Anyone who is preparing for parenthood and life with a baby knows that it’s all about navigating some BIG unknowns.
Redesigning your life to accommodate an entire other human is a large undertaking.
In the empty spaces in my time and mind lately, all I think about are questions.
- What’s our plan around the bicoastal lifestyle?
- What kind of birth do I envision?
- How do I want my maternity leave to go?
- What kind of support will I need when I’m recovering?
- What will be our approach to breastfeeding and sleep training?
- How do we want to educate our child?
- What parenting style aligns most with us?
- What will Matt’s and my business look like on the other side?
The list goes on and on and on… but it all boils down to the fact that even with loads of forethought and intention infused into our decision to become parents, there are necessary changes and choices we must make in order to redesign our life built for us into a life built for our family.
And even as someone who loves and embraces change and evolution, this is a great unknown unlike any I’ve experienced before because every decision we make doesn’t just affect me.
So this week, I thought I’d share with you what steps we are taking to take on this process of reimagining and redesigning our lives.
You won’t find answers to the questions above because we still don’t have them… but you’ll find what steps we are taking to engage the support, resources, and thought processes we need to discover those answers for ourselves.
You see, in my experience, all will become clear in the end with a balance of intuitive guidance, internal reflection, external support, expert training and wisdom, and lived trial and error.
When my internal and intuitive radars are foggy, I curate the external support I need to AVOID advice and instead clear the fog first. Then when I have discerned what’s best or most desirable for me, I pursue the advice and experience of trusted resources, and then I take action.
Whether you’re having a baby, changing careers, reinventing your business, or moving, my hope is that this blog supports you in that exploratory transition space of redesigning your life where there are more questions than answers.
This part can be the most thrilling or the most challenging, depending on how you look at it… because it becomes obvious fairly quickly that there are a million ways it could go… but what how do we actually want it to go needs work to uncover.
CURATING SUPPORT & RESOURCES FOR DISCERNMENT
By now, dear reader, you know this is one of the first places I start.
Gone are the days where I ruminate over decisions where I get stuck in my own head, spin in circles with Matt, or get discouraged and give up. When any or all three of those things happen, that’s my trusty sign for MORE SUPPORT IS NEEDED.
I know that I am a verbal processor, and I need a vision of the future that excites me, aligns with my values and goals, and discerns who I must be or become in the face of all the challenges ahead.
Inside of that work lies finding answers to the questions I have, but also thinking bigger picture than just the problems I see to solve.
And, unlike up until this point, where Matt and I sought support from different sources and then came together to co-create what’s next, this exploration is one we need to do together from the start.
When we started exploring these questions of “What kind of ____ do we want/need?” by ourselves, since neither of us have been here before or know for certain what we want, we need someone to facilitate these conversations with us.
We need someone to ask us questions that get us away from how we’ve seen others do it or what research says is the “right way,” and instead get us plugged into what matters most to us, what options are worth considering, and ultimately which path we want to take together with our baby.
So when I started reaching out to my network and community, here are some resources we started exploring:
- Relationship Coaching: 2-on-1 sessions with a trained coach who asks us the big questions and holds space for us to confront the stuff in the way of what we want and design the plan together
- Marriage and Parenting Counseling: 2-on-1 sessions with a therapist who specializes in the transition to becoming parents, incorporating healing work with educational parenting skill development
- Parenting and Prenatal Courses: self-paced courses to walk us through the coaching process described above or through birthing techniques
- Books: curating a select list of books we read together or separately to address the particular concerns or questions we each have
As I write this, we are currently in the midst of meeting with several relationship coaches and counselors to see which meets our current needs and who is the best fit for us. Having this third party support is essential to us both so that we have plenty of space for these big conversations and plans to be made.
We have some parenting and prenatal courses in our pocket for later down the road closer to birth, but we haven’t yet decided which ones or how many will support us best. These types of resources reassure our “how-to” brains that, of course, want to know practical methods and techniques for navigating what lies ahead – and by doing the discernment work with a coach or therapist first, we can then judiciously select which courses we actually need when the time is right.
The books that are currently on my personal list are:
- Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – And What You Really Need to Know, Emily Oster
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children, Shefali Tsabary
- The Happiest Baby Blog, Harvey Karp
As a personal aside, I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole of reading books since they can tend to persuade me on a “right” approach to take. But these few stood out to me.
One aspect of my pregnancy process that has been clear-ish from the start for me, for no other reason than my intuition resonates with it, is around birth.
I will caveat this by saying that I have nothing but the utmost respect for ALL women and ALL births because there is no “right way” to bring a healthy baby into this world and healthy mama through birth.
And, from a purely desire-driven place, my hope is to give birth naturally and unmedicated. As a part of my healing work, connecting to the primal woman in me has been a liberating and empowering aspect of my process, and childbirth feels intimately connected to that work for me.
So, when I return to Phoenix next week (our baby will be born in the wild west, y’all!), we will begin our search for a birth center that feels aligned with my desires as well as meets my logical requirements for safety (i.e. standard procedures for hospital transfers if needed).
With this natural approach, I am looking into what ways I can prepare and support my body spiritually, mentally, and physically.
The three main realms of support and resources I am looking into for my childbirth experience include:
- Doulas – hiring holistic support before + during childbirth, as well as post-partum
- Hypnobirthing – preparing my mindset and nervous system for navigating childbirth
- Yoga, Pilates, & Spinning Babies – preparing my body for childbirth
To me, it is important to come into the experience of birth with my own sense of courage, resilience, and trust, which I am responsible for developing.
But also, I know I will lean on the support of others when fear and pain overwhelm me, and the ease I get from imagining the experienced and soothing presence of a doula (as well as Matt, of course) comes from an intuitive knowing of what I will need.
Some Concluding Thoughts…
Since we are still very much in the first phases of having these conversations, integrating these support structures, and redesigning life logistics, I wasn’t sure how much help I could be to others navigating these big unknowns… and yet, a part of me thought it would be valuable to share the crunchy middle parts of redesigning our life where “I don’t know” is still my first answer to most of these questions, and finding the support to build new awareness and clarity is my primary focus.
The questions that we keep coming back to as the foundation for redesigning our life are:
- What do we want?
- What do we need?
And when we don’t know those answers, they evolve into:
- What do we need in order to know what we want?
For us, that comes back to creating space for conversation, discovery, discernment, and planning – starting on the internal level before inviting in external influences and methods.
If you are going through any big transition that requires redesigning your life, I hope you’ll start asking yourself these questions too.
Like us, you will likely have very few clear answers when you start, and that’s okay. Creating space for discernment and finding support structures that help you align with your highest desires are where I look first, every time. I have found that staying in the inquiry and figuring out the right questions to ask is the hardest and juiciest part in navigating change.
And, if you need support in discovering what your questions are, and how to begin finding your answers, working with a coach is a great option for you. Book a call with me or get in touch! I’d be honored to help you ask the right questions.