When I think about the fact that my husband is getting closer and closer to being ready to find a job as a programmer, I feel both excited and nervous. Within the next three to four months he is probably going to start his programming career, and as long as his first job pays enough to support our needs, we will be able to try to conceive shortly afterwards. That means that I could potentially be pregnant in as little as six months from now. By April 2014, we could have a baby.
That thought is incredibly surreal, thrilling, and nerve-wracking at the same time. Obviously, it is completely up to us whether or not we want to start our family so soon. We have plenty of time to put it off if we decide that we’re not ready yet. The truth is, though, that we both feel very ready. I am eager to start this incredible journey into parenthood, and Cory is equally excited to become a father. At the same time, I can’t help but worry that we don’t quite know what we are planning on getting ourselves into.
Maybe it’s just the result of what other people have said or what I’m sure they will say to us when we decide to become parents so young. “You can’t understand how hard it is until you’re doing it,” some people say of parenting. In particular, people seem to have some pretty firm and negative opinions on young people becoming parents.
A lot of people believe that young parents do not have enough life experience to be wise or give good advice, that they are not mature or responsible enough to raise children, and that they will regret having children so early because it kept them from enjoying their youth. In reality, these are just stereotypes. For many young people in their late teens and early twenties, these things may be true. But it doesn’t apply to all of us! I may only have 20 years of life experience, but God has given me wisdom beyond my years. I matured earlier in life than many people typically do, and I have always been responsible. I have also never felt the need to go through a “wild” stage, and I do not feel that I have missed out on anything because of that.
This is the personality that God gave me. And while I understand that many young people are certainly not ready for parenthood, I also believe that I am not like many young people. And there are others like me out there who are ready to be parents at this age or even younger! In my case, I was eager to take on the commitment of marriage before I even graduated high school. We waited to get married for over a year after becoming engaged because it was what our parents wanted, so by the time our wedding day arrived we were more than ready. Now, I feel the same way about parenthood. I’ve been seriously wishing to have a baby for almost a year now, and at this point it’s really just a matter of waiting for the pieces to fall into place. By the time our little bundle finally arrives, I feel pretty confident that we will be more than ready.
Still, the naysayers out there are doing a good job of keeping that edge of uncertainty alive. Fortunately, there is also the other side of the coin. I know many people who do believe that parenting is manageable and who would support us in our decision. These are the people who realize that while being a parent may be one of the hardest jobs in life, it can be done and it is worth the risk that you take when you decide to do it. As one of my favorite Mat Kearney songs goes, “You’ll never be ready if you keep waiting for the perfect time to come.” I try to keep this in mind when I feel worried about the fast approaching possibility of becoming a parent. I can never be completely ready and there will never be a perfect time, but I certainly can prepare myself as much as possible and make sure that the timing is reasonably appropriate.
Over the past few months, I have been learning as much as I can about child development, parenting, and providing the best possible care for children. I’ve been pushing myself to grow as an individual in many areas, and Cory and I have been continuing to work at making our marriage even stronger. While we both still have many goals for ourselves and for our relationship (and we most certainly always will), I feel that we are doing a good job of preparing for parenthood.
Last week, my classes started up again and I am once again back to a busy work schedule. Having things to do is helpful because it helps the time pass faster and makes life feel purposeful during this time of waiting. As always, I am trying hard to appreciate each day that I am given and not let it go to waste. I’m sure that before I know it, the next big change will come and we will be ready to start our family. Until then, I will be diligently preparing and enjoying the time I have to do the things I love, be with my husband, and take it easy (without a screaming baby in the background).