I am an over-sharer, especially when it comes to the good news of pregnancy and new babies. I’m not one to wait the socially acceptable 12 weeks before announcing, and with each of our three pregnancies we have notified friends and family early, making phone calls on the same day we saw that positive. Yet while I love celebrating this new life, I have been shocked — and a bit appalled — at how I’ve had to defend this third baby to not only family, but complete strangers as well.
Whether at church, military functions, or even in office staff meetings, the announcement of our third pregnancy has received some ridiculous responses. Here are the Top Ten.
10. “Was it an accident?”
The average household no longer has the 2.3 kids of the 1960s, though this remains the oft-cited statistic. Now down to 1.9 per household, according to the 2010 Census, having a third child must be a mistake, an oops that slipped past us, because who in this day and age actually wants more than the average?
9. “So how many children are you going to have?”
There seems to be some notion that once we’ve opened the “large family” floodgates, we won’t be able to close them. Our usual response to this question is a simple, “We will see.” Which leads to number 8.
8. “You’re not Mormon, are you?”
We’ve also heard this asked as “How close do you live to Utah?” It seems everyone assumes if you’re open to a large family, this must be why. Our answer is “No.” Hence, number 7.
7. “Oh, are you Catholic, then?”
When we admit we’re not Mormon, the second guess is always Catholicism. Not a huge deal, I suppose. Both faiths are known for larger families, so it seems logical – though still none of their business. Again our answer is “No.” Yet depending on the individual and our mood, we might add “we are Lutheran,” which usually receives a nod and a smirk with the “so, basically Catholic” comment.
(Note: Lutherans are not “basically Catholic.”)
6. “So, you’re going to be like the Duggars.”
Having a third baby is apparently the equivalent of having nineteen — as quickly as possible. Three. Nineteen. Same thing. Can’t blame Common Core for this shoddy math, can we?
5. “Do you really want to be having babies in your forties?”
First of all, I still have nearly a decade to go before I’m in my forties. Second, simply because I’m blessed to have children now does not mean we will be blessed in the future, though if we are, so be it.
4. “But what if it’s twins?”
So, what if it is? We’ll probably panic and freak out for a moment. Then we’ll get our act together and do what all parents do — figure it out as we go. Parenting is hard, certainly, but since when does difficulty make something not worthwhile?
3. “But you already have one of each.”
Yes. We have a boy and a girl. The “perfect” family. We must be crazy to upset the balance within our home. Can someone enlighten me as to why anyone cares about our kids’ genders?
2. “Is your husband getting snipped after this baby?”
In what social circles is this question ever appropriate? I first assumed this was merely a result of the bold and blunt nature of being in the military community, but I have since heard non-military friends complain of being asked this question, as well. No one – not family member nor friend – should at all be concerned with my husband’s nether-regions. Thank you very much.
… and the number one ridiculous response to my third pregnancy…
1. “Don’t you know what causes this?”
Oh, how I long to be witty like my husband, able to think quickly and provide the perfect quip, like “No! Won’t someone tell us why this keeps happening to us?!” Yet this question never fails to surprise me, stopping me in my tracks, leaving me staring blankly at them before offering a nervous laugh.
At some point in my short 30-some years, times changed. People started getting married later — if at all — and having babies later — if at all. Children became either burdens to be prevented or commodities to be planned for and acquired at any cost, but always on the parents’ schedule.
Three has become the new six, the new mark of a “large” family. Those who dare to have three — or more — open themselves up to scrutiny regarding their intelligence, their faith and their responsibility. For there can apparently be no other reason for being open to the blessing of children.
Photo by abarefoot