4.16.2015

The In-Between


I never thought I would get married at 23. That wasn't a part of my "plan." I always thought I would be single until I was 30 or 40. Well, God is really good at turning your  plans upside down and giving you what you really need instead of what you think you need. Don't get me wrong, I love being married. I have been gifted the most amazing husband. One that I don't deserve most of the time. Anyways, I digress.

Lately, I have been feeling stuck in-between. See, the majority of my friends are either single or pregnant/have children. I have been feeling like I don't really fit in with either group of friends anymore. It feels like every time I log in to social media or read blogs, there is another pregnancy announcement. Obviously, I am overjoyed for them, but I simply cannot relate at this point in my life. Even at church and in my graduate program, people are on completely different tracks then I am. It has left me in the position of feeling like, now what? And if I were to be completely honest, it has also fostered some bitterness in my heart.

We aren't ready for kids. I want to get further along in school; there are things we want to do and see as just the two of us. We have plenty of time to have a family. Sometimes, I feel guilty for this. Guilty that my career right now is more important to me than a family. Especially being in a Christian community, I feel like being the career woman isn't valued. Of course I want to be a mom one day. A mom that is present and invested. However, I also want to have a job that is fulfilling and gives me purpose outside my role as a wife and mother. That doesn't mean it's more important, it's just something I need personally AND I feel like it was a gift I was given. To help people.

So, all of this to say, I am feeling stuck in the middle. In the in-between of singleness and having a family. I desperately want to enjoy the time we have just the two of us, but it also hurts to feel like I'm alone in my life stage. I've spent a lot of time feeling selfish about these feelings, like I should just suck it up. That's partly true. I also think, however, that I get to feel these things. We all feel like this at some point in our lives and I'm sure some of my single friends think it's hard to relate to me because I'm married. I get it.

I've really been trying to practice acceptance. Acceptance that this is how things might feel for a while. Acceptance that I might feel disconnected from certain people in my life at various stages throughout my life because people don't all do the same things at the same time. That's perfectly normal. Instead of feeling stuck in-between, I want to value and embrace it for what it is.

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77 comments :

  1. I'm not quite there yet, but I'll be right with you in a few months. Tyler and I are waiting to have kids for at least a couple years after we're married (at least that's the plan right now), so answering those "When are you going to have kids?" questions has inspired quite a few awkward conversations... We're waiting for the same reasons. There are so many things that we want to do before kids are mixed in. Which is OKAY. But the fact that it's okay isn't ever mentioned, for some reason. I'll keep telling it to myself. ;) And to you!

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  2. AMEN! I'm in such a similar situation. A lot of my friends are still single, and all of my husbands friends are married, and most have started having kids. I just need to get so much stuff sorted out before we start expanding our family, and it kind of leaves me in limbo. I like the idea of practicing acceptance - I had never really thought of it like that before, but it's exactly what I need!

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  3. aww hugs hunny!! I think it's really great that you've shared this. I bet there will be women coming out of the wood works saying they can empathize. I can get where you're feeling about the kids and family situation, but just remember everything happens for a reason and in the right time. I've told this to Kristyn too: Kids are NOT for everyone, and if you do want them, you should't feel forced into feeling like you need them right after marriage. enjoy your time with your husband. embrace seeing new sights. and if you still fee down, PRAY! (like I have to tell you that!) haha. LOVE YOU friend!

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  4. I was just saying this to someone at work today. I have 5-10 pregnancy announcements in the last few weeks. It's insane. I don't know what has been in the water for everyone to decide to get pregnant at the same time, but I feel you. We aren't ready for kids either (although, I am 31 and the clock is ticking). We just aren't there yet. I love my friends who have kids, but I'm not 100% sure I want them at this point. I told Jeremy that I wanted to be married for a while before we had kids. And we are doing that. I'm content with how my life is going right now, because it's working for us. Figure out what works for you and live your life!

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  5. Praise Hands Emoji Goes Here. Okay, I am not in your shoes yet I really connected with what you had to say. I am single and I feel like a lot of times, the Christian Community or Church kind of doesn't know what to do with us. Yes, they do have certain programs for us. But there is such a focus on marriage. Like you with motherhood, I want to be married someday. Very much so. But other things have just come first so far in life. And I trust God's timing. Even online in different Christian groups, blogging or otherwise, I feel like sometimes there are lines drawn: the singles, the married, and the mothers. Sometimes like I feel like I am at the bottom of the food chain. Maybe it's all in my head but when I talk to other single women, I see they feel it even more acutely than I do. Anyway, thanks for your honesty. Like I said, we are in different stages but I can relate to the feelings you described. FO SHO. Thank you!

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  6. i'm right where you're at in a lot of ways so you aren't alone! we aren't ready for kids yet either and a lot of people, even family, have some judgement around that. it can feel selfish at times but agree with you, i want to be invested and present and for now that's not how i feel in terms of having a kid. so if anything...i'm stuck in between with you :) plus, i reallly love my relationship with my husband where it i now and want to fully cherish that because i know it will change!

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  7. First of all, I love your openness. I was married at 22 and 11 months later, my first daughter was born so I know perfectly well what you are saying. At that point we ere not only the first of our friends to wed but also the first to have a child. I felt separated and different from everyone, Not in a bad way at all, but it was hard to relate to others (and hard for them to relate to us as well). It seems we are at so many different seasons of our lives...I love being able to relive the excitement of a pregnancy announcement and also hear about couples without kids that are enjoying their time together because soon enough, as my kids age, that will my husband and I. God I feel like I am rambling....sorry.

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  8. i am right here with you! we are years away from wanting to have kids.... but aren't single anymore either. most of my friends are still single & most of my husband's friends are married with kids or pregnant. so we definitely feel the strain in relating & wish we had more friends in our same life stage. there used to be tons of married couples without kids... and now that we are here it's like they are so rare! or if we do know a married couple that doesn't have kids... they really want kids & so that is where their focus is, and it's so far from our stage in life right now! it's so crazy!

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  9. You and I are in the same boat! Hunter and I are in no way shape, fashion, or form are ready for kids. Honestly, I want to be selfish and enjoy my time with just me and him. I'm having to learn how to embrace that in between moment, and enjoy it for what it is :)

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  10. I'm in the in between, but for way different reasons! Going on 3 years of infertility and all of our friends have babies already! Trusting that the Lord is faithful in these times, even though they might seem like a 'stuck' moment! Sometimes those moments are when He does His greatest work in us!

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  11. I feel like I could have written this post. Sometimes it seems like I'm supposed to be doing something different, but I'm not sure I'm ready to have kids or completely settle down. I also don't want to be selfish or miss my chance. I think though, even the people who are at different stages and seemingly happy struggle with this too. You're right though-it's all about acceptance. And serenity.

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  12. My sister feels this way frequently as a single mom. She is schedule and event restricted bc of her kiddo, but she also doesn't quite fit in with married families. I know my tendency is to assume people don't want to spend time with me (hello, social anxiety, my old friend). I need to do a better job of ignoring that feeling and spending time with people who are in different life stages than me.

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  13. Girl yes. I've felt like this for a while... And sometimes I think if we just had a kid I'd be automatically in the parent group... But I've come to realize I'm doing myself a disservice with that attitude. I'm giving myself an out. Because this is the thing: we all have had that life -be it kid-free, husband-free, job-free- before and we know it. So we can relate, even if it's from time ago. I've refused to tell myself that not having kids is an excuse or that having a husband is a reason why I can't relate to someone because the only person missing out is ME. :)


    We'll be there one day... And in the meantime, we'll celebrate the differences in their life and ours! :)

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  14. This is really beautiful! We are sort of in the same stage, only we've been married for less than a year, so people aren't expecting any strollers outside our door yet. Still, I love this season of partnership and growth, when we're free to pursue our passions, serve our community and create new friendships. Those things are just harder to do when a family is growing... at least from what I've seen!

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  15. It's ok to be in the middle and enjoy this time together :) continue to help people and embrace it- and these feelings are all completely normal!

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  16. Elise, I have often thought about that with your sister. My mom was a single (and really young) mom for a long time and I know how difficult that made it for her. It makes me sad knowing that other people feel this way.

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  17. We still have six months until we are married, but I can totally relate to you! We are experiencing this at our church as well, there are either college singles, or couples in their 30's with kids, making it hard for Sunday School/small groups. I will be thinking about y'all! And if you need a couple to hang out with, we can do a google hangout with beers haha!

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  18. I feel like everyone feels like they are in this in between stage, just over different subjects of life. There will be the ups and down, as long as you have your partner in life you are good to go.

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  19. Yeah, maybe. I enjoyed being single though and didn't feel like I was in the middle then. Maybe because I was still young when I met my husband.

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  20. I don't really have any thoughtful advice, just to keep doing you! Just because you don't fit into a "category" doesn't mean you aren't a rockstar!!

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  21. I've definitely felt like this before, and you are not alone!! Thank you for posting this -- it's so relatable!

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  22. I relate to you very much on this subject. Though we're not married yet, we've been together for 7 years and lived together 4, and we have a lot of trouble finding couple friends. We're a bit older so nearly all of the people in our age range have children. It's also hard for me because I do want children and at age 29.9, I have this scary feeling that most of my friend's kids will be super old when we decide it's time, so there won't be shared classrooms, sports teams, etc. We don't really "fit" anywhere. And the "in-between" can be quite lonely.

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  23. Thanks for commenting. I've definitely been here before but it has felt less lonely previously I guess.

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  24. You get it. It's definitely lonely. That doesn't mean I'm not happy, just that I wish I had more people to celebrate this season of my life with!

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  25. Oh girl. I'm there, too. My husband and I are literally the only childless couple left in our group of friends. I'm ecstatic for them, but we just aren't anywhere close to that. It can leave me feeling very alone. Often times I also think, "now what".
    I try to focus on goals that I hope to accomplish soon. For instance, I cannot wait to see my husband graduate with his phd later this year, and house hunting is going to be so much fun!
    Just know you aren't alone. :)

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  26. I just really can understand and appreciate this post.. as you read/commented on my post yesterday, I'm currently in a season of my life where I'm having trouble accepting where I am.. if that makes sense. I'm trying to value this as well! xo

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  27. In the long run, you will look back and be happy that you decided to put your career first at this stage in your life. It will benefit you, your marriage, and your future children in the long run. Don't care what anyone else thinks.

    http://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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  28. Oh my goodness if there was ever a post that is straight from my own heart just written on paper, THIS IS IT. In fact just a couple weeks ago my husband and I were talking about feeling "in between" and sometimes our lack of "life accomplishments" seems sort of overwhelming. Funny thing is, I was exactly like you- NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I would get married at 22. I figured 28 if not older. Now that I am married and working towards career goals I feel the same guilt you have expressed. I couldn't have said it better- I want to be an invested mom but also have a job that is fulfilling. It's hard to be in the "in between" especially when any major milestones (besides career/school) like buying a house, having a baby, or even getting a dog are years off. But contentment and acceptance are huge (like you said) and the Lord is certainly doing a work in me on both of those. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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  29. you pretty much took the words straight from my mouth! :) Love what you said. There is a season for everything and all seasons in life are beautiful. It is so wonderful to see friends going through different seasons and growing with them even if they are going through different things.

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  30. I'm so glad you can relate, not because it's a great feeling, but because it's nice to hear I'm not alone in this. It's such a strange position to be in. That doesn't mean I'm not happy, just that it can be lonely at times! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  31. I sure hope that's the case, Heather!

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  32. It's funny because I really love where we are, but it just feels lonely and then leads to me thinking I should be trying to move out of this season. But I know that's not the truth and every season is meant to teach us something, even if it's hard to feel contentment during that time. Praying for acceptance for you, friend :)

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  33. I remember seeing your post (I think) on Jana's site about being the last one to get married and I could so relate (but in terms of having kids). It's nice to know I'm not alone, so thank you.

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  34. It's so nice to know that you can relate. We are experiencing something similar at church. There are a lot of newlyweds, but most are already focused on kids, pregnant, or have at least one kid. The other people at our church are mostly single college students, which again puts us in this weird "outsider" position. BUT YES TO GOOGLE HANGOUT AND BEERS DUH!

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  35. We haven't been married a year yet either! But I totally agree, I really love this season and I want to fully appreciate it without letting this "in-between" feeling take over.

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  36. I totally agree, but again, I think it's important to recognize that it can be lonely and no, it doesn't have to be, but sometimes it can feel that way!

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  37. Yes, I couldn't agree more. I also think it's nice to have friends that are going through similar stages of life as you as well. Each friendship provides something different and I'm just realizing I'm kind of missing someone that is in my same season, that's all.

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  38. YES. The fear of being selfish is something that is completely getting at me. I don't want people to think I can't be happy for them or appreciate their friendship if we are in different stages, I just desire a friendship with someone that is in a similar stage as me right now.

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  39. Sounds like we are at similar points in our lives. I'm really looking forward to growing friendships with people that are in a similar point in their lives as we are right now, just to have that outlet.

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  40. Thanks, Anne. I can totally relate to feeling separated and different right now. I've really been working to foster friendships with people in similar stages, but that can be hard. I do think it's exciting to celebrate other seasons with people, but it doesn't really fill my (selfish) desire to have someone that can relate to be married while at the same time not having kids

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  41. Yeah, I can definitely relate to how you're feeling. I just don't feel like I fit any "mold" right now and although I know that's fine, I still want someone I can walk through this season with! I can also relate to feeling at the bottom of the food chain. I've found myself not even wanting to be around others lately because I just feel like I can't even relate to them and I know that's wrong and selfish but I also need healthy boundaries for myself

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  42. Me too. I'm honestly annoyed by it. That sounds awful. I'm obviously happy for them, but I just feel like my voice is being lost in the midst of bump dates. I'm feeling defeated in real life, and in the blogging world. A ton of my connections are slipping away as we moved into different life stages and although I understand that is natural it can definitely be lonely. I'm really happy with where we are right now and I wouldn't change anything. I would, however, like someone to walk with through this season. Even if just so I can giggle at the 1000 bump dates in my feed every week ;)

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  43. Agreed! Glad you can relate :) I've been in this place of thinking I'm totally alone because social media seems dominated by pregnancy announcements lately.

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  44. Selfish? That's not selfish at all....don't think that!!

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  45. Haha well saying that felt a little selfish

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  46. Acceptance is exactly what you need. Every woman walks their own path and what might have worked for others just might not be the best fit for you. I hope you continue to seek out the accomlishments YOU want and let others think whatever they want to... I'll tell you this, once you have that career there will be people there telling you what to do next and when you do become a mom there will be EVEN MORE women telling you what to do and not do, so it's good to be YOU now!!

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  47. Sorry!! I hope my comment didn't come across to intense. Just wanted you to know we've all been there in one way or another.

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  48. Acceptance is hard, I feel in every point in life that we are in we find it hard to be accepted or find our niche. I know that you as a person is someone that everyone wants to have as a friend and as a couple, not that I know for a fact, but I feel most couple are in your shoes after they get married and haven't had kids yet. It's almost as if in every stage in life others and ourselves are wondering when we will advance forward. I don't know if any of this even makes sense but what I want to say is that you are perfect exactly as you are. You and your husband are doing wonderfully and if it works for you then thats how it should be. I know you will find the right community and we don't always have to have a community that we are exactly alike. be well my friend ox.

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  49. I'm willing to bet that there are many, many people who feel this way. Half of my friends are still young and fancy-free and running around figuring it out, and the other half are married and seriously talking about babies. The journey looks different for everyone, and sometimes it can be hard to maintain strong relationships with people whose current life state/goals look really different than yours, but ultimately it makes life more interesting! All this is to say, you aren't alone in feeling in between. Not sure if that makes it better or not but I hope it helps!

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  50. YES. It seems as though my friends are either a) super single and independent b)already married or c) starting a family. Being in the serious relationship stage is perfect for us right now, but it does sometimes put some unneeded distance between me and some of my friends. It's not like they do it on purpose, but it is harder to plan girl time.

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  51. It definitely makes sense. Thanks for being such an encouragement to me, always! Thanks friend.

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  52. You're totally right, Alicia. I just hope I can find more people that seem to be on a similar journey so that I can give my whole heart to those who aren't as well :) Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  53. based on your post, I'm assuming your church doesn't have community groups or life groups or whatever a church decides to call them for married couples? Thinking of you and praying for you!! Excited for september!

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  54. Actually, we do! We have "missional communities" but they're full of all kinds of people which I love. I just wish I had a friend group or something outside of that who were closer to my life stage. THANK YOU. I can't wait for a weekend long sleepover with you!!!!!

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  55. YES! I feel the same way like I'm getting left behind! I'm 26 and single, and the majority of my friends are married, have kids and moving to kid number 2. I'm ready for that too, but I know God's plan and timing is far better than mine! :) Thanks for sharing and being open, Cassie!

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  56. Well, I'm sitting right next to you in that in-between boat. Married, in school, and no kids. There is so much we want to do before a tiny human depends on us for everything.

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  57. Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know that I'm not alone!

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  58. This is *your* path, Cassie - you should not feel guilty for enjoying the things you're involved in right now! In the recent past, I have felt that way a bit... most of my friends are on their 3rd or 4th child, settled down, etc and the last 5 years of my life have looked very different... but I wouldn't change it and know that my best friends support each other for the hearts we have and love we share, not necessarily the similarities of the day to day. We have always said to each other - if your heart is happy, my heart is happy for you. I don't think you're stuck in anything... you're path just looks different from some others, and how special is that?? And I love so much that you have a partner who DOES understand the place you're in, because he's standing there with you. xo

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  59. I agree with all of the things you say. I just wonder why it feels so lonely even though I know it's right. If that even makes sense?

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  60. No, it totally does make sense. And maybe this is God helping put the focus on your dreams, as well as on your marriage.

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  61. You should not feel guilty at all. I do see why and understand how you can feel that way, but you shouldn't. Your third paragraph is a powerful one. You know what you want. Don't give that up because you feel stuck in between. We felt in a similar place. In the military community, people marry young and thus have kids young. We are 30 and expecting our first. That's rare. Our military friends that are 30, already have 2-3 kids. We never felt like we fit in, which is hard since the majority of our friends are military. I've since made connections with those at work and found other DINKs (dual income, no kids), yet somehow I still felt in between. But we didn't rush things. We stayed childless for three years until we felt we were truly ready to start a family. Enjoy your life now. If you're happy and your husband is happy, that's what matters. Don't rush life. I know none of this I said will take away your guilt, but I just wanted you to know you aren't alone in how you feel. I think a lot of people have been there before.

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  62. Thanks Melanie. It's definitely been pretty hard and I've been feeling really selfish about feeling lonely so it's nice to hear that.

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  63. We've been married for almost 17 months, but having kids is still out of the picture. The primary reason for this is that we've been away from each other for so long; we both want to enjoy each other's company to the fullest before moving on to the next stage in married life, which is parenthood.

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  64. So many things I could write. I'm sure I'd just be repeating a lot of other comments but I could say many of the same things...though my first sentence would be the opposite...I never thought I'd marry at 30...I thought I'd be married by 25. I am in that in-between as well though we're ready for a family. At 24, I wasn't either and that's 100% ok. Had I been married then, I'd feel the same way. I was forced to value my career and establish myself as a woman, not a mother, in my 20's and I'm so grateful for it. But I feel ya...all of my friends are on kid #3 or 4 and we haven't even started, yet we don't related to our single friends with no kids either. It's tough. I could talk on and on about this :)

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  65. Yes. I can't wait to talk more about it in person. I know you'll speak wisdom into my life.

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