Thursday, February 26, 2009

She's Got Love And Marriage—Now What About The Baby Carriage?


I want kids—always have. And now that I’ve got four years of marriage, a college degree, and a burgeoning career under my belt, I’m feeling like my time is now.

Problem is, I’m only 23. And while that’s an age that some would argue is perfect for chasing little ones around, mostly people start ticking off all kinds of reasons why I should wait to have a baby:

“You’re too young!”
“You should enjoy your 20s!”
“You should enjoy your husband!”
“You should focus on your career while you’re young!”

Trust me, it’s something I keep going back and forth with myself. Part of me thinks, "There's no time like the present!" And then the other part of me replies, "Yeah, but imagine what you could do with five more years!"

I guess I should wait for my husband to finish school before we take the plunge into parenthood. Waiting another two years wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it?

But some days, it feels like an eternity. Of course, it doesn’t help that everyone around me is pregnant. Actually, it’s beginning to get annoying. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy for my friends, but I’m getting tired of splurging on all of their baby showers when deep down, I wish someone was throwing me one.

Well, kinda.

Want to know a secret? I think I'm afraid of the permanency of it. Once I have a child, I can never go back to not having a child. I will always be a mother. Sure, kids grow up and move out. But there's still college I'll be worrying about, then of course weddings, and then grandchildren. It'll be a never-ending cycle.

I’m not going to let this fear stop me—this is what life is all about, right?
The milestones, the worries, the joys, the fears. This is what life is made of. You’ve just got to dive in it.

As much as I'd love to join the mother club, I’m standing on the diving board, staring down at the water—anxious to take the plunge, but scared to hit the water. Some days, I think it would be so much easier if my birth control failed—just like a surprise, ya know? At least that way I'd know it was God's plan.

Fat chance of that happening, though.

So for now, while I’m straddling the line, I’ll try to use my time wisely. I’m keeping a list of things I want to do before I have kids—like taking the GRE, learning Yoga, and feeling comfortable in the kitchen (for me, cooking = death!). I’m also studying as much as I can about motherhood and pregnancy. I know I’ll never be completely prepared, no matter how many books I read or how many moms I talk to, but I’m thinking it can’t hurt. And just for kicks, I’m writing lists, like, “The Things I’ll NEVER Say To My Kids,” which I imagine will be fun to look back and laugh at when those same words I’ve sworn off eventually tumble from my lips.

As a black woman I'm also thinking a lot about the things my children will experience growing up. I imagine their lives will be a lot different than the one I lived growing up in the still racially-divided South. On top of that, being in a biracial marriage brings up a whole ‘nother set of considerations about what I want to teach my children and the kind of life I want to make for them.

Most importantly, in my quest toward motherhood, I've been picking the brains of other wonderful women already in the trenches—women who give me the good, the bad, and the ugly about motherhood. Recently, I even connected with a woman who has a child with disabilities—and her experience made me think even harder about the struggles of motherhood.

And the beauty of it, too.

A beautiful struggle.

One of these days, it’ll be mine, too.

About our MyBrownBaby contributor
Future mama Jennifer Johnson chronicles her journey toward motherhood on her blog, Baby Makin(g) Machine.

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  1. The funny thing is, you'll never be quite sure you're doing the right thing, no matter how old you get. But luckily, you do have time to make your decision and it will be just right whenever you do make it.

  2. I was the older mom, not having my first until I was well in my 30's. I would have loved to have had children earlier but my true love was elusive at that time...wink-wink. Young mothers are just as new at motherhood as older moms. Trust me, I was loss in the beginning, but eventually I got it.

    ps. I've been trying to post all week and have had problems with the security code/word verification not showing up. Just want you to know I've been trying to give love all week.

  3. Oh honey, you are just too too much with the reading and the lists!!! :) I think you're more prepared than I was at 32 when I first became a mom! ;) I always joke that I wish I would've had a child when I was in my 20s because I'd probably have more energy for all that chasing my 3-year-old around Target, but truthfully, I don't think I became "ready" until I saw that plus sign on the pregnancy test stick. Anyway, the decision is ultimately yours and your husband's. I wouldn't worry about what other people think.

  4. you've got the right attitude. and that list of reasons that people keep giving you as to why you should wait? it's totally true. think of it as being a teenager - it's not until you're older and wiser that you realize how right your mother was about a particular situation. so take it from us older and wiser moms...wait a little bit longer!

    having said that, when it comes to having babies, I always say: "no time is the perfect time, but anytime is a great time."

    good luck!

  5. I follow Jennifer's blog and love this post too.

  6. Thanks for all of the great comments, you guys. If the way she thinks is any indication, Jennifer is going to make a heckuva mommy! I'm excited to watch her journey...

    I've taken off the word verification--comment away!

  7. All in the right time! You are so accomplished, and should be so very proud! You are going to make an amazing mama someday. And that day will come. All in good time Jen : )

  8. I've always had the fear that I'm too selfish to be a mom. I love my privacy, my quiet time, I'm a terrible morning person, I don't want to lose my small tummy, and God forbid should I have to wake up 5 times a night and NOT get 8 hours of sleep. But then my cousin who is exactly like me said... just you wait, when your time comes there is nothing that is engrained into your personality that could ever stop you from being there for your baby when he calls for you. Nothing. You will want to get up, and when you see them your heart will melt over and over again and you will wonder what the hell was I ever worried about?

  9. Thank you, Jennifer. You have really spoken my heart. My husband and I are trying to have a child now and although I'm in my thirties, I'm still challenged by some of the same things. Good stuff!

  10. It's good to know I am not the only woman who feels this way. I am not a mother yet but I understand the woes you are encountering. I too struggle with the everyday time with my hubby or time we could be sharing with a little person we've created. I believe that when we are ready somehow someway our bodies and soul will know and we will encounter our journey. Along the way only comes the roller coaster ride. I can't wait!

  11. I totally understand how you feel. I'm recently married (only a little over two weeks)with a bachelor's and a career in the military. Once I got married, my dad was like, "It's about time she had some children now." LOL. He had been asking me when I was going to get married since my freshman year in college. :-) I'm 25 now.

    My husband wants us to start trying this year. This gives me the shakes in my new shoes.

  12. I tip my hat off to you for being proactive in the pre-motherhood journey. I don't think you'll ever be really, but you can work towards preparation and making sure that your nest has love, resources, and support to welcome home a bundle of blessing.

  13. There is no "real" particular time to have a child. If money is the issue, there will never be a time that's right. Things will always come up where money is required.

    If career is the issue, I'd say you'd be waiting forever. People have kids all the time as they work a career. That's why we have day cares and preschools. Having a child is such an individual, heart felt decision.

    When my ex & I got married, we sat down and talked about when to have children, when to purchase our house, how long to take to finshi "his" school, etc. All went well. We planned and prayed for four children.

    We ended up divorced in 1996, but we maintained our commitment to our children. In the beginning, it was quite painful, but we managed to respect each other enough for the kids. Took bout 5 years, but we are friends now, even though he has remarried. The kids are doing great and are successful young adults; 21, 19, 17 & 14.

    I guess my point is,there is no "true" right time. Life is going to through you some punches that you have to work with, but you make up your mind, come to an agreement and handle it.

    Having a child is the most wonderful experience one can have. It WILL change your life, but only for the positive :).

    Do what is best for you and yours...:)

  14. @23 I was just walking down the aisle! My baby boy didn't come until after 7 years of marriage. So I guess that makes me an older mom? lol We have plans for a couple more, so I guess I better get on that.

    Hat's off to Jennifer for being so accomplished and sure and ready at such a young age.


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