Most people, when thinking of starting a family, have a picture of a house in the suburbs complete with a two-car garage, a picket fence and a pet running through the yard. In this fantasy, many of us have graduated from college, started careers and are happily married. While this was the idea that most of us grew up with, many do not have it.
Currently, I’m a 25-year-old-college dropout working in a sales position, who is six months pregnant with my boyfriend’s child. I have actually met quite a few people like me or in similar situations and we have agreed: we’re not ready!
Parenthood is a huge job. It’s full time with no pay, does not provide any vacation time with no additional financial benefits. I actually look down at my expanding belly and freak out sometimes. I ask myself: How am I going to survive and deal with this? I was not prepared enough to become a parent but the fact of the matter is, I want my child and I want to give my child the world or find a way to do it.
There are a few things I have learned thus far in my pregnancy from women also in my situation, as well as from my parents.
First, Panic is Normal
If any of you have downloaded the latest The Sims 4 game, (Spoiler Alert!) when your Sim becomes pregnant, your spouse goes through “Pre-Natal Panic” at the time of delivery. I find the Sim’s reaction to be very realistic … I too feel like running around, screaming, and panicking.
But the panic is real, and it is okay. You are not alone and I’m sure if you’ve talked to other any other woman or their spouses they would openly tell you that it does go away after the panic serves its purpose. The panic is a way your brain prepares you to care for another human being. I will admit that before I became pregnant, I didn’t feel emotionally or psychologically ready to handle the existence or care of another life. Even for those people adopting children or just caring for another’s child, a little panic is healthy.
Take the Time to Read About Pregnancy
Yes, your mother went through raising you and you came out okay. Your doctor may not take the time to go over every detail of your pregnancy in order for you to feel comfortable and your friend, while helpful, may not have experienced the same things as you. It is time to break out the Kindle, the bookstore, or your dusty library card, and begin reading. You’ll need an objective way to learn about pregnancy and child-rearing.
Technology continues to advance so quickly that some procedures no longer even exist or have changed greatly since we have been born. There are also more diseases, conditions, and medications out there as well that pregnant women need to think about and be aware of.
Everyone is Different
This is something that hit me hard, and was the best advice I was ever given: “You grew at your own pace, so move at your own pace.”
To me, this means that it is okay for me to feel like I am too young to have a child at 25-years-old. And it is perfectly fine for you to also not feel ready to be a parent while holding your child for the first time. We are all on our own timeline and have our own individual journeys we must go through.
If you happen to look at another mom who seems to have it all figured out and put together, or a father that is juggling three kids in his arms with a smile on his face, don’t fret. You will grow and at your own pace in your own time, you too will become the parent you want to be; the one you were meant to be.
Lydia is a very down to earth Chicagoan, outspoken and proud of her past and the person she has become. Currently, she is preparing for motherhood, pursuing her dreams of becoming a counselor, and embracing life as it comes.