Today's guest post comes from Jessica of Mommyhood NEXT RIGHT, a mom to toddler Nya with one on the way.
Soon after marrying my husband at 22 years old, there was one thought looming in the minds of many of our “well intentioned” family and friends: children.
“Yes, I want them,” I told my “concerned” mother-in-law (on a weekly basis), but at 22, the thought of having children scared me. No, correction, it wasn’t having children that scared me; rather it was the assumed prospects for my life after a baby that kept me awake at night (not literally, but you get the point).
I, after all, gave credence to the “When is the right time?” conversations and the promotions of one’s 20s as the time to “live” and make something of oneself. As I often imagined it through that narrative and the narratives of other seemingly unhappy parents, after a baby I’d lose my happiness, my body and, quite possibly, my self.
So if I wanted to have kids (as those narratives seemed to tell me), I needed to do it at a point (in my 30s or 40s) when I had made it far enough in life, was rich enough, experienced enough, and traveled enough to be able to stomach my own demise. (Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnn)
I didn’t make it to any of those points when I found myself pregnant with my daughter at 26 years old in 2010. Not. Even. Close.
I was working at the time, but not in my “dream job.” I wasn’t (and still am not) a millionaire. The trip of a lifetime to Bora Bora hadn’t (and still hasn’t) happened.
“I’m not ready,” I thought in the final big push that brought my daughter into this world. But by then, needless to say, that was a moot point. I became a mom, and in so doing my “not yet ready” 20-something life changed. I changed.
As expected, I lost sleep, consistently “free” weekends and, in some moments, my sanity. In other moments, I lost my motivation to continue on my intended career path. So much of the discussion about post-baby life focuses on what’s lost, but what about what’s gained --particularly for younger, 20-something moms?
Well along with the warmth my face has been given by my daughter’s smile and hearty laugh, the all encompassing sense of love I feel for a life other than my own, I’ve found, and long before my mid-life crisis, myself. With motherhood, and in having to sacrifice so much of the things that I thought once defined me as a woman, I’ve been made to discover more of what makes me happy. I’ve made it a point to write more often, not about anything necessarily profound or of great significance, but about the small things in my journey of motherhood. I do that on my blog and sometimes on scraps of paper littered on my bedroom floor.
With motherhood, it seems, writing has become my ever-constant sanity, my place, my freedom. It’s what, I realize now, is my “calling” (if there truly is such a thing). And, now as a mom, I have the guts to say that, to pursue that dream without fear of rejection or never making anything from it.
“I’m a writer,” I tell myself in recalling the little girl who now calls me mama and what my declaration will one day mean for her.
I say this because I haven’t (yet) met my demise with motherhood. My life has not ended.
If anything, it’s just begun.
How has becoming an early mom changed your life for the better? What passions, if any, has motherhood re-ignited in you?
Thank you Jessica for sharing your story. If anyone else has a story to share, drop me an email!