When is the right time to become a mum?
Becoming a mum at 21 never felt like a big deal to me. I was happy, excited and I felt ready. Looking back, I’m not sure I was ‘ready’ in the fullest sense of the word, in the sense that lots of women talk about when planning a family, but in my own way I felt ready. Like all first time mums, I was embarking on a one-way trip to an unknown destination without the option to return. But strangely, I felt incredibly calm about the whole thing. That is not to suggest I was knowledgeable (I had NO previous experience of caring for babies) nor that I felt naturally maternal, but my impending life-long responsibility filled me with excitement and despite my age and lack of experience, I felt confident that I was going to be fine.
Looking back, I was naïve. I genuinely had no idea how much a baby was going to impact on my life. I remember seriously thinking that my life would continue as normal, but I would just push a cute baby around in a pram. I knew that obviously, I would not be able to go out with my friends as much but I could just get a baby sitter if I wanted to, right? How much work could a baby possibly be anyway? Writing this is hindsight is actually making me laugh out loud to myself. Having a baby not only turned my world upside down, it turned it inside out, back to front, chewed it up and spat out a whole new existence.
Having Bella young meant I had to grow up quickly, and my little girl came along for the ride. I didn’t know any different and I learnt as I went along. Bella helped me to grow into a mum. Sure I made mistakes, as everyone does, but I was kind to myself and any negative thoughts or low-days were short-lived as I simply, got on with it.
I have met lots of different mums since having my second daughter (at the more socially-acceptable age of 29.) The majority of girls I meet are enjoying their first baby and are doing a blinding job with them. Conversation sometimes flows to life before babies and I often hear new mums, usually late 20’s early 30’s, talking in fondness for their ‘old life’, the one they had before they decided to have children; the holidays, the freedom, the guilt-free lazy days, the ‘do what you want when you want’ mantra. I have realised during these conversations that I have little to contribute, because I have been a mum my entire adult life.
No matter what age you are, or the life-experiences you have before having children, transitioning from being a woman to being a mother is tough. There’s no other experience like it. Although some people may look at my life and think I missed out, I have never felt that way. Maybe if I would have not had Bella at 21, I may have gone on some more holidays, I may have had more clothes, I’m sure I would have had more hangovers (and regrets!) but would I have been happier?
I really don’t think so.
Being a young mum meant that I was able to build my life around my child, rather than expecting a child to ‘fit in’ with my pre-prepared life. I can appreciate this may sound strange to some, but here is where I am coming from; Every single decision I have made in my adult life has been made with consideration of Bella. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would ever have gone back to college or gone to university, I would never have become a teacher, I would never have learnt to cook properly (seriously, I would have McDonalds, like, every day) and who knows, maybe instead of my caring, loving, great-with-Bella husband, I would have ended up with someone completely different. Maybe Taylor Lautner, but we won’t dwell on that!
Having Bella hasn’t only affected my life choices, she’s also shaped me into the person I am. Without her, I don’t think I would be as patient, I don’t think I would be able to let the small stuff go as easily, and I don’t think I would be as content with finding joys in the little things in life (like going to the toilet in peace!). She taught me how to give, how to care, and how to view the world through a child’s eyes. She taught me how to love.
I may not have had a mental time in my 20’s… but my 40’s are coming and I’m going to make up for it then!
Some may think that having a baby young meant I had to give up a lot, but rather than taking my life away, Bella gave me it. I can’t imagine life without her, because there is no life without her.
Bella bear, thank you for coming when you did, I owe my life to you.