Monday, September 5, 2016

How I Knew I Was Ready for a Baby

If you've been around for a while, you may have read 9 Reasons I'm Afraid to Have a Baby back in February. And if you've been around lately, you know that Baby K is on the way, and I'm pregnant! 
So what changed? How did my heart and mind shift enough in just four months to make me take the leap to mommy-hood? I'm glad you asked. 

I remember it so distinctly: lying in bed, searching and scrolling for hours. The uncertainty. The tears. Trying to find posts (just like this one) or words to just resonate and tell me when I was truly ready for a baby. I knew in my heart that having a baby was something I wanted. Something that I felt called to and excited about, but at the same time it was terrifying and life-changing and a huge huge decision. I wanted this life-altering, black and white, light switch comes on kind of moment of clarity, but I just wasn't getting it. So I prayed, and I waited, and I had several tear-filled conversations with my husband. And then finally, I just knew. Here's how.


I Admitted My Concerns 

A huge part of taking a step in the direction of motherhood was honestly sitting down and writing out 9 Reasons I'm Afraid to Have a Baby. Taking the moment to think about what was making me nervous about having a child and what would change really did help me start to pro-actively deal with it and think about things in a real, honest way. If I'd just pretended to be unafraid or unconcerned, I never would have made the gains I did. What's making you nervous about having kiddos? 

I Was Vulnerable with People 

Not only did I admit my concerns, but I admitted them to people (a whole lot of people since I put it on the blog). But besides sharing something personal on a larger scale, which you totally may not want to do, I was vulnerable with those I love and trust. I was open and honest with my hubby, and he talked through things with me without pressuring me. I had real conversations with my married friends (mamas or not) about having kids and my fears and thoughts. I didn't hold things in or put up a good front. I was real. Though I didn't share with just anyone, I did share instead of wrestling with it alone. Who can you be open and vulnerable with about your thoughts and feelings? 

 I Pre-Mourned This Stage of Life 

This was one HUGE for me. There were times when my husband thought that my tears meant that I simply didn't want a baby, but that wasn't true. I knew that I needed to be honest with myself about how life would change. Yes, we could still travel and date each other and enjoy the rest of our 20s, but it would look different. And for me I needed to mourn that. I needed to recognize how wonderful our freedom of late night apps and easy weekend trips, and then I needed to let myself be a little sad about letting that go. But ultimately, this "pre-mourning" helped me to be eager for the things that will come, that will be even more fun and exciting- just different. What will change when you have a baby? What do you need to pre-mourn?

I Felt My Priorities Shift

Many of the reasons I was afraid to have a baby were ultimately kind of selfish and based on fear (which is fair, because it's hard sometimes to admit how much I like things they way I like them). If I'm real, I knew deep down that they weren't enough to keep me from having a baby at all, just to make taking the leap that much harder. But as time progressed and I reflected and prayed about this more and more, I saw the way that my priorities and what I cared about started to change. Yes, I still have a heart for travel and a desire to see the world and love my hubby relentlessly, but I've also seen my heart to be a mama grow and to think about how much fun sharing the little life moments with baby will be. I don't have as much of a desire to stay out late or do the "young 20s" things. I'm totally content with being home on the couch with the hubs or spending evenings in with dear friends. And with our hopes for multiple kids, the question of how long pregnancy would take, and the years ticking by, we knew that waiting another year just to squeeze in another trip wasn't really the best decision. What are your priorities? How will they shift with kiddos, and do you feel your heart preparing for that?


My Fear Turned to Excitement 

Not only did a lot of my previous fears and priorities shift, but they even started to turn to excitement instead of anxiousness. Yes, I still feel anxious sometimes as I wrestle with the unknown of pregnancy and parenting, but more than anything I am just so excited to bring this little life into the world and to see how the Lord will use our nugget to advance his kingdom. My heart swells when I see sweet babies out and about, and I legitimately get excited as I dream and think about the way our home will change as we prepare for baby. I know there will be struggles and a whole lot of fatigue and sleepless nights, but that doesn't bring down the joy and eagerness I feel to meet sweet Baby K. Do you feel excited when you think about being a parent? Does this excitement outweigh your lingering fears?

I Gave Up Control

I've known this all along, but ultimately reflecting on having and raising a child made me remember just how little control I actually have in life. I can't sit here and try to run my life on my perfect time schedule, because ultimately God is going to do what He wants with me. And even now, while pregnant, I can only do so much when it comes to making good decisions about eating, exercising, and caring for my body. At the end of the day, I can't determine our baby's gender, health, or life course. Offering this up and letting go of control made me feel free and able to enjoy the journey to parenthood, no matter what it looked like. And I think a big part of this came in once we started "trying". Aaron suggested that we didn't track or get too "scheduled" or stressed in our attempts, I agreed, and we ended up getting pregnant the very first month. God is so good! Are you trying to hold on to control in areas where you really can't? What would it be like to let go?

I Recognized My Support System 

I always knew I had a great support system, but taking a second to really step back and remember this was super helpful for me. Aaron and I are blessed in that both of our parents live within 15 minutes of us, so baby will get to see Grandma and Grandpa (or whatever they want to be called) quite a bit. And on a larger scale, we've got some super amazing friends, family, church members, and co-workers who are just wrapping us in prayer, support, and encouragement. Though Aaron and I will do the majority of the "parenting", we will definitely have a huge system of support cheering us on and being there for us when we just need a hug, advice, or a night out. We aren't in this alone, as it truly takes a village to raise a child. Who is your support system? Who will be there to help you with a baby?


I Felt at Peace

Only once I finally rallied around the idea of being a mom and felt comfortable with going all in and taking the leap, did I finally did get my "light switch moment". We were sitting in church one Sunday and the sermon was on Ecclesiastes 7.  Our pastor shared the verse that states, "Better is the end of a thing than its beginning...", and suddenly I just lost it. While trying to conceal my tears, I recognized that the end of this chapter of our lives was a good thing, and that a new start would be hard, but it would be oh so worth it. It was like everything I had been thinking and praying about and wrestling with just clicked. He went on to tell a story about running a father/son race with his middle son, only to leave him to finish the race on his own with all of the other kids. He talked about all the people on the sidelines cheering and encouraging his son, and how much support and love they shared. And I saw myself running that race into parenthood, knowing that ultimately I can only do so much, but that so many others are there too, cheering me on in this new adventure and helping me to finish strong in each area of my life. And then, of course, we got home and saw a commercial during lunch that said, "Parenting: Pass It On". Okay God, we get it! Ha. Finally, when all control was relinquished, all selfish motives were dropped, and all fears were dismissed or less important: finally I felt peace.

I've decided that you can never 100% be ready for a baby. After all, how can you be ready for something you've never experienced before, something that is such a different experience for each person? But I've also decided this: you can know when you are ready to take the leap. When you're ready to take life, jumble it up, and try something new: something that I've heard is the best, most important, most amazing "job" I'll ever have in this world. And so I look forward to the journey that lies ahead. I know that in the coming months, our world will change forever, but I'm excited for that change and trust that God's timing is perfect and that he has chosen us to become parents at this exact time and for a greater purpose.

If you're out there debating when to start to your family, and found your way to this post (while searching for the "aha" moment like I was not too long ago), I hope it brings you comfort and peace. Only you will know when you're ready, but it's okay if you don't have that light switch moment. (And it's okay if you aren't ready, or decide you don't want kids.) When you feel some of these very things that I felt, you'll know. I'm happy to talk more privately with you (contact me here), or feel free to comment below or on Facebook. Love to you all.

Currently,
Kelsie


73 comments:

  1. This is such a great post!! I just turned 36 and I haven't had children yet and honestly I'm not sure if I want them. I think most of the reasons I don't are selfish but I know I don't have too much longer to think about it before it might be too late so thanks for sharing your experience and hopefully it will help me make this really hard decision.

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope that you find this post hopeful. It's a big, difficult decision that ultimately only you can make. Don't worry if you don't have a "light switch" moment. You'll know!

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  2. You are truly one of the most calm and calculated mamas I have encountered! I met motherhood early, and sometimes it's weird because at 26 I'm on my third and final baby. So I never really experienced adulthood without a baby in tow. But I really don't feel like I've missed out on too much either. Maybe experiences with my husband pre-parenthood. But we travel and live too. :) Not to say your next stage is without trial, parenthood can be HARD! But I promise that the things you're mourning the loss of aren't totally gone, just a little different now. I think you're gonna be a great momma!!

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    1. This is seriously so sweet of you, Amanda! That's so fun that you're on baby number three. I'm sure with those sweet little blessings that you haven't missed out on a thing! Thanks for encouraging me in the next stage- it's good to hear from a great mama like yourself! Thanks again for your kind words :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing your insight on this, Kelsie! At 26 I go through phases of wanting a baby and not wanting a baby. The life change seems intimidating! I can't wait to follow along - you're going to be a great mom!

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    1. You're so welcome, Rachel! Thanks so much for reading and following along. I am excited and nervous and blessed to have support from sweet folks like yourself!

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  4. Omg YES pre mourn. I never got to to that, as our first was unplanned, but the mourning I did while pregnant and post partum was crazy because of the hormones. After the first the rest of kids are easy lol (sort of)

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    1. I definitely think that the pre-mourning stage was really helpful for me. It led to excitement in this stage, and no mourning since I've done that. Good to hear that adding two or three won't change it much!

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  5. Love this, I'm 21 and Im at a point where the idea of not having kids terrifies me as much as the idea of having them! My partner doesn't want kids RIGHT NOW, but he's mentioned that his mind might change. Thank you for sharing yoru vulnerabilities. It isn't easy!

    http://figuringoutmyeverafter.com

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! You're right, not wanting them right now doesn't mean you all won't ever want them! I am so grateful for all of the support from folks like you!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this Kelsie! I am getting married in october and my fiance is already 33 so we know we are going to start having kids pretty soon after getting married, but I keep going back and forth about a year or two years or three years and freaking out. It's such a big adjustment.

    Rachel | www.theconfusedmillennial.com

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    1. Well thanks so much for reading, Rachel! I know what you mean- thinking about waiting another year was so tempting, and if it was ultimately right for us, we would have been okay with waiting. But I just couldn't justify it for a trip ha! You'll know when you know. Thinking of and praying for you along the way- and congrats on the upcoming marriage!! So fun, I can't wait to see all your GORGEOUS pictures!

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  7. This so helpful to me right now! Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate it.

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    1. I'm so so glad to hear it, Marette. Thanks for reading.

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  8. Congratulations again and it's totally true that nobody is ever 100% ready to have children. One of my main things was that I wanted to feel like my husband and I had a full life before we added our baby, and then continued to have one as a family too.

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    1. Thank you SO much!! Yes, I think that if you don't feel "full" before baby, and add one just to try to achieve that, then you'll be disappointed. But feeling full and ready for the next phase of life makes it a huge joy! Thanks for reading and sharing your story!

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  9. Love this post! And I love that you were able to recognize when you were ready for a baby! I'll be 26 next week and it is still abundantly clear to both Dave and myself that we aren't ready for a baby yet (or more so we just don't want a baby right now.)

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    1. Thanks so much, Erin! It was only when I stopped worrying about and looking for it that I found it :) I'm so glad you guys are on the same page- nothing wrong with not wanting a baby for now! You're young, lots of time if you decide to take on parenting! Also, I love your blog- thanks for having such great content that I really enjoy reading!

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  10. Congrats! This is so exciting! You sound ready to be a mom!

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    1. Thank you so much, McKenna! I'm very excited and appreciate your kind words!

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  11. Having read your original post back in February, I was delighted to find this one. The fact that the idea of becoming a parent holds so much weight with you, shows what a great parent you will be. Congratulations!! Good luck and remember you also have a family of mommy bloggers to help along the way!!

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    1. Oh yay!! I'm so glad that you got to see both sides of this journey for me. I really really appreciate your kind words, and all of your support. Mommy blogger are the BEST!! I'll be asking lots of questions, I'm sure!

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  12. Congrats!!! This is so exciting for you! You are so ready to be a momma! I am so happy for you.

    http://xoxobella.com

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  13. Wow such a powerful post... I was just talking about how scared I am to have kids at this age. Props to you for making sure you were truly ready.

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    1. Thank you so much, Shane! I think it helped me to feel really excited by moving through this process and making sure I was as ready as I'll ever be.

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  14. First, Congratulations!! I think it's awesome that you took the time to actually go through all of these different stages before deciding you were ready. Some people jump straight into parenthood when that baby-fever sets in without fully acknowledging the sacrifices they will have to make. This post shows what awesome parents y'all are going to make! Congrats again ♥

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    1. Thank you Christal :) I really appreciate your kind words. I do think looking through these things has really helped prepare me emotionally for the change to come! I'm so excited!

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  15. Everyone's ready at different times and that's totally okay! I'm pregnant with our first and am so excited!

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    1. Totally! Aww yay, we're first time mamas to be together :)

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  16. This is an excellent post and I am so glad I read it. My husband and I are not to the having kids stage yet, but I really appreciate this post because I am a very fearful person and I am constantly thinking that I am glad that we aren't ready to have kids because I am afraid of x,y, and z. This post helps a lot :) Congrats! You will be an awesome mama.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kristin! I'm so glad that you found this post helpful. I totally was letting fear and selfishness take over, and I had to let it go. Let me know if you have questions or need to chat!

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  17. I'm so excited for you and this new adventure! It's going to be a great one! <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Susannah! We're pumped!

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  18. Congratulations! I'm not sure how I missed your original announcement, but that is so exciting. Our first was unplanned, but I was older when I got married, so I felt ready. I can definitely understand mourning your pre-baby life. It's definitely a change, but a great one.

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    1. Ahhh, thanks Shann!! We are so excited for this new journey.

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  19. Congratulations!! At times I feel like I'm ready for a baby, but then I get scared, selfish and say "no not now". I know financially my husband and I are not ready to have a baby, but I get nervous about when the time does come. I don't want to give up our freedom and just being the two of us... Thank you for this post! It will help me so much when the time comes :)

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    1. Thank you, thank you Rebecca! I totally know what you mean. I hope you can save it and check it out when you are getting closer to that time!

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  20. Congratulations!! I've always been so back and forth if I ever wanted to be a mom one day. I guess when the day comes I'll know, right? Thank you for sharing this story with us!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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    1. Yes, you'll know! You just will one day :) You're so welcome- thanks for reading!

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  21. I love this post. Congrats! This is totally a huge step!! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Kenzie! It's a big step, but we are very excited!

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  22. As someone who's not quite ready to have a baby, I can really appreciate this post! It gives me hope that in the next couple years, this will happen for my husband and me and we'll know the time is right. Thanks so much for sharing so openly and honestly.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! You'll know. Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words!

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  23. I'm so excited to read through this process and see where motherhood takes you. So exciting!
    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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    1. Aww, thanks so much, Greta! It's so fun to share it with such an awesome community!!

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  24. Congratulations!! You are in for such an exciting adventure. Motherhood is definitely the most rewarding and amazing experience! I have never felt so many emotions all wrapped unit one haha. I love what you mentioned about feeling at peace. I agree that once you get it into your head that "this is really happening", you gain a whole new perspective. And goodness is it a wonderful one :)

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    1. Thank you!! We are so thrilled. I agree, once I knew it was happening, and I was actually pregnant, I was so ready for it!

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  25. How amazing that you've been able to be honest and open about all stages of this journey, from the excitement all the way to the fears! I'm not sure if I ever want biological children, so I can certainly relate to your other post. Wishing you congratulations on your growing family though!! <3 Hoping that pregnancy goes well!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Annalise. I found it so helpful for me, and wanted it to be helpful for others too. Thank you for the well wishes. And totally don't feel like you have to have kids- there's nothing that says that anywhere and you shouldn't let people pressure you otherwise :)

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  26. Feeling at peace is such a great place to be! And definitely necessary to experience before bringing a new life into the world. Can't wait to hear more about this exciting stage of life!

    Tori

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! So true! Thanks so much for coming along on this new adventure :)

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  27. What a wonderful post! I'm still very much at the point of not being ready for a baby, but I know that this post will come in handy in a couple of years when we settle down and decide that we're ready to become parents. Your honesty is beautiful and I know that I will have to pre-mourn things as well.

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    1. Totally, I so get it! I hope you can come back another time and it will be helpful. Thanks again for your kind words!

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  28. What an awesome post! I have been struggling with the same things - not knowing when I will be 100% ready because it hasn’t looked black and white yet!

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    1. Thanks SO much, Alex! I think it was only when I stopped forcing it to be "right or not", that I found myself obviously thinking it was right. The peace that I had found led me to that moment, and it was so great! I hope this helps!

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  29. I lovelovelove the vulnerability in this post, Kelsie. And I'm not pregnant or a mom yet, but I can totally understand that fear of losing the freedom of now...it's seriously scary! But I'm sure you'll be a fabulous mom. You've got this!

    Coming Up Roses

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    1. Aww, thank you thank you thank you! I so appreciate your kind words. It's scary and exciting and wonderful all at once :) Thanks for coming along on this journey!

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  30. Thank you for sharing! I never had that aha moment, I just knew I had the perfect partner and eventually would want to start a family. My girl is now 7.5 months, and I couldn't be happier. WOW being a mommy is so amazing!!!

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    1. Totally!! That's so awesome. I bet she is just the cutest little thing. Sounds like you're an awesome mom!

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  31. Thank you for sharing. These are all things that I struggle with too. I'm not at the place where I'm ready yet, but I hope I can come back to this blog when I'm about to be, and find comfort in the fact that I am not alone.

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    1. Thanks for being real with me, Megan! I hope you can come back sometime soon when you're feeling more ready, and until then- don't feel pressured or rushed. You'll know :)

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  32. Congratulations on your pregnancy! This post is honest and beautiful. Excited to follow along on your journey! <3

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    1. Well thank you so much, Allyssa! I'm honored to have you along :)

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  33. You've done an awesome job articulating so many of the thoughts couples, especially women, have before deciding to conceive. It's no small decision, and I love how thoughtfully and prayerfully you approached it!

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    1. Thank you so much, friend! We have done our best to approach it with some thought and depth. God is so good!

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  34. If you've thought about it and debated it this much, you're going to be amazing parents. I had a bit of a lightbulb moment where I found myself VERY broody, so we got a dog, that only increased the broodiness so we decided to add some tiny humans to our family! Hope your pregnancy is happy and healthy :)

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    1. Well thanks, Alison!! That's so fun that you added a puppy and a baby. Thanks for the well-wishes.

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  35. Congratulations!!!! I'm so excited for you! This is such an amazing post, and I can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Thanks so much, Adriana! I'm excited to share :)

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  36. I absolutely loved this post! I don't think that I'll be ready for children for at least four years, but earlier this year when babysitting I developed a major fear that I would be a horrible mom. I talked to a few moms that I knew about it, and it was so helpful. I know that when the time comes, those women will be such an amazing support system like you mentioned!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

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  37. This is so sweet! I didn't know I was ready. I had only thought about it and said well if it happens it happens. Then when it happened I was scared lol! Now here we are expecting our 5th and last and I wouldn't change a thing. There is nothing like a mother's love. Congratulations sweetie! -Breyona Sharpnack

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