Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Growing Life and Combating Stupidity

 The hardest part of being a Kitchen Widow is missing my husband. The second hardest part is parenting my children alone for much of the week. Some days, a long day at my job and the 200th evening viewing of "Despicable Me" and breaking up inane fights over one wooden block that someone wants and someone else threw at my head are more than I can handle.

Yet, we are having another baby. I think some people, privately and not-so-privately, cannot imagine why we would have a fourth child when having three stretches us mentally, physically and financially. It is not easy; that much is absolutely true. And having multiple kids is not for everyone. And sometimes I complain about it.

Pregnancy #1, Summer 2007
But the truth is that we are happy and excited to bring another life into the world. We love being parents and are mostly good at it. I like being pregnant and mostly enjoy it. And most people are supportive and wonderful. I have been discouraged lately, however, by a barrage of comments on my pregnancy and our full household. I have never encountered, throughout any of our pregnancies, such a menu of ridiculous, mean and inconsiderate statements, and I think it is time to stand up for pregnant women and mommies (especially those of big families).

Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman (and these are all real comments made to me this year):
"You are so big!"
"Are you having twins?"
"You sure you're not due sooner?"
"You look miserable."

Things Never to Say to a Soon-to-be Mother of Four (again, all real):
"You are crazy/insane/a glutton for punishment!"
"Isn't two enough?"
"You'd think you would have learned your lesson."
And my personal favorite: "Don't you know how to stop?"

Pregnancy #2, Winter 2009
I guess people are trying to be friendly or funny, but let me set the record straight. Being pregnant is hard work, whether you are working outside the home or not, whether you have other children or not. And as pregnant women, we have the amazing privilege of growing life, while balancing changes to our emotional, mental and physical states. We know what we look like, but unlike observers, we also know what we feel like. And some days we feel beautiful, other days we feel wretched. In the end, we are doing an important job that is not easy. You would not tell an overweight person that they are looking pretty fat, so do not tell me I look big and miserable.

Pregnancy #3, Spring 2011
Being a mother of three small children on my way to four is also not easy. But it is our choice. We are fortunate that getting pregnant and delivering healthy children has been relatively easy for us. I know couples who have struggled with this and my heart breaks when I think about those who cannot have or have lost the children they want. We have always felt that it is a gift that we can have kids and, to be perfectly cliche, we are not looking a gift horse in the mouth. A big family has been our dream all along, just as some people dream of one child or two or none at all. In the end, it is nobody's business.

Pregnancy #4, Spring 2013
So in answer to that last comment, I guess we don't know how to stop. We see the three beautiful children in our home that sometimes drive us crazy but always bring us joy, and I feel the baby elbowing around inside me, and it is all a blessing. Even if you feel it is nonsense to have more than one child or more than two, or if you are a perfect stranger who feels close enough to me to touch my stomach, just back off. We all make choices, and we are happy with ours, so my new choice is to have you zip it and just tell me that I look great and you are happy for our growing family.

I mean really, do you actually want to piss off a huge, miserable pregnant woman who is insane and ignorant? I didn't think so.


  1. This is so refreshing--As parents of 11, all wanted, all loved and all amazing children/now some adults and grandchildren too--we heard every comment under the sun. Would I ever dare ask someone why they 'only have 2 children?" Seriously, people, I am not raising a herd, but rather 11 individual souls whom I cherish even when they drive me nuts. Bless you and your amazingly beautiful family. People think I am crazy for working as a doula-they think I should have had enough of birth :). Anne

  2. Congratulations from us too and thanks for your generous response to life!

    I have a friend who recently responded to these kind of comments with "How can I take over the world if I don't have minions?"