The Baby Battles

Let me go ahead and preface this post by saying:
NO, I am not pregnant.
You'll know when I am.
And how much do I have to pay you all to stop asking?

I've known this was coming my whole life. I always dreamed about becoming a mother. But I only dreamed about the things that, as it turns out, don't matter much at all. My main concerns being 1) I hope I'm cute when I'm pregnant and 2) No one I know better steal any of the baby names I like.
I thought being pregnant was all about being stuck in this happy, glowy bubble. I had no idea about the things that can really, really stink.
For one, buying a pregnancy test. I've worked in retail, so I know that pregnancy tests are one of those most stolen items in a store. But seriously, out here in Tremonton, I could get a hold of a Russian mail-order bride faster than I can get a hold of a pregnancy test. They lock those things up behind bars, and you have to get past 3 dragons, a ghost, and a lake of fiery lava just to get to them, then you have to present the cashier with a golden talisman while you recite the secret chant of the pregnant society.
I get that theft was a problem. But 90% of the people buying pregnancy tests want to get out of the store as quickly as possible, and are even willing to hide that loud pink box under some unnecessary groceries, and still the girl from Family Dollar doesn't have the courtesy to put my stuff in a bag? Sure, I don't mind smuggling this out of the store like a thief and praying I don't run into anyone I know in the parking lot.
I am a grown woman. I just got used to buying my own tampons. Can't we just make this one thing not so difficult?
Even that isn't the worst thing. Since my miscarriage last fall, I've realized a lot about having babies that I never noticed before. Like how stinkin hard it is sometimes. I can honestly say that after having a miscarriage, it's hard not to feel like it will be impossible to ever get a child here safely. It's hard not to be jealous of the girls who get pregnant instantly, and then stay pregnant.
It's only been recently that I've realized there is a battle going on between the women in my life, especially those trying to, or in the midst of, building their families.
Or maybe it started out as a battle. But now, it's a full on war.
Because it's not easy. It seems like every stage is full of it's own battles, and everywhere I look there are girls fighting their own battles with motherhood.
But I finally realized something. I could spend a long time being mad at those girls who had babies despite the fact that I didn't... or I could be happy for them. I could realize that they more than likely had their struggles too. I could accept the fact that as women, we have to stick together through this. When I go through hard times, I want someone to be understanding and kind about it. And when I finally do get pregnant, I want someone cheering me on and genuinely excited for me.
And for that to happen, I think I have to be happy for others, too.
It's one of those things we can't base on anyone else. It's comparing our weaknesses to other's strengths. We each have our own timeline, so even though some girls my age already have their 3rd child, others won't have any for 10 more years, or will never have any at all.
So let's just agree to be happy for each other. No more secret loathing when someone makes that big announcement. No more stalking them and wishing it was you.
Because for the most part, I think if we're honest about what we want out of life, we will eventually find it. But not through envying someone else.

Let's do away with weddings once and for all

I stumbled across yet another commercial the other day, showing a bride in her expensive white gown walking down the aisle. There is no one else to be seen, not even her father at her side. The narrator said, simply, "Because this is your day."
I was so irritated, I don't even know what that commercial was advertising.
It's not like this is an uncommon thing. It's not even something we think twice about. A bride on her wedding day... that's a special thing. Anything for the bride. The bride is beautiful and radiant and... wait, can the groom step out of the picture, please? You're blocking part of her extravagant white dress.
How did this happen? When did a wedding become only about the bride?
For that matter, when did a wedding become about more than a marriage?
I can't tell you how many times I've heard the excuse: We're not getting married right now, we can't afford it. We're going to move in together for now and save up for our dream wedding.
It makes me sick inside. So let me say this as clearly as I can: YOUR WEDDING. IS NOT. THE IMPORTANT THING.
The important thing is each other.
If you're engaged or dating or single and looking, take it from someone who's been there: your wedding goes by way too fast. It's true when they say you won't even get a slice of your own cake. And despite all your hard planning, the receiving line of people you've never met and will probably never see again will not disperse in enough time to let you have an hour of dancing with your friends. They don't want to dance, anyway.
I never really thought of myself as that kind of girl, but there was a slight disappointment after the wedding was over. It was like, Huh. My wedding, this day I've been looking forward to my entire life, is over. For the next few weeks after our wedding, I kept having nightmares that we had to set it all back up and do it again because it had gone by so fast.
My wedding was fun. I loved my dress, I loved how Caleb surprised me by singing me our song, I loved our easy luncheon and how we had leftover cookies for like a month. But man, I really hope that wasn't the best day of my life.

On that note, today also marks 5 years since my baptism. Because the majority of my family isn't LDS, I had a lot of people ask me, "Don't you feel bad for your family that they can't go to the sealing?" Call me cruel if you want, but my answer, plain and simple, is no. Not because I'm unkind or don't love my family, but because Caleb was the only person I needed in that room. That moment was about he and I, not anybody else. Afterwards, we did a ring ceremony for my family, and I was the lucky girl that got to have a Temple Sealing and have her father walk her down the aisle. I'm pretty sure that's cheating somehow.
If you're not going into your marriage thinking about the person you're marrying, then you shouldn't be getting married. If your spouse is just a consolation prize after the glitz and glamour of the wedding day is over, then I can almost guarantee yours will be one of those marriages that fails. And if you're moving in together so you can save up for that day, then you're wasting it. The day will go by fast, and you'll go back home to each other as if nothing has changed.
Let it be an adventure. I will be the first to say that being engaged is the WORST. You never want to leave each other, so you end up hanging out every night until 4 am and driving home half-asleep in the freezing cold. But what an awesome gift it is to suddenly be married and realize... we don't have to leave each other again. No matter where the day takes us, we'll both end up back in this house, together. 
Don't get married until you would be thrilled to see him on bended knee with a cubic zirconia Wal Mart special in his hand. Don't get married until you are absolutely willing to marry him in a ceremony where not a single person attends. Don't get married until you want to marry him in your sweats, with no makeup on, on a dirt road in the rain.
I'm not saying you have to do those things. Have your big ring, have your fancy wedding. But not if that's all you want.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Marriage is the best thing you will ever do. Read that carefully. I said marriage, not your wedding. Your wedding is a necessary evil to get to your marriage. If it feels the other way around, then it isn't right.
Now how to get them to stop making these commercials...

(Man am I glad I never had one of these. Super creepy. No batteries needed? That's because this doll is clearly possessed.)

One for all my single friends

Right now, I'm in this weird stage where half my friends are married, and the other half are single, and there is  this silent war between them. I was really surprised after I got married at the number of my single friends who completely wrote me off, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had done it to my married friends too. In the mean time, I was welcomed with open arms into the "Married Club", where the couples were desperate for other couples to hang out with and couldn't be more thrilled to have us.
But this one is for all the single friends I left behind. Because I got married less than a month after turning 22, and I can't tell you how old I thought I was. I was mere months away from dying alone! I realize I've only been married a year and a half, but looking back, I can't image what I was thinking. I wasn't old. I'm still not old. So for all my un-married friends, I have some great news: It's ok if you're not married yet!
I wish now I could go back and grab college-Anndee by the shoulders and shake her and scream, "Just relax!! He's on his way!" Despite everything else going on in my life, I was always looking for my future husband. Wait, was that him on aisle 3 in the grocery store? What should I wear tonight, in case I run into my future husband somewhere? Is it someone I already know? If I go to a different school next semester, will I miss meeting him and die alone?
I know I'm not the only one. And the thing is, once it happens, it happens fast. I don't care if you date for 3 years first and have a long engagement: it still happens fast. One moment you're single and wondering where he could be, and the next you're in a white dress and your life has completely changed.
But let me be clear: your life changes drastically the day you get married. But your life doesn't start the day you get married.
Marrying Caleb is by far the best decision I ever made, and I truly believe it's the most important thing anyone can do. He's the person I'll spend eternity with, and that's why it's a decision you shouldn't take lightly. And that's why I get frustrated for my single friends, who are constantly showered with and endless torrent of, "Are you dating anyone? Is he THE ONE? Will you get married? When?"
It isn't fair, because although I believe it's the most important thing you'll ever do, that doesn't mean it's the only thing worth doing. You have to have your own dreams. You have to live your life, and be a full, complete person before you can meet someone and become that half of a whole. 
That being said, I don't believe any of the old cliches about how "It only happens when you're not expecting it." and "You have to stop looking in order to find him." because I know too many girls who try to cheat the system by shouting to the universe, "Ok, I'm not looking! Feel free to send a handsome, preferrably rich, boy my way!"
It happens when you're ready, and you don't always know when that is. But in the mean time, your life is happening all around you. Once you do get married, you won't get these times back again. So live them while you are living them, not through memories after you've finally found "the one."
You don't need a marriage to validate who you are. What you are doing right now, with these years, matters. And I promise you, we're not as old as you think.