By JENNIFER JOHNSON
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.
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.