Immediately upon graduating college, many of my friends got married. In fact, many were engaged by the end of college. I met my husband in college and we dated throughout our junior and senior years, but I informed him that I did not want a “ring by spring” as they call it at the small Christian college where we earned our degrees. I had no problem with others receiving and accepting their spring bling, I just did not want to be among the ranks of rosy-cheeked soon-to-be summer brides. I wanted college to be about college things, and although my husband and I discussed marriage, we decided to wait a few years after graduating to tie the knot. A little life experience outside of the Christian campus bubble, I reasoned, would be good for us. And for us it was.
But it meant that I was one of the last of my closest friends to marry, which means that for many of my wifely friends, marriage is becoming somewhat old news. They have developed habits with their spouses, worked out routines, developed a daily grind, etc. Things just are not as new for them as they are right now for my husband and I. So as we are navigating the newness of married life and living together, many of my friends are now having babies!
I have always wanted to be a mother—someday. My parents waited six years to have me, so growing up, my model for becoming a parent included getting married, waiting six years, then having two little ones and calling it quits. Just like my aversion to the ring by spring tradition, I also did not want to start a family immediately after getting married. It was perfectly fine for everyone else, but not for me. And I assumed it was a simple decision one made with one’s spouse. If you wanted a baby, you had one. If you didn’t want one, you didn’t have one. Boy was I wrong.
I understand more than ever that family planning is not always, and often is not, planned at all. Babies are, of course, amazing blessings, but for many of my friends they are very unexpected blessings. I still hope to spend a few years with my husband just the two of us before adding a baby to our family, but I understand now that our plan might not be realized. We could, like many of my friends, find ourselves pregnant at any time. And I have been surprised by my acceptance of this fact. There is a certain peace I feel about this uncertainty. I am excited about that chapter of my life. It’s no longer terrifying to me.
Perhaps I’ve caught the baby bug. Perhaps I am intoxicated by the adorable onesies and colorful baby shower invitations that keep dropping into our mailbox. Or perhaps I am just growing up and growing into my role as a wife and someday (hopefully) mother. But I know that, although we might not be ready or prepared now, when a baby joins our family, whether planned or not, he or she will be welcomed with lots of love, and I know all of the babies my friends are expecting will be too.