By no means am I promoting teenage pregnancy. I have a teenager, and I know teenagers, and I promise I would never suggest that getting pregnant is something any of them should do for at least 10 more years. However, I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant (young, but at least out of high school), and now, at 33, I'm finally getting ready for baby number 2. While the biological process is exactly the same, it blows my mind how much I have changed, and how much baby-culture has changed, in the past 15 years.
15 years? Wow. Should I really be surprised that so much has changed?
In October of 1998, I was in my first semester as an undergrad. I planned to study Psychology, but I hated Psych 101, and I decided becoming a psychologist wasn't what I wanted to do at all. This left me, when I found out I was pregnant, with no big plan for the future, except that now when I looked into it, I saw this baby, and I knew this baby would grow into a person, and my plan was to do whatever I needed to do to give this baby-person a good life.
Throughout my pregnancy, I lived with my parents and worked full-time in customer service. I made a decent amount of money and had amazing insurance, so beyond going to work and thinking about my baby, I had no real responsibilities or passions to occupy my time. I essentially grew up with my son, discovering my passions and what mattered to me while he was doing the same (though he was also learning to talk and walk, etc.).
15 years later, I'm working full-time again, but also raising a teenager and being a wife and trying to remember to feed a cat and finding time to write and teaching writing workshops and trying to find time to cook amazing things and finding time to sew, and I have friends I like to spend time with, and I have family (and in-law family) living close by, and I like to see them sometimes. Now, instead of growing my own life around my baby's, I have to fit this baby into my life.
So far, it's been hard to balance life and pregnancy-- because I actually have a life that I spent a lot of time building, and I care deeply about maintaining all of its frenzy and joy. And this balance is especially difficult because so much has changed: BPA free? Cloth or disposable? Organic? Homemade? I have so many more decisions to make, because my values have changed and the world has changed and baby-culture has changed.
Cloth diaper research alone has taken up so much of my writing time and brain-power. I'm not the kind of gal who needs to know everything about cloth diapering, but I'm pretty serious about making informed decisions, and there's so much information! I'm also determined not to be bamboozled by the baby-marketers, which makes me extra-leery of anything I read.
At the end of the day (which is now around 8-9pm), I remind myself that all a baby needs is love and a safe space. I did this once when I was just a kid-- how hard can it be as an adult? Even if Lil' Bean is drinking out of a bottle and suffering from "nipple confusion," he/she will eventually grow up to be a good person (fingers crossed?), like his/her big brother. It's just a matter of shifting priorities a bit and saying no to some things. Like any other animal, I'll have to adapt. We'll all adapt. By now, we're professionals at adapting.