It seems like every other day, there is a new headline about how millennials are delaying, or changing, the standard trajectory of adulthood. We're putting off having kids or buying homes, choosing to travel or build careers instead of "settling down" and experiencing something as life-changing as pregnancy. What I didn't realize, until I became mom myself, is that while having a baby is a big life change that we all build up in our minds, there are so many weird life moments that are similar to having a baby. Like, shockingly similar. We all experience these monumental life shifts, whether it's procreating or traveling or dating that one person we really shouldn't have dated but did anyway because, well, poor life decisions are a thing.
I've, personally, followed a fairly traditional path that involved college, a brief stint living alone in a big city, moving in with a partner, marriage, dog, baby, and finally, a successful twitter interaction with Michael Bolton. Now, before you think I’m super basic, let me be the first to tell you that I also have a nine-year-old pet rabbit and I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, so, no, I’m not the exact same girl you went to high school with.
As it turns out, I found the whole “having a baby” thing to be, for me, the most significant as far as major life changes go. This probably does not come as a surprise to most people. However, it’s also not the only major life I've experience, and so many of the other big moments I've had mirrored that one time I birthed a human being, and probably even prepared me for motherhood. Let’s go on a brief magic carpet ride through life and consider some of these major milestones alongside the birth of a child, shall we?
Walking across a stage is a perfect metaphor for bringing forth a new human into the world, right? And just think, both experiences involve robes, tears, and dangly tassels. Wait, what? Who said that?
Getting A Dog
I'd be remiss if I didn't include dog ownership in the list of similar life experiences as parenting. The resemblance is striking, with each scenario you're so overcome by snuggly cuteness that you can overlook confusing lack of communication, the poop, and the drool.
Let's compare, shall we? Both produce a jet-laggy feeling, inspire tons of photos, and require you to carry around a heavy bag with more stuff than you actually need. They're so close it's practically uncanny.
Moving In With A Partner
Nothing requires a change in routine like suddenly sharing space with an additional person. No matter how much time you spend together (including the hours spent with someone in your womb), it's an adjustment to go from "mine" to "ours."
Confusing, complicated, and you don't know where to find anything? Eating questionable food because you don't have the time, or energy, to seek out something better? Wishing you'd done more to prepare? Check, check, and check.
Starting A New Job
"Hello, yes, employer? I'm trying to look completely capable but inside I'm crying."
Your First Cup Of Coffee
You're not quite sure how, but deep down, you know you've been forever changed. There's a hint of bitterness, a hint of sweetness, but it's the most instinctual thing you've ever done. Your body takes over.
Prom Dress Shopping
You have high expectations for how it will all go, and you suspect it will make you feel like a natural woman. However the actual experience involves more discarded clothing on the floor than you ever imagined it would.
Wearing A Costume As An Adult
You feel like you're fooling everyone with your facade. It's cool, we all are.
Meeting Your Partner’s Parents
I only have very vague memories of meeting my spouse's parents (lovely as they are), I think I've blocked it from memory because I was so worked up. A similar thing has happened to my memories of birth. What happened in that room? Why were the lights so bright? How many people were crying? I'll never know.
Listening To The Backstreet Boys For The First Time
If ever a moment spoke to my core and brought me to a new stage of awareness at my own life's purpose and role here on Earth, this was it.