Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where I'm coming from and where I'm going

So I don't know if this happens to bloggers who post on the regular, but I've started coming up with ideas for blogs as I lie in bed at night, trying to fall asleep.

Last night I thought about the forum I recently joined since I became pregnant, it's a forum for pregnant women, and you can join the forum specific to the month you are due.

I am due in June, so I am in the June mommas club.

The other day, one of the gals mentioned something about feeling really old and how she felt like she was the oldest one of the bunch. Thinking to myself, there is no way she can be the oldest, because I DEFINITELY feel like the oldest in that group. She mentioned she was turning 28. I told the group I was 32 going on 33. My thoughts were confirmed. I am the oldest.However, the youngest in this group is 18, as far as I know. Which got me to thinking about age and how it's just a number and what does it all mean?
At 18, I remember starting college, being away from home for the very first time. Life was an adventure, the world was at my feet. I went through many transitional phases in college and learned a lot about who I was. Could I have raised a child at that age? Sure. Was I mentally prepared for that challenge? Not at all. After college I moved back home for awhile, interning in Chicago and hoping for a full-time job so I could move out there. At 23, I finally had enough money saved after living with my parents to put down a deposit on an apartment and move out to the big city. Soon after that, my boyfriend (now husband) moved in with me and all was right with the world. Soon after September 11th, I lost my full time job at the show where I was working and the world felt incomplete and uncertain. Knowing that at 24, I still had a lot of opportunities ahead of me, I trudged on, looking towards the future for what lies ahead. I ended up getting my job back (a different position was offered and it was much better than the one I had previously) and I ended up staying there until 2003, or age 26. After the show ended, I worked a few odd jobs here and there, freelancing in the city but something felt incomplete. I didn't feel right moving from job to job, I wanted something more substantial and steady without having to work 12-16 hour days on a shoot. It was about this time that I started feeling restless (not in a bad way) in my relationship with my boyfriend. I knew I wanted to get married someday, but when? I always told Matt that I wanted to get my career in check and have something to be proud of before I took that leap. And if I didn't always say it directly, he definitely knew it. It wasn't until one night when we were watching The Bachelor when I made a comment about how we'd probably never get married, huh? That was all it took. Matt knew right away that it was time, and while he had been ready and willing all along, it was me who was dragging my feet, waiting for all these imaginary ducks to file in a row. So, at 27, we took the leap and tied the knot.
After that I started a new career in advertising and really started to feel that things were aligning for me. After working my way up the ladder and landing a decent position, Matt's job was also going good and we were starting to really settle into life in the big city with having a little bit more money in our pockets to spend. I knew that one day we would probably start a family, but I was in no hurry. I never had a feeling like, I might be 30 soon, I better do this! It wasn't until soon after 30 that I started seriously thinking about where this was all going. After Matt and I got back from Paris we started talking about it a bit more and trying to figure out when a good time might be to start a family. In Sept. of 2008 I lost my job and more thoughts of "Where is this all going?" ensued. I don't know when the light bulb finally clicked for me that you don't need to "have it all" to actually live by that philosophy, but when I pictured our lives together, I always saw them eventually with children by our sides. Thinking about growing old with no memories of raising a family made me feel sad. So when we finally started trying I knew that this was right, and while it may not have been the ideal right time and perfect moment in our lives, would there ever be?
Which brings me back to the women on the forum.
I don't know their life stories or what made them decide they were ready to raise a family, and at what age. But know for me, 18, 24, 26, those times were not right for me. All the living I did and experiences I have had, have shaped me up to this point. While someone else might have thought 22 was the ideal age to "grow up" and be a parent, for another, they might have needed to tour around with rock bands, go to Europe, have a few amazing jobs and go away to Vegas on a whim. It doesn't make me any less deserving or sincere that I'm the oldest in the group, or that I want this any less. Maybe it just means that my children will just have to sit through more stories of what Mommy and Daddy's lives were like before they were born. Lord knows I have a million saved up and ready to be told.... :)


Tiffany said...

Jen, it's so strange to read this. Your thoughts are my thoughts. And it's so true, is there really ever an ideal time? I don't think so either. We make things work the best way we know how. Although, I've never met Matt, he sounds like a wonderful guy. Having each other is what you really need to be on track to finding the ideal time for anything. Good luck!

~michelle pendergrass said...

I don't care how old you are--just glad there's finally a baby in that belly!! :)

I was 28 when I got pregnant with Zane. Phil was 16 when Melissa had Jessica. I went to Grandparents (r special person Day with Zane's friend Sarah (as her special person!) and we met in the auditorium and I ended up winning Youngest Grandmother. I was (still am) 37. People don't believe it. People don't think I'm a "real" grandma because Jessica is not my "real" daughter. Y'know what I say to those people? (Bad F words. LOL) I don't care what they think. It is what it is and I don't regret a minute of any of it.

Mimi's Toes said...

Jen, I loved this post. You are a great writer girl! I think you are very smart in waiting and exploring the world first. I had Steph when I was 20 and even though I wouldn't change that, I did miss out on a lot of things. The great part is, I'm a young Mimi and not walking with a cane while babysitting. It's great that you have a group of ladies that are at the same stage of your pregnancy with you. You do have all your ducks in a row!

Kelley said...

So interesting how where we come from, who we live amongst changes our perceptions so much. At 28 I don't feel one bit old to be having my first child. In fact, sometimes I feel really young for this still. Yet that other person on your forum thinks 28 is "old."

I do know that far more important than my age in planning a family was having time with Nate. Most of our friends had kids far before they hit the 7 year marriage mark. For me, taking a good, long time to focus on each other, work on our marriage, and work on ourselves and what we learned about ourselves through marriage was invaluable and I wouldn't trade that for anything! I think it will make the transition to parenting harder in the sense that we are so used to being a two-some that three will be such a big change in identity. Yet, I think it will be a much easier transition because our marriage has a lot more strength now than even 3 years ago.

Nicole (@Nicole LJ) said...

Age of parenthood is such a funny thing. I was 25 when I had my first. This seemed like a good, middle of the road age to me. I'd been married for 3 years, my husband was 33 and the time seemed right.

When my 1st started school I came to find that I was a REALLY YOUNG MOM. As in "Oh. My. God." There was one other mom who had her 1st when she was 32 and the rest were over 40 when they had their kids. Well, one mom had a DD in college plus this kindergartener...but point being that I was like an infant to them. Clearly our area was one where people tend to wait :)

I like that we all have our own unique paths through life :)

juneann said...

I am still not ready but I'm getting there. I'm so excited for this "June baby" ...I hope it's born on the 13th!!! ;)'re awesome, Jen.

Jen K. said...

Kelley, you bring up a really interesting point and something I forgot I wanted to add to my post. I agree completely about how it depends on where we come from and how we live. I am a people-pleaser and always wanted to do right in the eyes of my parents. I felt like any misstep would be considered a failure and I tried to avoid that at all costs. I'm sure they would have loved for me to become a mom at any point (in my marriage of course :) but for me, I could not even consider giving my child any less than what I had. I was given so much as a kid and I can't fathom giving my own any less than they deserve.
And while Matt and I had been dating for about 6 years before we married, it was different because those were transitional years. Marriage has definitely strengthened us as a couple. I can't describe it. We know who we are as individuals and how we'll be as parents based on all this time we've had to figure things out. I am definitely appreciative of all the years we've spent as a couple and look forward to expanding in the years ahead. I wouldn't trade the way we're doing things AT ALL. Great thoughts everyone! Thanks for reading.

Erin said...

Great thoughts. It's funny how, for me, having two babies by 27 was just what I needed and wanted. For my older sister, waiting until she was 32 for her first was what she wanted. I can't imagine doing it her way, and she can't imagine doing it mine... but we're both so happy we did it the way we did.

Karol said...

I'm with Kelley about perceptions. Living in NYC, I'm going to be a fairly young mom at 32. If you go on the NY-centric board and say you're 18-25 and having a baby, you'd get flamed for being trailer trash (nice, right?).

Jen K. said...

Another good point and something I often wonder about. For me, I never planned on staying in Indiana right after school. For the careers I chose, it's either live in a big city or choose something else. Not much for TV/Marketing/Advertising in a smaller town. My husband and I are lucky that we both found good jobs out here. But at the same time, I wonder if I would have chosen a different path had I stayed in Indiana. I think living in a big city, definitely keeps you on your toes and keeps you young. I have spent almost 10 years now being enthralled and enraptured by this city with so much to offer, I'm sure that is one of the reasons kids did not even enter my mind or the picture. I can see where the NYC moms would think 18-25 is young, but in a small town, it's not so young, but actually quite normal.

--It's Your Movie-- said...
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mandiegirl said...

I love this post. I'm 27 and my hubby and I are nowhere near having babies- he's in school still and has a while to go. My mom had 3 babes by the time she was 25, and I definitely feel pressure because she wants to be a grandma SO bad. Not to mention that all of my friends married young and started having kids so soon that they're all already finished having babies. It's been easy to feel left out and sad, mostly because I really *want* a baby, but I do know that I enjoy so much more freedom and sleep than they all do. It's hard not to compare yourself to others and where you think you *should* be in life. Great reminder. :)