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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about not feeling ready to have kids.
That type of a post is often controversial, but my point when I was writing it was to emphasize the fact that for some people, “feeling ready” never comes.
I spoke of myself specifically when I talked about how for awhile, we weren’t certain we wanted to have children. And then, we knew we wanted to have kids and we knew we probably needed to start thinking about having them sooner rather than later, but never felt “ready.”
I know for me, if I had waited until I truly felt ready, I’d still be waiting.
And I’m nearly 19 weeks pregnant as I write this, knowing that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, and that with God’s help, I’m becoming a little bit more ready every day.
You Want Kids But You Don’t Feel Ready
If you’re like me and you know you want to have children, but you don’t feel ready, that can be a tough place to be.
You want to wait until you feel ready, but what if time continues to pass and you never feel ready?
People are having kids later in life than ever before but the fact remains, sooner or later, you have to make a choice.
If you’re one of those people who continue to not feel ready, but you know you would like to have children, here are 7 tips designed to help you take the leap.
How Do You Know When You’re Ready To Have Kids
#1 – Realize “Ready” might never come for you
Like I mentioned before, for some people, the concept of “being ready” is a myth.
If you continue to wait until you feel ready, you might be waiting forever.
This is a truth I had to come to accept for myself, and know that even though I might not feel ready now, that doesn’t mean I should put things off any longer. For me, I’ve realized that “feeling fully ready” never happens, not in business or personal life, and with babies it was no different.
Once I realized this, I was no longer held back solely because I didn’t feel ready.
#2 – Assess your reasons for not feeling ready
These 1st and 2nd tips are interchangeable in a way; it’s hard to determine which one should really be listed first.
If you don’t feel ready, even if you’ve accepted that “ready” might be a myth for you, you need to take a look at the reasons you are feeling this way.
Some common reasons for not feeling ready to start a family might be age, life stage, living conditions, jobs, unfinished goals, financial concerns etc.
Other times, the reasons might be more vague like feeling afraid or unprepared.
Once you take a look at the reasons you feel like you’re not ready for the children you’ve decided you want to have, you can decide if there’s anything you can do about them to move closer to feeling ready.
#3 – Work on any reasons you can control
If your reasons for not feeling ready to have children are you’re young or just married and you want to wait awhile, then the solution is easy – you wait awhile.
For other people, their reasons for not being ready to have kids might be due to financial stresses like debt or maybe non-ideal living conditions.
If you discover that your reasons for not feeling ready for children stem from issues that you CAN control and change, you can begin taking steps toward accomplishing those goals to move you closer to being ready.
Maybe you have debt you’d like to pay off before starting a family. Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book is my #1 recommendation when it comes to all things financial and especially related to debt.
If you want to change your living situation before starting a family, or maybe make a career change, those are measurable things you can begin to work toward.
Working on these things might not make you miraculously “ready” because remember, for some, “ready” is a myth. But by working on the reasons you don’t feel ready, you are taking steps toward having the family you’ve decided that you want.
#4 – Find mentors that encourage and inspire you
One of the worries that I personally had as I considered motherhood was whether I would be able to be a work-from-home entrepreneur as well as a mom at the same time. Could I thrive in both of these areas?
I obviously knew that it’s possible to work while you have a baby, and that having a baby doesn’t mean you have to quit your job.
But I didn’t have many people I knew personally who were navigating the often messy work-life balance of an entrepreneur with motherhood.
Over the last year though, I connected with several women entrepreneurs who also became mothers and through them, I saw the messy world successfully navigated.
While I logically knew it was possible and people around the world have been successful at blending the two together for ages, I didn’t know many who were doing it in front of my own eyes.
But finding a few people helped reassure me that it is indeed possible and it’s not as hard and terrifying as it might seem either.
#5 – Give yourself grace
Speaking from experience, the journey to baby for me was full of taking two steps forward and one step backward, with a healthy sprinkling of freak-outs thrown in.
From beginning to consider starting a family in the next X years, to realizing that the timeframe was inching closer, and starting to feel pressure and a little bit of panic… it has been a journey in the true sense to get me to the point of being nearly halfway through my current, first pregnancy.
If you’re like me, and you adapt to change slowly, the idea of changing your life permanently might make you freak out a little bit. Or a lot.
Even if you KNOW you want to have children and you’re actually really excited to be a mom, the idea of changing your life, shaking up your routine, and bringing new and unknown variables into your life can make you feel panicked.
For me, the journey from deciding we wanted to have children to accepting that “feeling ready” would likely never come and then finding out we were pregnant was full of two steps forward and one step back. I’d feel excited at the prospect of being a mom in the somewhat near future, and then the next day, I’d picture not having the freedom I have had, and I’d be like “Woah, let’s pump the brakes a little bit.”
Forward and backwards.
This dance, this journey is ok. It’s normal even.
Accepting this and giving myself grace and permission to feel what I felt was both humbling and freeing.
This is not a simple, clean, streamlined process. From my experience, major life change never is.
But by accepting that the process and journey might be messy and confusing at times, you free yourself up to experience it as it comes and know that just because you’re having a little freak out, it doesn’t mean you’re not able to start your family soon, or that you are going to be any less awesome of a mom when your time comes.
#6 – Read and Educate Yourself
My mom told me this summer that she felt a lot of the same uncertainty, thoughts and questions I did as she and my dad decided to start their family over 30 years ago.
That was reassuring for me to hear, because I guess I always assumed most people are so sure and struggle so little with the decision to start a family. Unlike me who was having significant struggles with the decision at the time.
My mom told me that as she neared the end of her 20’s, she was talking to a woman at work and asked how she was supposed to know if she was ready to have a baby or not. The women told her she should read a book called “A Baby? …Maybe” and my mom decided to read it. I was born a year or two later.
I’ve always been a big reader, so that story made me laugh.
A book isn’t going to solve all your problems and miraculously make you feel ready.
But if you’re someone who likes to educate themselves in order to feel somewhat prepared, and you think that maybe part of your reservation is not having enough information or not knowing what to expect, seeking out resources might help you in the journey toward starting a family.
A word of caution though; society and especially social media is filled with a lot of conflicting and polarizing information about having children.
Some people make it seem like it’s all sunshine and roses, and never admit to any hardships or tough parts that inevitably go along with major change, pregnancy and raising children.
But other sources focus only on the negatives and make it seem like having children will suck your life clean of all its prior meaning and will leave you depleted and spent until they’re 18 and move out. If you’re already struggling a little with the idea of major life change and are afraid of what leaving your comfort zone and starting a new adventure might be like, those types of sources will just exacerbate your fear.
As you expose yourself to information, make sure they are good, balanced resources that not only honestly share about the trials that come with raising children, but also freely discuss the blessings that accompany this change.
Like everything in life, there are both trials and blessings involved with starting a family, and it only makes sense to focus on both in a balanced way, rather than only on one of the extremes.
#7 – Pray
This should really be step #0 or part of every step I’ve mentioned so far.
As I’ve discussed this whole concept of “feeling ready” to have children, or really, the lack of feeling ready, I’ve heard from other moms who shared how they never felt ready on their own either but God helped them be ready when they needed to be.
Some women told me they thought they were ready until they actually became a mom and then what they thought they knew flew out the window and they’ve been learning as they go ever since.
One of my mom’s friends, who I believe is one of the greatest examples of a godly wife and mother there ever was, told me that she never felt ready to have babies. She said she was never ready for her babies to start school, to graduate high school, to get married, and she sure wasn’t ready for her babies to start having babies of her own. She said that she prayed and relied on God for each phase, and trusted that He would help her rise to the occasion and thrive in each step. And He has.
Even just sharing that story lodges a lump in my throat.
That is the most eloquent and beautiful way to sum up what I have come to believe about this whole motherhood journey, and really, life in general.
Do we ever feel ready? And even if we do feel ready, ARE we ever really ready on our own?
I’d argue no, we’re not.
But we can be, with God’s help. And He’s just waiting to help us.
– – –
The underlying goal of this whole post, and the other one before it, is to offer a virtual hug and reassurance to anyone who is struggling with the idea of changing their lives in a permanent way as they consider starting a family.
If you’re struggling, worrying, and wondering if you’re the only one feeling this way, I want to reassure you that you are not alone.
You are not alone, and you are not any less of a future-mother because of your struggles or worry.
I have walked alongside where you are right now, and I’ve felt what you’re feeling.
I’ve wondered if I’ll ever feel ready to have kids, and I’ve felt the panic rise as I got close to saying, “Yes, I think we can start trying.”
I’m still relying fully on God to make me ready to be a mother, and I’m sitting here nearly 19 weeks pregnant as I type this.
I believe I’m like my mom’s friend and that I’ll never be ready, not on my own anyway. But with God’s help, I’ll rise to each occasion, making mistakes along the way, and do it all with prayer and love in the process.
If you are reading this and feel like I’m speaking to your heart, I’m sending my deepest love and blessings to you.