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I was 26 when I got married and 27 when I gave birth to my first child. My husband and I were just slightly younger than the national average, but after having already watched most of my friends get married and start their families, I felt old. And ready. We knew we were young by our country’s standards, but we were ready for our life together to begin. So it didn’t matter that I had no full-time job when we got engaged, or that my husband was halfway through his doctorate program when our first child was born. We trusted it would all work out, and in the end, it did.

RELATED: We Married Young and Don’t Regret it For a Second

In the months leading up to our wedding day, people were very open with their “advice.” Do you know what one of the most common suggestions was? You’re so young, you should wait a little while before having kids and just enjoy yourselves. One acquaintance even went so far as to warn us that we’d regret it if we had kids right away. I considered her statement for about a minute before I decided to ignore it.

We knew what we wanted after all. We wanted to start our family.

We found out we were pregnant just two weeks after our wedding. We announced our news just about a month later, and while most people were thoroughly happy for us, we could detect a smattering of smiles that were not quite as convincing. Obviously, we had not taken their advice, and while they were honestly excited for us, they were also a little miffed we hadn’t listened. But we chose to focus on the joy.

Do you want to know the truth? We rushed into parenthood. Yes, we got married because we wanted to spend our lives together, and we wanted to live together, and we wanted to live as married people. But we also got married because we wanted to have kids. I distinctly remember waiting until I could take my first pregnancy test. Even though I was newly married and had just started working full-time, it wasn’t enough. I wanted something else. I wanted to move on to the next step of this new life of mine. I wanted to be pregnant.

RELATED: Nothing Interrupts a Marriage Like a Baby

In the months after my firstborn arrived, I struggled with depression and anxiety. I cried myself to sleep so many times as I struggled to deal with the pain and regret. Yeah, that’s right—at times I felt like I regretted ever becoming a mom. But that was just the depression talking, and while the feelings were real, those whispers were lies.

My son is one of the best gifts I have ever been given.

Did rushing parenthood have any disadvantages? Of course. My husband and I were married for about a month before the morning sickness began. We went from the newlywed high straight to the first trimester low, and the first trimester is hard enough before you add the stresses associated with learning to live with another person. We didn’t have time to learn how to be married together before we were learning how to be pregnant and how to be parents. It was just the two of us for two weeks, and then there were three. And now there are four.

RELATED: The Benefits of Having Kids Close Together that No One Ever Told Me

Yeah, rushing into parenthood was hard, but it was completely worth it. I love our family, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. It had its challenges, but if I could go back in time, I would do it all over again.

Yeah, it might have been nice if we’d had more time alone before opening our hearts and our arms to our children, but honestly, our hearts are bigger and our arms are stronger because we didn’t wait. And there is no room for regret when our hearts and arms are so full.

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Shannon Whitmore

Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and freelance writing on topics such as marriage, family life, faith, and health. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.

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