Those of you that know me know that I have 3 kids; Hunter is 16, Hayden is 10, and Hawkins is 18 months. For those of you that are doing the math in your head right now, I had a baby in my teens(16), a baby in my twenties(22), and a baby in my thirties(31). I've lived off almost NO money and I've lived off having a very decent income with a cushion in the bank to boot. I've struggled many years and I've had many easy years. I feel like I've finally gained enough of the life experience my Dad always preached to me about, to offer a little advice and here's what I know:
● Having a baby in your teens. Avoid having a baby in your teenage years. For all of the obvious reasons, but also for what I'm about to tell you. Don't get me wrong, having my first born Son was one of the greatest things I ever did in my life, but he grew up with me. Your children shouldn't have to grow with you, you should be grown and mature when you have them. You should possess the ability to offer them stability.
He bounced around with me the first 5 years of his life from apartment to apartment depending on what I could afford that year. I'd like to think that's why he is so well rounded and adaptable, but I would've loved to have given him what I had growing up, a home that I lived in for my 17 years of childhood with neighborhood kids that wind up being your best friends for life, the community feeling that I miss to this day, where you walk out of the house and almost everywhere you go you see someone you know.
Labor and delivery was easy. When I met this beautiful creature, a single tear streamed down my face and in my adolescent, often confused, 16 year old mind, my thoughts were, "I'm so glad that I had you." With as young as I was, it is no secret, I contemplated adoption for the purpose of giving him a home and family that I was not sure I could give him. When I was about 6 months pregnant I knew for sure that I was going to strive to give him those things myself. I've stumbled. I've fallen. I got back up and kept going. When it's all said and done, though it was tough, I believe I've given him what I set out to.
Turns out I've raised him up good so far despite any doubts I had. He's just like me in many ways (God, help him). Through our arguments and struggles to all the good times we have, I have my own built in protector for life.
Labor and delivery- easy as pie. I think we laughed through most of my labor. I was back wearing my regular clothes in just 6 days after having her.
My only recommendation: make sure you get a little traveling in and see the world before you settle down. I was lucky enough to squeeze some of this in when my daughter was about 2 years old and up thanks to some understanding family members & friends. I'd say that would be the only thing I look back on and wish I'd done first.
My daughter probably got the best of me, to be honest. I was older and mature, had a stable home, a ton of energy, & was very motivated to be successful, well the type of successful that society portrays as successful, anyway (but that is another blog post). I worked at a restaurant less than a mile from my house so I could be home during the day, everyday with her. I did that intentionally. I didn't want to miss a thing. Life was at it's calmest. I know she misses it and so do I. As life goes, she grew up, started school, I started a business of my own, and things are just busier, but I'll always know I gave her an awesome, stable beginning. I gave birth to my best friend for life. How cool is that?!
While pregnancy was harder than ever on my body over 30 (despite working out daily), and delivery as well, the lesson that Hawkins has shown me far outweighs any of that. He is a true example of how life comes full circle because just as I watch him grow and I soak up everything so much more than ever before, I look at my 16 year old and physically ache to go back to when he was a baby, or when he was 3, or when he was 5, & so on. A time in my life that I literally had nothing but him, I ache to go back to.
Remember this when you're a slave to society's standards, constantly trying to get to that bigger house, that newer car, because while most of the world is striving to have more, I'm diligently working on figuring out how to have LESS so I can actively enjoy my life and my children without the burden of stress.
I can't wait (but really, I can) to see what Hawkins ends up being/doing in life. He is a little ball of fire and I literally have no idea what I would do without this kid. I go into his room at night just to watch him sleep. To take a mental picture of how little he is at that moment and try to promise myself to never forget it. I put him to bed every single night just because I know that one day I won't. Despite how tired I may be at times, I am normally always the first one he sees when he wakes up in the morning and I greet him like it is a huge deal with big smiles on my face and a high pitched voice because one day I know I won't anymore. I let him make a big mess and don't worry so much about cleaning it up right away because he's growing and I love to watch it and one day I won't get to anymore. I call him my "Baby Friend", a nickname that everyone in our family has taken up calling him, and that he is.