I was 22. Young(er), (slightly) more energetic, and with the best girl this side of the Mississippi. I had a comfortable amount of money in my account – enough to cover my fiancee, our apartment, and all our expenses. Everything was much simpler back then.
My fiancee and I were in a phenomenal place. We were comfortable, happy, and so in love. We worked during the day, made delicious homemade dinners together in the evening, and cuddled together, watching our shows, before ravishing each other at night. Butter didn’t even come close to how smooth things went for us back in the day. So what happened?
Well, on one fateful night, we’d finished up our regular routine when suddenly I feel her head shift on my chest and her chin rest on my shoulder. My fiancee looks me in the eyes and says the words, “we should have a baby.” Without hesitation, I mirrored her stare and said, “okay, let’s do it.”
“I’m not kidding. I want to have a baby.”
To which I said, “neither am I. Let’s do it.”
Bear in mind, my fiancee is just over two and a half years younger than I am. Two years and seven months to be exact. But she is the most dedicated, and stubborn, person I have ever met. After this short conversation, she went off her birth control and took to studying.
I think she may have read everything under the sun when it came to parenting, newborns, and most importantly, childbirth. It was so inspiring.
My fiancee, who I am not sure wants to legitimately be named, is not someone who takes kindly to the concept of “buyers remorse.” From yarn to crochet with, all the way up to a car she may be interested in, she’s a studious little bug. She didn’t just want this baby, she took the parenting test and passed with flying colors. She earned this baby.
She learned when her birth control should wear off, any complications that could come with the pregnancy, and everything she should need to know when it came to C-Sections – an affliction the last few generations of women in her family had to endure to bring their children into the world.
When I saw her excitement about just the idea of having a child, I couldn’t help but mirror and triple mine. I knew a lot of things at this point in time, but the greatest, most beautiful and amazing thing I knew, was that this perfect woman in front of me was going to bring our child into the world. Boy, girl, I didn’t care. As long as we were together and our child was healthy, we would have enough.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “What? You were only 22. What were you thinking?”
Well, I was thinking that I wanted to have a baby. At 22. I wanted one earlier, honestly. The only thing preventing me from having a child sooner was that she didn’t feel ready. And when she finally was, well, I was wholeheartedly in. And the coming January after our decision was made, roughly 7-8 months later, she stumbled into our room on a Saturday morning with the best thing I had seen in my life up to that point. A little white stick, freshly peed on, showing a positive result. We were having a baby.
Her becoming pregnant at such a young age didn’t come without challenges. There is a ton of stigma that follows people our age falling into parenthood. For one, we aren’t married. Getting married during the pregnancy has a real “shotgunny” feeling to it, too, so now we have to wait until after the baby is born. Then, there’s the financial aspect. Like I said before, I had some money in the bank. Not a ton, but enough to be comfortable with just the two of us.
Couple those things in with her car, at the time, being insured by her mother, something that would later cause us to be without one vehicle, and my car being a rear wheel drive, Michigan weather nightmare, and you have a cool stress cocktail only the young and pregnant can consume. Non-alcoholic, of course.
But none of those things really mattered. She wanted to be a mother, I wanted to be a father. I was happy, she was happy, and our baby was happy. It’s been over four years since we decided to have our son. He turned three a few months ago. Outside of a little cold, he’s a perfectly happy, healthy, beautiful little boy. All we could have ever dreamed of, plus a billion more.
Choosing to become a parent at a young age is not for the faint of heart, but it’s not a decision I would ever go back and change.
The key to being a good parent at this age is actually committing to it. Life doesn’t stay the same once the stick comes back positive. And you, well, you don’t change after your baby is born. Unless, you choose to change. Being a father is both a magical thing and a privilege.
If you and your partner are ready and willing to give it your all in your own respective ways, I say go for it. And if you become pregnant without the prior expectation, just know the rough parts are a fleeting moment when you play your memory tape back later.
I love being a dad.