This is the only post in the On Marry Young Series that I actually requested from a fellow blogger. Caitlin previously wrote a piece for this series entitled, Less is More Than Enough. I had been wanting to write a post on deciding when to start a family when you marry young, but it just never seemed to happen. When Caitlin announced her pregnancy, I knew she would be a perfect person to address this topic! If you love following pregnancy, after reading this post, you must check out her blog and read all her adorable "bumpdates". She's 34 weeks now, so you don't have too long to wait before an exciting baby announcement either.
My husband and I got married at 21 and 22, and now, two years later, we are joyfully expecting our first baby!
With the average age of marriage being around 27 for women and 29 for men (and climbing), and with couples waiting several years after that to start a family, I realize that our situation is not the norm. Add that to the fact that I’m finishing up with grad school and we’re living in a one bedroom apartment, and people start questioning our sanity!
If you had asked me in college, I would have never thought that I would start a family this young. While Thomas and I always wanted children, we saw it as something in the far future. Even when I started grad school, we figured we would probably start having children a few years after I started working.
Sure enough, all of that changed. God moved our hearts once we began using Natural Family Planning, and our desire to have a family grew once we started discerning his plan. We started to actively seek out when HE wanted us to start a family rather than what WE thought might be best. He opened our eyes to the fact that December might be a good opportunity to have a child. I would graduate from grad school that month, and I could potentially take a few months off to take care of the baby before having to find a job and pay back student loans. Yet, we were still so uncertain. All the married couples around around us, even if they desired children, were putting it off until they attained a certain lifestyle first. It still seemed kind of crazy to start a family right after finishing school when I should be getting a job, saving up money, and planning for a house.
Nevertheless, we continued to pray relentlessly that God would give us a sign about his timing for our family. He certainly answered our prayers on that one! We heard several stories in the same week from couples who had started their families while they lived in a small apartment and did not have much money to go around. They openly shared how it was challenging, but so rewarding, and how it enriched their families and caused them to focus on the important things. We see them living such fulfilled, holy lives now and we see the beauty in starting a family young. We also went to an inspiring talk at church that week about the importance of love and families, and we felt God continuing to tug at our hearts.
Things are different than they were back in the day when it was normal for people to get married and have children young while living a simple lifestyle. Now society encourages couples to have certain things before having children – a house, a Pinterest-worthy nursery, years to just enjoy being married and to travel, and more than enough money in the bank. We knew that if we were to wait for me to work for a few years after graduating to make more money and get a house, we would be putting ourselves in a much more financially stable position, and would be in a place to attain much more wealth for our future. We questioned what was really most important to us and what God would most want for us. I really believe that people focus so much on planning and preparing nowadays that they lose sight of God’s plan for them. Trust me, I know that well, as I was a huge control freak throughout college, wanting everything to go according to my plan. God has been working on my heart over the past few years to get rid of that tendency and to trust wholeheartedly in his plans (which far outweigh my own EVERY time).
We put our full trust in the Lord, and I really do think we correctly discerned his plan for us as we found out in the spring we were expecting a baby December 1st! We were filled with a joy unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and that joy has only continued to grow throughout my pregnancy!
Life is so simple and sweet right now as we prepare for the arrival of this baby. We’re not concerned with putting together a beautiful nursery or buying new things, but on building up our love for one another and for God so that we can be role models for this precious baby. We may not be doing things the way society thinks we should, but really and truly, anything society could offer us pales in comparison to the joy of waiting to meet our baby boy!
God has revealed to us time and time again that he has greater things in store than what we could even begin to imagine. It is chilling to think that if we had chosen to selfishly pursue worldly things over being open to God’s gift of life, this sweet child would never exist. This tiny, dependent baby will soon grow up to carry out God’s unique plan for him, leaving his own imprint on the world that only he was chosen to make. His life is worth infinitely more than anything we could ever choose to own or pursue as a young, married couple.
Caitlin is a Catholic woman and first time expecting mother who blogs at Savor His Goodness about the joys in life. She loves baking, running, and dreaming about her baby boy.