Friday, 18 January 2013

My Feelings on Parenthood #JanuaryJoy

When I decided to do start writing a blog last Autumn it was to help me to celebrate all the little things that happen day to day in my life. It was also to be a space where I could reflect, in an honest voice, about the things that are important to me.

#JanuaryJoy no.18 calls for a little bit of family planning. Becoming a parent must be one of the biggest transitions you can make. This post is an honest reflection on my feelings about becoming a mum.
Image Source
I guess family planning can mean making plans for your existing family. The phrase 'family planning' takes me back to school personal education classes, the talk about the importance of birth control, and giggles and blushes with friends. Now that I'm in the later parts of my twenties, it's much more likely that I am being encouraged to start a family than to be told about the merits of contraception! Even more so since I became a Mrs. How things change!

I have often tried to imagine the future 'mum' version of me. Mainly, I see my own mum and the parenting style she used with me and my younger brother. I think that I was a very lucky child, growing up in a family with two amazing parents who loved me and did their very best to make me happy. Childhood photo albums and home videos are amongst my most treasured possessions. After my dad died, just over 11 years ago, my mum had to raise two pretty vulnerable children, who sometimes tested her nerves. My mum is wonderful and I have so much respect for the way she dealt with the stresses of parenting us on her own. My mum is a parenting role model to me, and I hope I can give my children the love and happiness I had growing up. 

I am so excited about what the future might hold for me and about the family I hope to have. I look forward to all the shared moments that I read about on other people's blogs; the photographs that melt your heart. I look forward to getting M to pose for images like this (stubble included):
Image Source via Pinterest
I am so, so excited for the adventure that is parenthood. But, today at least, I don't feel ready. I know. It's been said before, and I don't know what I need to do/have/be in order to feel ready. I just know that I don't feel it, yet. What is it that makes a person feel ready? For those who make the decision to have a child and become pregnant, what prompts the decision in the first place? One of my best friends recently gave birth to her beautiful little daughter (read all about the baby shower here) and although she is wonderfully honest about the difficulties she is having as she adjusts to parenthood, she looks so content. Her and her Mr decided to start a family and, happily, all went well for them.

If I'm honest, I feel quite anxious about the responsibility of becoming a parent. That sense that you shape your child with each thing that you do. I think you have to have quite a sacrificing spirit, too. This sums it up pretty well: 
Image Source
There are other reasons: I've not long finished my PhD. I finally have guilt free, no work weekends for the first time. I'm on my first full time salary ever in a career that really isn't very female/family friendly. As I've admitted, I not good at 'doing the budget'. I have a growing wanderlust now that I have a few more pennies. Do these things sound selfish?

Is there a way for us to know if we are ready to become a parent, or is it more of an instinctive feeling? How do you manage the situation if one person is ready, and the other not? I cannot hand on heart say that I am ready to be a parent at the moment. If it happens naturally then I will embrace it and no doubt enjoy every crazy second, but there are two of us that will need to make the decision to start a family. M has been settled in his career for a few years and I think that a family is more appealing to him than it is to me right now, but we both know that right now is not the right time for us. I believe that when we do make the decision to start our own family, we've both got to be ready for the sacrifices that it might bring as well as the amazing fun that I read about in other people's posts.

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