As a client advocate helping navigate unplanned pregnancies, one of the most common phrases I’ve heard in the counseling room is, “We’re just not ready.” So often, couples want to be more settled and financially stable before thinking about kids. Or they want to be married first, or maybe finish school before starting a family. Or they simply want to be older. Sometimes, it’s because the relationship might even be unstable or dysfunctional, and she wants to know if they have a future together. These are all very valid and understandable “wants,” but sadly these couples often have a preconceived idea that these things are an absolute “NEED” before having a child. Maybe for them, the idea comes from society in general, or maybe it comes from specific family expectations or cultural beliefs. In any case, all this pressure leads many to consider abortion.
When I Googled the word READY I found this definition: “in a suitable state for an activity, action, or situation; fully prepared.” Well, that certainly adds pressure, doesn’t it? I don’t have answers to many things, but here’s something I know with absolute certainty … if all couples waited to feel truly ready to have children, the human population would have already dwindled and disappeared. This causes me to think back and laugh a bit at the beginning of my own parenthood adventure. My husband and I had known each other for almost 10 years and had been married about 1 year when we found out we were expecting. We had talked for years about how much we wanted a family, and we were thrilled. We were both working and life was good. But wait. Were we ready? We lived on the south side of Chicago, not the most family-friendly area. (Target was a solid 45 minutes away!) We had zero family in town. Hubby worked crazy hours and I might feel very isolated. None of our siblings or close friends had kids yet. Rent in Chicago was expensive, and we could never buy a house there. Fast forward to the eighth month of pregnancy, the two of us having a total nervous breakdown in the middle of Babies ‘R’ Us over really nothing in particular. Yet somehow, it felt like this breakdown was over everything! Life was about to change in such a big way.
Tums out, we WERE ready. More than ready. Simply because we had so much love for that little girl. Since then, we’ve had many incredible highs and many difficult lows, because this is life. A life that is beautiful and precious through it all. Now my youngest, my “baby,” is a challenging 15-year-old and STILL makes me feel like an unprepared new mom sometimes.
And I’ve realized that’s ok!
So, to you expecting parents; YES, you are in for the ride of your life. But what a joy, what a blessing, what a gift, and what a privilege to have this journey. A journey so many never get to, or never choose to, experience.
On some level, I bet you know that what’s happening is inherently good, and needs to be protected. Like a young child cherishing a gift she might not fully understand in the moment, at that age and stage, but knows in her heart it is amazing and valuable.
Do you see yourself in this story? Could you use a support – a family – like the one at Advice & Aid to help you feel a little more “ready?”
No matter your exact situation, there are likely parts of this story that you can relate to. Unplanned? Bad timing? Financial struggles? The list of reasons that a pregnancy isn’t right can go on and on.
But we understand all of that, and can offer some real hope and solutions to these issues. Just stop . . . take a moment to breathe . . . and get the information you need to make the decision that is best for you, both the current-you and the future-you! With the right help on your side, you might just find life’s gifts can be sweet!