The Thoughts From the Past

Once thing I enjoy about this blog is the fact that I’ll be able to look back and see how much my thoughts, ideals and opinions have changed. I can already look back at a few things I’ve posted just moths ago and see that my opinions have changed.

I came across a popular post I wrote on Myspace three years ago. I was very passionate and upset at how so many people I was around were asking things like “How many kids do you have?–Oh” It was getting quite annoying. Now can I preface this and say my mind has changed a lot since then? I was very opinionated at this time about all the people around me who were pregnant and telling me I should be too. I felt like all the while I was trying not to be judgemental these people had no right to judge ME. That is what inspired this rant:

Thursday, August 10, 2006
What is wrong with women these days? (This may seem offensive)

Ok… not that I am being judgmental or anything because everyone is entitled to an opinion. So don’t take what I am saying in an offensive way.

I am so annoyed with how many women here in Utah (especially Utah County) are such cop-outs. Ok… that is a harsh phrase to use. Let me better explain myself…

I don’t understand why so many women just say “I don’t want to work so I’m going to have kids.” Kids are wonderful blessings but that doesn’t mean you have to have them when you are 21. And don’t give me this “well you may not be able to have kids when you’re older” crap; because that’s a load of you know what.

If that was the case a majority of people in the US wouldn’t be marrying in their late 20s and even later have children.

I’m tired of people looking at me like I’m the strange one for being married for a year and a half and not sitting on the nest. What happened to being ambitious, and enjoying work, studies, life, your spouse, traveling, making a difference in the world? And yes, you can make a difference in your child’s life as well, but so will I when I’m established, have a career, graduate degree(s), a house and maturity under my belt.

And don’t look at me like I’m the selfish one. Just because I want to be older than 23 when I have a child does not mean I am “worldly.” (And for the record I will be in my 30s when I have my first child).

Elizabeth Vargas–recently retired ABC anchor in NYC just had her 2nd child at 43. Now I’m not saying I want to be that old, I’m just saying you can be and that’s ok. My mom had me at age 18 and just had a baby last year at 38 (there are 3 in between us). I will be done before I am 38 and have kids out of the house about the same time as most people who start now.

Don’t tell me if I don’t have kids now or if I keep putting it off that I will never want to have kids or that I will be “punished” for not having them now. …I’m not even going to get started on that.

It’s not that I don’t like kids; it’s just that I’m not ready. And the more and more I hear people talking about wanting to get pregnant the more it drives me away from wanting to. I’m not ready to jump on the band wagon and do what everyone else is doing.

I’m sorry but I want to wait until I can afford a child first of all. I am not a fan of taking out loans and using other people’s money to raise a family. I know accidents happen (an no, accidents are not ‘forgetting to take your birth control and getting caught in the moment’ you are asking for it.) but accidents aren’t “well, we’ll just take our chances and see what happens… chances are you’ll get pregnant, so don’t tempt fate. I also don’t buy the “we couldn’t afford birth control that month” (and yes, someone has told me this excuse, no lie). I’m sorry but if you can’t afford birth control (a box of condoms for $5) then how do you expect to be able to afford a baby?

I do not plan on just working part time (both me and my husband while we are both still in school) and taking out student loans because “we should start our families now.” Everyone can start their families when they want, and I plan on being debt free (besides a house) before having a child. I don’t want to bring a child into this world with debt or other people’s money. And don’t tell me “everyone’s doing it” (and yes, I have heard this excuse), because not everyone is doing it, and I don’t blame them. I don’t really see it logical to stay at home, not work, and raise a child while my husband is finishing up school and working part time (if at all). Why? Why put yourself through that? You have plenty of years of fertility.

I am beginning to think women around here want to have kids so young for two main reasons. 1. Because they don’t want to work and 2. Because everyone else is and it just seems right.

Now there is no need to bring religion into this because we all know it is between husband, wife and the Lord to decide when it is time for EACH INDIVIDUAL couple to have children.

Again, I am not trying to be judgmental. Do what you want, but I am telling you why I am doing what I want. Have all the babies you want, be my guest, but don’t look at me like I am the bad guy. We all have our choices and my choice is to wait.


Ouch right? I’m not trying to turn this into a controversial post like this ok so hear me out… Three years later a few things have changed. For one, I’m don’t think I’ll be in my 30s when I have my first child… Not by my choice at least. That would mean waiting another 7 years!! The crazy thing is I’ll have been married for 12 years! Well, it’s funny to see how already my opinions have changed some.

I get “The Urge” now, when I didn’t then. Though luckily I’m at a much different stage of life than I was then. Now I’m a young professional versus a student.

I’ve learned there’s not really a time that you will “afford” a child, though I think we’re better off than we were in school (thank goodness). And ESPECIALLY since the economy has been hit so bad I now understand the need for help sometimes–Because even if you do have jobs… Nowadays you could loose it at any time. Unfortunately, a job now doesn’t guarantee you a job 9 months from now.

Most of all I think I’ve learned opinions don’t matter. I have so many friends who popped babies out right away and they (seem) so happy. And how they pay their bills–With their money, our money, loan money, banked-robbed money is really none of my business. And over time, as they’ve stopped asking me when I’m going to have a kid (probably thinking I’m infertil) I’ve moved on… And I’ve stopped coming up for excuses for why I haven’t joined their club.

While I think my words will stir up some emotions, please remember I was young ;o) BUT I am wondering… Do people ever bug the crap out of you on topics like this? Do/ Did you feel pressured to get married/ have babies/ more babies when maybe you don’t feel it’s right? Have you ever felt the same way that I did then? I love open and honest discussion.

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  1. YES! You put my exact feelings into words in your 2006 post. I think that WAY too many (especially) Utah county young married girls are too immature to understand that they are not ready to for a baby.

    Wait- back up.

    I guess if they feel justified in being on WIC and Medicaid and having everyone else pay for them to bring their babies into the world because they don’t want to work while their husbands finish school than its their perogative (what happened to the counsel to be self reliant??)

    I have strong opinions about this one. I worked very, very hard (and am still working) after I graduated college at a full time job- and for what? To pay for other young wifes who don’t want to work so that they can stay at home and make babies?? And their response is “well, we didn’t have money, but we still started a family and it worked for us”. Indeed it did- BECAUSE HARD WORKING PEOPLE LIKE ME PAID FOR IT!!

    Just my (very strong) opinion. We’re all entitled to them 🙂

    Great post!

  2. I cringe when I think of my tax dollars going to support some 20 year old mom in Provo who is too scared to work while her husband is in school. The LDS church is not against birth control, so use it. I don’t like how WIC is ok within that community, but then voting democratic is looked down upon. Hm, let’s see here folks WHO brought you WIC? You’re friends the dems! LOL.

    Anyway, I digress. I’m not having a child until I’m ready. That means when I am done with school, married, and my husband is done with school. Dumb women raise dumb children. I cannot do that, and my child deserves better.

    To each their own! I remember when you wrote this post, and I liked it then, and I still appreciate what you have to say!!!

  3. Wow, a whole lot of judgement’s going on here. Like you said in your original post, it isn’t your place to judge. You may assume that a wife who stays home while her husband is in school and has a baby is on WIC or Medicaid but you don’t know. Not to mention that THESE people are the people that those kinds of programs are for- people who will later be moving on to well paying jobs that will contribute tax dollars to the system and continue the circle.

    I’ll tell you right now I cringe a lot more about my tax dollars going to support the junky mom who just keeps popping out kids for the government benefits.

    This isn’t to say that I haven’t rolled my eyes at people I knew in college getting pregnant the minute they got married at age 20. But it’s not MY life. They can be home with babies and not finishing school or whatever their situation is while I enjoy being single, or married and childless and having free-time. I’m not going to tell them how to live their life. Just like you don’t want them telling you how to live yours.

  4. Oh and I lived in Provo for 5 years and never got the impression that “WIC is ok within that community”. In fact, most people wouldn’t want to be on it and wouldn’t want people to know if they were.

  5. Oh, I just shudder at the WIC babies. I hate that I work hard so that my tax dollars can go to a Mormon Mommy. We see so much of that with Adam’s school — his friends are on their THIRD. And they want a fourth this year! And then they’ll move out of California without ever paying income tax. Lovely. Loans and government aid.

    And in Provo — my WIC friends used to give us their food because it was just soo much! And it was free so they might as well take advantage of it…

    Ick — school is a choice! Self reliance people!

    Then all those people go out and vote Republican and whine about universal health care being such a problem. Bah.

    So I’ll be working — and then when we can afford to have a babe we will. I know that “afford” to have a baby is a hard thing — you never feel rich enough — but there’s a difference. Maybe affording to have a baby is arranging with your employer to go part time. And yes, nothing is a guarantee– but if I got laid off and I was trying to have a baby, i would stop trying. I’m too much of a control freak!

  6. I remember when you first wrote that post. I was married for a year when I found that post and wondering if we should have a baby or not. I knew I wanted to finish my Bachelor’s degree but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to wait to finish all my schooling. That post totally made me want to finish school because it made me realize that I want to be able to support my children if something were ever to happen to my husband who works in the military. In order to support my family and still have a good life and not have to worry about money I decided it was best to finish all my schooling. I’m not trying to be judgmental but to me it is irresponsible to have a child when both husband and wife are going to school and they either don’t have a job or are working but can barely afford the basics. What if one of you died suddenly or had a major medical problem? I doubt most college students have life or health insurance. I know people say that if you wait until you can afford a baby that you will never afford one but too me it’s not about affording a baby. It’s about being financially responsible and being able to afford the basics and save for a rainy day. To me affording a baby would be when we have paid off our 2 cars, have a house, 6 months + in the savings account, food storage/emergency preparedness done. We are paying off one of our cars shortly thanks to a bonus my hubby got and will be working towards the other goals over the next few years. At the same time I will be going to Pharmacy School/working. I honestly think that a 19/20 year old has no idea what they are getting themselves into when they have a baby right away (not to say that they won’t be a good mother). I have had people in church who I am friends with tell me they wish they had stayed in school and finished, I didn’t want to be that person. I know my children will appreciate that I waited for them so that we could be more self reliant.

  7. And I know some people will say that we don’t need 2 cars. For our situation we do. My husband wakes up at 4 am and has to drive for 20-30 minutes to get to work and I have classes to go to at completely different times. There is no public transportation where we live, and I don’t know anyone well enough to car pool anywhere not to mention that my schedule wouldn’t be the same either. We tried having one car and it didn’t work. Hubby was mad b/c he would have to wait for hours for me or get a ride home and I was exhausted because I had to wake up really early and go to class all day. Kinda hard to pay attention when all you want to do is sleep.

  8. So, what do those of you who look down on young mothers think of me, the 22-year-old mom who worked, went to school, and GRADUATED with a baby? Who, with her husband, paid for said baby by herself? Who borrowed no money and took out no loans to have the baby? Yes, we made it work. I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree last week. I certainly didn’t have a baby to stop working! My child is 19 months old. I could have quit the moment I found out I was pregnant, but I stuck with it.

    My point is, you CAN have a baby young (when prompted by the Lord) and still have a life. And there is such a thing as sacrificing, working, giving up life’s luxuries for a baby (which is ultimately more important, anyway). It can be done– I am living proof. And I am PROUD of that fact.

    People will always look down on me for my choice to be a young mother. I used to be self-conscious about that, but not anymore. I did something not many people can say they did. But it did come with a price, and it wasn’t easy.

  9. I was raised in utah county and did feel that pressure after getting married. It definitely did pay off bigtime to get our life in order! Got married after getting my graduate degree and fulfilling most of my goals. Looking back had I gotten married in my early 20s, theres no way I would of had the opportunities that I have now to be able to work from home and be with my kids, and build my photography business. Thanks for shareing this!

  10. Jenna, I actually applaud mothers like you because I personally could never do that. I would go insane! I’m glad there are people like you out there because you actually did it with your own money. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but you did it! Working 25-30hours a week and taking 24 credit hours my last semester of University was the worst experience of my life. I don’t think I could have done both and had a baby. As long as these people that are having the baby are aware of the cost and actually put forth the effort to make it work I don’t have a problem with it. My problem is when they get married young neither of them works, has a job, and they decide that they should have a baby, the wife drops out of school, and they live on government aid. I have friends that got married young and were pregnant after 6 months of marriage, I didn’t have a problem with it because while she was pregnant she worked, she had an associates, and he had his degree and a job. So yes you can be young and have a baby, just not thoughtless. And you in no way were. 😀

  11. I agree with Sarah’s comment. If you think you are mature and responsible enough to get married and to have kids (whether in college or not), then you should certainly be mature enough to realize that you have the responsibility to to handle the obligations that go along with those decisions- including the financial ones (I commend Jenna for doing so!)

    For me, I think that my children deserve to have a well educated and secure mother. And for me, I will be a better person for- not just obtaining an education- but also gaining work experience and skills before I have children. If something were to happen to my husband after we had kids, I would feel very comfortable picking up the financial responsbilities of supporting a family and my children wouldn’t have to live with the consequences of my decisions had I not been able to do so.

    Good discussion!

  12. You should NEVER have children until you and your husband are ready. No one else is going to raise that baby for you so just ignore their suggested timetable. As for women who have kids they can’t afford? I have a VERY strong opinion about this but I tend to keep my mouth shut because my stupid baby sister got knocked up and used the services provided by the government. I wish the government paid for my delivery – we just got our first bill from the hospital – $517 is what we owe. Good thing we anticipated those costs because when we decided to have a baby financial stability was definitely a factor!

  13. I was 21 when I had my first baby. I was 25 when I had my 3rd and final baby. And I had my tubes tied at that time. My husband and I were DONE DONE DONE! He already had 3 kids from his first marriage, and one grandchild! (My husband is only 38 for the record..I’m now almost 27.)

    No one ever judged me for having my kids young. What I do get is the judgment of having had my tubes tied so young. I find it VERY insulting when people say to me “What is something happened to your marriage and you wanted to have a baby with someone else?”

    WHAT? That’s an awful thing to say to a person, don’t you think?

    And in all honesty. My decision to “get fixed” had nothing to do with just the fact that my husband and I together decided we were done. I was also done. I didn’t want to put my body through another pregnancy and then subsequent c-section again. Ever. The risks significantly increase after 3 c-sections and I do not want to risk my or another baby’s health and safety.

    Not selfish or stupid. Smart. Right?

    You are doing a great job of making your decisions YOUR way and I hope you always keep that up! When you do finally have a will have a whole slew of new decisions to make and I know you’ll do a great job of doing what is best for your husband, you, and that baby…even with the onslaught of advice you will be getting! 🙂

  14. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I love your blog…especially your layout! I think that people should have kids when they are emotionally and financially ready because once those kids come, it’s about them. I think it should be less about a date and more about being “set up”. The more financially stable the family is, the less money fights there will be and that’s a better environment for kids. Granted, there is never a perfect time to have kids, but I think that couples can do some goal setting, like what you guys are doing.

    Rarely does government benefits allow a person to feel secure nor does it provide all wants. But not all people having kids young end up needing it. And not all people waiting end up not needing it.

  15. Okay, Wayne and I aren’t even married yet and I’ve gotten comments about this from our Mormon friends! I guess they think I’m being selfish for wanting to graduate college before Wayne and I get married and have kids, and they things we should get married NOW so we can have kids NOW. Honestly, if it weren’t for the lack of money and the fact that my parents won’t pay for college if I get married, I’d marry Wayne today! So maybe I am being selfish, but I think I’m just being practical. And I think you’re doing what’s right for YOU and that’s all you can do 🙂

  16. I’m sorry, but for those of you who feel this “pressure” to get married, have kids, etc., just seems to be a load of crap. You put that on your selves. If you actually feel like that – then get out of Utah. If you don’t like being asked about your future plans with your life – then go somewhere else where people aren’t worried about that.

    Instead you guys complain and put down A LOT of girls who have been courageous enough to follow the answers that they got from their own personal prayers to start a family. Not every girl who has a baby in their early 20s wishes it would have happened that way. My husband and I both graduated a couple weeks after our first baby and never went on WIC or medicaid because the day we found out about our baby we did what we needed to so that we’d have enough money. But even so, we had friends that took the alternate route and some of you act like these people are HORRIBLE people. They aren’t. They’re going to be in your position one day and be paying for others to do what they did. And they’re not upset about it. They’re actually excited to be able to help people out.

  17. Ok-I think its kind of interesting how our opinions and ideas and ideals seem to change and maybe even mature as we do. Also, concerning your previous post…about BOY/GIRL first. We are 13 weeks pregnant and I was for sure sticking with its a girl, but then I thought I better stop saying that because I don’t want to feel the least bit let down if I’ve built my hopes on a girl and its a boy. Which, of course, like you I would be happy with either as long as they are fairly healthy especially after trying for quite a while and having no luck! My husband thinks it’s a boy (because thats what he wants…I think all men do). I think now I’ll probably have a boy because most of the stuff I’ve gathered over the last few years is for a girl- the whole ironic thing. However, I have heard if you dream about a boy its a girl and vice versa. So perhaps it will be a girl!

  18. Well, I fall off the ol’ bloggy wagon for a spell and what did I miss? Things sure look different around here!

    Oh! And, I love, love, love it!!

  19. I’m a bit surprised at all the negativity. I was a young mother (pregnant at 20). I finished my degree within a few months of having our first child. It took my husband much longer. There were times when both my husband and I worked full time and when only one of us worked. There were times when we needed WIC and government insurance. This was not because we thought it was easier to use these programs than provide for ourselves. We did our best to be self reliant. I don’t think it makes you a bad mother to be on WIC or other another program. I think it shows you are humble enough to know when you need help and ask for it. Yes, there are some who will take advantage of the system, but there are more who truly need it and are doing their best to not need it.
    The decision of when to have children is not a community decision. If you want people to respect your decision, they need to be given the same respect.
    Also, since you never know when it may be you needing those government programs, you may want to reserve judgement on those who use them.

  20. I totally agree with your rant, one hundred percent. I still don’t get the WIC thing. I totally disagree with it. I think it is a great program for women and children who need assistance, not used as a planning mechanism to support your kids. I once saw a girl write a facebook post about how she hated paying taxes, down with Obama, etc, and then blogged about how she was waiting to hear back from WIC. Excuse, me? I am all for government assistance when needed. I work for the government and with low-incomes, and I just don’t think it is right. I am not suggesting that all women who have babies in college do this, but a large portion do.

    I am about to graduate from graduate school, and I am not ready. I agree that you can never have enough money, but I would at least like to be established and be able to put something in their 529. I don’t think it is possible to live in a big city and afford to have a baby young.

  21. I have felt exactly the same way you did and I wanted my first baby after college and I wanted to be pregnant in grad school. However, we tried EVERYTHING TO prevent a pregnancy and 3 of our children came! WHAT ARE THE freakin’ odds of that??? I mean everything except for abstinence.
    I know each of them were true absolute gifts and in the long run HF does know. Despite the fact praying that I would not be preggers I was and each of those pregnancies came with severe high risks.
    Sadly and LUCKILY, because at the age of 31 I had a hysterectomy. I fought to keep my uterus for 2 years and finally had to concede and have that puppy yanked out. The reason why I fought so hard and endured 2 years of ugliness was because I KNEW there was a 4th child. I knew absolutely that I was to have another son.
    When it is right for you and your husband is when it will be right.
    We were married for a year and a half and were getting the baby pressure. I see know that people just wanted us to join the happy club, but you know the ol’saying Misery likes company. 😉
    It is odd for me when I had 2 kids in tow to be around friends who didn’t have children. Although, they “said” they liked children I was really leary thinking kids must get on their nerves, if they were married 5 or more years without kids. Even if they said they loved kids, it was always in the back of my head.
    It is easier for parents to be around parents then non parents because you figure you all understand the demands and needs of children.

  22. I think anyone who needs to use WIC, food stamps, or student loans to pay for their children should not be having kids.
    Yes, some people are financially stable when they choose to get pregnant, and things change…should they let their kids suffer because of this? Of course not. Some people out there use programs such as WIC because they need to, however, not working just because you have a baby and using WIC to pay for their nutrition is NOT acceptable. At all.

    If you can’t afford to pay for your child, it’s not right for you {or them for that matter}. No matter what. Sorry.

    I don’t think the government sets you up for failure at all… you set yourself up for failure when you rely solely on government programs and other people’s money to sustain your way of life.

    Rarely to people really “have” to quit their jobs. Is it easier to stay home when you have a baby? Of course. Are there better experiences to be had at lower paying jobs or internships? YES! Always – is that what’s best for your family if it means going on WIC or foodstamps to survive? NEVER.

    Becoming a parent is a lifelong decision. It’s a committment you make to the Lord to look after that child the best you can no matter what. Not the best you can based on what is most convenient for you.

    I am not a mother, so you can say that I don’t know what it’s like until I have one of my own. I agree with you. I won’t know until that time. But look at people like Jenna. She made it. She worked her butt off, and I’m sure her husband did too. But that is her responsibility as a mother – to keep going even when it’s hard. Not to give up and take the easy road of relying on others to financially care for your child.

    Now don’t get me started on those who choose to have a SECOND or THIRD child when they already have one on WIC…

  23. oh, and I mean people who purposely choose to have children. Not true accidents which do happen now and then.

  24. First time commenter, but I just had to jump in on this one, as a few of the comments have definitely ruffled my blogging feathers a bit! 🙂

    First off, educate yourself on WIC. It adds up to maybe $50 worth of food a month. Hardly anything compared to the $400 a month some households on food stamps are receiving.

    I myself am currently on WIC. My husband is a grad student, and I’m a SAHM. *gasp* I graduated from BYU with a degree in Education (go ahead, start the stereotyping). I taught for a year and a half, saving up money as I went. I quit working when I was *finally* blessed with my son Landon. We paid for him with our own hard-earned money (thank you very much). I’ve never been on Medicaid or food stamps, although we qualify for both. We would rather take out a low-interest student loan for medical expenses and pay it off over a few years after he graduates.

    I don’t need to feel better about myself by trying to say my child was an accident. He wasn’t. Will we be paying off our student loans for the next 50 gazillion years? You betcha. Will we ever own the nicest home or car on the block because of this? Absolutely not. Therein lies the sacrifice. But it was one we are willing to make.

    Do I judge others for waiting to have children? No way, although an argument could be made on that front, too. Every circumstance is different, every marriage is different. In return I would ask that rather than expecting WIC-beneficiaries like me to gravel at your tax-paying feet, to only return the non-judgmental favor. We’re all just trying to live by the Lord’s counsel in our own individual circumstances.

  25. Funny how our perspective changes with age, huh? I was 26 when hubbs started getting baby crazy, I had a great job that I LOVED and devoted most of my energy and time to- but he wanted to start a family. I, on the other hand, knew that getting pregnant and becoming a SAHM meant I had to give up my independence and allow him to take care of me. At first, I did not want that- I liked being able to take care of myself, I liked working doubles then going out with freinds for drinks, sleeping late…but he so badly wanted to be a dad and I so badly wanted to make him happy…

    I’ll admit, at first, I tried to get out of the baby makin’ cuz I just knew it would be my luck to get pregnant! I feigned more headaches and belly aches than I’ve ever had in my life!! Truth be told, I was just scared…scared to give myself completely to another person and put myself on the back burner…but I got over that and 6 weeks later I was in the doctor’s office looking at a screen wondering, “WTF is that??? THAT’s a baby? That little thing???” And the rest is history…

    I’ve been a SAHM mom for 2 years now and couldn’t imagine not having my daughter in my life…I wouldn’t change things at all! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life-sure I’m also the most tired and worrysome (that I’m gonna screw this kid up) that I’ve ever been, but hey- it’s totally worth it!!

  26. “First off, educate yourself on WIC. It adds up to maybe $50”

    $50 worth of food to you a month (plus all the 8,893,414 people on wic as of February according to their website)is $444,670,750 PER MONTH used just on that program. I can guarantee you that you could somehow come up with that $50 a month with out too much trouble.

    I give my highest respect to all who choose to have children. I just think that they should be willing and able to take care of that child on their own.

    If possible I will be a SAHM for sure. But not if it means relying on other people to feed my children.

  27. I too was bugged about when we were gonna ‘pop one out’..can you say annoying? And I got married at 19! Now after 3 years of marriage I’m pregnant with our first. Yes, I’m sure I sound really young to someone who wanted to finish their college education but unlike some of the Utah women discussed above I dropped out of school to work and support my husband in his schooling (law school isn’t cheap!) and will continue to do so even after my child is born. Thankfully I can work from home. 🙂

  28. You know, I loved having a career and I love having a baby even more. Without having the career first though, I may not appreciate being at home as much. But everyone’s situation is different.

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