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?