to those with & without children


we don't have children, but we want them. 


our story as of yet isn't of infertility, years of trying, or miscarriages. my heart aches for those who are enduring this season; i cannot even begin to imagine this reality. 

my story is of mismanagement of personal debt & my husband's selfless love to take on this story as his own, too. our story is of marrying early & growing up together. our story is in the waiting.

you see, for a couple of years now, i have quietly held onto the hope that soon we would be ready for a house full of babies. 

throughout these years, we've watched our closest friends fill their homes with new life & celebrated in their joys. throughout these years, we've listened to breastfeeding/home birth/hospital birth/homeschooling/unschooling/public schooling/private schooling conversations with nothing to add. throughout these years, we've learned from our dearest friends & gathered tools for our parenting toolbox.

throughout these years, we've paid off our debt a little at a time, slow & steady. throughout these years, we've been given a home & farm on which to grow & deeply love. throughout these years, we've waited. & we're still waiting. 


you see, if i had a quarter for every person who has asked when we plan on having a family - as if we don't ask ourselves that question every. single. day. & as if we don't already have our own little family - i would be rich & then pay off my debt & have that baby. 

through the years of waiting, i have finally realized that we are, in fact, not broken & we are allowed to embrace this season.

my intention for sharing our story is that maybe you too are waiting for children (or maybe you do not want them at all) yet you feel broken or as if you're missing out because you don't have a house full.

friends, we are not missing out on life. in fact, we're filling our house with memories & meaningful relationships. we're growing in our love together & we're growing as individuals with rich experiences & interests.


our story is not in the waiting. it's much more than that.

to those without children - 

our story is of meals shared together without high chairs.
our story is of uninterrupted sleep at night.
our story is of date nights on a whim.
our story is of completed projects in one sitting.
our story is of glass cups & real plates.
our story is of only two loads of laundry.
our story is of wiping only our own butts, noses & mouths.

our story is of hosting baby showers for expectant parents.
our story is of signing up for kids church & nursery.
our story is of holding our friends' babies when they need a break.
our story is of babysitting so others can enjoy a date night.
our story is of loving our friends' littles as our own.

to those with children -

allow us into your story.
trust us with your littles.
let us read books to your children & hold your new babies.
invite us over to your mommy play dates. we need play dates, too.
drink coffee with us & join us for a girls' weekend every once in awhile.
don't apologize for your dirty house. we have dirty houses, too.

to those with & without children -

let us learn from each other & not divide.
let us not put each other down for having too much or not enough free time.
let us punch jealousy square in the face when it prevents us from savoring what we already have.
let us invite each other into our own struggles so we may find commonality & friendship.
let us listen more & speak less.

let us celebrate, embrace & cherish this season. we have things worth saying, feelings worth feeling, & thoughts worth sharing with or without babies.
love,
natalie

60 comments:

Meg said...

Hey! Not sure if I've actually said hey yet, so there ya go! We got married really early too, but ours was a story of infertility (not a long road-long story) and then adoption. So we totally remember the days of just being married, the days of wanting kids, and then the days of trying hard and finally having a family. We've learned through everything that everything happens right when it's supposed to. We believe that God totally had everything under control and while it's hard to sit back and let it be, from the other side we see how great everything turned out. And from that we also remember to "not forget" the young couples who aren't quite where we are yet. Love this post!

Angela Davis said...

I love this post! As someone who has had children when they were young and older,(I have a 22,16,6, and 3 year old)I think it is much easier when you are a little older, more patience, more wisdom. I never had the time that you get now and I always wished that I had. Enjoy it! Thanks for all your wonderful posts!

Madelyn said...

This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing Natalie.

Jess said...

Beautiful words. As a family who had children young, I wish my husband and I had more years to grow our relationship together before throwing more lives into the mix. That said, of course I'd never change a thing, my kids are wonderful. But truly, there is beauty in every path, and much we can learn from one another. I miss you guys, wish my littles had more time with you & Luke.

homeiswhatyoumakeit.com said...

my husband an i were married for 7 years before we had children.
we always knew that we wanted children, but never really had a plan for when.
our standard answer when people asked was, "in four years."
eventually, seven years went by and we decided the time was right.
i wouldn't change any of it.
all that to say, waiting was worth it, but there is really no "perfect" time to add children…you'll know when it is the "right" time, though.

Misti said...

I'm going to have my first in September and I will be 34 at that time, married for 12 years. Most of my late 20s were spent with everyone asking when we were going to have kids. But, we lived in an area that we didn't quite want to raise kids, were also in a debt situation, and just weren't ready. We did some things for ourselves and finally found ourselves as ready as we could be over this last year.

There's nothing wrong with waiting and people just have to stop being so nosy and asking those questions all of the time!

Emilee Harborth said...

so well written! Thank you for this!

Meagan Palmer said...

Thank you for this, Natalie. My husband and I we're married last year when I was 18 and he was 19 and we have already gotten that question so many times and our answer is that we're waiting. Even when we say that they assume only a year or two years of waiting but when we say waiting, we mean close to 6 years: we're in college, we haven't even had a chance to try out different jobs or careers yet and we both would like to try for our masters degrees. I feel like my answer dissapoints and gets judgement from others. It's hard because no one understands why we would wait so long for kids. This brings so much comfort to me and gives me confidence to not just tell people what they want to hear but what we really mean when we say "we're waiting"!

fullheartemptyhands said...

Really good to hear this morning. We are right there with you, and sometimes the waiting and the questions are so hard! We so look forward to the day when kids are part of our story, but we are learning a lot about each other and about finding contentment while we prepare. :)

Skyler Villarreal said...

gosh this is absolutely beautiful natalie. thank you so much for sharing your heart. my husband and i are in a similar situation. i admire your bravery and your courage. you have a lovely soul. xoxo

eikonktizo said...

Good stuff, Natalie :)

summerlily said...

Beautifully written :) Thank you for sharing!

kaylee@life chasers said...

This is an amazing post. Your heart and perspective is beautiful. Praying for continued blessings!

Holly said...

Like you, we waited. We wouldn't have it any other way. When I felt God actually call me into motherhood, I obeyed. I took time to mourn what I could not be for others anymore. I knew I could not be the person to babysit my friend's lovely children anytime they needed me. I knew they would have to take a back seat. I seriously mourned that so I would not resent my own child. Going THROUGH things is better than going AROUND them. And you are so not broken. We often say we had our retirement when we were young and spry. We had fun. We traveled. Our house was cleaner. We loved our life. But we love our life now. Eventually people stopped asking if and when we were having kids because I think they thought we couldn't/wouldn't. I really think so many people would ask that of you because they see what great parents you both will be. I know that so many people saw that in Derek and me and that was their motivation in asking. They simply wanted us to have what we would be good at. I do believe most inquiries are harmless. I cried big tears of joy every time a friend had a baby. And everyone was confused - they thought I was sad that I didn't have children. They simply did not get it and honestly, couldn't understand that I loved children and babies and I was so over the moon for my friends entering into this new form of life. IT WAS NOT ABOUT ME. When it was my turn, I loved bringing a baby into a 13 year marriage. We had worked out so many kinks by then. I feel so blessed to have waited. But everyone's story is different. I love this post which is rooted in love and gentleness Natalie.

Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing! We are 30 (or almost 30), married seven years, and don't have children yet. Like yours, our story as of yet isn't one of infertility or loss. We were married young and have chosen this time for us to grow individually, as well as a couple. We are no less of a family without children (which I sometimes need to remind myself of), but we very much look forward to becoming parents.

Andrea said...

This is so beautifully composed Natalie! My husband and I married young right after undergrad much like you two. We have now been married 9 years, and I would not trade this time to grow and mature together. We have had the time and trials necessary to build a strong foundation. I see this more as a wonderful gift-- not everyone is so fortunate to meet the one at a young age. If babies come, they come. If they don't I am perfectly happy with that too. Thanks for sharing :) Ps: when do you start you interior decorating business. I need you to come redo pur farm house :) just love all your touches!

Angela Spencer said...

Yes. Just yes.

Amanda Hall said...

This brought tears to my eyes.
How beautifully written and how true.
I will be printing and saving these wise words, thank you for sharing. <3

Robyn Metzger said...

Beautiful post and thank you for having the courage to articulate what many of us have thought and felt! I was 37 when I had our little nugget and we'd been married 11 years. When I tried to explain that we were childless because we weren't yet comfortable with our financial situation (due to health issues that contributed to burdensome debt), I always heard the "oh, you'll never really be able to afford kids so you better just go ahead and have them!" It was a lesson in respecting other people's choices, and not making assumptions about why people make those choices. You will know when the time is right. Peace and blessings to you and yours. Love the blog!

Lynn said...

We are childless due to infertility. We tried for 10 years (IVF and all), but it never happened. We decided we would not adopt and just be the fun Aunt and Uncle. We have been married almost 20 years and we still have fun with all the kids. I must say that I have never felt so violated by the things people said about us not having children. I never spoke of our situation because I was so hurt. I just wanted to tell people to NEVER ask anyone about that. It's a totally personal choice and should stay that way. But good luck when you decide it's the time.

LOVE laugh paint said...

Natalie thank you for sharing your heart and using your space on the internet in such a God honoring way! This was such an encouragement to my soul and exactly where we are right now! I pray constantly for The Lord to help us use our home for ministry and encouragement to others, even now as a small family of two - but often find myself listening to the world that is trying to hurry our process along and say life hasn't begun until we have littles. So thankful for your wisdom and encouragement and bravery to share your story. The Lord is using your honesty for his glory!

piperppg said...

My parents had to wait for 15years for me to arrive via adoption, mum was 34 & dad was 42, but I was born for them. My hubby & I have been married 17 years & are childless through choice, yet people - relatives, friends, even strangers (!) think that it's something they have the right to ask & behave as if there's something wrong with us! Thank you for your lovely, honest & understanding post xxx

Mallory Billups said...

Natalie!

Thank you so much for sharing! As a just married couple who do not yet have babies, it's hard not to wish away this phase of life. It is hard to not think of what I do not yet have and so yearn for and to look at the precious time we do have of just the two of us. This is something that has constantly been on my mind... thank you for reminding me to cherish this time of just us! I needed this at this time more than I could possibly express... so thank you for sharing your story!

Annie said...

This was beautifully written. Thank you. These words make a difference.

Amanda Roy said...

This so resonates with us right now! Thank you so much for posting this <3

Natalie said...

Hi Natalie, I'm a Natalie too! :) I came across your IG some time ago, I'm luludixie, and I think you two have already created a wonderful life. Everything will come in its due time. I met my husband late in life. We wanted children but had three pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I was heartbroken and knew I was meant to be a mother, but somehow I just didn't feel I was going to be the vessel to bring my child into the world. And adoption just seemed so daunting, I didn't think we could afford that option. I had pretty much resigned to the fact that perhaps parenthood wasn't in the cards for us.
Two weeks after my last miscarriage, I received a call from an acquaintance who knew of our losses. She called with the news that she knew someone who was having to put their child up for adoption, but they were reluctant of the process of going through an agency. We met this young couple, and six weeks later, we welcomed our son into the world at his birth.
I never could have imagined things working out this way for us. Our son is now 14 months old and has been the biggest blessing I could have ever dreamt of.
The time we had on our own and the time I had so many years on my own was valuable in its own way. Trust in Gods timing and know that you are already blessed.
-Natalie

Natalie said...

I just want to hug you! We married young, struggled with health and school and debt, then fertility issues, and when we had accepted we were going to go through life as a party of 2 - BAM we became a party of 3...and then 4. And I wouldn't have traded any of those seasons (except maybe hubby going through chemo, etc - but even that held blessings). And I won't trade any of my friends, regardless of their season. You have a standing invite to all my mommy group get togethers and my lonely late nights cuddling a sleepless babe...if you're ever in Ohio.

kristinwithani said...

What a crazy beautiful post!

If I had a quarter for every time someone asked me when I'm going to get married.... like I don't want to!??!?!

Kristin said...

Thank you for sharing your story and being so open and vulnerable! We are coming out of a difficult season of loss and I often just have to remind myself that God is sovereign and none of this is taking him by surprise! I respect your maturity and desire to be a blessing in the lives of those around you that have little ones.

Skapt said...

I'm so encouraged reading both this beautiful post and all the lovely comments! I'm turning 30 this year, and we've been married 3 years. We get the question almost weekly. Sometimes I feel the answer "We're still not ready" doesn't satisfy people (not that I care) and that sometimes people expect us to answer "infertility issues" or something more acceptable. I guess having a baby comes at just the right time, and good parenthood has nothing to do with age, but all to do with being at peace with oneself. Loving yourself, loving others :) Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

Loved this post. I became pregnant with our first 10 months after getting married. A huge surprise! And a blessing. Then I had a miscarriage a few years later. Then for personal reasons it became very clear that the timing wasn't right for us to have more children... and I wasn't sure when or if that season would end. It was a very difficult time and one I could never have predicted. But I learned through that season to embrace MY story. I needed that time for me. I felt God speaking to me in a hundred different ways and telling me that this time was for me... for him to work with me and make some big changes in me. We needed some kid free space to do that, or at least no more than one kid : )
. It was a tough pill to swallow at first, but also made me realize that my self worth isn't to be wrapped up in how many kids I bring into the world, at what age, how far apart I decide to space them, etc., etc. There are so many rules for the "right" way to do it and it was freeing to embrace: there is no right way! There is just each person's individual beautiful, unique story. I love that and am affirming of you in drawing that same conclusion. Good for you! I hope you always truly enjoy your journey! I believe it will be perfect for YOU.

thewindhover said...

Oh what a wonderful reflection - so honest and heartfelt... We had our first babe two years after we got married - a completely surprise (and just after we'd loved to France) I was 22. Now we're pursuing farming and embarking on starting our own business with a two year old in toe. Part of me is impatient to be pregnant again and keep growing our family, and part of me is realistic about what's ahead for the next year or two and while having a wee one is a wonderful blessing, I also know how much is requires of us... and we need the strength of my body to carry us through some demanding seasons with the farm. Through prayer and talking out my feelings with others, I'm coming to a similar place of being peaceful in waiting... Thank you again for your thoughts!

Cassy said...

Take your time! And you have the coolest MIL lactation specialist for your future needs. She was a godsend to me. And in the meantime, if you ever want to hang with Z, give me a shout. :) You're going to be tremendously thoughtful, loving, engaged, and loving parents in the future. Soak up all the before time that you want.

Cathy said...

:)

Katie @ sweet peas said...

This. Is. Perfection. It's the words I didn't know for so many, many years. I absolutely love your heart in this!! Thank you for sharing your heart and those moments of brokenness and joyfulness, because Lord knows, there are both in both phases of life.

Martha Rule said...

Two of my best friends just had their first ten years into marriage. They have seen the world and have wonderful flexible careers. Your words kinda made me think of them, I hope whenever you're house fills up we get tons of babygrams on IG! :)

Ruth Werwai said...

thank you for sharing this! My husband and I are also in a season of waiting for children and though it's hard, I am trying to approach this time with gratitude for all the beauty that we're currently surrounded by. We also got married young and then my husband started full time school, and though I know that waiting is best for us right now, I still quite often find myself wishing it were time to grow our family! I so appreciated this post and the reminder that we're already a family- and I need to enjoy that for what it is.

emily o. said...

Love this, Natalie. We too waited several years after we were married to have kids, for financial and other reasons.

Katie S said...

Natalie,
I have followed your blog for sometime now, and love reading about your farming and crafting endeavors. But by far, this post has been my favorite of them all. You see, I am a
24 year old student.
I'm not married.
I don't have children.
So I shouldn't have to worry about any of this, right? Not so. See, due to medical situations in my life, I know I will never have children of my own. And while I know the construction of my own family is still in the distance, it doesn't mean I don't feel a bit of sadness and jealousy when my friends and family begin having children and expanding their own families.
For this reason, it brought so much joy to my heart to read this post. I love watching my friends have babies, and getting to spoil them. And I love continuing to share life with my friends that have become mothers. So thank you for this reminder that it's not about what we have or don't have, or how we choose to make a family. It's about sharing our lives together, and finding the joy in that!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for this beautiful glimpse into your life right now! I love my children so much and think they came at just the right time, but I also wish I had been able to appreciate my time with my husband before kids more than I did. I am glad to hear you are finding peace in this season of your life, and I love to see all the beauty you fill your life with!

Sarah said...

Natalie, that was lovely. Your future will be beautiful whatever path you take!

OhGreenTherapy said...

Beautiful, Natalie. Your story is one of love, and that is always the right path, I think. Much love to you.

Sara said...

Perfect!

rebecca said...

this is such a beautiful post.
so appreciative of your sharing.

Anonymous said...

This truly is beautiful. Society puts on us all these standards that we are all supposed to follow. we are not cookie cutter people meant to al be the same. we are all individuals. So enjoy your story today. While I do have 2 children, I will tell you there never seems to be enough time or money but YOUR time will come when you are ready and you will have a whole new season of life to enjoy. During this, you will look back and know you have made the right choices. You will find comfort in the time you and your husband got to spend with one another and then also love every minute that you are in with screaming toddlers wearing capes running through the house. What ever your season, claim it as your own and enjoy.

Unknown said...

Delurking to thank you for this.

I'm a mom who was planning to wait, was planning to enjoy being a newlywed and finish grad school before babies, but LOL PLANS.
Now I have a three year old little dude!

There is beauty in the waiting, and while you can never be completely ready for little ones, I think waiting makes you *more* ready. Think of all the time you have to read Ina May and Penny Simkin! (KIDDING!) :P

You are in such a beautiful season of life! :) I love reading your blog -so much- it is my absolute favorite. I love seeing two people building their life together in this particular time in youth, when you can explore your interests and get to know each other. This was not my experience, so it is fun to read about. And you've taught us all a lot about gratitude and making do with what we have (even this post!), and I sometimes need to be reminded of those things. AND you are able to do it all in probably one sitting! So I guess that's another good thing about waiting...

The point of my rambling, I guess, is just that you are blessed to have so much time right now on multiple levels. You have time to yourself to figure out who you are, and to figure out what you want your family's mission to be. You get to set the stage, so to speak. You have so much time left in your youth. I know time passes quickly, I mean I was your age practically an hour ago, but you have so many opportunities to savor the moments from where you are (Natalie) to where I am (Mama). Right now you are busy growing and birthing a strong marriage and a home for your babes. :)


Elise said...

Whew, Natalie! I loved reading this. We had plans to wait a little longer to start a family, but the first one came a week before our first anniversary. We had debt, plenty of it, since we did stupid stuff. Now, we have five children, all under the age of 11. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, but I find myself envying you and your lifestyle, believe it or not. That you can pick up and go, complete that project, etc. Having five children makes date nights hard, add in a disease that freaks most people out-my oldest daughter has Type 1 diabetes, and that makes for a lack of babysitting. And there is the budget...Not that I am complaining! I am happy where we are, for the most part, and am glad we had the children we have and when we had them.

Hugs for you!

Elise

Madison @ Wetherills Say I Do said...

This post is incredible. Just incredible. I love your heart for wanting to bring together all kinds of families, those with and without children. It's such a great attitude and outlook. We have been married for two years and we do deeply want children but we are in no rush :) Most of our friends are in our same life stage, but I know there will come a time when our friends are in different life stages whether it's we have kids and they don't or vice versa. I have just always tried to tell myself to be the friend I would want to have no matter what life stage a friend is in. :)

Jessica said...

I love this post. I have 2 boys, and honestly? No matter how soon, how late, how close, how far apart, or how many or few come, you will always have critics. Leave it in God's hands and know that when the time is right, they'll come, whether that is next month or a few more years.

Emily S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirsten Dahlhauser said...

I so needed this today. Thank you.

Johanna O said...

This was beautifully written. Amazing! I am a mother, and sometimes I think wishfully/guiltly of what life was like before we had kids. The grass isn't always greener, so we need to appreciate what we have.

ryanandlaura247 said...

I just found your blog tonight- came over from tend to see your gift basket ideas (which are adorable). But this- this is what I needed. Thank you. My husband and I just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary and both have wanted kids desperately for so long. However, first we were going through college and then moved and it just didn't seem like the right time. We were just thinking that is was about time, but then an opportunity came up for my husband to go to paramedic school and I didn't think it would be wise to be pregnant during the year he is doing that. So we will wait some more. We are using this time to deal with some health issues and work on some other things, too. But I needed the reminder to enjoy this time and remember that we are a family as is now. It sometimes seems like we are missing a huge piece of us, but we can be whole both now and when babies hopefully come. I loved your comments about including us and letting us hold and watch others' little ones- I love it when I can hold a baby for a little while but am often hesitant to ask to do so.

apicturebookmind said...

This post is so beautiful to read. I don't have children, but I've got the age were you're thinking about getting them soon, or I may grow too old. But I'm also thankful for the 12,5 years of childless relationship with my man. Thanks for sharing.

Gwen said...

That's good. I have 2 babies and I admit feeling kinda jealous of all your date night ideas that are much harder to pull off now! Put not having to pay a babysitter on your list because that adds so much to that $40 budget.

Sarah Fredette said...

Beautifully written! And a viewpoint I needed to hear. I think my situation is very similar to yours. We're waiting to have children when we have a house, and having a house depends on....well, its a very long list. I loved your comment about "if I had a nickel". It can be so frustrating to hear that question over and over, especially at family functions when you're asked 20 times in an hour. It's time to enjoy life without children, so we won't regret anything when they come along. Thank you.

Lindsay McCoy said...

Thank you for the perspective.

Anonymous said...

I am literally flipping pancakes for my kids as I'm reading this post and the comments. My four old comes into the kitchen and say, "is it pancakes? You're the best mom!" Seriously it's moments like those you wait for. As other people have said, of course there is no 'right' time to have a baby. We waited five years, and I felt the time was right after we had moved away and then back again for my husbands job, bought our home, remodeled the main parts, and I had finished nursing school. I was 28 when I got pregnant and felt that was perfect. We have three kids now, my oldest seven and then a set of twins who are four. Instead of fixing my house and working on our yard, my days and filled with driving my kids to school, swim team, soccer practices, t-ball, gymnastics and ballet classes. My walls are covered in children's scribbly artwork, and I still work two days out of the week! But I love it, being a mom is what I always wanted. We have debt, and date nights are rare, but don't let stuff like that put you off. It's easy to trade babysitting with siblings or other young couples who have children. My husband and I have a great relationship, but he still drives me crazy and we have arguments. When you have a strong foundation as a couple and more importantly have the same beliefs and the same GOALS in life, you can get through literally anything. Being creative and making time for yourself can happen, as long as you plan it. Priorities change, and that's ok when you have young children. It's crazy busy, but in a fantastic way! Good luck and I love your IG feed!

Elizabeth said...

This is so beautiful! I am on that infertility journey and so longing for a child. This post is a beautiful reminder to be grateful for where you are in your journey and to make the most of all opportunities. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you for posting this. You are not alone. We have been married almost 2 years (together for 7) and will both be 30 this year and we are choosing to wait longer. I thought we'd be "ready" by now but life throws you curve balls and it just doesn't feel like it's our time yet. I'm trying to just follow my intuition and enjoy this special time with my husband and our dog while its just us. I'm not ready to move to the next chapter just yet. Our friends have babies and we are experiencing this huge divide between us and it breaks my heart. It's almost like we no longer know how to relate to each other. This entry speaks to me on so many levels. I will be bookmarking this as a reminder to myself. Thank you, thank you.

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