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 ConcernsA 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 PeopleNot 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 LifeThis 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 ShiftMany 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
I Gave Up ControlI'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 SystemI 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 PeaceOnly 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.