Welcome to Holland
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say.
“What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
This is the readjustment…because the loss of that dream, that plan is a very significant loss.
But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.
What Emily Kingsley talks about so wisely in ‘welcome to Holland’ is something what we call the reframe. You may know it as looking for the silver lining. A glass half full instead of half empty. Thinking positively, looking on the bright side.
By now you are questioning ever getting started with this program if all it is going to tell you to do is look on the bright side. But bear with it. There is more to this than you know, and more neuroscience to understand if you want to change how you are feeling right now.
However, for now this section is concentrating on acceptance. Before some balance can be restored you will have to mourn and grieve for the loss of your plan. This is not about trying to change it from one thing to another thing, this is about acknowledging it, naming it and letting it go. We will work on replacing it with a new feeling in the next section. For now, get comfortable and listen to the short script below.