Expectations

I’ve been thinking about how well I think things are going and wondering what role my expectations played in it. I’m a “be prepared for the worst” kind of person, which means I’m usually very pessimistic about situations. I figure if I’m ready for things to be as bad as they can be, I’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at the way they actually turn out. Prior to Paul’s birth I had pretty much convinced myself having a baby was going to RUIN MY LIFE for at least a few months. My expectation was life would immediately be so hard I almost couldn’t handle it and then would slowly get better. Mainly because that’s how it was after Meg was born and this time I was going to be doing the same thing, with the addition of a toddler.

I WAS just plain pessimistic about some things – I figured the baby wouldn’t ever let me sleep for more than an hour at a time initially and that Meg would have terrible behavior issues. What I didn’t know was that my assumption of a long and painful recovery from childbirth was pessimistic. My recovery after Meg’s birth was very long and very, very painful. Apparently her birth was rather traumatic for me (I lost a LOT of blood and had a huge tear), but no one told me this wasn’t normal. Thomas and my mom didn’t tell me how worried they were about me after Meg’s birth until after Paul’s. I kept remarking how EASY this birth had been and my mom basically said, yeah, last time was NOT normal and everyone, including the nurses, was really worried about you. If I’d know this, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so worried that life would be impossible with a newborn and a toddler. I assumed it was normal to feel like you’d been run over by a truck after giving birth. For the first two weeks or so, every time I was in bed and baby Meg would cry, I would about burst into tears. Not because I was tired and wanted more sleep (though I did), but because it hurt so badly to get up (even on vicoden). I assumed it would be the same this time.

So the fact I don’t feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, the baby does (usually) let me sleep for longer than an hour at a time, and Meg (so far) hasn’t turned into a little monster have combined to make me feel like life is freaking AWESOME. I like the feeling.

Are you a pessimist or optimist? Does that work well for you when preparing for the unknown or does it work against you? As I said, I’m pretty pessimistic about the future, but I’m almost always ‘glass half full’ about the present. The word “pessimist” brings to mind a whiny, complain-y, unhappy person, but I don’t see myself that way. I’m usually thinking about how things COULD be worse in my present situation, but AREN’T and how great that is. It works pretty well for me. In fact, especially lately, it’s made me really focus on enjoying the moment, because if everything is going to be worse soon I’d better enjoy the good times while they last.

P.S. Come to think of it, yesterday’s post is a great example of what I’m talking about. I’m all “things are currently great, but I’m sure they’ll start sucking any minute now.”

Comments

  1. Fellow pessimist raising hand. I ALWAYS prepare for the worst.

  2. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I like to tell myself that old adage: Things rarely work out as well as we want them to, but they are also rarely as bad as we think they will be.

  3. Congrats on baby Paul, I am just catching up!! I am so happy for you! I am absolutely terrified of having another child as I think it will ruin the absolute joy that is my life now. But I tend to be a pessimist and anxious about the future but a reasonably calm person in the here and now. You have amde me want another baby as I love newborns.

  4. I like to comsider myself a “realist” who doesn’t like to be disappointed. Ok, I’m a pessimist….

  5. I’m an optimist with low expectations. I generally think things are going to go OK, but with certain situations — like driving 17 hours with a toddler and a preschooler — I lower my expectations to a point where I can be pleasantly surprised.

  6. I think I’m both pessimistic and optimistic. I fear the worst and yet remain cheerful most of the time. I fret, but I’m overall happy. If I had to pick one, I’d pick pessimist: I do fret and worry a lot.

  7. I don’t think I’ve had time to be either lately! It seems like whatever happens, I’m just like, “Well, that just happened; here I go to deal with it.” instead of comparing it to anything that I *expected*, you know? But in general, I’m a worrier and a trouble-borrower.