Serious baby fever starts taking hold in your late 20s. Everyone you know is either having babies, is afraid of babies or want babies. Any way you put it, babies are applicable to just about everyone's lives.
Although baby fever might be running rampant through our social circles, Millennials are doing something that previous generations never did: We're having less kids.
Because most of us are putting off families to go to school, build our careers, find our soulmates or move out of our parents' house, Millennials are having kids much later than previous generations. And one-third of us don't want any at all. What?!
I'm 22, and am definitely not ready for kids right now. Some could argue you're never truly ready. But trust me, I can barely keep track of my keys, wallet and phone, let alone another human life. I am not ready to be a parent.
My best friend, however, has three adorably beautiful kids. And most of the people I went to high school with (who I still follow on social media) are either announcing their pregnancies, or have already had a baby. On the other end of the spectrum, some of my other friends have vowed to never have kids. And then, I have friends who want to have kids, but they haven't met the right person yet.
When I see the cute pictures, I can't help but think about what it would be like to have a baby and be a mom. Then in the next picture, someone is holding a margarita, and I'm reminded that I definitely don't want to give up THOSE babies just yet.
I've ended up going through a rollercoaster of emotions and phases with my baby fever. And at each phase, I found a few friends with me. We went through this process of wanting babies, but not being ready for them, and we talked about it all over drinks many a time. We all knew friends in different phases of baby fever, and it seemed like it was just a thing our generation is going through.
So, after careful consideration (and a considerable amount of margaritas), here are the three phases of Millennial baby fever:
1. I want a baby.
My friends who are stay-at-home moms absolutely love it. Some of my other friends are single moms who took care of their kids for a few years, and are now multitasking being moms and working/schooling (all are equally amazing feats, by the way).
Some people I know are expecting, and are excited about being parents. But, they are also extremely nervous. My two aunts just had babies recently, and all of the baby outfits I bought for them probably made me seem a little obsessive (oops), and ready for a baby of my own. Let me assure you, the "I want a baby" thought is still just a thought in my mind.
People have said I'm good with kids, and that maybe that means I'm ready to have some of my soon. Out loud, I said, "Oh, no. Not yet," but deep down, I didn't want to put the baby down. I knew better, but my uterus wouldn't stop trying to fight me on this.
This phase is all about having babies constantly on your mind, but knowing you're not quite ready to make this thought a reality.
2. I will never want a baby.
I became really focused on school in my second year of college, and I had tunnel vision. I was all about school, friends and fun. When I turned 21, my friends and I went through this thing were we would send each other funny jokes about not wanting kids, and enjoying the responsibility-free life. My parent friends, however, were sleep-deprived, exhausted and some even went MIA for months.
I heard stories about babies crying all night, or spending days at the hospital because they were sick. It was a series of stressful situations that made me feel lucky I didn't have a baby because I didn't think I could handle that kind of stress. I would've lost it.
A lot of people started asking me questions about when I was going to have kids. At first it was innocent, and I would say I wasn't ready yet. Then, people would start joking that I was going to follow the trend soon, or that I was losing fertility and, therefore, losing out on prime baby-making years. This caused me to go into the "I DO NOT AND WILL NEVER WANT KIDS," phase (all caps are quite necessary here).
The top three things I heard during this phase were, "When are you having kids?"; "You'll change your mind eventually" and "No one ever plans most of their kids. It'll happen to you."
My husband was the one who ended up bring me back to earth, and reminded me that, in the end, the choice is ours. And we could always talk about when we wanted to have children. He understood there were other things we wanted to do before kids came along, and that got me out of this phase.
3. The in-between.
This where I stand now. After being married, having a child is pretty much the next big step. At this point, if it happens by accident, it's no big deal.
Since I still feel so young, I'm still slightly scared of motherhood. My husband and I have discussed that we definitely want to wait a few more years, and have decided to put the kids conversation on the back burner.
My friends are waiting to get married, or want on their career first, but we've come to terms with the fever, and know we'll have kids when we're ready. And if it happens before we're ready ... eh, oh well. It won't be the end of the world. No need to panic.