My husband Daniel and I were worried about becoming parents. I was scared about how we would afford it and how I would balance my work with being a mother. It all seemed so overwhelming.

I watched many movies where parents were stressed out and they fought about their kids, and I heard horror stories from anxious moms and dads who told us to get ready, because everything was about to change… and sometimes not for the better. My own parents divorced after having three kids. Daniel and I waited more than three years from our wedding date to start trying.

We had our daughter and everything did change. While there have certainly been challenges – especially during the pandemic when we didn’t have childcare – becoming a parent has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.

Sure, having a kid can be very frustrating, nerve-wracking and frightening. But now I laugh ten thousand times a day because of our daughter. She puts a smile on my face first thing in the morning, and when I check on her before I go to bed at night my heart feels overwhelmed with love. This is a feeling I never could have imagined before having a child.

Being a parent has been much more enjoyable and meaningful than I could have ever imagined.

Thanks to a dedicated husband who co-parents with me, as well as family members who visit us and the amazing staff at our daughter’s daycare, I'm able to handle everything pretty well most of the time. Being a parent has been much more enjoyable and meaningful than I could have ever imagined.

I’m now 32 and I noticed that a lot of millennials are putting off becoming parents. Birthrates have been falling for the past six years in the United States; the pandemic “baby boom” that was apparently going to occur turned out to be a baby bust.

Prior to having our daughter, like many people my age, I wanted to be out of debt and on my way to owning a home if I was going to become a parent. Then, at some point, I realized that not everything was going to line up perfectly. Instead, I channeled my inner courage and faith and took that leap. It turned out the old saying is true: Every baby comes with a loaf of bread under their arm. I started making more money pretty soon after our daughter arrived and I learned work-life balance. It’s a work in progress and changing all the time, but I manage. I’m content.

People my age are delaying having kids for a multitude of reasons. The pandemic threw us off and made us feel like the world was completely unstable. Inflation and the rising cost of living have outpaced wages. Home ownership seems out of our grasp. Some people believe that the U.S. is on a downward trajectory. We have student loan debt and credit card debt, and many young people don’t have communities or religion or their family around to make them feel more secure and give them support. Everything seems much more complicated nowadays.

On the other hand, the world has never been a stable place. Our baby boomer parents had to deal with the aftershock of World War Two, the unstable political climate in the ‘60s, Vietnam War drafts, the Cold War, gas shortages, missile and hostage crises, and much more. Other generations had their own multitude of issues. I would be much more scared and hesitant to have children if I knew they’d have to go to school and hide under desks to protect themselves from missiles or if I knew my husband could be drafted at any moment, potentially making me a widow and a single mother. Today’s problems are monumental, but they aren’t new.

Becoming a mother has introduced me to the fierceness of love and has injected so much more meaning into my life.

A lot of it comes down to faith. We have no idea what it’s going to be like when we get married, when we have kids, when we move to a new city, or when we take on a new job. The best things in my life have always come out of taking a calculated risk and hoping for the best.

And even if you experience stress and life gets more complicated with your new additions to your family, the rewards outweigh it all.

During the height of the pandemic, witnessing my daughter learning how to walk tempered my anxiety. Seeing her big goofy smile puts me in a wonderful mood. Becoming a mother has introduced me to the fierceness of love and has injected so much more meaning into my life. Everyone should have the chance to experience this unique mixture of exhaustion and elation.