Toph took these pics right quick after church yesterday and I really, really like them. :)
Sometimes I get embarrassed to tell people I had my first baby at 21 (very much) on purpose. I mean, if you can do simple math (I never could), duh: Bronson's four and I'm not quite 26.
When I had Bronson we lived in Utah and it was completely normal to have a baby at 21. But then we moved back to California and somewhere along the road I remembered it's not that everyday to a) be married by 19 and b) have a baby before like 32. But it was my normal so whatever, right? I wish. But I do care what people think sometimes. I feel like I have to throw in backstory every time it comes up,"Yeah I had him at 21 BUT I already had 2 college degrees by then AND we'd been married two years!"
When I'm out with just Everly people usually assume she's my first + only and it's tempting to go with it. (Ohmygosh typing that out made me cringe.) I don't need to get all up in anyone's well meaning face about it, but letting that slide is disregarding part of myself and ignoring Bronson. Having Bronson when I did has shaped who I am today so much.
Being a mom has made me braver. (Yeah right, Meredith! You're scared of everything! Shut it & let me explain!) I have to be an advocate for my kids. I don't often have time to be shy and I like this new side of me! I was theeee shyest kid ever and it was painful. I hated it. I still fight it sometimes but overall, it's a thing of the past. (Or maybe I'm just so desperate for adult conversation I'll talk to anyone?) (BUT I even drive myself all over new places now! Which is kind of a big deal too.)
Being a mom has made me healthier. After having Bronson I freaked and was all, "I'm NEVER going to lose all this weight!!" So I tried Slimfast and not eating and overexercising and tons of smarts like that. But then I realized what actually works is eating well and when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full and exercising in normal amounts (wha??). I would LOVE to be one of those women who can pop out a baby and be back to a size whatevs immediately (and have no stretch marks, extra skin, etc.) but because I'm not (not even at 21!) I've learned a lot about nutrition and what's healthy for me.
Being a mom has made me more patient. In general/most of the time.
Being a mom has solidified my interests. When I was in college I thought about going to law school, teaching, writing, midwifery, becoming a dental hygienist, quitting and moving home forever, editing; lots of things. Like a lot of students, I had no definite plan. Anyway, now I'm extremely interested in becoming a doula. People are probably really sick of hearing me wax poetic about labor and delivery BUT I just feel really strongly that women should feel empowered (or at least happy) with their labor experience! I know the outcome we're looking for is a healthy baby and that can be achieved many ways, but I also know that labor is such a pivotal life experience and when a woman is pressured or made to feel like she's not a part of the birthing equation: Hells no. I'm not advocating for everyone to go natural! No no no. I'd just love to help women have a better birthing experience in whatever way they prefer. Stopping there. (I could go on for days.)
Being a mom has made me more empathetic. Almost to a fault. I watch the news and just cry my eyes out over cruelty. I want to hold all the babies from those, "Just 50 cents day!" commercials. I feel like I look outside of myself more.
So maybe this comes off as a list of Look at all the ways I'm awesome! Or maybe it's eye roll inducing, "Meredith, you don't have to be a mom to become all of this. It happens just by growing up." Maybe. I obviously don't know. People say your 20's are for "finding yourself" and I have. Motherhood helped me get here and I didn't go in knowing, hoping or expecting it would, but I'm really grateful that it did.
Currently (especially where we live) I feel like there's a giant push towards kids equaling a waste of time. Why have a child when you could REALLY BE LIVING LIFE?! I obviously think you should be ready if you decide to go for it kidwise (as in: there are no take backs, kids are usually for keeps), but I also know that when we had Bronson was the right (right right right!) time for us.
Sidenote: Whenever I hear "22" I want to sing, "I don't know about you, but when I was 22 it felt like the perfect night to stay up nursing!" for whatever that's worth. #nothing