Change Won't Change Me
I’m pregnant - 24 weeks pregnant to be exact. It took me about 18 weeks to really accept it and, on reflection, a lot of the reasons for me was in the way I handled this huge change. Beginning a family is just one of the significant changes in life. Others include moving home, changes in relationships and jobs, losing people you love, becoming some-one you love, and more. Each will be unique to the person experiencing it, but I do feel that there are mistakes I made which can apply to all of these.
Mistake #1 – I’ve a meeting to rush to
Today’s world is very “busy” and many of us feel like we are “time-poor”. I am, of course, using quotation marks intentionally here because I believe much of this busyness is self-inflicted and probably not at all necessary. But that is a conversation for another day.
Because people feel that there are not enough hours in the day, we often rush over significant moments and then look back to wonder where they went. This was my first mistake. My pregnancy was confirmed in an office toilet while I was spending a week in our Boston office. I found out 5 minutes before I was due to go into back to back meetings for the afternoon so left myself just enough time to send a quick Snapchat to my partner. Yes, I told him via Snapchat. When he video called me to share the best news of our lives, we had about 2 minutes. This is not the ideal way to acknowledge a major, positive change in life and rushing it had a knock-on impact over the following weeks.
Mistake #2 – All I need it a new to-do list
For the first couple of weeks I found myself talking about being pregnant as if it were simply a new project that I had to deliver. It reminded me of when I moved from a career in sales to one in operations and acted as if I were some type of robot, ready and able to be easily reprogrammed to do a different type of work. Just like that. In the world of pregnancy this meant matter of fact conversations about maternity wear, work, breastfeeding and reusable nappies; the logistics of what lay ahead. I resisted any and all talk about my hopes, fears and doubts. The more I resisted, the more anxious and stressed I became. It’s no surprise – it's hard work suppressing all that natural human emotion!
Mistake #3 – Change won’t change me
More often than not, a change in one area of your life requires adjustments in other areas as well. For example, moving to a new company would typically mean changes to your commute and other parts of your daily routine. And this is before you even begin to look at the changes you would be making on the job. With pregnancy, I tried in vain to squash it into my current lifestyle. This meant keeping up the same work schedule and intensity, the same fitness routine, and the same social life. All that I allowed myself to change was diet, (because I had a red meat aversion for a couple of weeks), and a little more sleep. This not only impacted me, but others around me, as I floundered in the face of this new way of being.
The turning point for me was when I found myself at the end of a 10K walk along the coast in Lanzarote. Taking a moment to admire the view I finally felt that I had “time to be pregnant”. This was time I granted to myself and over the next couple of days I reflected on how I felt, how I wanted to be and what support I needed from others.
Whether the change is starting a family, changing job, moving home, beginning a relationship or moving on to the next chapter alone, there is more to it than simply stating the fact and waking up the next morning to carry on as before. So take a minute, in fact take as many as you need, and don’t make the same mistakes as me!
Niamh specialises in career and personal effectiveness coaching with a particular focus on career advancement and time management. You can contact Niamh here if you are considering a coach in these areas.