Tuesday, June 10, 2014

family planning-it's none of your business

The other week I saw a huffington post blog about the shame of having an only child. Of course I can't find the link now. Then a few days ago I saw another one about a woman who was ashamed to admit she was pregnant with her fourth child.

Hey. Here's an idea. How about we get up out of each other's uteri?

I have lots of experience with people's interest in my child bearing status. As do most women. Here's the cliffs notes version.

First off, I got married at 20 after knowing Jim for ten months. The thought that I was pregnant may have crossed a few people's mind. Or maybe most people's minds. For the record, I wasn't.

pre-kids. so cool we were doing selfies in 2003.
For many of the first years of our marriage, we didn't want kids. I was never a girl that dreamed about marriage or kids. I was shocked enough that I got married, but was sure I wouldn't have kids. Yes, I know, it's laughable now, but for a good six years I didn't want kids. This bothered people. I heard all sorts of reasons about why I needed kids and how miserable I'd be if I never had any and how I'd die alone with no one to care for me. None of these speeches impacted our decision to have kids; they only served to make me mad and think that the person speaking should mind their own business.

Eventually everyone got tired of asking us when we were having kids. Then we changed our minds and got pregnant. Hoooraaaaayyy! People were nice and shocked about that one. First baby bliss commenced and I loved the idea of Isaac being an only baby or at least waiting until he went to school to have more. Again, feel free to laugh. At any rate, about a year after Isaac was born, the questioning started again. When are you having another? When are you giving Isaac a baby brother or sister? As if he wanted one or something. I told them I didn't know and another baby wasn't in the plans and we'd just figure it out as we went along, or maybe we wouldn't have any more. Again, this bothered people. Isaac would be spoiled and everyone needs a sibling and on and on it went. None of these speeches impacted our decision to have another kid; they only served to make me mad and think that the person speaking should mind their own business. Do you sense a pattern here?

Then, surprise and hoooorrrraaaaaayyyyy, I got pregnant. Audrey was born and oh the love and it really is possible to love two kids fiercely and fully and before we even left the hospital the very next day I looked at Jim and said, "I just can't say I'll never be here again." So, obviously, more kids were a-comin'.

I loved the two year spacing of Isaac and Audrey so I broached the subject of another with Jim on our 10-year-anniversary. He said yes and I got pregnant soon thereafter. Hooooorrrraaaaaayyyyy! We were thrilled. But I can't tell you how many times people said something along the lines of, "But you already have one of each." As though the sole purpose of procreation is to get a boy and a girl. Elliot was born and we thought our family was beautifully complete. For four years we thought that.

Then, surprise and hooooooorrrrrraaaaaayyyyyy, I got pregnant. And the comments ranged from confused: "What? Why? Huh? Weird." to comical: "How will you keep track of all of them?" The go-to joke, "Haven't you figured out how this happens yet?" The look at my bigger kids accompanied by the stare at my belly followed with the favorite: "Wow. You really have your hands full."

I've been alone on an elevator with my four kids and when the door opened the lone man standing in the hallway looked at us and said he'd wait. As if there wasn't room for one more human. As if we'd eat him. Or maybe he just thought I'd get pregnant from close proximity? I've been asked if we're a daycare. FYI: A valid question to ask is how we'll afford to feed them all. We're still trying to figure that out ourselves.

All that to say that people are deeply interested in the size of other people's families. Luckily these comments don't bother me because, for the most part, I don't care what people think of me. It's why I'll go to the grocery store looking the way I do. If you've seen me out and about, it's pretty obvious that I am not a woman concerned with outward appearances.

I'm sure some of the same people who thought I was nuts for being content with one baby now think I'm crazy for having four. As if there is a magic number for the right number of children. Two years ago I thought three was the perfect number. Right now I happen to have taken a fancy to four. If we had nine kids I am pretty sure that would be my perfect number of kids. But that's my definition of perfect for us. Not for anyone else. Because each family makes their family work. **
perfection! for us.

So, I'm back to my original idea. Let's mind our own business. Let's get up out of each other's uteri. Our comments are annoying at best, but they are downright hurtful to those among us silently trying with all of their hearts to get pregnant or struggling with all of their beings to stay pregnant.

**I'm speaking of regular ol' families taking care of their family business. Obviously there are strange and outlandish situations like the "Octo-mom." That's not what this is about.

What's the craziest, rudest, silliest comments you've heard about your children or the lack thereof? If you're a female, I know you have a few stories.

2 comments:

  1. Love this post and your super cute kiddos!! My hubby and I have been married for three years, and ever since day 1 people have been asking us about our baby plans!

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  2. Love your post! I have 5 kids and frequently get "you have your hands full" and "are they all yours"? I just laugh it off and say yes they are my pride and joy. To each his own with how big a family others want and what is it any of my business. Thanks

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