This post is somewhat scientific and mostly metaphoric.
I will attempt to make a correlation between a way you could look at parenting (or any relationship that is important to you) and the orbits and rotations of planets.
One thing that I was concerned about when I was pregnant with Lincoln was that I would have to lose my identity, give up my dreams and goals, as soon as I had him. This caused a lot of despair and there wasn’t a lot that anybody could do or say to support me in this process that actually gave me insight into the actual reality, that I could create the relationship with my child that I wanted as well as the parenting style. It seemed like there were only 2 options: sacrifice yourself to your child(ren) and in doing so give up anything and everything that you wanted for your future, give up having some kind of relationship with your child so that you can focus on pursuing goals and a career.
For me neither of these fit.
I knew that one thing I wanted to teach my children was that no matter what kind of a life they wanted, that they could have the choice to create it. Just because people have fallen into certain roles in the past, doesn’t mean that it’s the way that everybody should create their life.
So this is the part that the science metaphor comes in.
I believe that things work well when there is a balance involved. Science seems to agree in the realm of orbits of planets/moons. If you do any basic research (which is all I did) about the way planets and moons orbit, it seems like in order for an orbit to last, there has to be a balance of force: meaning that if there is too much or not enough the moon (or satellite) won’t be able to stay in orbit with the planet. (You are the planet, your child (or other person your referencing this to) is the moon/satellite). Each body has to have their own power/force/rotation in order to maintain the relationship. One body cannot give up all its rotation/power/force for the other. If they did, the balance would be broken and one would get sucked out into space. (This is probably not scientifically accurate). Additionally, the orbit is elliptic which means that sometimes the bodies are closer together and sometimes they are further apart. This doesn’t not change the relationship and it is not bad that this happens.
So what does this mean for you and me? It’s a metaphor and ONE possible way to look at the parent/child relationship. (You could really apply this to any important relationship in your life). Becoming a parent does not mean that one should give up on their dreams, goals, jobs, etc and it will require creating a new balance as you bring a new body into your orbit.
Mostly, remember that you can create the life that you want and what works best for you and your family. Create your life based on what you and your partner want, not what other people (including and not limited to in-laws, family, society, etc). This will probably take work, courage, and bravery, and you can do it.