So, Ive started to write a book about all the things I struggled with immediately transitioning from high school student to fully independent adult, within 6 months. It's clearly still a work in progress... But I want to share a little bit of the intro! I'd LOVE feedback. What you like, dislike, over-all what it makes you feel? I also hope you enjoy and can relate on some level! So here we go!....
"By the age of 20, I had gotten married, had a baby, developed long lasting post-partum depression, got a pet, moved out on my own, and got a good paying job with great benefits. By the age of 23, I had bought a house, moved further away from my parents, gone through traumatic situations in my marriage and neared divorce multiple times. At 21, when people asked my age, I’d tell them 21 going on 30. I felt like I was living a life that resembled someone in their mid 30s, not someone who could barely walk into a liquor store.
All of this seemed to happen over night. Within 6 months I went from collegiate volleyball player with no real life responsibilities, to married and expecting. There was no transition period. Adulthood hit me like Lawrence Taylor sacking Joe Theisman, or like a brick to the face for you non-football fans.
Ages 19-24 were the hardest of life, and hopefully they stay that way. I must add that while they were treacherous, there were good moments, and more than that, they were filled with so many lessons; things to do, things not to do, how the world worked, What I liked, what I hated, how to parent, how to pay bills, the whole 9 yards. Here I want to highlight some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned and some of the worst moments to hopefully do the following.
1. Teach you from my mistakes
2. Give you a guide to face life and instill some hope
3. Help you feel less alone in your immediate adulthood transition
I listed the big changes in my life, but to give you a better understanding of my transition and to help you apply the lessons in this book, it’s best to give you more background.
I grew up in a very loving stable home with one brother and two parents who embodied the perfect marriage. They put me in every sport, they pushed me in everything I ever did, and while they gave me the world, they also taught me the world was mine to take. My parents were at every single practice, game, tournament, school function I was in, and anything else that was important to me.
I played competitive club volleyball, played in the junior Olympics seven times, and made the junior national team. Volleyball and being an athlete was my identity. It’s what I was good at and what my future was going to revolve around. My senior year I was offered a scholarship to play volleyball in California, which had been my life long dream! Here is where crap hit the fan.
I started dating THE most amazing guy my senior year. (Boy’s, they ruin everything right?) I went to California for pre-season after I graduated high school and I hated it. I hated every minute of it. All of it felt so wrong. I just had this gut feeling that life and those choices were not mine to take. I felt the hand of God forcing me away from that lifelong dream. After pre-season, I came home and vowed I would not go back. I broke my family’s heart in that moment. I still have never seen my dad so distraught and disappointed, but I felt it was right.
I started college at home at a large university, and half way through, I found out I was expecting. This part of the story was not expected. And how my parents found out about this pregnancy, was also not expected; but I’ll tell that story a little later. A few months later, we decided it was best to get married since we had talked about it before, and I truly believed that is what I wanted despite any other circumstances. So Nate and I got married at 19.
Pretty immediately after that I got a job as a 911 dispatcher and Nate and I found our own apartment and moved out. I had my daughter, and it was so clear my marriage did a 180 after we brought her home. Everything seemed to change over night. I suddenly became a milk supply, tending to this innocent and fully dependent new born. My sole purpose was to tend to every cry and every need. I was sleep deprived as I was the only one who got up with her, my marriage went from a loving partnership to a battle ground, and I cried constantly. After a few months we started to live paycheck to paycheck. It was all such new territory. I had always had everything I wanted and needed, both financially and through love and support, and then it all disappeared.
Who else is having flash backs to sitting outside your baby’s door crying as they cry? When the crying hadn’t stopped since witching hour started hours before bed time? Flash backs to waking up for the 6thtime that night to feed and change their diaper? Staggering and stumbling with one eye open trying to find the lamp? Trying to make dinner with a screaming child in their swing, which honestly, never soothed them. Fighting again about who needs a break more, you or him? Fighting about what to spend money on. Fighting about, well, everything.
Flash backs to the love and fear of that first night at the hospital, honestly wondering how in the heck you were supposed to do this? How am I supposed to get this breast feeding thing down? How am I supposed to be live with no sleep since these DARN nurses come in every hour?! Who am I? What do I like to do for fun? When is someone going to watch my bundle so I can go to the gym? Or take a nap? Or take a shower?
70-80% of new moms are said to experience post partum depression, or at minimum, the baby blues. 10-20% of those turn into clinical depression. It is also been studied that 90% of marriages and relationships plummet on the happiness scale within the first year of having a baby. Prior to baby, couples ranked their happiness from 8-10, and within the first year after baby, ranked it from 3-5. That’s a huge drop. So I know I’m not the only one crying and ready to run for the hills at the first call I get to go on vacation with my mom.
While writing the last three paragraphs 3.5 years after the baby blues, I have been asked for juice, for a snack, for a blanket, had a conversation about if card board has legs, changed a dolls diaper, and been asked to tell a knock knock joke. However, I’m thankful I’m even able to sit here and type.
In all of this “big stuff” there is a lot of “little stuff” that adds up; like the extra time it takes to just get ready to leave the house and then the extra EXTRA time it takes to get us strapped in the car. The lack of time for oneself to decompress. Trying to answer the question “what do I even like to do anymore?”
Life DOES get better. Things DO get easier. But it takes times and constant commitment to finding a better way to do things and find time for YOU. In the next chapters, I’ll go over the big and little things that tested me the most and the answer I got in how to deal with it."