Becoming a Parent? Don’t make plans

London sightseeingIt’s my daughter’s birthday today, but it’s also my birthday. Yes, I gave birth to her on my birthday, in the same hospital that my mother gave birth to me 29 years earlier. I love having the same birthday as my daughter, but the day it happened, I was truly pissed off. That’s because up until that day, I hadn’t been a parent, and I foolishly thought I had control over my life. I was such an idiot.

My daughter’s birthday reminds me every year of the most important lesson you learn from being a parent…..You and your silly plans have no value.

I remember before I had her all the plans we had made and how even before she was born they had all been destroyed one by one.

  1. I will be a working mother: As it turned out I had permanent morning sickness and had to leave my job as a nurse two weeks after conception so that I could attend to a toilet for 9 months straight. Sweet.
  2. We will build a house out in rural Colorado: The loss of the job meant we couldn’t afford the house that we had nearly finished building and we had to walk away. My husband had to ship me home to California since he was flying out of state the majority of the time and couldn’t take care of me. So I attended to my parents toilet instead. Awesome.
  3. We will have two children: The bad pregnancy insured that I would never allow myself to be pregnant again. The doctor explained it to me this way, “Basically, you’re allergic to being pregnant.” Perfect.

By the time I was ready to give birth we had been completely stripped of our plans,  but I was still under the impression that I was in control. So although my daughter was due on my birthday I planned to be induced the day before since my doctor was leaving town. I had an appointment for Christ’s sake! What an idiot!

The rest of the story is pretty obvious; the labor didn’t progress and it dragged on all day. As an added bonus I didn’t get to keep my plan for a regular delivery either. They changed it to an emergency c-section when my daughter started struggling, and she was pulled into this life just a few minutes after midnight. Done.

My sister, the social worker, (aka angel for the unloved) used to work with a race of people who don’t wear watches or make appointments. Their religion believes it is presumptuous to assume you will still be alive at 2 o’clock on Thursday. That always struck me as the epitome of humility. Who are you that you can make plans? Who do you think you are, God?

My plans were good ones, but God had better plans and gave me a life I never asked for. I live near my family now instead of out in the sticks in Colorado (they didn’t even have a Target out there). My husband flies now for a company that gets him home in time for dinner nearly every night. Since I lost my nursing job I had the chance to try making money with my art and be home to raise my daughter. My daughter turned out to be as time consuming as two children since she didn’t sleep the first six years of her life. Thank God I didn’t have another one.

Now I share my birthday with the most amazing young woman I have ever known who is a constant reminder that my plans are small minded and that life has bigger plans for us all. Happy Birthday, Baby!


6 thoughts on “Becoming a Parent? Don’t make plans

  1. I agree – plans are for those who delude themselves into thinking they’re in charge. And you’re right – she’s an amazing young woman, and you both should be proud of all your hard work and love.

    Kathy, angel for the unloved 😉

  2. Thanks for digging deep inside and sharing this, Karen It was beautiful and I agree, Dianna is one of the most amazing people I know (kind of like her mom). I’m reading a book about Buddhism, which of course, talks about the concept of impermanence, which she simplies (gratefully) to “anything can happen at any time.” She goes on to explain that Change is scary. (Real scary.) But unless we lay down our fear of the unexpected and accept that it “is,” we can’t grow and come out on the other side. I’m trying hard to embrace this and it seems as if you’ve done that, beautifully. Hope this wasn’t a lecture–it was meant to be a congratulations on your inner wisdom and on raising such a terrific young woman. Much love to you both.

All thoughts are welcome!

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