A few weeks ago I was en route to the park with the dog when I noticed how content I was feeling. Obviously, a very pleasant realisation to have, but I also found myself pondering the irony that I was feeling this way in spite of, what some people would consider, having had to resort to having a baby on my own.
The unofficially official name for someone like me will soon be ‘solo mum by choice’ and, of course, it was a very conscious, deliberate and proactive decision to get myself into this situation.
I actually feel very proud of the choice I’ve made and, in two weeks time, I fully expect to be walking into my first NCT class with my head held high to introduce myself as flying solo.
But this wasn’t my first choice of how the story would play out.
This wasn’t Plan A.
I doubt there are many young women who say “You know what, when I get to 39 I really hope I’ll be single and childless.”. But that’s where I found myself and my choice was to take matters into my own hands and forge ahead with Plan B (you can read more about the preparations for that here, here and here).
And although Plan B hasn’t been all roses (it took me several months to get my head around actually being pregnant), I know that I’ve been incredibly fortunate – that I was in a position to be able to pay £6k for private treatment, that my medically-labelled geriatric 39-year-old body was capable of getting itself up the duff on it’s second ever attempt and that, so far, I’ve had a very healthy and enjoyable pregnancy.
And so, in spite of opting for a somewhat radical Plan B, I find myself extremely content with my lot and, to be honest, spend 99.9% of my time feeling excited and grateful for precisely where I am right now as opposed to aggrieved or resentful of the Plan A that, for me, wasn’t meant to be.
I’ve also noticed my perspective flipping from, in the first few months of pregnancy, feeling hard done by that I’m not doing this with a partner, to noticing all of the ways in which preparing for a baby (and, in the future, parenting one) is easier by doing it alone – I get to do it all my way (poor child).
Not only that, I occasionally find myself wondering whether this plan was, in fact, the Plan A all along – that this is what was always intended for me and (sorry to get a bit woo-woo about it) that I’ve been chosen by the universe as someone who is strong and capable enough to do it this way.
And who knows where this alternative plan will take me in the future anyway? Perhaps full circle back to the Prince Charming of Plan A or perhaps towards even greater, more exciting things.
So, with it being the start of a new year and with many people’s attention turning towards intentions and aspirations for 2019, I wanted to share my little realisation about Plan B with you in case it might be useful.
Perhaps it will make you realise that you don’t just have to aim for one mega ambitious goal – that having a ‘good’ 2019 doesn’t have to look a very idealistic, specific and pre-determined way.
That there are so many ways that 2019 could play out which could bring you contentment and perhaps those other paths aren’t even on your radar at the moment. But I know that, if you’re too fixated on Plan A, then you probably won’t be able to see those other paths even when they’re right in front of you.
That, yes, you can decide upon an optimal Plan A and make every effort towards achieving it but, at the same time, you can accept that there will always be things not in your control – meaning that Plan A morphs to Plan B (C, D or E…) and that those outcomes could still be way more than good enough (or perhaps, as I’m wondering right now, even better!).
And do you actually know what your version of good enough looks like anyway? Plan A is often associated with ideal, perfect, 100%. But, more often than not, 100% isn’t actually what you need in order to be content. Perhaps you only need 80% – so what does that look like?
I’m obviously rather excited about 2019 because I know it’s very likely to be the most life-changing, memorable, challenging year of my life to date. I know for sure that I’m going to have a baby. Beyond that, it’s all up for grabs and who knows how the specifics will play out.
Who knows when my baby will make his appearance? Who knows what the birth will be like (I, of course, have a Plan A, B, C, D….Z for that!)? Who knows if he’ll come out healthy? Who knows what my recovery will be like? Who knows if he’ll be a prolific cryer/sleeper/eater? Who knows how easy/enjoyable/satisfying I will find motherhood? Who knows how I will feel about work? Who knows when I will next go on a date? The list of unknowns feels endless.
Right now, I’m doing my best to prepare and educate myself towards the kind of outcomes I think I’d prefer – but I’m even open to being wrong about them (I’m very aware that a willingness to change one’s mind is an invaluable skill to learn)!
In 2019 I’ll be doing my best to be open to looking for other possibilities when things don’t go according to plan, I’ll be aiming to focus on what’s truly important to me and I’ll be working hard to develop a skill that I’ve historically struggled with….patience.
I feel very fortunate that, more than I’ve ever experienced before, I’m starting the year feeling pretty hopeful that 2019 will be good enough. Your circumstances are almost certainly different to mine but, regardless, how can you flex your expectations for the year ahead to give yourself the best chance of getting to 31 December feeling good about the fact that 2019 has been good enough?
Some of you have been asking about what I’ve been up to for the last few months and what my plans are for mat leave. I’ve been working with my existing clients and thoroughly enjoying being pregnant/preparing myself for becoming someone’s mother. And that happens to have coincided with neither feeling inspired nor obliged to write regular blog posts or engage much with social media.
I won’t be taking on any new clients for the next few months, and my existing ones know that, from now on, sessions will get cancelled if I go into labour (unless they’re particularly keen to become part of the birth team!).
Once the little man is here I’ll be playing it by ear. As long as we’re both healthy, I don’t see why I won’t be able to organise myself to do occasional sessions with existing clients. Beyond that I genuinely don’t know….and I’m cool with that. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I don’t have to decide now, I have the luxury of seeing how I feel. Who knows whether I’ll adore being a full-time mum or whether I’ll be desperate to re-engage with the world of work. And I feel no need to try to pre-emptively predict that right now.
This could be my last blog post for a while. Or I could be inspired to write again next week. That’s ok with me and I hope that’s ok with you too.
But I’m still here, I’m always pondering how fascinatingly perfectly imperfect folk like us choose to navigate the twists and turns of life. And I’m always interested to hear your thoughts and have a conversation about what we can do to make the most of our funny little lives.
Ta-ra for now.
With big love from me, MiniM and Rocky the dog.