Life as I Know It

Life as I Know It

Sometimes I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the last few months, as if I’m still trying to grasp reality. Life has a funny way of making it seem as if things are being thrown at you, when you actually planned for them to happen. As a child you imagine your life unfolding in the way one always dreams it would, without really stopping to think of the plans God has for you, and that they’re, more often than not, radically different.

Sometimes you find yourself getting caught up in the “norm.” Everyone says “Dare to be different,” but when you step outside of society, it’s uncomfortable. You almost don’t feel safe, and you crawl back to the other side where you don’t have the fear that comes along with not being normal. I’ve found it takes a strong will and trust and faith in God to really break those chains, and that’s where I am at this very moment.

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The day we found out we’re expecting was a day absolutely filled with a million emotions, as I know many can attest. The excitement of knowing your dream came true, the fear in knowing it could be taken away from you in an instant, the immediate feeling of impatience, knowing you still have 9 months to go – it’s all incredibly overwhelming.

And Nick and I were the only ones who knew; this fact was difficult for me to grasp. All of a sudden our lives were completely changed, and as far as everyone else was concerned, our lives were no different. I should have realized then that we wouldn’t be able to keep this a secret for long – it only took 4 days to completely break down and tell our parents, and we don’t regret that one bit!

I have a feeling our parents were not totally surprised by the news, but they were knocked off their feet nonetheless. All of a sudden, the very thing that had changed our lives so much had now affected their’s, and they honestly couldn’t have reacted better to the news! I believe the phrases that were muttered the most were “Oh my goodness!” and “No way!” Nick and I felt incredibly blessed that day.

The excitement lead me to reminisce on the day we got engaged – our families were so supportive, so loving, so encouraging. They guided us in the right direction, helped us in any way we needed, and loved us unconditionally. I don’t know what we would have done without their involvement in our marriage, and I can say I definitely feel the same way with this pregnancy.

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But it’s been hard. And one might think I’m referring to the morning sickness, or the adjustments we’ve had to make, or the seemingly endless nights we’ve spent working on house projects so we’re ready for when the baby arrives, but that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

What has made this really difficult, is the fact that this is not “the norm.” Here we are, married at 18 and 21, expecting a baby girl at 20 and 24, and the only backlash we’ve gotten has been from society. I wish I could tell you that it doesn’t affect us, but oh my, does it ever.

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I’ve wanted to be a mom my whole life. I. Love. Kids. God has given me such a heart for children – they lift me up when I’m down and fill me with incredible joy, even after a rough night of babysitting. And I still remember when and where I was when God called me to be a stay-at-home mom.

What a weird calling. – I remember thinking when my sister told me a friend of hers heard that very thing from God. Who’s “called” to be a mom? It’s kind of funny when you think about it – that the very thing one finds so strange or ridiculous, is often the very thing God calls you closer toward.

I was 16 years old. And I never imagined how quickly motherhood would come. If you would have asked me before that point what I dreamed for my life, I would have said I wanted to be married at 23 and have children at 26.

Yeah, that didn’t happen!

This new “career path,” you could call it, completely changed my life. I was about to become a senior in high school – the year you begin to decide hardcore what you’ll be doing with the next decade of your life. I used to want to become a photographer, a counselor, a writer – and now I wanted to be a mom? How do you tell people that when they ask what you “want to be when you grow up”? Yeah, it’s cute when you’re four years old, but as a senior, ready to graduate?

I planned on attending LCCC for a year and a half, since I had already accrued 30 credit hours in high school and finishing my Associate’s wouldn’t cost a penny. Usually telling people that appeased the conversation, but sometimes the follow-up question would be “What are you going for?” Usually I would say writing, just because I still enjoyed it and may want to go back to school for it some day, but when I did say “I’m not going for anything in particular. I just want to be a mom,” it was almost as if the conversation came to a screeching halt and the only word they could get out was “Oh.”

So I avoided the subject.

And then I got married.

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Society says you need to “experience college.”

Society says you need to get married after college.

Society says you need to wait to have children until you’re “ready.”

I’m not saying that you’re “wrong” if you did it like that. I’m saying that what we did was different, but what we did shouldn’t be labeled as “wrong” either.

And I’m not gonna try to prove it to you. I’m not even gonna tell you all the times we’ve received backlash – be it directly or indirectly. I could talk till my breath runs out of all the reasons why we did it the way we did, but would it change the views of society? No. So I’m not going to try.

All I want to say is I am absolutely in love with Nick. I love being married to him. I love doing life with him. I have loved growing up and maturing with him. And I am loving the prospect of becoming parents. I cannot wait for the day I hear our little girl call him “Daddy!”

Yes, I’m 20 years old. All I have is an Associate’s degree, and I can’t even legally drink. But I’ve been married for over 2 years to an incredible, Godly man, and we are exploding with anticipation over the arrival of our baby girl. I cannot wait to be a mom!

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I have loved every minute of being pregnant. I guess you can’t really complain when you didn’t get a lick of morning sickness, can still run 2 miles once or twice a week, and have the ability to lay flooring and mulch your garden beds over halfway through your pregnancy!

What makes this all that much better is the fact that we’re having a girl. Nick and I both felt as if God was preparing our hearts for a girl long before we knew that she was. If you would have asked us what we wanted when we first found out I was pregnant, we would have said a boy. But as the weeks went by, we realized more and more that God had a very different plan for us, and he knew exactly how to prepare us for it. We would have been fine either way of course, but we are oh so very excited to meet her!

I feel as if I am on cloud 9, 24/7. Every little flutter I feel, even every kick to my bladder makes me smile. The idea of becoming a mother for the last 4 years has been just that – an idea. And now it’s reality. So to see my belly grow and feel her kick is so incredibly exciting. And I love seeing the smiles on every face when we talk about it! It doesn’t just make me happy – it fills everyone around me with joy, and I love that so much!

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A while back, I went with my mom over to the house of the neighbor I grew up next door to. She’s an old spitfire, devout Catholic, and altogether a phenomenal lady who never ceases to make me smile! She had us over for tea and cookies and good, old-fashioned conversation, and I hadn’t seen her in a while since at this point I was already married, so we were catching up on what had been going on in our lives.

Of course the topic of school came to the surface, and since she already knew I was going to LCCC, she asked the typical question, “What are you studying?”

At this point, that question had been totally exhausted in my mind. I had been asked it so many times before that point, so all I could do was let out a sigh. I didn’t really want to answer the question. I wanted to say “Well, I’d like to go into writing after I get my Associate’s,” but I knew in my heart that wasn’t what I really wanted. So fully expecting the same “Oh” reaction I got from everyone else, I told her “I’m only getting my Associate’s because it’s free. All I want to be is a mom.”

She had been walking into the kitchen as I was answering her question and, I kid you not, she stopped right in her tracks, turned around with big eyes, walked toward the dining room table, pointed her finger at me and said “YES! Motherhood is a vocation!’

I was so taken aback by the positivity in her voice – she was so thrilled to hear those words come from my mouth. I went over there one other time for a bible study and she nearly bragged to the women there, “You know what this young lady wants to be? A mother!”

I think I can safely say that ever since that moment at my neighbor’s dining room table, I have not been ashamed of God’s calling for my life.

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Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your love and support and congratulations and just everything you all have done to encourage us through every circumstance. I could not be more grateful for the people we have in our lives. I can’t wait for you all to meet our little girl come July!

 

~ Leah

3 Comments

Ed Hetrick

about 1 year ago

Love, love, love, LOVE what you said! Your husband has one incredible wife! Your daughter has one incredible mother!

Reply

Cindy Grove

about 1 year ago

Great article, Leah! I remember one of my college professors telling me that she thought I just wanted to be a mom. I did get my associates and bachelors degrees and worked several years before I was blessed to become a mom. I had to wait until age 34 to become pregnant but I truly loved being pregnant and being the mom to I had waited to be. We are so excited for Nick and you and can't wait to meet baby girl Artman in July!!!

Reply

Donna Coe

about 1 year ago

Wow Leah, this could be my story! I remember thinking as a teen that all I wanted was to be a mom; even back then it was hard to admit that. I made good grades in school and everyone expected me to go to college, but I just wanted to be a mom! My first child, also a girl was, born when I was 20. I also was married at the age of 18. I'm so sorry people caused you to feel as if your choice of a "career" was inferior. It truly isn't. It is one of the most important jobs a woman can have. To love, nurture, teach, and mold a beautiful little soul is the most glorious thing! Congratulations on the birth of Lily! Enjoy every precious moment God gives you with her!

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