The past few weeks (months, really) have been stressful (hellish) as we’ve watched our estimated date of moving shift ever closer to my baby’s estimated due date. I have lots of experience moving, and I have lots of experience having babies, and one thing I feel very strongly about is that these two “events” should not happen at the same time.
In many ways, moving and having a baby are very similar. Both change your life, and life-changes are anxious times. Both require a certain amount of preparation. Both have a time of intense chaos that lasts a few days or weeks, followed by a time of less intense insanity that goes until a month or so post-event, followed by a hopefully easier, but still somewhat stressful period as everybody involved makes their final transition to the new normal.
Many of the decisions you make and the work you do beforehand, contribute significantly to the level of stress throughout the process and the recovery period. For example, spending the last month of pregnancy cooking and baking and filling your big freezer with food your family likes to eat is, without a doubt, one of the simplest but most productive uses of that nesting instinct that pays huge dividends once that baby comes.
Savvy military moms might instantly recognize that having a freezer full of food is great for a new baby, but not at all conducive to a move. In fact, one of the preparations for a move is to use up as much of your stocked food as possible, certainly, at least, the perishable stuff.
Another great preparation before having a baby is to have a well-sorted and organized house.
Not a house full of boxes.
The list of conflicting preparations goes on. Hence, the additional stress.
One thing that is good to do for both these situations is to think of all the things that can go wrong and how you will deal with them. What if that luggage carrier you intended to put on the roof of your car won’t work (been there)? What if you find out that your car can’t pull a trailer (done that)? What if your household goods won’t be delivered for two weeks? What if the babysitter gets sick and can’t watch your older children? What if you have a c-section? What if the baby has jaundice? Of course, in working out these situations, often all that one can do is accept the possibility and know that you will just have to deal with it (in the case of a c-section, for example). Other situations, like having multiple babysitter options or packing some essential kitchen supplies in your car, have tangible actions that can be taken to minimize the pain when things go wrong.
And even if you can’t do anything to prevent something from happening – like jaundice in a newborn – you can seriously consider that having movers at your house within days of the baby’s birth is not a prudent course of action. Do I hear an Amen?
For weeks, I have been in a mental rut, spinning through different ways to handle these upcoming changes. I came up with Plan A which, although imperfect in many ways, tried to ensure the most success of both situations. The biggest downfall was that it was going to cost a lot of money. Plan B cost less, but favored a successful move over a successful birth. Plan C meant a good birth, but nothing else: no leeway if there were post-birth issues, and the move was certain to be a disaster. My husband was not helpful in coming up with better plans. I talked to several people, and they could help me see other issues and flaws in the three plans, but no decent solutions.
I finally asked (begged) God for mercy and guidance, and did mange yesterday to come up with Plan D. It’s not perfect, either, and I know it’s not done: details will change, possibly the entire time line may get shifted and we’ll likely end up executing Plan E or F or G. But this is the first plan that has flexibility, that balances well the issues of both situations, and doesn’t cost too much (moving always costs some money, the question is how much, and that is generally answered by your personal comfort level and how much you enjoy sleeping on air mattresses…and when you are extremely pregnant or have a newborn, the answer is: not at all).
But now, at least, I have some peace of mind in knowing a basic timeline, knowing how that timeline may shift (to the right and not to the left), and knowing what needs to be done beforehand for a better chance at success. I am much calmer this morning than I have been in a long time.
Finally, after that productive meeting of the minds with Bill that got me a working plan for the next 4 – 5 months of my life, I remembered that it was a new month.
“Oh!” exclaimed I to my husband. “It’s a new month!”
He looked at me.
“What are we going to name this baby and who will be the Godparents?”
He laughed. “We have plenty of time for that,” he said.
“OK,” said I. “We’ll talk again next month.”
Just as we did last month and the month before.