As I reflect on the Christmas Season a baby is heavy on my heart and mind. There is a Faith Hill Christmas Song, “A Baby Changes Everything,” and the lyrics just ring with truth. It is a truth pertaining to the birth of our savior and to EVERY mother holding her newborn babe. Over the years it seems our culture increasingly views children as a burden and not a blessing. We try so hard to prevent pregnancy until “the right time,” or even kill our unborn children because “we aren’t ready.” So I want to speak some truth today about children. A truth you will never know until you have your own. I know this because I never knew until I held my first baby. The things I thought I had to plan, do, and be ready for were all dictated to me by society. Children really don’t “need” all the things we are told to buy. They truly just need love, attention, and you. It’s something you won’t realize until you have one. It flips your life upside down and you realize children aren’t a “burden” to your life, but instead a blessing to be cherished and treasured!
As with most things in life we hear mostly the negative things. They say the “unhappy” scream the loudest. When you have a delicious meal at a restaurant you don’t feel compelled to go online and write a review. Have a bad meal, however, and you want to warn everyone never to eat at this establishment. Even if we aren’t “unhappy,” per se, we tend to mostly voice our negative experience. In the midst of a sleepless night an exhausted mother is more likely to say, “I’m never going to sleep again… please send help,” than, “my sweet chubby faced baby wants kisses from mom all night; isn’t she sweet?!” Well, this may be the case in the hospital, but give it a month, or two, or three, lol. The problem seems to be that the only thing people without children hear is, “I’ll never get sleep again.” So they check another block off their “Reasons to NOT have kids” list:
- Reason # 50- I’ll never sleep again
So, I wanted to set a few things straight. Instead of giving more reasons not to have kids I want to focus on the positives instead. I want to use a puppy here as an example. I’m NOT saying having an animal is the same as having a child, but for many couples an animal is their “first baby” and it’s something many can relate to; so lets consider I made a list of “why not to get a pet” as a couple starting out. I focused on all the negatives:
- Potty training sucks
- It might poop and pee on the carpet
- Howling in the crate all night
- Vacations will be more difficult as I’ll have to find a dog sitter
- I’ll have to pay for the vet, food, toys, apartment animal fee, etc.
- I’ll have to walk it
- It might chew up my shoes, sofa, and more
A dog owner would tell me the list above is worth the unconditional love of a pet, but I wouldn’t believe them until I had one right? Until I knew what it felt like to have a happy bouncing pup meet me at the door, a wiggly dog overjoyed to see me or get a treat, or a snuggle during a movie. Until I HAD a dog I wouldn’t realize the sleepless puppy nights would pale in comparison to the joy a puppy would bring. The love it would give me for the next 15-20 years. As an animal owner you might wonder why (or how) people live without pets. Since you have one, and love them, the negatives pale in comparison to the positives
What if I now told you that the love you have for your child, even at first sight, is the strongest, most memorable, most joyful moments of your life. A first puppy, or kitten, pales in comparison to the love you’ll have for your own baby. I know, I didn’t believe it either about my dog baby. You couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t love my dog the same as a child. Lol, boy was I wrong.
Until the birth of your children your wedding day was the happiest day of your life. But the birth of a child is a hallmark moment that transcends those feelings of happiness, the deep love, and elation. It is one that will be remembered a lifetime for each child, not only the first. Seeing your spouse with your child will melt your heart and make you fall deeper in love with the one you married. The love doesn’t end there. The love is unconditional and it covers every “negative” from this point on….
So, I want to caution you to think before you say, “I’ll wait until” that “until” might be too late. Before you say, “I’m not ready,” I want you to realize you don’t know what you are “not ready” for. Mainstream society has lied to you. They categorize selfish pursuits, climbing the corporate ladder, and money over family. All of which are futile attempts at true happiness. They tell you your life won’t be enjoyable after having kids, that you won’t have free time, there will be no sleep, and of course no travel. You won’t be able to afford them until you have a steady income, and “be careful” college is expensive too–so don’t have too many. You would think your life would be over upon giving birth. It’s amazing people have more than one child, right?! But from experience let me just tell you that after the birth of your children your life has only just begun. From that point on you can’t imagine life without them, and you forget what life as like before them. It’s almost as if they always were. So let me just tell you a few ways your life will change.
The nights won’t be the same….. but through the puffy eyes (and maybe a coffee or two) you’ll awaken to the most beautiful babe you’ve ever seen. The soft skin and baby smell you’ll never forget. Then, the tiredness will be forgotten as you gaze into the bright eyes of your smiling baby. Eyes so full of love and wonderment. Suddenly you realize you’ve never been so loved or so needed. You’ve also never loved someone so much.
No, travel won’t be the same, that is true too. Instead the ocean you’ve seen time after time will be seen anew. It’ll be seen through the wide eyes of a curious child. Suddenly you are smiling so big, and laughing so much, that you realize you’ve never experienced the ocean like this. You’ll teach this little one to swim, to splash, to build sand castles, and bury toes in the sand.
No, you won’t be able to go out alone as often as before. You’ll have to find a sitter, that is true. But you’ll appreciate the time away more than you ever have. You’ll realize you took it for granted before.
No, you may not be able to pay for college right away, but give it 17-18 years. Teach your children to work hard, dream big, and find something they will love. Maybe college isn’t for them anyway? Maybe they’ll get a scholarship, join the military and have college paid for, or earn a grant. Or maybe you’ll save money for them each year out of love and a desire to see them succeed.
And finally, don’t let yourself miss out on the best thing you never knew you would want. I write this to you, the young woman who doesn’t know what she wants just yet. To the young woman who isn’t secure enough in herself to pave her own way, break out of the societal mold, and maybe realize the best joy in life comes from the one thing the world tells us to push off into the distant future.
I’m not saying don’t go to college, don’t find a trade, etc.. I fully believe women should be self sufficient, pave a way, etc., but I also believe there is a time to do so. The best time for women to have children is twenties and early thirties. If we only taught our daughters the value of having children young they could literally have it all after life is said and done. In their forties, fifties, and sixties they have time too. Life doesn’t end at thirty as we all think it does as teenagers. Life is long while, unfortunately, the time to have children relatively short. Society seems to want to do things “backwards.” Which is sad because many women are waiting to find they’ve waited too long.
I wish society wouldn’t lie to impressionable young minds. From someone who never wanted kids (and waited 5 years after marriage) let me just say I’m glad I got married young– at 21. Had I gotten married older, and waited longer to have children, I might not have had the opportunity to have four beautiful blessings to call my own. I’m thankful we decided to take the “plunge” at 25 and have “just one.” That “just one” turned into four because “that one” changed my everything. He changed my life, my dreams, my motivation, and reason for living. It isn’t easy raising four, and sometimes I need a break, but they are my everything and I can’t imagine life without them. I can’t imagine what Thanksgivings, Christmases, and old age would be like without children, eventually grandchildren, and a legacy too.
Years ago a baby was born into this world to be the sacrifice and atonement for sins. A baby that changed everything; every year children are born to parents whose worlds are also changed for the better. A baby changes everything! They are a blessing, not a burden!