Expectation (ek'spek-ta'shn)

1. a. The act of expecting. b. Eager anticipation: eyes shining with expectation.
4. Statistics b. The mean of a random variable.

Hmmm... I love the various meanings. It suits labour and birth, doesn't it? People even say, “She’s expecting...” when a woman is pregnant.

So, is expectation a positive or a negative thought process? Does it help us to realistically anticipate the event? Or can it set us up for the possibility of failure and guilt?

One thing that I discuss with clients are their anticipated “roles and expectations” - of themselves, of each other, and of their caregivers. Clients share their dreams for birth, however varied. Then we compare their expectations to the many potential realities.

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“Wow! If you had forceps last time, the next one will just FALL OUT!” (or, crazy predictions and expectations about second births)

I’ve attended so many second births recently, and I have 8 previous clients pregnant at the moment. So, I wanted to convey some of the joy and excitement of working with these second-time clients. I also wanted to talk about predictions and expectations surrounding second births.

So, today, for inspiration, I called a very special client whose little one is now about 18 months old. She picked up the phone and we both started grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve been thinking about you all this week!” she laughed. That’s the joy borne out of spending such an intense and sacred time together during her labour in 2004.

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