No Babies ’til 2015*

Proof that the future Lenzi children will be pretty freakin' adorable.

I live in baby town. I don’t know what the number of pregnant women in our mile square is, but it is a LOT. No seriously, we even have an annual baby parade. I can’t go one day without seeing a pregnant woman in Hoboken, and while I’m at work, this number bumps (get it? bumps?) up to at least three in an eight-hour period. But somehow, the other day after a discussion about our managers adorable new baby, a coworker caught me completely off-guard when he asked, “When are you going to start having kids?”

My internal reaction was that of, “Who me?!” That might sound ridiculous, but Nick and I haven’t quite been married six months yet, so I am still getting used to the idea of being a wife. The idea of becoming a mommy at this current point in time is almost incomprehensible to me. This question is brand new to me, and doesn’t make me mad or feel like my personal space has been invaded, but it weirds me out a little (as I shared on Facebook).

I never thought the idea of becoming a parent would provide such a shock to my system. Growing up, I went through various career ambitions as a kid: pop star, architect, interior designer… but the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be a wife and a mother someday. I had always figured I would marry by 23 and begin having kids within a few years later. After all, that is what my mother did, and I saw her fulfill those quite wonderfully.

I struggled after high school to determine what I really wanted to do with my life. My ideal career path plan while at Bible College would have been to fall in love with a youth ministry major, and we would impact kids together. But things didn’t turn out that way. During my sophomore year of college, I finally figured out what I wanted to do: write. I had always loved to write and had outlets for it through high school with English and creative writing courses, but once those ready-made outlets were gone, I began to realize how much I missed it. By Christmas of my sophomore year, I knew what I had to do: transfer to Temple University in Philadelphia and pursue a degree in journalism.

I was sort of surprised to witness myself falling in love with this writing discipline. The study came easy, and I made A’s with grace. I received praise from my professors and good reviews from local editors to whose publications I pitched. With each passing semester, I could see my future more clearly, and my internship with Philadelphia Magazine solidified it: I was meant to work in magazine. I had figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

Each year I creeped closer to twenty-three, I understood that plan A for marriage and babies probably wasn’t going to work out. And by the time I hit twenty-three, I had developed so many commitment issues and career ambitions that I declared, “I’m not dating until I’m thirty!” I was determined to pursue my dream job and try not to let the frustration of operating under plan B distract me.

Well, we know well that worked out! This year, at twenty-five, I got married. As fate (or God’s divine providence) would have it, I married someone who lives and works in NYC, which is the Mecca for magazine journalism. So now that I am here, with my dreams within fingertips’ reach, the idea of getting pregnant somewhat terrifies me. I know that my gut reaction, if I was to find out tomorrow that I am pregnant, would be anger. It would be grief. I would feel as if I was watching my editing dreams circle down the drain. I would be angry with God for bringing me so close only to snatch it all away. I want to have the financial freedom to travel more, and check some things off my bucket list. I deeply identify with Rachel Held Evans when she says she’s afraid of motherhood.

Now I realize people can be moms and have a career, but I’ve also always pictured myself being at home once I have kids. Again, this is something my mother modeled for me, and I am eternally grateful for. She was my playmate, and eventually confidant and friend. Sending my kid to daycare is about the most unappealing idea in the world. The cost of living in NYC is absolutely unbelievable, so you have to be making gobs of money to be able to drop $30K a year on a nanny. My revised life plan in the past few years has become: get an editing job, make enough industry connections to build a substantial network, then freelance from home when you have kiddos. In that order.

But here’s the contradiction to all of the things I’ve previously said: I believe that regardless of what I accomplish in a professional career, I am almost positive that what I accomplish as a wife and a mother will be infinitely more important to me in the long run. And I know that I will absolutely fall head-over-heels seeing Nick as a father. He is great with kids, and this is one of the reasons I married him.

The growing popularity of “mommy blogs” gives me hope that regardless of what happens, I will still have a place for my voice, and an abounding amount of stories to tell. Blogs like Enjoying the Small Things absolutely make me beam. Kelle Hampton loves her girls and her life so fiercely, that every time I read it I immediately begin daydreaming about how incredible my own family will be one day. It makes me excited to meet my little ones yet to be created, to experience the world through their eyes, and for life to seem a little bit more magical.

So the answer to when we’ll start having kids is hopefully not for quite a few more years. For now I declare, “I’m not getting pregnant until I’m at least thirty!” But I will try to hold that loosely, because I know how well that declaration worked out last time.

 

*2015 subject to change 😉

12 thoughts on “No Babies ’til 2015*

  1. hey, remember what your mom’s rule was about getting your ears pierced?? just a thought, but um… come 2015, you might find yourself in a similar position… you might want to generalize that time frame a little…

  2. This sounds familiar… oh wait, that’s right… I said it, too hahaha. Just don’t get TOO used to the idea of 2015 b/c sometimes life likes to surprise the crap out of you.

    1. Meg, if this is too personal, feel free to decline, but if you weren’t planning on getting pregnant so soon, I would like to know what your reaction was to finding out you were pregnant with baby A!

      And it’s true, I fully recognize that life often turns out to be completely different (and even better!) than our plans and expectations 🙂

  3. Erika,
    Having Samuel and Stephen has been the most amazing gift of my life, but so was becoming Scott’s wife. As you say, being Mrs. Lenzi is still a new delight. Don’t let anyone rush you into decisions that are yours and Nick’s to make. My advice is to enjoy every precious day and wait for God’s guidance on everything to come!

    Aunt Susan

  4. I support you! Oh Erika, as I read this post I found myself nodding along. After nearly 3 years of marriage this bomb of a question still catches me off guard, but in a completely different way. Where I once used to be endlessly terrified of that extra pink line, I’ve now come to trust my BC (Implanon for anyone interested. BEST DECISION EVER) and relish the childfree life. We’re finally at a place where people look at our lives and see the value in the other things we’re doing instead of starting a family. Presently, for what might be the first time, I think everyone else would be equally shocked if we announced the impending arrival of little Clouses. Paul and I have had more conversations than I can count about what kind of parents we’d like to be, what we want to do before we make that decision, and if in fact we ever desire to actually be parents. More often than not we circle back to the “probably” column, but truly I’m still pretty solidly on the fence. It’s hard though, because socially we’ve found ourselves feeling a little left behind. It’s a tricky tightrope walk to nurture meaningful friendships when no one seems to understand. I have been made to feel (at best) like less of a woman and (at worst) some kind of child-eating monster. I’ve spent endless hours assuring people that I don’t hate children and do in fact have a soul. What is it about our society that insists it’s women choose between edifying Samantha Jones or Betty Homemaker? Enjoy your childfree world and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it! love love.

  5. I love this! It is just so true for me too. I am not yet wed, but I know that when it occurs, I will want plenty of time to enjoy my life as a wife. My bucket list is looonnnggggg and some of it just can’t (or I don’t want it to) get accomplished before marriage. So I need time. I think that having the joy of planning for a child is beautiful… and for me this involves a psychological and spiritual process of shedding my selfish nature. I don’t think it will ever be gone entirely but I want to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices. Should I ever get pregnant before planned, I somehow imagine I would adjust, but it would be so much harder. So here’s to BC and planning and achieving life in the order and time frame each couple chooses!

  6. Amen, Mrs L!! You spoke the words of my heart! I’m still trying to figure out how to be the wife God calls me to be…even after 14 (almost) months. He knows our heart, desires & needs. Thanks for sharing this!!! Love ya

  7. Erica! So excited to hear from you – thanks so much for the post! I can’t wait to start reading your blog too – they can be addicting! Yes, I love writing and it is a nice little outlet. Keep chasing your dreams, I know you are going to do great things!!!
    ❤ Sheila 🙂

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