I have always followed a rigid schedule and needed some type of structure or plan. I hate surprises and have a fear of the unknown. But these past couple months have taught me that not having a plan is actually better!
Without a plan, there are no expectations. If you have expectations on how something will go and it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, you may end up disappointed or feel like a failure.
Throughout my whole pregnancy I compared it to my first and ended up being a bit upset and anxious when I went into labor 3 weeks later than expected. As I saw my due date come and go, I had to surrender to the fact that my pregnancy and my birth was it’s own and will be much different than my first. You simply cannot “plan” a birth and must be prepared for the unexpected.
Now, as I embark on my postpartum journey, 6 weeks in, I have dropped all expectations on how my body should look and trying to rush back to the gym. Sure, I would love to have a consistent exercise routine, but even if I try to plan it, something always seems to change. I’ve attempted to workout at home numerous times and it always seems to get interrupted by my daughter waking up 5 minute in, wanting to be held or nursed and when she’s done or falls back asleep, I’m usually hungry again! So I decide to eat and hold off my workout until later. But there is not always a “later”. I am aiming to get into a consistent routine, but I accept that it’s going to have to be more sporadic, because the demands of a newborn are never consistent. So, I am just going to get in small increments of exercise when I can. In time I know it’ll get easier. Without the pressure of a “plan”, I won’t end up feeling guilty or disappointed if exercise doesn’t happen that day.
In regards to food, I am using my hunger and fullness cues and listening VERY closely to my body on when to eat, how much to eat and what to eat, which sometimes is a protein bar or 3 handfuls of nuts to hold me over in the middle of the night when my daughter is up cluster feeding and I’m absolutely starving. I’ve added in 500 or so extra calories to what I would normally eat to make sure I’m getting enough nutrients, keeping my energy and milk supply up. There’s days I am still starving and need more than this. In the past I would ignore my hunger cues if it wasn’t part of my diet plan, but now I just use this as a ball park and listen to my body without relying on numbers or tracking meticulously. Ahhh the freedom in that…
And finally, I’ve learned to be okay with not being on time for everything, since I’m usually always early for things like appointments, watching my Son’s sporting events, and social gatherings, because I now have to work around the schedule of my newborn, not anyone else’s and most certainly not mine.
Letting go of structure, rules, plans and any type of schedule allows me to ease anxiety surrounding the need for perfection. My new normal is a bit chaotic, unplanned, go-with-the-flow and a take it one day at a time type of routine and I’m actually okay with it.
I am learning to be open to the twists and turns of life, living more in flow and enjoying each moment, in the moment, as is comes.