Tom and I are thrilled to introduce our FIT readers to our newest FIT-family member, Lev! Lev means “heart” in Hebrew and he has certainly stolen ours…
Lev did not come into this world the way I was expecting him to and it got me thinking about managing expectations.
The fact is, people love to offer advice to pregnant women. Whether it be about the level of activity that is advisable (I got a lot of grief about working too hard/exercising too much…I was not doing either), what you should or shouldn’t be eating (as is true for non-pregnancy, healthy whole foods are advisable whether you are pregnant or not), how you should be prepping for your new arrival, how much weight you should be gaining, and, of course, the BIRTH PLAN. So many people asked me about my “birth plan” and I always answered the same way. “My plan is to get the baby out in the safest way possible for both the baby and for me”.
Thank goodness that was my mentality throughout the pregnancy because whatever ideal birth plan I had in the back of my mind certainly went out the window.
I ended up having to have a pretty drama-free C-section because my baby’s heart rate dropped every time I would contract. He was never in danger. He was being monitored the whole time. But after several hours of watching this trend, my OBGYN advised us to consider a C-section. He would have let me labor longer, but said the trend was consistent and in his medical opinion, I could labor longer and we would either be in an emergency C-section situation if the baby’s heart rate dropped and didn’t recover, or that I would labor for so long and exhaust myself so much that they would recommend a C-section anyways (just 24 hours of labor and no sleep later…) We trusted him and we were right to. The cord was wrapped so when I would have those small contractions, I was strangling him for a second. Instead of putting my son in danger, he came out perfect and healthy.
Here were some things I heard about why C-sections were the worst: Your child won’t latch. They are less healthy. They don’t bond because you can’t do skin to skin contact immediately. The recovery from a C-section is awful.
My son latched immediately. My husband got to hold him right after he was born so he got plenty of loving asap. His apgar score was a 9 – which I have since learned is rare and about as high as a kid can get. And yes – this recovery is unpleasant and I am frustratingly immobile, but I don’t think there is a great way to get these babies out. All roads lead to recovery. Basically, he was healthy and I was healthy. Exactly the outcome I was looking for, right? Just not in the form I was expecting.
What does this have to do with you (unless you are pregnant)? Kind of everything…
Managing expectations is HUGELY important to your health journey. When I start with a new client and they have set unrealistic goals, I always try to re-frame the conversation. Instead of “I need to lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks” (which is very unlikely, and basically impossible unless you go to unhealthy and extreme measures to achieve it), we try to talk about feeling stronger, what healthy and sustainable weight loss looks like, and what they can expect to see within 4-6 weeks if they put in the work (like monitoring eating habits, switching to all whole foods, removing as many sugars as possible, moving EVERY DAY and exerting yourself at least 4-5 times per week, etc). If they start with a trainer, or join a gym and expect to see massive changes within a short period of time, they are going to give up when they don’t see those changes. But 6 months down the line, if you have achieved the ultimate goal, do you really care if it took 3 months or 4 months to get there? Particularly when you have maintained that goal weight, or are pushing yourself much harder in your workouts 6 months later? No – because you got what you were looking for.
I could have fought the Dr. on the C-section and tried to labor. I could have been upset after the inevitable C-section was upon me. Or I could focus on the healthy baby.
As I start this journey into motherhood, I am hoping to continue to manage my expectations because creating a world of unrealistic expectations for not only Lev, but my recovery, will just lead to frustration. I hope you will try to stay present, and take every day as it comes with me. It is a much healthier place to be in – mentally and physically.