Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Other People's Children

Sweet Baby Price
Lately I've had a LOT on my mind. Hitting your late twenties comes with a ton of "what am I doing with my life" moments.

One thing I've really felt God encouraging me to do lately is to be more transparent. Now, as someone who considers herself to be a bit of an open book, I was taken aback by this call, but the truth is, while I'm EXTREMELY transparent in most ways, there are a few things I keep inside that are in fact incredibly deep struggles.  I then complain that no one is writing or speaking about these struggles in a way I can relate to.... but I realized that if people are experiencing this, they are also probably experiencing the same reluctance to share, which is precisely why there is no writing on this topic out there.

So I'm taking baby steps to do this, and my first baby step is talking about BABIES.

When I was growing up, I was SURROUNDED by babies. I have many many many cousins. I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know how to change a diaper. When I talk to people who've never done this my mind is blown. When I meet people in their twenties who tell me they don't really know how to hold babies I cannot wrap my head around it. I had a friend in college who said she'd never held a baby and thought it'd be nice at this point if the first baby she ever held was her own. I promptly shared my opinion with her that she was missing out on one of life's greatest joys.

Because of my upbringing around kids, and the rate at which people in my family had kids, I always assumed I'd be DONE having kids by  my 27th birthday. It never even crossed my mind that this would not happen. It was the plan. It was the way it would be. I'd get married at 21/22ish, start having babies at 23/24, and have three, maybe four (because I just KNEW I'd have a set of multiples somewhere in there), and so by 27, I'd either be done or close to done. And having kids after thirty, NOT an option. No way. That was such a foreign concept to me. I legitimately felt sorry for people who had kids after thirty. They were going to be "old parents." What about seeing their grand kids grow up? You mean you're going to be in your FIFTIES when your kids get out of high school?  My mom was 25 when I was born, her mom was only 43 when I came along (and 37 when my brother was born - yes a 37 year old grandma). I had 8 great grand parents alive when I was born. We were a family of young parents and grandparents.

But here I am, 27, no husband, no babies, no sign of either of these things changing any time soon. While I've THOROUGHLY enjoyed the last 8 years of my life, and absolutely would not have been able to do many of the things I have done had I had children, getting over my thoughts on this topic and trying to see things from a new perspective has been incredibly difficult for me. I was on the train the other day and I pictured myself being pregnant as early as 31 (which at this point is probably the EARLIEST I will be having any babies), and I cried. The reality of being someone I never wanted to be really hit me, hard.

I won't address my feelings on the lack of husband issue - I'll save that for later, though that in itself is an even deeper struggle. But the lack of baby thing definitely stems from that.

I recently told a friend as a joke that I had to start having kids soon before people I was close to started using all of the names I'd wanted to use for my kids - all of which have really special meanings to me. While I was half-joking, I recently had someone I was close to tell me she was naming her new baby one of these names, and while she had no idea that it was a name I loved, it really hit me in a surprising way. I was hurt, not by her, but by the idea that people all around me are having kids when I thought I would be. I tried to mask it by saying in a joking way the same thing I'd told my friend, and her response was "Well then, start having kids."  Not intending to hurt me, it hit a nerve.

As this week I got the news that yet another good friend of mine is currently expecting her first baby, I've had to really dig deep to not let me joy for her turn into a "woe is me" situation. I was surprised at my reaction, being that I was absolutely thrilled to hear the news - as I always am - but I caught myself crying just a few minutes after I got off the phone with her, as I came to the realization that our kids will not be the same age, or even close, which is yet another thing I'd always expected to happen.

My fears lately have not just been about how LATE in life I'm going to have kids, it's come from the idea that I may never get to have kids at all if things don't change, and that thought is just too much for me to handle on my own. My reliance on God has really had to be strengthened tremendously to deal with this concept. I don't know what his plan for me is, but being almost 27 and still having never had a boyfriend, much less a guy who would think of marrying me and raising a family, it starts to hit really hard.

I know God has a plan for me, and I know I have to have faith in that, but I really have to pray all the time about why it is he's making me wait so long for the things I desire most. I have felt like a mother since I was a small child, always playing house, having little imaginary families  etc. I've had baby names picked out for years, and backup names, and clothes, and nursery decorations. Yet here I am, not having babies, maybe never at this rate.

My current phone background - look at that cheese!
One of the things God has really been showing me through this is that maybe he gave me these gifts so I can bless OTHER people's kids. Instead of feeling resentful over it, I need to simply step back and ENJOY being able to share my gifts with mothers who are in need of some help. I do so love helping my friends and family out with their babies, and I really have to swallow my pride so I stop asking God "When's it my turn??"

It is absolutely one of my deepest struggles, and I'm not exactly sure why God's making me wait it out, but I pray that in the meantime, I can bless people and be a help to those who need extra hands. I pray that he'll comfort me and let me know that this is all what's best for me - because right now that's not how it feels (of course, at 22 that's not how it felt either, and obviously now I am glad things didn't turn out that way).

The biggest difference is when you're 22, you still see your late twenties as this far-off distant thing and you have plenty of time to get there, but considering just how fast they snuck up on me, I'm no longer able to see my future as this far off thing. I see my future as immediate and scary and it's impossible to imagine just how much could change in what appears to be such a short amount of time from this vantage point. I know that's silly, and that LOTS has changed in the last five years of my life, but it doesn't seem like enough, nonetheless.

I'm hoping that I can continue making baby steps to share what I am struggling with so that perhaps it can help someone who might be struggling with the same things.  One of my biggest complaints about being in the state I'm in is that I feel so alone because NO ONE is talking about it. There are no other people out there affirming these feelings, and I've realized it's because people who struggle with this are UNABLE to talk about it openly. We're embarrassed. We feel like we should have it together. Because of this, we don't share, and I think it's time people started sharing. My hope is that being transparent will encourage someone who feels alone in her feelings as well, and perhaps she might be willing to open up, and so on, until we have an actual community of believers out there who are willing to talk about these things.

1 comment:

ThistleAshD said...

you're definitely not the only one who feels this way. I've cried many tears from looking at my life and it just not being what I thought it would be when I set out at 18. and even now at 28 going on 29 it's sad to me bc nothing will happen the way I wanted it to. also there is a blog called paint chip madness- and she talks about her struggles with being single fairly often. you should check it out :)