Monday, August 1, 2011

The Truth about Unplanned Motherhood

I just read Frances' post entitled "Should You Go Forth and Multiply" and it really struck a chord deep in my heart - mostly because I am so surprised that a lot of young women out there just want to jump into the motherhood boat with us without thinking twice.

I had an unplanned pregnancy at 22 - out of wedlock, I might add. I had just started my first semester of my senior year at college when I realized I was pregnant. Since I was enrolled in a Catholic school, they wouldn't let me continue my studies because I was pregnant and unmarried. My choices were: to leave college or to get married and stay in college. Well, since I was already being pushed into the motherhood boat without being prepared for it, I decided it was best not to get pushed into the wife boat without being prepared for it, either. I still wonder whether I made the right choice.

See, despite the fact that I have almost a decade of writing experience under my sleeve right now, people are hesitant to hire me because I didn't finish my senior year of college (and so my inconsistent career as an online ghostwriter is set - probably for life).

Don't get me wrong. Syrena is definitely the best thing that could have happened to me. But if I were prepared, I would have a college degree under my sleeves right now, which means that I would probably have a reliable and consistent everyday job and I would be able to provide her with all of the things that she needs and deserves. But I don't.

Although I am not an ultra-young mother - that is, I was lucky enough not to be eligible to appear on MTV's "I'm a Teenage Mother" when I got pregnant - the fact remains that I simply wasn't prepared for this.

I remember how, when I lived alone during my college years, it didn't matter that I didn't have a fridge. It didn't matter if I only cleaned the house once a month. It didn't matter if I chain-smoked in my apartment until 4 in the morning while I did whatever I wanted to. It didn't matter if I left all of my stuff lying around.

Well, things change when you're a mother. You need to have a well-stocked fridge, so you can feed your child. You need to have a clean place, so your child can walk around and play without picking up and eating anything dirty. You can't smoke at home and you can't set your own random sleeping hours anymore. You also have to keep your expensive things out of sight, so your child doesn't chew on it, step on it or throw it around.

Of course, this also means that, thanks to Syrena, I am now a much more responsible adult. But, unless you're completely prepared to let go of all of those little things in life that keep you happy and content - like regular mani-pedis and Starbucks-and-cigarette gossip sessions with your friends - and are willing to live a more serious life, then you need to think about things a little bit more.

Now, I am lucky that I lived a full young adult life. I've had my fair share of relationships gone wrong, relationships gone right and then wrong, relationships that lasted mere hours, and one-night-stands. I've tried all of the kinds of alcohol and drugs imaginable without getting addicted to anything. I've dabbled in all sorts of odd jobs. I've traveled the world, thanks to my dad's job, and I've experienced practically anything you might want to experience by the time you're 30 because of it, so I really have no regrets in that aspect. Are you lucky enough to say the same thing?

I am also lucky in love. Although we decided not to get married just because we have a child together, Henry (the babydaddy) and I are still together and going strong. (In fact, we are officially buying our own apartment together this week). As difficult as it is to have to explain to landlords, newfound friends, old friends, and especially relatives why we aren't married yet, we are still together. But the things we went through and the things we are still about to go through as a struggling young couple are things I would not wish upon anyone else my age.

So, if you still have the choice to prepare yourself for this, then think long and hard before you take the plunge into Babyville. Because, once you take that plunge, there is no going back. Having a baby means giving everything up for that little bundle of joy. So, as much as possible, take your time. If you aren't ready to give up your life and everything in it right now to live your life for somebody else, then you really aren't ready yet - remember that.

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