I was reading some of the experiences of these young people and a couple of the girls said that they couldn't wait to start their own families and seemed to indicate that life would be better. Having been a young person in a similar upbringing and now being a mother, I wanted to give a couple of ideas to caution those who are looking forward to motherhood/fatherhood.

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can repeat what we experienced in childhood. We may become like our parents or we may marry an invalidating person because that is what we know.

It is extremely important that you find a spouse who is willing to work with you. You will most likely not find someone who never invalidates you because that is the society we live in but you can find someone who is willing to take a closer look at his/her behavior and take steps to change. If you are both willing to "meet in the middle", both making changes in yourself and both making allowances for other person to make changes, then you will find deep and lasting joy. However, remember that this comes at personal sacrifice and after years of work and effort from both spouses.

Then you add in children (at the same time trying to improve your marriage). O.k. as wonderful and amazing as a baby is, I think you would be surprised to find how stressful having children is. It is also the most exhilarating, exasperating, overwhelming, joyful, heartbreaking, and time consuming thing you will ever do. I wouldn't change it for the world!!!

It is the most important work any human being can do and yet there are no handbooks that accompany a child. You will have situations that you never knew could occur. You will have times when you are at a loss of knowing how to help your child grow and learn what he/she needs to learn. There will be people who your child allows to influence them but that are less than honest or you feel they do not have his/her best interests in mind. These are the times and situations when you will find yourself at a cross road of how you should behave or respond. You will have a choice to act as you have been shown by your parents OR act as other good examples have shown to you. Sometimes you will find yourself doing things you swore you would never do. At other times you will realize afterward that you handled that situation really well. You will have good days, weeks, months, years and bad days, weeks, months, and years.

You will have times that your family really brings you down and even depresses you but you still have children that need you physically, emotionally, and in every other way. You may think, "How can I give to her what I never got?" It may seem impossible sometimes. BUT IT'S NOT!! I promise. If you are religious, I encourage you to turn to your religion for help and find people who live your religion and have a family. Study and live your religion to the best of your ability. If you aren't religious find a set of principles to live by and a person that lives those principles. Look at them for an example.

Find things you do well and focus on that. It's up to you to decide whether or not to maintain and continue your relationships with your parents/siblings. But I will tell you that as I have learned and grown and changed, I have increased my capability to handle invalidating people. I have maintained those parent and sibling relationships even though I have wanted to cut people off. Through it all I have learned when I am reaching my limits and what I can do to alleviate the pressure.

When I reach my limit of handling these delicate family relationships, I take a step back. I take a break for a week, a month, however long it takes for me to work through the feelings and jump back in to deal with it again. There can be benefits for you to continue having a relationship with an invalidating person. There are two kinds of people: People we learn things from through positive experiences and people we learn from through negative experiences. If nothing else, we can always learn how we don't want to act.

Just remember, these people, your parents, will always be with you - like it or not. You have to learn what you want to do with that. You have to think ahead and practice the ways you want to behave and respond long before you ever bring a child into this world. When you have a child you will want to give that baby the very best you can.

It is proven that a baby needs his/her father in his/her life daily! The best for your child, then, is for you to marry a good and honest man who will make a living for you to stay home with that child. It is always up to you but if you ask most children what they would rather for their home and upbringing, you will find that they wish for both parents to be together and mom to be at home (little children).

Children don't say that they only want those things if Mom and Dad are happy with it. We must be willing to sacrifice what is necessary to give the best to our children and it has nothing to do with making more money. I encourage all young women to find true joy in serving their children and learning the art of making a home. You may not be really great at it at first but you will learn and eventually you will find satisfaction with it. I have been married for 14 years and a mother for 13 years. I know what you can find in marriage and family.

I hope these things help. I have felt invalidated by my family my whole life. Sometimes more than others. I have learned many things from my family and my husband's family. I have tried to eradicate their influence and I have learned how to deal with them. I have also learned when I have had enough for a while. As I began having children, life got harder for a while. Then, as I stuck with it, I began to feel better and more confident in myself. It is my deep belief that all who are born are here because they are strong.

Believe in who you are! You are a good person with deep emotions. Really, you are the one to be envied. Those who don't feel deeply, also don't love deeply. Good luck!