Seriously? So, I assume it was an accident, right? Well, you're gonna move now, I assume? (if I had a dollar for every time I heard this one we could actually afford to move!) Where are you gonna put all those kids? What, are you trying to create an empire? I hope you're done after this one!
These are all comments Matt or I heard (either in person, on the phone, or via Facebook) upon sharing the news of being pregnant with our third child. Given, most of these rather obnoxious comments came from people to whom we aren't that close. But some did come from family members (not necessary a shocker though, given who said them). And it must be said that the people closest to us, and who are most supportive of us did nothing but share in our immense joy. However, there were enough people who didn't that I was truly left shocked. I mean seriously, when did having three children become equivalent to being on your way to starring in the next TLC reality show about people with an insane number of children?
To answer these questions, Yes! We are serious! No, it was not an accident. Though, given how long it took us to get pregnant with Zach we started trying a bit early, and well, let's just say it didn't take long....at all. So, when we saw those two little lines on the pregnancy test we were a bit surprised, but also thrilled. No, we are not gonna move. Unfortunately we bought our house in 2006, at the peak of the market, and despite the fact that we would desperately like to move we cannot. But, we are financially more than stable, we have three bed rooms, bunk beds still exist, and we will be able to house all of our children under one, albeit small, roof. No, we have no goals of creating an empire, we've petty much always planned on three kids, and yes, we are certain we'll be done at three. But, what if we weren't? WHO CARES?
This is all to say, when someone shares with you the news of another child coming into their life, please, please, at least fain excitement and joy. Practice, right now, saying "Oh! Yay! That's wonderful news!" with a big genuine smile so that when someone you didn't expect to have "that many" (whatever that number might be in your head) kids calls to share their news with you that they are left buoyed with excitement, not doubt.
Having a child is a HUGE responsibility. No one who truly wants a child goes into it without much thought and consideration. It is a monumental decision whether it is your first, third, or fifteenth child. Even people who desperately want a child are a little scared and nervous when they first see those two blue lines on the pregnancy test. And Matt and I were no different. We were overjoyed, but as with each of our two previous pregnancies, we were also appropriately nervous. What was different this time, was that not everyone we shared the news with bolstered our joy and minimized our worry, as had been the norm previously. This was a shock, and a bit disappointing.
I like to think Matt and I are pretty great parents. We're not perfect, but we provide a loving, supportive home for our children. We nurture them in every way possible and love them immensely. Fortunately, all the less than supportive comments made never made us doubt our abilities as parents. But, imagine if similar comments were made to a couple less confident in their role as parents? I don't like to think of the pain and hurt that could be caused. Matt and I weren't left too hurt (though, the family comments stung a bit) and were rather left wondering, "What is wrong with [insert name]
????" But no one sharing such happy news should feel anything but joy in sharing that news.
Remember, once someone is announcing a pregnancy, its done. There is no going back. So, just smile, say congratulations, and give them a hug. Tell them what a lucky baby it is. And then, behind their backs, feel free to talk all you want about how crazy they are for having that many children.
In the mean time, Matt and I will be over here anticipating the birth of our third child. We cannot wait to welcome him or her (we don't know yet, but we will find out) into our family, and our cozy little home. There is something magical about this pregnancy. Knowing its our last, knowing that he or she will be welcomed by two amazing brothers, and knowing all the joy (and yes, sleepless nights, diaper changes, flaring 2-year-old tempers, etc) that awaits us. Sweet baby, we never doubted that we wanted you! We can't wait until you get here!