So, as you may know already, we are on baby number three. Hubby and I have been married almost 6 years and currently have a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old. When we got married, I was 19 and my husband was 20.
Time after time I get the look – ladies with multiple kids (and even some with only one or two) – you know, the one that precedes questions like, “You don’t look old enough to have that many kids (or a kid)”. Or there’s “You are stopping after this one right?”, or for parents of single babes, “You will have another right so this one won’t be alone?” And of course my personal “favorite” – “You know how that happens right?” Isn’t it fascinating how the world thinks they have the right to comment on your womb? And that’s not even going into the side of women who are either struggling with infertility or simply don’t want children, at this point or ever, who are constantly bombarded with opinions on their family choices.
I’m going to tell you my standpoint on this – because I’m sure you were wondering…haha…I think every baby is a blessing. Every child (no matter what) is a complete and utter blessing. I also think, that though family means well, there are very few times where family/friends even should have a say in the matter of your choices (or accidents) when it comes to procreation. In the case of a teenage pregnancy, yes, parents obviously have input. BUT – in no way does that mean they or anyone else (including the mother) has a right to pursue an abortion. Every life is sacred – every single one. And I will note – even a child born from rape (I have met more than one who has enriched their mother’s life and has added value to the world around them because they were allowed to live).
The main fear I hear is, “Are you ready?” No matter who it is, this is a valid question – unfortunately, the answer is always “no”. No one is truly ready for what a child will bring to their life. Some people are more prepared than others – and of course it’s always nice to be in that boat. But what if you aren’t? What if your finances are in the tank? What if you are a teenage mother (and/or father) and have no support whatsoever? What if the last thing you ever wanted was a baby? Well then sweetie you probably shouldn’t have been having sex…but that’s another discussion – and one that can lean a couple directions and definitely has multiple sides to the story so no hate mail please.
First off, I would say, content yourself with the fact that at least no one is ready. Even people who may have the perfect checklist: their own home, financial stability, family support, did all the research – may struggle more in the long run than those that look completely unprepared. Does the above checklist tend to be very helpful – absolutely! But, is it necessary? No.
Being a parent/caregiver (and trust me I’m not the best of them) involves so much more than many will ever imagine. And many dream of it and never attain it. It is the greatest responsibility you may ever have. It will absorb you, defeat you, lift you up, and change your life in ways you could never imagine. It is about choices. The biggest things I hear regarding finances are superficial. “How can you give them the toys and things they will want?” “How are you going to be able to dress them to keep up with their friends?” “How will you be able to pay for them to be involved in programs?” “What about college – I mean really, have you seen the prices – how are you going to pay for that??” Let me say – none of the above questions matter.
This is why:
Number one – you will find out soon that many children prefer playing more with the box a toy came in than the toy itself. And truthfully, if you begin by teaching the child to use their imagination, they will and will subsequently be better off for it.
Number two – if you begin by teaching your children that keeping up with their friends is important – well you might as well throw the towel in now (ok, just kidding, don’t do that – but change your tactic please). This attitude starts them on a train of discontentment and tying their self-worth into competition with others – no bueno.
Number three, school programs and extracurriculars are great. They, however, are not a necessity. Also, you can pick one or two – not ten – I’m serious people. Think of all the gas and time you’ll save!
And number four – ah college – now, don’t get me wrong, my hubby and I have savings set aside for our kiddos (though, not saying that’s actually a necessity either – just a personal choice) – but we plan to let them use it at their discretion when they turn 18. If you want to pay for college for your kids – great! But if you can’t – equally great! Believe it or not, children can learn a great deal from having to make their own way.
I was inspired to write this for many reasons – one because of a post I read this morning called 3 Factors to Consider Before Starting A Family . I appreciated what it had to say – I also especially appreciated the encouraging part at the ending.
I have been inspired by own life experiences as well as what I have seen happen with others.
Please – if you are struggling – find someone to talk to. Heck, email me! I’m not someone who knows it all, for sure, but hopefully I could offer some encouragement. And there are so many resources available out there – see if there are places in your area that work with helping moms who either want to keep their babies or put them up for adoption and offer a support system.
And, if you need just a simply touching song about unprepared pregnancy – and maybe a good cry – check out There Goes My Life. (Note: I’m not encouraging teenage pregnancy – but if it happens – it isn’t the end and there is hope).
And just cause this song inspires me in regards to family life and cherishing it! Don’t Blink.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the only way I have found strength in my life to do basically anything. My faith.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:13