Some Real Talk About Change

 

Two weekends ago, in the spirit of making room for the baby, Will and I were SUPER productive and started going through our hall closet where — in addition to coats — I hung a lot of my fancier dresses that I didn’t want in my regular, every day closet. I pull out this short little black number I haven’t worn in like 7 years (one of those going out dresses that elicited a bewildered “HOW IS THAT A DRESS/HOW WOULD THAT EVEN COVER YOUR CROTCH?” from Will to which I was like “WELL IT DID WHEN I WAS A SIZE ZERO SO” even though I was seriously wondering how even then it did). I had to get real with myself and toss this dress in the donate pile because 1) even NOT pregnant there is no way I’m squeezing myself into that thing anytime soon and 2) I have literally no reason or occasion to wear this dress ever again.

And this happened like 8 more times with dresses that were from my early/mid 20’s. And I weirdly didn’t want to get rid of them — I was clutching on to them for dear life. I’m 31 and my 30’s are great so far. I’ve said my goodbyes to my 20’s. BUT DID I REALLY? Every time I put one of these dresses in the donate pile it felt like I was mourning my 20’s. GOODBYE YOUTH. Even though I haven’t lived that life, these dresses were echos of, in quite some time.

As I put the last dress in the pile, I look at Will and I’m like, “I HATE CHANGE!”

And it’s true.

I really, really always have hated change and really have struggled with big life changes (leaving college, changing jobs, friend breakups) and small changes (my favorite product being discontinued, a technology I like being replaced by something new, when the blogging landscape shifts over the years, NEW TRAFFIC PATTERNS FOR GODSAKE). Transitions trip me up. I feel nostalgia so very deep in my bones all the time. I wish I was one of those people who just breeze through life changes but I’m that person that has to try really hard to cope with change in order to not fall into a heap on the floor.

And now here I am — in the midst of one of the biggest life changes I will probably ever go through: being pregnant and getting myself ready for having a human that I’m supposed to be in charge of that isn’t myself.

AND I AM FREAKING OUT.

Every day I vacillate between excitement and terror. Seriously. Change is HARD. Having 9 months to think, err freak out, about this change and what my life will look like is a disaster for me. Even when I know I’ve endured and survived big life changes before and probably will be just fine again. I got this, right? RIGHT??

I knew, in making the decision to expand our family, that my life would change. By getting off my birth control I KNEW what changes (both positive and not-so-positive in my head) would be heading my way. I chose this. AND YET. My brain is still freaking out.

I’m already freaking out about the way my body is changing. Sure, it’s pretty cool and my bump is quite cute under fitted shirts but it is REALLY hard to get used to having this monstrosity in my way (sleeping is hard, yo). It’s hard to get used to the changes it means for my wardrobe. I’ve certainly gained weight over the years since I was able to the aforementioned short black dress but I’ve not gained such rapid weight gain. EVERYTHING ABOUT MY BODY LOOKS AND FEELS DIFFERENT. I know it’s all sorts of miraculous in its own way and I should be proud of my body but change….

I keep trying to picture how different my life is going to be, and while I see wonderful bits in my head, my brain is choosing to focus on the more ~negative~ aspects that I see as of right now….because that’s my brain. Things like how much less free time I’ll have, how my social life will change dramatically, how much less travel we will likely do even though we still want to make it a priority, how my spontaneous former life will likely be a thing of the past. And truly….how will I change? Will it be a good change? What if I lose a sense of who I am? What if I have to give up my passions or things I love? How will my MARRIAGE change? Will and I have been married since 2012 (and together since 2007) and I’ve loved our time as a kid-less couple. I’ve really been trying to relish these last months with it being just the two of us (and Finn).

I know this all sounds so negative. I really *am* excited about expanding our family. But change is SO HARD FOR ME and I tend to dwell on what I’m saying goodbye to rather than embracing what is coming. I claw to hang on to what came before.

For now my coping strategy is: enjoying every moment of this part of my life before everything will change, NOT clicking on articles like “10 ways your life will change forever after having a kid”, talking to friends who have gone through this big life change also and just try to think about all the things that excite me about this upcoming change.

And ultimately….be gentle with myself.

I was reading something about change during a 2am I-am-freaking-out googling session and one tip stuck out to me: acknowledge your mixed feelings.  So I guess that’s what I’m doing now. I’m Jamie. I struggle with change. And I’m having very strong (negative AND positive) feelings about the changes to come to my life.

 

How do you cope with big life changes? I need all the tips! If you are a parent, how did you cope with this big life change?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Honestly I respond to change exactly the way you do. I have the strongest nostalgia for some reason and whenever it comes to saying goodbye to something, I just want to cling to it. Even if it’s not something I loved that much (*cough* high school *cough*). I also tend to focus on all the things I’m losing or leaving behind.
    The way I deal with it is to take it a day at a time. I tell myself that this is a conveyor belt that’s moving forward no matter what and instead of looking ahead or behind, I look around me at what’s going on in the present. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the only solution I’ve been able to come up with.

    • YESSSSS. It could be something that I KNOW I’m looking back on with rose colored glasses (aka past toxic friend groups & feeling nostalgia for when times were god) or it could be something GOOOD and I should be excited about what comes next…but I just cling on to the past and what I know.

      I like your way of dealing with it! And esp with pregnancy for me….it’s moving forward no matter what! Can’t exactly press pause or delay it haha

  2. Jamie, been there, done that. Bought the tshirt in five colours and it’s all I wear because being a mom is EXHAUSTING!!
    Pregnancy is brutal, having children under the age of 30 is brutal, sleeplessness, loss of things you love while in the throws of the begin parts is BRUTAL.
    Kids are hard in every way, but you know what? So is everything else in life, and they will bring you joy. Sometimes joy that can only be appreciated with several glasses of wine, but you’ll figure it out.
    My tips are these:
    Make room for your needs.
    Be prepared for some hard times in your marriage.
    Cut yourself all the breaks, even the showering/makeup breaks you can’t picture wanting to give up.
    Get rid of the too small clothes now, because sugar is going to fuel you for the first while.
    Love yourself, your husband and your dog, as much as possible to make up for how little it will feel like you do once the babe is born.
    Start readying yourself for the most mystifying mom guilt, about EVERYTHING.

    Basically having kids is both everything you worry about, a load you didn’t even know to worry about and just a big enough sprinkling of magical love to make it manageable. Make mom friends, at playgroups, online, whatever, and lean in them like nobody you’ve ever relied on before. We’ve got your back, but you’ve got this.

    • I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you for your comment!! Thank you! The sort of real talk I enjoy!

      “Basically having kids is both everything you worry about, a load you didn’t even know to worry about and just a big enough sprinkling of magical love to make it manageable.” I’m going to keep this perfect line in mind!

  3. Kelsey Cooper says:

    OMG Jamie, we are so alike in this. With all of it. I have such a hard time of letting go of the past, and find myself sometimes lost in though for what seems like hours on memories from HS or even as a kid spending weekends with my grandparents and I’m like when TF did all that change! And I love where I’m at, and my life, but sometimes i would kill to go back. Then I think about having children, which we want to someday, and I panic. I’m an only child so I suffer from my self diagnosed Only Child Syndrome and I panic thinking all my free time is gone, I cant just go on a trip, I cant just up and leave to visit a friend, will i be cranky all the time? I love sleep! Hearing that I’m not alone and I have so many of the same thoughts makes me feel comforted. You will be an amazing mother, and you are an amazing person!! <3

    • I’m glad it’s not just my brain!!! I hate it. Like I LIKE change when things happen….like getting married, that was a great change for me! I think maybe because I didn’t feel like things changed that much. I know change has to happen and I let it. BUT BUT BUT my brain likes to think the woooorst and I am like you where I can spend time lost in thought about the past and get so swept up in nostalgia. I think especially as I hit 30 I’m like OMG I AM OLD WHERE DID MY CHILDHOOD/YOUTH GO??!!

      And SAME…I love my married life with Will and where I’m at in general but oh how sometimes I think about how carefree Will and I were in college..just doing what we wanted all the time.

      Thanks for your encouragement and making me feel a little less crazy (or that at least I have a partner in crime in it haha). I think maybe BABY is hitting me hard because REALLY it is a huge huge change that will affect 10000% of my life. It’s not just like changing jobs where other aspects will stay the same.

  4. I think we’re a bit different in that change doesn’t freak me out as much. I do go onto tangents of “OMG THINGS ARE CHANGING WHAT” but it’s not like, a terror. I like to switch things up. I like the fear and challenge of something new. Like, it didn’t bother me THAT much when we moved – it should have, but it was also more of a practical fear of “OMG will I get this done in time”.

    That said…having a baby is a huge, utter life change. I admire you guys for still making travel a priority – I think that would be hard for me. I totally understand your fear about changing your lives totally – and how much you love your kid-less life. You can want the baby and still feel like, “HOLY HELL, BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR MARRIAGE?” But the fact that you’re even thinking that…that you’re planning out scenarios – means that you care enough to make it a priority, right? So maybe that helps?

    Also, about fear and challenge. Did you ever watch Being Erica? It’s a show that was on in Canada and I think it got popular in the States for awhile. I’m not sure it’s on Netflix, but if it is, YOU SHOULD WATCH IT. It’s totally a Jamie show. Omg, I can’t believe I haven’t recced this to you sooner. I won’t even tell you the premise, just watch it. And there’s one moment in the second season when her whole life gets upended, but she deals with it. And she comes out stronger and says, “Fear doesn’t hold me back anymore, it motivates me.” And I think that’s kind of the goal I hope to get to. Not that you don’t feel the fear, but you run towards it head-on because you know that whatever you’re getting to is worth it.

    Anyway…all this to say, we’re all on your side, Jamie. You’re awesome, and keep doing you, and you’re going to be an INCREDIBLE mother.

  5. You’ve captured so much of how I feel about having kids! I’ve commented before that my husband and I are looking to start trying in the next six months or so, but even though I do want kids, I’m also completely freaked out about it. I have a handle (more or less) on my life right now, it’s settled into a mostly predictable and comfortable rhythm and the idea of disrupting that is really scary. But I also really want kids soon, so I tell myself that I know lots of people with kids who really love being parents and that I will too!

  6. I’m a very “live in the present” kind of person, so change isn’t usually so hard for me, mostly because I just don’t really acknowledge it. Or think about it. But one thing I have found that helps is to remember that it’s not the end of anything. This is just a season of life. You aren’t going to be the mother of a baby for the rest of your life. I’m now at a stage where my kids are older, and I can go do all of the things that you’re Putting on hold now. I have a friend that is a huge advocate for disenfranchise people, and she has young children and gets very frustrated because she can’t do as much as she used to. I have to constantly remind her, this is just a couple of years out of your entire life. You’re going to have lots of time to do all the things you still want to do. And it’s weird, once you have that baby, so many of your priorities change. There’s just nothing like it in the world. And I don’t even like kids… haha. But it’s different with your own.

    Love you girl! You’re going to be amazing at this, and your child/children are going to be so fortunate to have you. If there’s ever anything you need help with, don’t be afraid to ask!

  7. I have no doubt in my mind what an amazing mom you’re going to be, but we’ve talked and you know that a decision to become a mom is not an easy one to make and I think you’re an even better person for having realize just how different life will be. Different yes, but also amazing!

  8. Change sucks. I really, really wanted kids, but change is so hard and having kids definitely changed a lot of things in my life, including me. Beside the obvious body changes, my priorities changed as well as time passed. It took a while, but I just go with the flow now. In some ways I’m almost unrecognizable from the person I once was, but I feel like I’ve grown and changed for the better. I don’t worry as much about having a clean house, I don’t worry as much about my body. I’ve gotten better about being spontaneous and I’m way more forgiving of myself and absolutely make ME a priority. I love my kids and husband, but if I don’t get some quality time by myself to just read and do nothing – I am not a pleasant person. Haha!

  9. I relate so much to this as a new mom to a 7 month old who hates change. I won’t lie, it is HARD. Your whole life changes completely instantly. Being a mom means you do lose your sense of self, at least temporaily. I’ve never felt less like myself, but finally at 7 months post partum, I feel myself coming back. The first few months are really just a haze of getting to know your baby and adjusting to your new normal. I’ve found that it’s completely normal to grieve for your past life, too. It does not in any way make you a bad mother. It’s normal and healthy.
    My sense of self has changed, however, but it’s positive. There are still days where I struggle with feeling like JUST a mom with little free time to just be me, but the love you will have for your baby makes it all okay. He smiles at me and there goes my heart. Helping your baby navigate the world is honestly so much fun, even when it’s hard.
    My thoughts were a little all over the place but just wanted to say that you’re not alone and as a new mom, it does get better and easier. You will adjust to your new normal. Enjoy your little when she arrives because it does go SO fast!

  10. This is totally normal and okay!!! I had such a hard time when Caleb was born (a lot of which was caused by the hormonal “baby blues”) and I cried for the first couple of weeks nonstop. My life turned upside down in an instant and I had a hell of a time coping. One night, I called the nurse line at the hospital. They gave out the number when I left and said to call with any problems and for the first time ever, I was so desperate and a crying, blubbering mess that I called. That nurse was amazing and she told me it is okay and normal to mourn your old life. You really may experience grief and mourning for your marriage and life before kids. So I did. I let myself miss it and I mourned the times when Jerry and I could do whatever we wanted. Then the fog lifted after a couple of weeks and you realize that yep, life is different but even better than before. Email me if you need a lending ear. I hate change too.

  11. I hate change. Seriously hate it. So I understand. I’m still adapting to Mommyhood.

    Enjoy your time now before baby, but know that the love you will feel for her will be insane. You’ll eat, sleep and breathe baby. It will be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. Ask for help when you need it. Carve out a little me time, say when daddy is having daddy/daughter time, go soak in the tub or read or sleep. Even 10 minutes alone is worth gold in the beginning, so take it.

    This change is hard, but so worth it. 💖
    You’ll find your new rhythm and the change will be worth it.

  12. Ditto what Rhiannon said!

    Being a mom is the most wonderful and difficult thing you can do and not only is it absolutely normal to dread what is about to happen or what you are currently experiencing but it is healthy to do so! Just as I always say the difficulty you have sleeping while pregnant is your body’s way of preparing you for post-baby sleep deprivation, the worries, fears, and grief you experience while pregnant and after are proof you are preparing yourself for this life-altering change. It is a life-altering event, and that involves experiencing an entire vault of emotional chaos as part of your preparation.

    Hang in there, Jamie! Your little nugget will be here before you know it, and you will one day be providing the same words of wisdom to someone else, all while laughing at your own fears and panic attacks from pre-motherhood. In the meantime, lean on your support network (virtual and IRL), get as much rest as you can, and take care of yourself. Growing a human is hard, and you deserve to pamper yourself while doing so!

  13. I know exactly what you mean, and there’s nothing like being pregnant to force you to think about changes. I found it really difficult to focus on the positives. And I won’t lie, the first months of having a NEWBORN won’t be any easier, because everything is changing EVEN MORE. But there will be days (I can promise you) that you will watch your baby and want nothing more in the world. Yes, there are downsides. And yes, you will notice them frequently. But THEY ARE WORTH IT. My daughter is 10 months and I feel amazing (in spite of the limited sleep) and I’ve never been more proud of anyone/anything in my life. And 10-15 months ago, I was terrified and negative and borderline depressed, no matter how much I told myself to stay positive. So I totally get it 🙂

    GOOD LUCK WITH EVERYTHING and try not to let the negatives drown out the positives too much 🙂

  14. Keep reminding yourself that change has to happen in order for new, amazing opportunities to arise. And always, always remember YOU have the power of your feelings when it comes to that change.

  15. I feel you on change being hard.

  16. We had our first babe in Sept 16. Sleeping was TOUGH. A body pillow worked wonders. I also had a lot of freaking out moments, and negative thoughts were par for the course in my every day routine alongside all of the excitement and the joy. When the baby arrived everything changed in such a huge and unexpected way. I thought I was ready for the change, I thought I could predict what the change would be like or at least prepare myself for it on a small scale. Nope! It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and actually having the baby in your life is nothing like waiting for its arrival (thank goodness). Being a mother is demanding, but there are so many benefits and joy moments that outweigh or balance it. Being pregnant feels like constant give with no real emotional return other than anticipation. At least, this was my experience.

    Everyone’s pregnancies are different, but much of what you’re saying is what I experienced myself. But it’s so great, and you know it’s going to be great, and just keep holding onto that knowledge that it’s going to be hard but awesome.

    I am wishing you some sleep and some comfort and relaxation! Change is hard but this particular one is going to rock your world in so many freaking fantastic ways!

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