step 02 // don’t victimize yourself
step 03 // make yourself a priority
step o4 // get away
step 05 // put down your phone
step 06 // break routine
step 07 // go to church
step 08 // share the care
step 09 // wait
Years ago, I was at a party with friends, mixing and socializing, when I stumbled upon a conversation about relationships. The girl who was talking mentioned a pregnancy scare her and her boyfriend had recently. Understanding her relief, I was intrigued when she finished with, “thank god! A baby would ruin my life!” Being young and single, not only did I agree, I believed this was quite possibly the truth. A baby would ruin your life. This is an idea we are taught from when we are old enough to understand the reproductive process. Presented to the youth of our culture, either by the church, health teachers or parents trying to ward off teen pregnancies, abstinence or at the least the use of contraceptives is imperative, because if you have a baby it will ruin your life– do I need to bring up the coach from “Mean Girls”?
Yes, I did! And you laughed…a little.
Yes, I agree that having a baby too young, before you really get a chance to further oneself or live a little can really make things difficult on a young person. But the idea that having a baby will ruin your life is a lesson that lingers on past our younger years.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was so upset that I literally became sick, fever and all, for several days. Three months away from marrying the man of my dreams, I thought nothing worse could happen to me at this stage in life. Because I believed it was true, that a baby would ruin my life. All the advancements I had made in my career? Gone. My close friendships? Gone. My interest in biking and running? Out the door. And even though I was in my upper 20’s, had traveled the world, received a college education– 2 degrees at that, and was about to marry someone that I wanted to have kids with, I couldn’t get over the idea I was taught from elementary school, that a child would just ruin everything. When I talked about it with our premarital counselor, she said these feelings were normal even for women who were planning on having a baby.
Fifteen months postpartum, I am now realizing that this is a flat out lie. The only person ruining your life after having a baby is yourself. You can choose what kind of parent, dare I say human being, you want to be. And although caring for a child is a demanding and not-so-easy task, it will not leave your life in shambles.
In light of this revelation, I am writing a 10 step series with helpful tips to keep your life from falling out from under your feet when/if you have a baby. I hope to ruin the idea that children ruin our lives and open our eyes to the reality that life goes on, and it’s a good life at that! With that, I give you the first step.
Step 01 // Narrow your playing field
Before Willow was born, I was involved in everything. I was extremely busy chasing after even the smallest interest. But all these distractions kept me from focusing my time on the 1 or 2 things I really loved and was gifted at. After having Willow, most of my extracurricular activities were left behind, except for 2 things; music and well, this blog. Having a baby has really helped me focus my time on the things I should have been focussing my time on in the first place. Find that thing you love and chase after it. Leave all those other things for someone else. Your life will not feel hijacked if you keep it simple.