Why I Had My Children Young by Zoe Rose
Today on the blog I am happy to welcome the lovely Zoe Rose from Zoe Prose. We first met (online) when Zoe and I did a stationery swap for The Reading Residence’s Paper Peep. Zoe has kindly volunteered to do a guest post for me while I’m on holiday on a subject I am really interested with. Zoe has had her family very young – pretty much ten years younger than I did – although my age was partially down to fertility issues, we still didn’t start ‘trying’ until I was 28. Bucking modern trends, Zoe had her first child at 21 and talks about the reasons behind this decision and how they are interlinked with her strong faith. I hope you will find her post as fascinating as I did.
At twenty three years of age and a recent graduate, I’m a bit of a rarity in our village to have been married for nearly six years and to be mummy to a three year old and a one year old. Our daughter Phoebe was born halfway through my English Literature degree in Sheffield, and I took a year out to be at home with her before going back to study (9 hours a week contact time whilst she was in nursery). Our son, now one was born about six weeks before mine and my husband’s final term ended.
The story of our family starts quite a while ago, and is rooted in our faith. We got married young, at 18 and 19, and we started our family young- I turned 21 three days before Phoebe was born! (You can read more about our decision to get married on my blog here ). Ultimately all of our decisions in life come down to our desire as Christians to listen to God and his best for our lives. As a parent I am understanding more and more of what God’s love is, and that as our Heavenly dad, he just wants the best for us. Our plans about when to have children were always ultimately his- we wanted to start a family when it was right for us and when God made it clear that was the case.
We didn’t specifically plan to have children at specific ages or at certain times in our lives- if we had planned when we wanted to have them it still would be ultimately up to God if that happened or not! I guess that commonly people decide when to ‘try’ for a baby- but we knew from before the time we got married that whilst knowing ultimately it was God’s choice, when we felt it was right we would choose to go down a different route, and instead of trying to have a baby, we would not try not to have a baby.
Without getting into loads of details, with each child it has been crystal clear to us that this has been the right time, that God has orchestrated it all for our good, and his plans are so much better than ours ever could have been. Taking a year out when Phoebe was born meant that Josh and I both finished university at the same time, when I was in the early stages of pregnancy I was working at the very nursery Phoebe went to later on, so was completely confident in their care of her, and there are so, so many more examples of God’s goodness to us.
God’s plan in our life has been paramount in the last few months as we were considering the next steps for our family. We have always loved the thought of adoption and fostering, providing loving homes for children who need them, and so we were thinking and praying about what was next for our family. God answered and made it clear in the form of a new life that his plan is for us to have three little ones- and we are so happy and excited. This little tiny life growing is already so loved and we know that God knows their name and future even though we don’t yet know if it is a girl or boy! I know that our children, had God decided that we should have them later in life, would be different people in different circumstances, and so I’m really glad that they are who they are and they are here now.
Great things about having children young
- Learning together – being married young we have grown together and got to share so many experiences. We are loving being able to share these adventures with our little ones too.
- Energy – apparently we have more energy than those who are parents older than us- it’s a bit hard to actually measure without some sort of time travel to compare what it would be like, but we like to pretend it might be ‘easier’ to cope with sleepless nights and that sorts of things!
- Friends – since we were the first of our friends at university and in our peer group to have children, we had, and have many friends who love and spend time with our little ones. From friends who would watch Phoebe for an hour while I was in a lecture, from an abundance of willing babysitters, it has been so lovely to have many friends be a part of our life as a family and watch them love them too.
- Our own childhoods – we both have quite a few favourite things, like books or toys which have survived pretty well since our own childhood. But more than that, a lot of my childhood is still so vivid in my mind, I am hoping that when they get to similar ages I will easily be able to empathise and share their experiences in a unique way. Of course, this might still be just as true for those who have children later on!
- Connecting with other parents- at first I felt like a fish out of water going to toddler groups with Phoebe, but the older she got and the more I grew into my new role, the more I felt comfortable and welcomed. It was odd being friends with mums of babies the same age who also had children my age- but actually those were some of the best friendships I had in that group. That despite our age differences, we had lots in common and could connect. It’s really nice to be able to mix with a great variety of other parents, grandparents, childminders and such in our social settings.
- Younger grandparents- whilst our children don’t have any cousins yet, since we are both oldest of our siblings, our parents are younger grandparents and love time with their grandchildren. They also have one set of great-grandparents, something I never had myself and which is lovely to see!
- Sharing our story – I actually love it when people realise that we got married young, or had children young, or during university. They normally express that we are crazy, in some sense, but I love being able to try to share a snippet of how life has come out this way. It is so wildly different, and better than anything I could have imagined when I was 16, before I met Josh.
- What I am sure of is that there is no right age to have children, get married or have a second, third.. Each individual and couple and family is different and what is right for one family is not for another.
- We are all making our way through this life, journeying our own ways to find joy. There are great things about our family being formed the way it is, and difficult things- but it’s what is right for us and we know God is walking through it with us.
You can find Zoe online:
Thanks so much for your lovely blog post Zoe. I find your approach to life refreshing, although very different to mine. I have always loved reading about other people’s life choices. I do imagine being younger when you have children does give you more energy to deal with the sleepless nights. I was 33 (a week later I turned 34) when I had my second child and I definitely have found the exhaustion hard going. Congratulations on baby 3 too :-).