing, getting a water bottle, a sweat towel, and walking on the treadmill while the Pats pull it off. We like to eat fatty things because they taste delicious. Please don’t call child services though, I do eat a pretty well balanced diet and have only gained four pounds. It’s under control.
Expectation: Every doctor’s appointment will be 100% fine, every time.
Reality: I think this is one of the scariest expectations/realities because it’s the epitome of you never know what can happen. The unknown is terrifying and probably the biggest reason behind the need of expectations. You don’t know what’s going to happen. We can’t see 10 minutes into the future nor can we see 10 years into the future. We can only have hopes as to what will turn out. I’ve felt that every day I wake up. Just hoping and expecting that she’ll be fine and I’ll be fine for that day. We’ve had to do an unscheduled ultrasound because we didn’t get great sonograms of her heart and mouth. I went into the appointment expecting the worse and hoping for the best. Thankfully, it was the best and everything was fine. We had to have the negative expectation though to prepare. We had to be ready.
Expectation: You expect your family and friends to think about your pregnancy every day just like you and your partner do.
Reality: Get over yourself! Everyone has a life and that life includes you, it isn’t you. When we go through something huge we want and need support. We expect that you will get daily reminders that someone outside your house is there for you. Believe me, they are there for you but damn girl, they have things to do. I thought the other day, “I’m upset because so and so hasn’t talked to me very much. But so and so and so and so has.” I couldn’t be upset anymore because if I could name one person that has been there this whole entire time, I’m leaps and bounds ahead. And just to compare, that’s more than a lot of people have. Plus I realized that I need to find out what’s going on with their life too. Maybe they were waiting for me to reach out because they were needing support too.
Expectations. You little sweet and sour mistress. You build us up to only tear us down sometimes. What was created as a defense mechanism against every day life has turned into a tumultuous relationship. We expect things from our expectations. We expect things from ourselves which can the scariest one of them all. Once we rely on ourselves to fill our own expectations we become our own worse enemy. We pile one on top of another in hopes that they will sort themselves out. I’d love to sit here and say I won’t build them up anymore and just live life. I’d love to say it, but I don’t expect myself to get there anytime soon.