Tuesday, August 16, 2011

starting young

Thank you guys so much for all of the questions! I am excited to answer all of them. Thanks for giving me lots to blog about. Some of the questions are challenging (which I love), so I'm going to make sure I put the time into a proper response.

I'm going to start with a fun topic and answer some of the questions about our family life and how we got to four kids.

Blake and I got married at 20, but our plan was to NOT have children at a young age. We were going to wait five or so years and really get our feet under us financially before bringing kids into the picture. One month after I graduated from college and two weeks into my first real job, we found out that we were pregnant. We were in shock and it took us about a week to wrap our brains around the fact that we were going to be parents. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom, so it wasn't too hard to turn the corner and get excited about having a baby, even if it was earlier than our time line.

So, at 22 years old I had Riley.
Glamour with Mom_1

(I don't have my scrapbooks in Peru, sob, so the only pictures I have are the few we took digitally. Which also means that they are horrible quality because it was a long time ago.)

It was definitely not easy to live on one income when we were so young. (Not only did I want to stay home, but it was also a necessity with my sleeping disorder.) Blake was interning for a ministry and making very little and we obviously hadn't had time to save any money. We lived in Tennessee at the time so we were able to find a very cheap house. With the help of government assistance and living simply, we were able to make it work. The first year of Riley's life is, to this day, my favorite experience and time ever.

I think the hardest thing about having kids young is that none of your friends are in the same life stage as you are, so it can feel lonely. I didn't have any friends to discuss new mom problems with or do play dates with. When I had a hard time breastfeeding, I had no one to ask about it and never received the help I needed. If I could do it over I would reach out to other moms more, even if I felt young and stupid by doing so.

We always knew that we wanted to have a large family and for our kids to be close in age, so after we had Riley it made sense to go ahead and have more kids.

We were pumped to have Ford join us 2 years later (I was 24).
DSCF0020

And at 26 years old, I was thankfully induced a week early and 9lb, 13oz Brady entered the world.
IMG_1181

By the time I was 29 years old I had four kids (but not without some heartache along the way).
IMG_1447_2

This post has already gotten long, so I will talk about adoption, our journey from three to four kids, and if we want more kids in the next post. All of those topics are deeply intertwined for us.

I will end with saying that we don't regret having kids at a young age, nor do we discourage others from doing it. We also don't necessarily encourage it either. We have loved our experience as young parents (for the most part), but it isn't for everyone. The woman who asked about our experience of having kids at a young age (Hi Kara!) asked because she and her husband are adopting from foster care which I think is an amazing reason to have kids while you are young. I also know that another couple could be called to giving themselves to a different ministry and that having children would impact that commitment. Please don't hear that I don't think you can do ministry with kids (I would hope that our life would show otherwise), but the reality is that you cannot give as much of yourself.

Blake and I were not ready (by our standards) to be parents, but once Riley entered our lives we stepped up to the plate and have done the best we could as parents. We have miserably failed just as much as we have succeeded. I do not think that waiting until you are older to have kids necessarily means that you will be more wise or equipped. Thankfully, we fully believe and trust in God's grace to cover our inadequacies and thankfully that is available no matter what age you have kids!

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I made $20 for each 20 minute survey!

Guess what? This is exactly what major companies are paying me for. They need to know what their customer needs and wants. So large companies pay $1,000,000's of dollars every month to the average person. In return, the average person, like myself, answers some questions and gives them their opinion.