I had never planned on being a mother and, up until I found out I was pregnant with my son, believed that it was physically impossible for me to become a mom. I have endometriosis, which makes my chances pretty slim to borderline none, and had come to terms with the idea that motherhood wasn't in the cards. When I became a mom I was super excited and very grateful and have carried both those emotions with me as I face parenting challenges. Still, there are times when being a mom in your 20s is the worst, and I think it's important to highlight the good and the bad if I'm going to really experience (and be honest about) everything that motherhood has to offer.
I was 26 when I found out I was pregnant and 27 when I had my son so, according to most people, I was "old enough" to have a baby. Even then, I was told that my "life as over" and I wouldn't be able to do the things I wanted to do (career wise, or otherwise) because I was going to be a mother. None of those thought processes were true, of course, but that doesn't mean that I don't have my moments when I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I mean, I'm human and have this ridiculously want to do all of the things all of the time, even when it's impossible. Do I regret being a mother? Absolutely not. Would I go back and change my mind so that I could be kid-free? No freakin' way. I love my son and the life I have created with my son, and the infrequent moments when I feel like I'm missing out because I'm a mom, don't change that fact. Not at all.
Still, I think it's important that we're honest about the complex feelings that surround motherhood. A woman who decides to be a mother isn't always happy all the time, and when she's a mom in her 20s, well, she will probably feel like being a mom sometimes sucks, especially during the following situations:
When You Feel Like You're Still Figuring Yourself Out
I'd be quick to argue that you're always trying to figure yourself out, regardless of how old you are. However, when I found out I was pregnant and decided I was ready and willing and able to become a mother, I couldn't help but think that, only a few years ago, I was eating nothing but take out and barely making rent. It can seem almost surreal that you go from semi-irresponsible human to a human completely responsible for someone else.
When those thoughts re-enter your mind at multiple times throughout motherhood (and trust me, they will) it can be overwhelming. Whenever I felt like I was overwhelmed, I couldn't help but end up thinking that maybe, just maybe, I can't handle parenthood. Thankfully, I've learned (and had other people tell me) that this is pretty normal.
When People Assume Your "Life Is Over"
Because society has successfully convinced women (and everyone) that motherhood means giving up every single aspect of your life or personality, a lot of people are quick to assume that once you have a baby your life is "over." It isn't, I can assure you. Women have babies and continue to have successful careers or graduate school or do whatever it is they set out to do. They still have social lives and they still travel and they're not bound to their houses while they watch their dreams eviscerate before their eyes. So when you're forced to hear someone say this to you (or around you or about you) it can be, well, frustrating.
When You Feel Like You're Missing Out
To be fair, FOMO hits everyone, not just mothers. Still, when you're in your 20s and you're watching your friends travel around the world and stay out until morning and make random, spontaneous plans, you can't help but feel like you're missing out. It's so normal and one of those "the grass isn't always greener" type situations. Would you give up your baby to be able to live a completely care-free life again? Nope. Not a chance, and that honestly should go without saying (and would, if we didn't judge mothers for having very human emotions and feelings about parenthood). It's normal to feel like you're on the outside looking in, even when the outside is awesome.
When People Doubt Your Capabilities Because Of Your Age
Society seems to have an idea of what is an "acceptable" age to have a baby. If you're in your early twenties (or even mid-to-late twenties, depending on where you live) people could be quick to doubt if you're "ready" to have a baby, as if they are at all capable of deciding that for you.
I had plenty of people tell me that having a baby wasn't a good idea or that I would struggle to handle the life changes coming my way. Honestly, it's just one of those things that you kind of have to ignore. Everyone is going to have an opinion, but no one is capable of deciding when you're ready to have a baby, but you.
When Working And/Or Going To School Is Significantly Harder
Having a baby makes things harder. I mean, it's also wonderful and so much fun and something I am so grateful I have had the ability to do, but it also makes things harder. Working is harder and even just going outside is harder and random things that didn't seem to take much effort, suddenly require an infinite amount of energy. When that energy is at a low, being a mom can be the worst. It doesn't mean you hate being a mother and it doesn't mean you regret being a mother and it doesn't mean anything other than you're a tired human being.
When You Haven't Had The Chance To Travel
I didn't travel the world before I had a baby, not because I had a baby before I had the opportunity, but because I never had the money to have the opportunity available to me. Sometimes, it can be a bummer to see my friends or acquaintances post pictures of their jet-setting adventures, when I haven't been to Europe. Of course, much of this has to do with privilege, because I could easily travel with my son (and have traveled with him across the country multiple times to see family and move) but to really travel and see the world requires an amount of money I just don't have, and probably won't have for a while.
When Your Friends Can Go Out, And You Can't
To be completely honest, nights out just don't appeal to me the way they used to. I would much rather stay in with my family (most nights) than go out and pay expensive covers and nurse a hangover, or just exhaustion, the next morning. Still, from time-to-time, when friend are getting together and I can't, it's difficult not to feel that dreaded FOMO again. What can I say? I'm human.