The Answer to Your Question

young pregnant woman

Will it all work out right? Will I be okay? Will I be happy? Or am I ruining my life?

If you checked my Google history back in 2008, back when I was newly pregnant and scared to my core, back when I made the unthinkable decision to start a family when I barely knew myself, you might see these kinds of searches:

successful young moms

happy young moms

proof that being a young mom isn't the worst in the world

Maybe these kinds of searches brought you here, seeing that I created an entire blog to prove these questions (to myself, really). These are the kinds of thoughts that would run away from me late at night, poking at my deep dark insecurities, seeping through every interaction and decision in my life. Please tell me that it will all be okay.

Stepping off a comfortable, familiar life path takes courage. Leaping into the unknown — especially with something as heavy and important as raising a child — is scary stuff. What I would have given for a crystal ball, a comforting prophecy, a general reassurance that I was making the right choice.

Almost seven years later, I know the truth:

It will work out.

It will be.

The adjectives, the attached judgments, don't really exist.

Our lives will be many things at different times. It will be hard and joyful, seemingly in one breath. The terms "good" and "bad" won't make sense — not like they used to, at least. It's bad until it's good, it's good until it's bad, and they'll tumble through our lives (and days) like playful puppies, one on top of the other, existing all at once.

Our lives — the one that's happening right now — is the only life we'll have. So why do we dwell on the things that MIGHT HAVE or SHOULD HAVE happened? On all of the paths we didn't take, as if choosing the wrong one would surely lead to misery and regret. We'll never know if we made the "right" choice because there is no "right" choice. There's just THE CHOICE, and all of the experiences and learning that spills from that choice.

It will work out.

It will be.

It would be easy to say that this path was "meant to be" — that my child was always meant to exist, that these lessons were always meant to be learned in this exact order. That this is my destiny.

Maybe, but maybe not.

Any of our lives could have zigged instead of zagged — a "no" instead of a "yes," a last-minute contraception change — and we'd stumble through a different set of experiences, learning from a different set of people in a totally different life. And that would have been okay, too. In fact, it would have been beautiful. We would have loved and grieved and grown, and it would have been both excruciating and exquisite on its own unique trajectory.

Yet it's tempting to daydream about the storylines that could have been, isn't it? The directions we didn't walk — particularly the directions we planned on heading. If you're anything like me, you've been writing the story of your Future Self, scrawling plans and identities in the quiet spaces of your mind. 

It's easy to replay the SHOULDs and the WHAT IFs and the IF ONLYs on a loop, until we feel that ache square in our stomachs, like our insides are clutching onto something — an identity, a dream, a person, an idea. But all of those somethings are imaginary, only existing in the confines of our minds.

Reality is THIS, where you are, what is.

It will work out.

It will be.

And you'll be grateful it was.

Maybe if I zagged instead of zigged, if my son was never conceived and my husband and I went our separate ways, if I continued living my life exactly as planned, I would have somehow connected with my boy at some point, in some form. The thought of him not being in my life — of not knowing his face and learning from his love — makes no other storyline worth living.

But who can say?

All I know is that he's here, and I'm here, and all of my choices feel like "right" choices through that perspective.