Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Having Babies

A ton of my friends are either pregnant or recently gave birth.  These are people who I respect, value, and love and some of these ladies are blogger friends that I've never met but that I think are awesome. I pray for their babies and the expansion of their families all of the time.

It caused me to think about the life plan I had created in second grade.  At that age, anytime in your 20s seems so far off.  I do remember wanting to be a teacher and have two standard-sized poodles.  I would have either been dating or married and between 24-26 we would have our first baby.  Well I'm turning 24 in a couple of months and although I definitely don't believe in the life plan I created when I was eight years old, my 23-year old self can't help but focus on my life ambitions.

When Ryan and I first got married, there were a few times that I was positive that I was pregnant.  We definitely weren't ready, and of course, you know that little thought in the back of your head grows with worry by the minute.  I remember two very specific incidents where I started to freak out.  The first was when we moved into our first house and I was on a new birth control (wasn't taking any chances) and the oral medication made me feel nauseous.  So I wasn't preggers and took myself off that birth control.  The other incident was on a trip back to Wisconsin, where I wasn't feeling good but I wasn't on Mirena yet.  I remember walking to Walgreens in the disgusting humidity of a Wisconsin summer and just sweating balls.  I was nervous and anxious because again, we weren't ready and I had just graduated from college.  Again the tests were negative.

I'll be 24 this year and Ryan and I have been married 2.5 years.  Now I'm starting to feel ready, but I often feel that everyone around me isn't ready for us to have a baby.  It feels weird to phrase that, other people aren't ready.  But ultimately many of our life decisions are influenced by expectations and trends on society.  My good friend, Lindsey is having a baby and got married around the same time that Ryan and I did.  She shared a link with her Facebook followers about the timing of families and how people always have an opinion on when to have a baby.  The article, Having Babies (in Opposite World), discusses today's expectations to wait and how people can feel guilty if they don't hit certain life benchmarks, if you will.  The author of the article, Courtney, describes how friends of hers have been made to feel guilty about their pregnancy for whatever reasons.  Courtney was told her entire life to be a responsible adult and wait to have children.  It's pretty solid and standard advice.  So she and her husband waited and had her first at 27 and second at 29.  However in her 30s she came into certain health concerns that inhibited her ability to have more children.  Everyone's biological clock is different, but hers cut off at 29, when she was under this presumption that she would be able to have babies for a good solid 10 years or so, even if they waited.  She wishes that they had started sooner.

This article got me to thinking, because Courtney brought up a lot of great points that haven't necessarily come up in my life in terms of parenting.  We have moved from a society where women got married very young, had babies young and that was it to what we have today where young women are encouraged to commit to a career and get married/have babies much later.  The problem is that whatever the common ideology is becomes this social law.  I covered the marital aspect of it in my post, I Got Married at 21 When Everyone Else Was Getting Chocolate Wasted, where everyone had an opinion of my choices in getting married.  People didn't take into consideration my feelings, the impact of how they chose to talk to me about my choices, and ultimately they forgot about the two people who were getting married in the equation.  As soon as I accepted a proposal at 21, everyone saw my life going down the tubes but that didn't happen.  People forgot to take into consideration that I had certain factors in my life that caused me to grow up a lot sooner than many of their own college-aged children.

Now when all of that is said and done, I don't think every young couple should just have babies for the sake of having babies.  Each couple needs to have that discussion on their own timeline, not with the influence of other people.  I just think that in terms of our society, we need to cut each other some slack.  People have opinions when someone has a baby at a young age, at an older age, doesn't breastfeed, has five kids, gets married young, etc.  I don't know if it's just this kick I've been on, but when you feel like judging, think of an encouragement for that person instead.  I can tell you that having walked in some of those shoes, they've already felt stress from people who are completely unrelated to their life. Empower, don't bring down.

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  1. Kim, I have been on baby watch since BEFORE my husband and I got married. Now married and 32, I kind of feel it's in God's hands. I am not putting pressure on myself or my husband to have children. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I know we will still have a great life because we already do. Like you said, timing is everything. Some people feel ready right away. Others have to ease into it.

  2. I try to focus on that, too. Just let God do his thing and focus on being happy in my current life. Of course I say this coming back from alert (aka the past 24 hours) and finding out that two of my friends just announced their pregnancies. 2 in 24! God works in wonderful ways :)

  3. Your posts always bring up a lot of feels in me. I got married fairly young and just had a baby. We were married for two years and she wasn't exactly planned or prevented. I have thoughts and feelings about being pregnant at that stage of my life that I don't want to blast on the interwebs but we can talk about it if you like. You can never really be *ready* for a child as much as you plan. However, it's true, you couldn't imagine your life without them once they're here. Regardless, I think that we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. For example, when you have a baby you try to find parents with young children, not necessarily young parents, and those who share similar parenting styles. So the judgements seem less, except when you're dealing with the mommy wars ;) I still keep in touch and hang out with my single/child free friends but it's sometimes harder to relate or make our schedules work. But you are right, the only people that you should be listening to on whether or not you have a child is you and your husband. Everyone will have their own opinion regardless of your decisions. Because when you finally do become parents, there will still be other things in your life that people will have opinions on. And honestly, people who make you feel guilty or like a bad person for your well thought out, researched, and planned decisions don't really need to be in your life or you can either educate or ignore them. Your priorities and "certain life benchmarks" change or get shifted. Should I feel guilty for not having a career even though I went to college? No, I should feel lucky that I have the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with my child(ren) when they are young and raise happy, healthy, independent, individual(s). Plus my major was Human Development and Family I'm kind of doing that, right? Like I said. I have a lot of feels on this topic and I hope I made some sense.

  4. I love this comment Jessica! I'm also glad that I inspired you to leave a response because I completely agree with what you're saying. My viewpoints on marriage and child-rearing have so greatly changed in the past two years. I'm a follower of Christ so I've just been trying so hard to focus on living life and letting Him guide me but it's been a struggle. There are times when I really want to start expanding our family (apart from our dogs lol) and it just isn't in the cards right now. Hopefully soon though :)

  5. I love my boys, but there are times when I wish God would have waited. However, he gave me my boys when he wanted me to have them. I definitely think that the world has changed so much over the last twenty years. So many people are looking to fit in with certain crowds, or what not.

    I will be 34 this month and I sometimes wonder what God has in store for me still in regards to children. I got my tubes tied after my I had my 2nd child.I feel very blessed to have my boys and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I tell them daily that they both have parts of myself and their daddy in them, they were created with love and are a blessing from God.

    I do get baby fever on occasion, I would love a little girl. But I know that God has a plan and he will let me know what he has in store for me in his own time, no matter my desire to want to know right now. LOL