I don’t think anyone’s life turns out the way they expect it will. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and talking with friends about it and so far I haven’t heard from anyone whose life looks the way they planned or expected. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. My friends and I are also at the age where big life changes are almost normal occurrences. Engagements, weddings, new babies, new jobs, new homes – they seem to be happening on an almost daily basis.
Several of my close friends have become mothers in the last year and several other friends hope to become mothers soon. Fertility has suddenly become a normal conversation topic. Who is expecting? Who is expecting to be expecting? I’ve noticed that it’s rare that a woman becomes a mother when and the way she expects.
Some friends have had babies earlier than they planned. Some friends have had babies later than they planned. Some friends have had miscarriages. Some friends have become mothers but tragically lost their newborns. And some friends are still waiting to become mothers after many years of expecting to be expecting.
I expected to be a mother by now. I wasn’t one of those little girls who was sure she would be a wife and mother but I always assumed that if I married, I would have children. When we married five years ago, it was firmly in our plan to become parents. After several years of marriage, I thought we would start a family and I would become a mother. But now, instead of becoming a mother, I am going through a divorce. It’s not what I planned or expected but it’s where I find myself.
Even for women who have not had problems getting pregnant mostly on the timeframe they planned, motherhood can look completely different than they expected. Some friends have found it much easier and some much more difficult than they assumed it would be. All have found themselves in a new life stage where they are doing the best they can to juggle previous expectations with a very present reality.
That’s just what we’re all trying to do, right? Living right now the best we can, regardless of the hopes, plans, and expectations that came before. Loving and relishing the blessings and gifts of today while simultaneously mourning the lost dreams and rosy visions of yesterday.
And I think for most of us, most of the time, the present brings more joy than we expected even when it’s nothing like what we expected it to look like. I don’t think it’s foolish to keep expecting good things to come, as long as you are prepared to work through the joy and difficulty of each new life stage, whatever it brings.