When I found this in my inbox, I knew it had to be shared. Not because she needs any major advice, but because this young mom is thinking and feeling what SO MANY OF US have.
I'll address this topic in a follow-up post (stay tuned!), but I first want you to see the email exchange.
Leave a comment if you've gone through similar "growing pains":
Subject: Growing Pains
I became a mom at 18 and then again at 23. I am now 29 and most of the time I am okay with being an "early mama". There always comes situations and times where I question my choices. My little sister, who is 27, is becoming a mom for the first time on Tuesday. I am excited for her and can not wait to meet my neice, but in the same breath I am also having a moment of doubt in myself, in my choices. So easy it is to compare — my sister has done everything in her life the typical way: college, dating, engaged, married, then got pregnant....me the complicated: baby, move in together, buy a house, college, engaged, married, baby, graduate grad school, fostercare, and now in the process of adoption.
I have spent my twenties changing diapers, attending school confrences and soccer games, building this amazing family unit. By all means there is nothing wrong with where I am in my life, I am happy more days then not. But with all that said I find myself wondering if I am the only one who wonders what it would be like if I had taken a diffent path to parenthood. If I had waited.
Sometimes in life paths are set out for a reason, I am sure when I am 70 I will be able to see it more clearly. For now I'm just feeling some "growing pains" I guess; wondering if anyone else has too.
And here was my response to her...
Re: Growing Pains
I think that's a really common thought — for people who had kids young, as well as people who had kids later in life, or not at all. What if I would have made different choices? What if I were living in that alternative reality, where X happened instead of Y?
I think the struggle to live in the present and not go down the rabbit hole of "what ifs" is universal. As is the need to follow all of the "shoulds" in life — I should have done this, I should be doing that. But according to who? Who says the college-dating-engaged-married-pregnant path is correct? It's so easy to compare — we all do it, seriously — but it's the quickest way to get in a bad mood.
And considering how common it is to have life regrets, we're actually the lucky ones. It's impossible to fully regret our children. If you would have waited, you might not have the kids you do today. I know you're happy and you're just going through a very normal thought process, but it's something we all have to work on. Only because it's an unproductive thing to think about, ya know?
So, in short: Totally get it. I think it's a human thing more than just a young mom thing.
Hope the growing pains don't last too long. All the best to you.