What I Want My Childless Friends to Know, by Kaleena Berryman

Before I became a mom, I remember looking at my friends who were parents, and intently watching them with their babies. I wondered about the joy they felt raising “our” beautiful, intelligent, amazing children (many of whom are my Godchildren).  It had to be the greatest feeling in the world to them, for it was quite astounding for me. I longed for the day I would have a little one of my own, to hear him or her call me “mommy”, to have someone so precious depend on little ole’ me.  As I got past my late 20s, I soon joined the force of folks wondering when I was going to become a mother. I looked in the mirror and echoed their all too familiar, “Kaleena, when are you going to put a bun in that oven?” More often that before, images of baby showers, bassinets, and little cutie clothes hit me full force. I was enamored with the thought of teaching a child to read, to write and to question the world. My biological clock was not just ticking; the alarm that I had set for myself was blasting at the highest volume.

I decided the year before last, that it was time. I was getting close to 30, and my fertile days were growing fewer and farther between. And although I was not supposed to become a mommy until August of 2012, I became one a little sooner, in April of the same year.  And yes, all of the joy and happiness I imagined are as intense as I had imagined. My son is the light of my life! However, now that I am a mom and my biological alarm clock has been silenced, I have a little more range of clarity. Becoming a parent is indeed the most beautiful experience in the world.  I would not trade it for anything. God has given me a piece of creation, a miracle to call my own. That baby is loved by me more than I am loved by me, and the sheer excitement of watching him grow is enough to topple me over. But that question of buns in our ovens is so misleading. The question people should ask is, “Are you ready to become a PARENT”? If they asked it this way, the childless folk may take a minute to ponder what becoming a parent really means. The only problem is, you won’t actually have a clue until you become one. So from a new mom to my childless friends, here is what I need you to know before you start winding that biological clock. Parenthood is no joke.

Imagine your heart and soul, walking around on the outside of your body. You try your best to keep control of it, but there is so much you can do. Not only is it walking around on the outside, you have to make sure that it is happy, healthy and well taken care of. And you love it soooooo much! But, you worry in equivalence to your love. There are no instructions, no cheat sheet and your heart and soul will not give you a transition period. You are responsible for seeing this human being who is new and delicate and little, into adulthood. And you soon realize that their life, from day one, is THEIR life. God has given it to them, and as much as you want to protect them, control their destiny, and keep them from ever feeling an inch of discomfort, it is truly all in God’s hands. So your peace must too, be in God’s hands. THAT is parenthood; little people coming into your world and completely taking it over. So if their world is good, yours is outstanding. But if their world is bad for even a little while, you are in pain until they are not. It’s this intense kind of love that you could never imagine before it came into your life and now that it is here you would easily die without it. It is that throw yourself in front of a bullet to save them without even thinking kind of love. And it gets stronger and stronger every minute of every day.

Friends, I need you to know that with the dress ups and pictures and joys of parenthood will come difficult times. Some experience them sooner, some later. But they come. And you will have to make sure both you and your children come out on the winning side. Choices will have to be made that are not easy. Never again after becoming a parent will you be the priority. Therefore, while you are waiting for or planning your entry into parenthood, consider the things that will make you stronger. Learn to pray. Pray for your children now, even though they are not yet here. Pray that they enter this world healthy and strong. Pray that their lives be complete and whole. And pray that you will be a smart parent. Pray for strength and insight and good judgment. You will need these things.

Maybe my introduction to parenthood has shaken me, but I believe that no matter how your baby comes into this world, the love is the same. The difference is what that love goes through and when. There will of course be way more good days than bad, but be spiritually ready for both. Children are the best thing that will happen to us. They are very precious gifts. And with all things precious, great care is required. So be prepared. My childless friends make sure your heart, soul and mind are all prepared to both love and pray like you never have before.  That is what becoming a parent really means. Not buns baking in the oven, but prayers simmering in your heart.

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