“If you could go back and do it all over again – would you have your first child later in life?” I get asked this question quite often. People are curious if I ‘regret’ getting pregnant at the age of 20. Getting pregnant young and unplanned certainly came with many challenges. Completing our post-secondary schooling and figuring out finances was a huge and ongoing challenge. We lucky had lots of support from family that helped us get through it – but the journey was still not easy. Was it difficult trying to get assignments done for school when you had a sick child at home – yes! Was it difficult to decide to agree to work an extra shift when you really needed the extra money but it meant giving up on of your few free nights with your son – absolutely! Is it hard being the only person in your circle of friends at this life stage and having no one close to relate to and go through challenging milestones with – definitely. But that being said – I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being a parent is hard work – regardless of when in life you take on that roll. Our situation might have been a bit harder than some because of the lack of a financial foundation and the struggle to finish school – but the flip side of that hardship is the joys of parenthood. Being a mother has made me a better person. It has helped me see the world in a new way – a way that is a bit more innocent - more child-like – open minded and not as clouded with the preconceived notions we all develop as we grow. Being a mom has made me mature into a young woman and take more charge in my life - take responsibility for the road on which my life journey will travel. Being a mom has made me appreciate the small things in life. Life isn’t about being the best dressed, or the smartest, the most wealthy, or about possessions – it is about relationships, emotional bonds, time with friends and family, making memories, and finding happiness.
Happiness is found in different places for different people. For me – I found happiness in my family. I can remember being in school and talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Everyone had a certain career in mind and some were very passionate about their future career. I never got that excited about a career prospect. There were jobs I thought would be neat to have and rewarding – but nothing (even to this day) has grabbed my passion like that. But one thing I always knew deep down inside – was that I wanted to be a mom. And now that I have come along in that journey and found motherhood – I can say that it is my passion. My pursuit of happiness still entails finding that job that I really enjoy – but nothing is more important – nothing can top the happiness I get from being a mother.
Being a mother is a blessing. It is extremely special to be able to feel that unconditional love. There is nothing better than coming home and having my son run down the hall to hug me. There is nothing better than getting to watch my son learn about the world around him and watch as things intrigue him and as his mind questions. There is nothing better than the feeling that you have the magic kiss to heal a boo-boo. There is nothing better than knowing that you can bring happiness to this child – that you can positively impact someone’s life and have a front row seat to watch them grow.
Parenthood of course doesn’t come without its worries. Aside from the financial and work-home balance – there will always be the question that maybe you aren’t a good parent. I’ve come to realize that every parent has those moments. Whether they feel that way because they acted rashly out of frustration, their children aren’t developing at the same rate as other children, their children have a certain personality – parents tend to blame themselves first. It is natural – and even though I am cognisant of it – I still do it. I still question if I am a good mother. But I know that no one is perfect and that I just need to be the best mom I can be.