3.13.2013

Childless at 29

When I have moments of forgetfulness and begin to panic because I'm not going to have a child in my twenties, I think things like this:

"I'm going to be an old mom. That sounds awful. I won't be able to do anything with my kids."
"What if my children suffer from birth defects because I'm old?"
"My body will be in even worse shape than in would normally after pregnancy because my skin will be old and not as elastic, and my metabolism will be slower."
"What if I wait too long and I just can't even have kids?"
"What if my parents aren't around long enough to see my children grow up, just because I've waited so long?"

...And other assorted gems. All of these things may very well be true. But the bottom line is that God is in control over when or even IF I have children, and His timing is perfect, just as it was in bringing me a husband late in the game (in my opinion, anyway).

But I do struggle. Many of my classmates from college have anywhere from one to three children, and here I am, all like, Can we just pay off our debt already and make enough money for me to quit working and have babies? I see young married couples exploding with baby-filled joy, and all I can think is, How the heck are you doing that? Just married and now a baby on the way? Must be nice to have the freedom to do that. Must be nice to not worry about being too old to have children. Must be nice to be able to afford to stay home. So then I compare and start to get jealous, and that's no good. I do wonder sometimes though, why God has chosen to not change anything about our lives so that having children would be feasible in the near future.  Still, I know the truth and I know how I should be thinking. It's just hard to not feel my chest grow tight and my eyes well up when yet another friend announces her pregnancy. I've always felt behind, and even after marriage I feel that way. I'm not trying to be insensitive-- I know many friends who are struggling with infertility, and those who aren't yet married and yearn to be and feel even farther behind. I think of your struggles too. We all have our unique struggles, and this is mine.

But on the flip side, some well-meaning friends post incessantly about their children, as if their personal lives have ceased to exist. Is that what happens with motherhood? When I see that kind of stuff, or I see how "tied down" (I know they wouldn't call it that, because they enjoy it and someday I will, too) they've become, a new kind of panic sets in and I'm suddenly very thankful that I'm childless. It's probably that I'm just really selfish, but I like being me, and I like when it's Mike and me, and I like traveling. I like popping over to the mall just because I can.

So what do I do to make myself feel better when I begin to feel panicked that I am still childless at 29? I remember all that I've gotten to do in my twenties. I finished college, went on a month-and-a-half long European backpacking trip with three girlfriends, took a chance and moved to Florida with Bestie, got to be roommates with Bestie, took road trips to Texas, Tallahassee, and Key West, lost 30 pounds, bought a new wardrobe, moved into my own apartment and decorated, learned how to cook and bake (and well!), developed my photography skills, visited Maine, Boston, Chicago, and New York, got involved politically, worked in the youth group, got engaged and married the love of my life, went to Israel, went on a Mediterranean cruise, and still yet will go to Wyoming. I have had many adventures. I enjoyed my single years and my early years with Mike. I have reveled in my independence. I have squeezed every last drop out of life.

What does that mean? It meas I'll have some pretty awesome stories to share with my kids someday, even if I'm old. And I won't regret anything, because I spent my youth on adventures. We're not guaranteed tomorrow, so I may never get any more travel opportunities like those. But I've made my memories and enjoyed my youth. The next part of my life will be parenthood (whenever that starts), and that has its own kind of adventures. Don't get me wrong- I don't think childless adventures are better than adventures with children. My dream job is to be a great wife and mom. But at the end of my life, it would have been a shame for me to look back and feel like I never did anything fun and free because I settled down so early. That's fine for some, but what I didn't realize soon enough was that apparently it's not fine for me. I needed (and I guess still need) my freedom now so that I can fully appreciate the blessings that "tie me down" later. So, if there any of you left out there who are still childless at 29, recall your adventures and be content. You've done a lot of living, and that's nothing to be sad about.

xoxo, A