Every day I have the honor and privilege of helping children with their emotional, behavioral and educational functioning. I am a child psychologist and behavior analyst. I love children, and more importantly, I love working with and helping them find happiness and success in whatever shape that looks like for them.
When my husband and I found out it was finally our turn to become parents, there aren’t words to describe the degree and variety of emotions we felt. Excitement, anticipation, gratitude, relief, joy, love. And…anxiety. While I have looked forward to becoming a mom for years, I also recognize anxiety when I see it. Now I’m having my own anxious thoughts about everything from the baby’s safety, to wondering if I’ll be a good mother, how will my husband and I work as a team, and perhaps the biggest thing – balancing my professional responsibilities and parenthood.
Perfectly expected I jumped into motherhood the same way I have dealt with every other challenge in my life. My coping strategy of choice is to prepare. Or quite possibly over-prepare. At 30 weeks pregnant, I have consulted with friends and family from around the block and country, downloaded multiple pregnancy apps, and read no less than ten books. Discovering there’s such a thing called the fourth trimester, I‘ve since started mastering soothing strategies – well as much mastering one can do sans baby.
While I enjoy gathering new information, the contradictions you find on every third page leaves a lot of room for gray. With only weeks until our little one arrives, we are filled to the brim with eagerness and excitement for what awaits.
I’ve changed course a bit wanting to make sure to find time to enjoy these weeks instead of filling every available second with preparation and confusion. I’ll just have to figure it out when the time comes to. With this mind shift, I’m finally starting to really believe that we ARE going to be wonderful parents, regardless of what books we read or advice we receive or self-soothing method we try. We’re going to be great parents because we will love our baby and do the best job we can.
I want to live in the here and now instead of waiting for the weeks to pass. I choose to pay appreciation for this amazing opportunity my husband and I have in being pregnant. Too often we miss the incredibleness of the present because we are thinking about the past or planning the future. I don’t want to miss these moments of my pregnancy because before long, they too, will be past.
My growing baby is already teaching me mindfulness. The absolute best parts of my day are when I can feel this little one moving around. I immediately stop what I’m doing, place my hands on my belly, and connect. These are truly some of my favorite moments, and I especially love when I can share them with my husband.
While there will undoubtedly be more books to read and hospital classes to attend, today my husband and I are going to enjoy one another and the ever-moving bundle of joy that we will meet just soon enough.
Christine Pickering, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst. She is employed as a school psychologist in a large public school district in Florida, and also sees clients in her private practice. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling, playing outside, and spending time with family and friends.