Don’t judge me, but I can get down with a little Zig Ziglar. Goal setting? I’m for it!
Before I knew I was pregnant last year, I had selected four goals to work towards – and had a little journal to write down the daily steps that I had taken toward each of my goals. Then I got pregnant, and my goals totally changed. I abandoned the goal journal and spent my personal reflection time reading What to Expect and Bump it Up and generally shifted my entire focus to the bun in my oven.
I found my goals journal and read it the other day.
The first thing I did was create my “Dream List.” I had taken 10 or 15 minutes and written down all the things I wanted in my life – things I wanted to do, to be, places I wanted to see, money and things I wanted to have, ways I wanted to make a difference, uncensored and all on a couple of pages of paper.
I highly recommend this activity.
Not just because the people who write down their goals are among the most successful. Not just because having something positive to work towards every day (especially in the aftermath of such a terrible loss) is a wonderful thing.
Because looking back at the dream list I had a year ago, I am amazed.
Amazed at how much is the same even though we’ve had this paradigm-shifting experience.
Amazed at how much can change in a year, too.
Amazed at how so many of the things we want in life are interconnected if we take a minute to really reflect – how they work together, how people are blessed with just the toolset and just the connections and just the mental framework they need to accomplish their dream list if they only take the time to look and see.
Guess what was on my dream list a year ago?
Be a mom.
And guess what is on my dream list today?
Have a baby.
This is a recurring theme in my connections with other women who have lost a child, a thread I see on the grief and loss forums:
You’re a mom, even though you lost your baby. But you don’t necessarily feel like it when the object of your motherly affection is no longer physically with you. I am a mother without a baby to “mother”.
I’m already a mom, but I need to have a baby.
I’m Hudson’s mommy, always and forever, but I don’t get to care for her, to teach her life lessons, French braid her ridiculous hair, watch her reach all those incredible milestones that would be so easy to take for granted if we had brought her home.
It’s a totally different dream today than it was a year ago.
I’m a very goals-oriented person. I worked for Starbucks Coffee Company for 5 years (all through college and a few years after) and that was one of the core competencies you were reviewed on: “Goals-Oriented.”
I’m motivated. I like to cross accomplishments and milestones off the list. I like to work towards something, to better myself, to achieve. Tackling this whole “Having a Baby” dream now is a little different than any of the other goals or dreams on my Dream List. It’s not really a “core competency” that you can be reviewed on:
√ Exceeds Expectations
I have a nice, clear, step-by-step plan to “Being Debt Free” and “Training for a Half Marathon.” Cross each milestone off the list. Stick to the budget, stick to the training plan.
But darn it, baby-having is a whole lot more complicated than that.
We made a beautiful baby! I stuck to my exercise regimen, took my prenatals, didn’t touch alcohol, kept all my appointments. I crossed each week off, one week closer to labor and delivery, to bringing baby home. I became a mom. I had a baby.
That means for every 1000 live births, six babies die.
Hudson was one of the six.
What a shitty statistic.
I just Googled marathon statistics in the United States – for every 1000 people in the US of A, 5 complete a marathon.
I am one of the five.
So I was actually slightly more likely to lose our baby than I was to finish a marathon.
A marathoner has to train for months. Eat right. Dedicate their weekends, hours on end, to training runs. Punish their joints, go through 2-3 pairs of running shoes. Cross each milestone, each run off the list. Work your way up to the 26.2. High five people when you finish. But when you’re finished, you can stop. You can cross it off your list and never put on your running shoes again if you don’t want to. Don’t worry about improving your time, qualifying for Boston, setting a Personal Record. One and done. Some people only have one marathon in them, and that’s okay. Some people become Marathon Maniacs and run several marathons a year, and that’s okay.
A pregnant woman has a similar journey. You’re pregnant for 10 months. You eat right (or at least you had better). You dedicate your weekends to the baby room, spend hours on end reading “Fit Pregnancy” magazine, choosing baby names. You punish your joints and go up a few shoe sizes. Cross each doctor’s appointment off the list. Work your way up to 40 weeks (or 41!). High five your husband when they say it’s time to push. And when you’re finished, you can stop. You can say one and done.
Everybody gives you a pass if you decide you never want to put on those maternity jeans again.
There’s a big difference between Being a Mom and Having a Baby. I want to do both.
I have been blessed with just the right toolset, the perfect connections, and the mental framework I need in order to go through this loss and still want to go through that pregnancy journey again. And again. And again. And maybe again.
Some people might have only one baby in them, and that’s okay.
But I haven’t crossed “Being a Mom” off my dream list. I haven’t crossed “Have a Baby” off the dream list, either.
And I can’t wait to put on those maternity jeans again.