I can see the future, dear reader.
Sometimes it’s murky; sometimes it’s clear.
Hmm? What’s that I hear? Are you doubting my prescience?
But it’s true.
Well, perhaps not in the conventional way of foreseeing things, but I assure you: I most certainly do know one thing (and this, as I see it, is future-seeing enough for me!).
Being aware of what may happen and preparing as much as you most certainly can, will make you more primed no matter what happens.
And, well, as the saying goes: failing to plan is planning to fail.
Sure, certain aspects of what the future will bring is definitely murky, but I can assure you with utmost clarity that being prepared will be your best bet for success.
So let’s dive into the three steps essential to seeing the future.
Before you can adequately see the future, you have to know what you’re about to walk into.
See, let’s say you’re going to spend a month on Venus.
You, your kids, your whole family; you’re going to have an all-expenses paid trip and vacation on Venus. Before you can even think about starting to plan, you need to know: what’s Venus like? How long is our spaceship flight going to take? What kind of accommodations will we have? What’s the weather going to be? Any other friends going to come with us?
So the first step is to learn everything you can about your future situation.
There may be very little learning to do (like a trip to the grocery store that you’ve been to tens of times), or there may be a lot of learning to do (like having your first baby).
Either way, be sure you’ve covered all your bases and learned everything that there is to know so you can move on to step 2.
Suri was expecting her fourth -- her oldest was 6, she had a 4-year-old and an almost-2-year-old and her due date was just shy of 4 months out.
While she knew every birth and every baby is different, she also knew that some things are pretty similar. She already knew the importance of resting during the first couple of weeks, knew what the intense exhaustion felt like, and knew how difficult the adjustment was likely to be for her other ones.
She was familiar enough with her kids’ personalities and what she herself would be like postpartum to check the “learning” piece off in that regard -- but she knew she wanted to get some more sleep herself AND not have a yelling baby for 3 months like she mostly had with her first.
So there was definitely more to learn.
The next step is to anticipate.
This step is, of course, approximately 4,878,985 times easier when you’ve done it before, but still totally doable when it’s an unknown if you’ve done the Learning step first.
You’ve done your data mining, found out all there is to know… and now it’s time to pull out your crystal ball and take a look into the future.
You won’t know, of course, what will happen, but ask yourself: what might happen?
What do I expect my abilities to be during that time? Is there any place that I won’t be up to being at 100% functioning capacity? If so, what, where and with whom? And how can I compensate for that?
What do I expect of my child(ren) during that time? Is that expectation reasonable? If not, how can I adjust my expectations?
How can I plan for tactical success? What prep for my kids can I do to make this go as smoothly as possible? What prep for myself can I do to make this go as smoothly as possible? What food, books, toys can I have ready - for my kids or myself?
And, while, of course, you can’t plan for every single thing that can go wrong, ask yourself what is likely to go wrong? What’s something that you expect to go downhill - based on what you know of the situation, your kids or yourself.
When Suri and I formally began our time together about a month before her due date, we talked through some of the difficulties she might encounter during the postpartum period.
She knew she wouldn’t be able to juggle all of her kids right after her baby was born, and also knew that she wasn’t going to be up to cleaning or cooking for a while.
Her two bigger ones would probably need some extra TLC - and she was due right before Yom Tov, which would inevitably mean some disruption of their regular routine, and therefore they’d need even more TLC.
We spoke through some ideas to set herself up for tactical success on the childcare, cleaning and cooking fronts, and also discussed ways she could emotionally prepare her children for the change, as well as some measures she could take during the pregnancy to make things easier for her.
This stage may sound very intense and analytical to you, so just keep in mind: it may not be something you write down on a worksheet. It might just be something you ponder as you shower, drive or eat breakfast. Oftentimes letting it simmer and percolate will be enough to enable you to properly anticipate - and then you’ll dive into the Prepare stage.
This is the stage most of us try to skip to. But don’t! If you skip Learn and Anticipate, your Preparation will likely be woefully inadequate.
Now that you’ve really given time, energy and thought to what the situation will be, and any difficulties or pitfalls that may come up, NOW you’re ready to prepare.
In Prepare, all of the answers to those questions you asked yourself during Anticipate turn into practical reality.
As we discussed, Suri made arrangements for her kids to be out of the house from when she went into labor until the baby was 1-2 weeks old.
She talked to a friend about setting up a meal train, stocked her freezer and pantry in the weeks leading up to her due date, and got some extra cleaning help.
She discussed the concept of having a new baby for months before the baby was born, and introduced the more practical application once she felt it was close enough to her due date for them to grasp.
She did her best to fill as many gaps as she could to make the newborn stage go as smoothly as possible.
Of course, nothing's going to be 100% the way we plan, and nothing’s going to turn out perfect.
Potential problems we plan for may never arise, and something we never dreamed of may suddenly pop up in our faces.
By having the basic framework set up, though, you’ll have enough support and stability to have the wherewithal to roll with those punches as they hit you.
Suri’s 4-year-old became super clingy when she came back home after the baby was born -- something she’d not anticipated at all. We spoke out a plan of action to help her feel safe and protected, but also to enable Suri to give the other kids (and herself!) some attention, too.
Her 6-year-old also had a major sleep regression and started waking in the wee hours of the morn, so we tackled that as well.
As we worked together during the three months of the newborn stage, we fielded each unexpected scenario as it came up, and built a new plan of action to help Suri resolve each problem and cope with the punches coming her way.
Well, any time you want to see the future! I do this with my clients in a variety of situations -- of course, with my Prenatal Motherhood Transformation clients we work through a plan (like I outlined above with Suri) that dives deep into the upcoming situation, but really, it can be with anything.
With a Newborn Motherhood Transformation client, we talked about her own sleep, which she only realized how much she was struggling with once she didn’t have the “excuse” of her baby’s bad sleep.
Because here’s the thing about being a mother: Your day-to-day life isn’t just “you” anymore. You’ve got a whole bunch of unpredictable little people in it -- little people who you can’t control and often have a mind of their own (and what a mind it is!).
By foreseeing what may be and preempting with your own Learning, Anticipating and Preparation, you, my dear, are quite the wise one.
Eizehu chacham haro’eh es ha nolad.
So if you’re expecting now, be smart. You know how hard the transition can be when you have a newborn; let’s make this time as easy as it can be for you.
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