Archive for the ‘Pregnant’ Category

Challenging women’s lib and success defined by wealth

December 1, 2010

Once again, a morning sales training session has triggered a revelation about how I perceive success and why I am struggling to share and embrace my journey in pregnancy and starting a family.
The training was on goal setting. We all named five “top performers” and discussed what their life goal may have been; how they may stay focused on goals; how they deal with adversity and failure; and how they view risk.
The list of people included Obama, Lance Armstrong (and many other pro athletes), Oprah, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Jack Welch and even Will Smith. In less than an hour, it struck me as odd that none of us, myself included, listed a person like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Llama, Greg Mortenson or any great healers, teachers, spiritual leaders or authors. We all listed people who’s “top achievements” are defined by wealth or winning.
That perception of success is why I am struggling with my biggest personal change.
Growing up, I have had two major goals pushing me. First, since probably age 7, I have had a burning desire to be a famous author and speaker. Second, since my pre-teen years, I wanted to prove that I can do any job as well as, or better, than any man. I always said I wanted to support myself and I believed that a big salary would solve all problems.
Now, I realize only one of these goals match my core values. I’ve had a skewed definition of success in my life.
I still want to be a famous author and speaker, because I believe I can help people through both avenues. I’ve discovered my highest core value is to help others in business and personally. I believe I can earn a good living doing this, but the money is not my first priority. (My roles as a starving reporter and a thriving money lender were both defined by this core value.)
On the women’s liberation front, however, my former goal is preventing me from embracing the joys of being a woman. I’ve proved the equality point well enough by excelling in academics, working hard labor jobs, carving a niche (and big income) in the male-dominated finance field and competing athletically alongside men. It’s time to put that goal on a shelf like a tacky trophy that collects dust. I need to embrace the fact that I need my husband’s support and protection. Not that I can’t stand on my own – but that I don’t have to anymore.
At five-and-a-half months pregnant, I need to stop hiding the truth and joy from my professional circle. I must stop thinking I will either fail at being successful professionally or at parenting.
The only way I can begin to reconcile my desire to nurture and my passion to excel professionally is to face the truth. I can’t blame this conflict on hormones. I’ve had less respect and admiration for terrific moms, housewives who sacrificed careers for the family and spiritual people who live by faith than those “top performers” with millions and athletic triumphs. I’ve forgotten the poorly-paid teachers who noticed in that I excelled at writing and encouraged me.
Since I can visualize being a great mother and wife AND being successful professionally, I shouldn’t be ashamed of being on both paths simultaneously.
If goal setting begins with figuring out “what you want,” then I need to accept that deep down, I have always wanted it all – to excel in every role. Only “how” I will get what I want and “when” I will get it is uncertain … and out of my control anyway.


Inventing a pregnancy filter to sort thoughts and comments

November 30, 2010

An imaginary invention just might keep me sane through this pregnancy: a pregnancy filter.
I’m not imaging a filter that would keep three or four glasses of wine from reaching my baby, although that sounds okay.
What I really need is a filter that sorts the comments and stories people are so quick to share about pregnancy, childbirth and life to follow.
This filter will deflect the comments about how my life will never be the same, how much work children are and how I will be tired for the rest of my life. True or not, these comments are destructive on days when my hormones already help me blow everything out of proportion.
My pregnancy filter would strain these comments like water or air through a sieve. It would catch the stories of joy, love and adventure that other parents share about having children and let them roll around like sparkly beads.
While I’m inventing, the filter might as well be programmed with a setting that will clear thoughts of uncertainty or fears from my mind. I picture a little zapping mechanism that fries those thoughts like pesky bugs on a summer night. A little lightning bolt and no more worries about the future or my abilities as a mom. Zzzt. Gone.
Irritation that my workouts lack pep – zzzt.
Longing for a waistline – zzzt.
Jealousy when everyone else knocks back their third beer – zzzt.
Panic that my window on personal time is closing – zzzt.
Sadness for no seemingly good reason at all – zzzzzzzzzt.
Now my mind can be full of wonder and excitement for all of the great things in our lives and on our horizon. I can bask in appreciation for the many blessings I have. I can smile about the little fingers and toes. I can feel my sweetie’s hug like a fuzzy warm sweater around me.
Armed and protected with this imaginary shield, I can respond to the stories of horror and exhaustion with a blank look. I’ll let the not-so-helpful comments slip right through the filter or get zapped into an imaginary faint puff of smoke rising from my head. Then I can concentrate on what really matters: finding happiness in change.

Change is the only constant: The irony of being pregnant.

November 17, 2010

Being pregnant is ironic.
On one hand, everything changes and will keep changing – lifestyle, body size, priorities, etc. Yet on the other hand, nothing changes – day-to-day life, basic needs and the importance of the positive mindset.
Some days I wonder why everyone else seems more excited about this big event than I am. I suspect it is because most of them have children and have a keen sense of the joy and love that I cannot yet imagine.
Those days of mixed emotions are offset by the visits to the doctor for ultrasounds, which are thrilling and confounding. The human body has always amazed me. Seeing another tiny human body form from a spec is … well, miraculous.
For the past five months I’ve referred to the baby as the spec, the Brazil nut and the lime (because books use these objects to explain the baby’s size.) I’ve called it the baby, it, he, she and an alien. But now, she is a little person with active arms (like mom, talks with the hands), fingers, toes, growing internal organs (we saw the brain, bladder, kidneys, stomach and pumping heart) and a gorgeous little face that is either talking, singing or looking for food (again, like her mother).
And suddenly everything revolves around her. I feel more protective knowing she is a girl. I feel a bit of pressure to instill in her an unconditional self-love. Picking a name that expresses how smart, creative, unique and intuitive she will be is beyond daunting.
As if that’s not enough pressure, I am still trying to figure out how to work my own business, make adequate money and align to my true passions. I guess I would be going through that process pregnant or not. Knowing she’s coming just makes the balance much more important.
To everyone who keeps asking how I’m doing, how it’s going and if we are going to have more than one … here are the answers.
3) Let’s get through the first one first.
2) It is going well, especially compared to horror stories of morning sickness, out-of-control emotions and terrible aches and pains. (I am still in the second trimester though.)
1) I am doing the best I can on a daily basis. Before I was pregnant, I was very hard on myself, impatient and sometimes a bit crazy. I am still all of those things. I’m constantly working to have a heart full of love and a positive mind. My whole life, I said I would never do this without my perfect match beside me, and I am so glad that he is. Bob is my rock.
Earlier this week, a friend posted this Zen proverb: Let Go, or Be Dragged.
I’m going to try.