January 27, 2010

Reader Question: Congratulations on the Third Pregnancy

Jen writes:
Dear Swistle,

I'm feeling....hmpf....I don't even know! We are nearly 14 weeks pregnant with our third child. As we begin to tell people we're expecting a new member of our family this summer, I get "Oh wow!" "Holy cow!" "OMG!" "Really?!" and [stunned silence]. We have two boys, ages nearly 6 and 3. This isn't an effort to get a girl. We didn't make this decision hastily; the pregnancy was planned with lots of thought. Even if it wasn't.....

I'm sure I'm being sensitive, but my feelings are hurt that no one is saying congratulations for number 3 when no one hesitated with numbers 1 and 2. How did people respond to your 3,4,5th baby news? If it was shock or indifference, did it matter to you? How did you deal with it? I'm angry at myself because it shouldn't matter What Other People Think! But I feel like when my 3yo has a meltdown at play group or my kindergartner isn't reading fluently, people are judging me--like "she can't handle the two she has." So, now instead of excited about our new family member, I feel embarrassed and anxious and dread telling people about our impending due date.

I would be EVER grateful for any advice or thoughts you might have for me.

Your anxious reader,
Jen


OH CONGRATULATIONS!! What exciting news!

I am afraid your experience is typical among people having more than two children. The first pregnancy gets huge excitement, and after the baby is born it's "When are you having another?" The second pregnancy also gets good levels of excitement.

The third one gets people acting like they never even considered such a thing could possibly be in the works. As if they're thinking "....What? But you already have two. This doesn't make sense." And then they scramble to adjust, and they don't always do a good job of it.

The fourth and fifth announcements get people staggering backward, pretending to have a hot flash, saying "Are you CRAZY?," asking if you've figured out yet why this keeps happening, etc. And there is such a noticeable difference between "happy surprise of someone reacting to something they are delighted to hear" and "surprise that is trying to communicate a message."

We were just talking about this over at No Whey, Mama (and another place---where was it? remind me if it was your blog!) so my guess is that we can get some good commiserating anecdotes going in the comments section.

98 comments:

Miss Grace said...

I'm pretty sure I read about this at Anne Nahm's place fairly recently?

Amanda said...

I have a dear friend who is pregnant with her fourth and is feeling much the same way. She feels judged. I try to express as much delight with this pregnancy as I would if this were her first. I wish she didn't feel this way and I'm sorry that anyone makes you feel that your third child isn't exciting or amazing.

I'm guessing though, that people are projecting onto you. They don't think that THEY could handle it and are somehow defensive thinking that you know that you can. Try to look at it as their low self esteem and blow it off.

beyond said...

congratulations, jen!

MonkeyBusiness said...

Oh my. Honestly I think People In General just like to make ridiculous comments. So many people out in the world are just batcrap crazy with no clue how to make conversation.

I mean, before I got engaged, it was all "When are you getting engaged?" and now that we are married it's all "When are you going to have a BABY!?" and then it'll switch to when are you having another one!? People just love offer unsolicited comments, it drives me half insane.

MonkeyBusiness said...

Oh and congrats on the third! I come from a family with three siblings and thought it was awesome!!

Joceline said...

First of all, congratulations!

I am also currently pregnant with my third (and it was an oops! but whose business is that? We did want a third, this was just a little sooner than we'd planned), and I've gotten much of the same reactions. I thought it was because mine are so close in age (the oldest will be just under three when the third is born), but I guess I'd be getting those reactions either way! People also keep asking me, "So you're done after this one, right?" and they're shocked when I tell them we'd like four kids.

I think Swistle is right. A lot of people feel like two is enough for them (and we already have a boy and a girl), and they're put off by someone else wanting more. I just try to convey with my tone that we are excited about this baby and hope they'll get the hint.

CAQuincy said...

Even my MOTHER got all dumb with her comments when I announced my third. After she got over her "shock," she did try to back-pedal a little, but it still made me feel kinda bad. I think she just thought that since SHE was adamant about stopping at the I've-got-my-boy-and-my-girl, she just ASSUMED that I would, too. Guess what, Mom? I'm NOT you! Projection, INDEED.

Katie Ryan said...

I come from a family of 4 girls, I am prego with our 2nd-due in May and we plan on having at least 2 more, and even my mom who had 4 kids kinda acts like we are crazy for even thinking past two. Please like to judge and give opintions when they shoudnt, I dont know you but I AM EXCITED FOR YOU!! CONGRATS!

Lawyerish said...

Congratulations, Jen! How exciting!

I find this simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. I mean, that people would be so OBVIOUS about their reactions and not even attempt to just offer hearty, well-deserved congratulations -- it's so stunning.

Christina said...

Congratulations!

I'll repeat my shock here that I originally had at No Whey Mamas! Who are these people?! One of my aunts had 5 pregnancies (1 unfortunately was miscarried), another had 4 children, and nearly all family friends have 3 or more children. I can't even imagine showing anything but excitement and congratulations for anybody telling me they're pregnant!! Maybe it's b/c I come from a large family where a lot of ppl had many siblings, but I think I'd die of shock if anybody I knew reacted to a pregnancy this way, it just sounds so foreign and rude to me!

Amy from Occupation: Mommy said...

Congratulations!

I am pregnant with our fourth, we have three girls. I just wrote a post about all the comments we have been getting ("Were you trying for a boy?")

http://www.phillymomsblog.com/2010/01/not-trying-for-a-boy.html

As it turns out, we are having a boy, but we were definitely NOT trying for a boy. Girls are wonderful, we would've been happy with either one.

Grrrr. Why can't people just say, "Congratulations?"

MelissaInk said...

Congratulations!

I have two boys with a similar age difference and am hoping for a third.

I suspect that Swistle is right that people respond poorly. I mean, most people have two kids and have for decades now. Two, that's it. I'm one of two, my mom is one of two, my husband is one of two, his mom is one of two, most every guy I dated was one of two.

We're a people stuck on two kids.

With my second one, I don't feel like anyone cares about him as much as they care about my first. It's a shame. He's actually much easier to get along with. I don't know what is wrong with people. I like babies, no matter what order they come in.

I always thought two was lonely. I wanted my kids to have options - if they're mad at 1.0, they can go play with 3.0. When they grow up, there will be four (umm, that's the number I have in mind) of them and four significant others and all those kids. I want a house full of love - yes, I think that can happen with a small or large family, but FOR ME I want quantity. Judge away.

Also, quite honestly, I think I'm a better mother since my second child. One kid comes along and disrupts life as you know it, so you might as well pile on a few more. I might actually know what I'm doing by number 4 :)

Congrats again!

Stefanie said...

First, Congratulations! I have two little boys, aged 8 and 4, and a baby girl that is 8 months and man, I feel your pain. Sadly, I have to report that it doesn't get any better once the baby is born. Oh, people are happy to meet the munchkin of course, but I have yet to present the baby to a group of people where someone didn't say "Oh! You finally got your girl!" Yes, that's exactly it! I brought another human being into this world simply because I found my sons so utterly lacking! Thank goodness I didn't get stuck with another one! I can imagine that if we had a third boy they'd come up with something vapid to say about that, too. What can I say? People are dumb and you just have to let it roll off you.

Giselle said...

Congrats! My mother just laughed an evil witch-like cackle when I told her. But maybe that's because my #2 was only 9 months old when I found out about #3.

I'd say you need to just start growing a thicker skin now. Because it won't end here. I can't tell you how many comments I get when I take my 3 shopping. As if I have broken some kind of record by having 3 children. As if it is INCOMPREHENSIBLE that someone would take 3 children grocery shopping. It used to really bother me...but those stupid people just don't go away, so it is better to laugh.

I can't even imagine what kind of comments Swistle and others with more than 3 get when out with their crews. Because people seems totally SHOCKED by my 3 kids. Three. Not 17. Three.

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Jen! Let's start a club and we'll just be thrilled for each other! :) My pregnancy is our third--and it's kind of "old hat" with most because my brother and his wife are expecting their first a week and a half after we're due. So fun! We have a lot of the same friends, so it was fun to see everyone so excited for them. Also, my family is heavy on the boys and while I honestly love the two I have and wouldn't mind having all boys, I think there was disappointment all around when we found that I am indeed expecting a boy. And my brother is expecting a girl. Ha ha! We're thrilled as can be over here under our rug, but it's hard that no one else really seems to be. And no one can believe we'd WANT another boy. They get all sympathy-dishing-like. It's weird. I'm kind of relieved (I guess?) to hear that this is normal for after-two pregnancies, but I wish it wasn't. At any rate, I'm so happy for you!

Sarah said...

Congratulations!

I didn't get too many off-hand comments, but I suppose it's because we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted three or four children. The only comments we got were from one of my husband's co-workers. After our second she made a big deal about our joining the 'multi-kid club' and then when we got pregnant with our third she was all "I thought you were DONE!"

Ah, well. My friend just had her sixth. You can imagine what people say to HER! :)

Nellyru said...

Sincerest congratulations!
I have two and am in the throes of thinking I would like a third...in fact, I would very, very much like a third. And since I really NEVER would have guessed that I would have wanted a third, I will confess...in the past my reaction to someone else wanting a third (or fourth or fifth...or ninth, whatever!) would have TOTALLY been a projection of myself. I couldn't have IMAGINED three children. I mean, I certainly wouldn't have meant it in a derogatory manner! Just a Wow! I find that hard to imagine! kind of way. But I still would have completely meant for my congratulations to be heartfelt.

Anonymous said...

When I was pregnant with my twins some people actually said "I'm sorry". The first time it happened I didn't know what to say it because I never thought anyone would say that. We were nervous about the pregnancy (higher risk), but we were also excited and happy too.

Kristi said...

People are dumb. We all need new friends.

Love, a mom of four who only occasionally runs away screaming.

PS - We had three girls first, then boy fourth (we always planned on 4, not to 'get the boy')- someone actually SAID TO ME RIGHT THERE IN MY FACE: You finally got it right! I nearly kicked them in the teeth.

Kristi said...

PSS - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Leah said...

Congratulations!!!

I can't believe people would react that douchetastically. We just got through the telling phase of this one, and it is also a 3rd baby. We got lots of Wows, but also Congratulations, and I can't imagine one without the other. The Wows were mainly because this was a giant OOPS and we had been telling people we were done at 2 and the baby was only 8 mos when I found out. So I get that people were surprised - we were too. But I can't imagine the shittiness of implying that someone is crazy for being pregnant.

That said, I'm super glad I live in a heavily Irish Catholic neighborhood of Chicago, where 4 is more common than 2 - no one here judges! It will be different I'm sure at my Lutheran church where after I had a girl then a boy they said "Oh good you can stop now." (eye roll)

I think I actually have a more reserved reaction than anyone else does when the find out (because like I said GIANT SURPRISE STILL WRAPPING MY HEAD AROUND IT), and I know I have plenty of time for people to start making unsolicited comments as I get more obviously pregnant, but at least friends and family have been great.

I really think if I got some of those reactions from FAMILY my hormonal pregnancy anger would kick in and I would start carrying around ninja throwing stars.

Swistle said...

Oh, Anon, that reminds me of one of the comments I got during my twin pregnancy: an acquaintance shook her head and said sympathetically, "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." Me: O.O

Nicole said...

When my best friend told me that she was pregnant with #3, I almost had a heart attack. That is because her husband had a vasectomy. So, my first reaction was kind of shock, although I did congratulate her and was as happy for her as I was for her first two (and now she has four! Her husband had it reversed, apparently).

Just as a comment, though, I got a LOT of "aren't you going to try for a girl" when I told people I was done at two children. Um. So I think people just need to be negative asses sometimes.

Jess said...

Congratulations! So thrilled for you (if also a tad jealous, because I am dying to be pregnant now my own self).

Also, I just do not understand people. I can SORT OF understand a quick thought of "goodness, I'm glad I PERSONALLY don't have three kids" when you hear the news, but then you MOVE ON and congratulate the person who IS having three kids, because, you know, it's their CHOICE and their LIFE.

Kristin said...

This is a little off the subject, but speaking of dumb comments, I can't tell you how many people have said, "Well, you're done now, right?" after finding out my second child was a girl (first is a boy). Or, "Now you have a set, so you can stop" or something along those lines. I guess I was unaware that the perfect family is a boy and a girl. This isn't 1950, right? So strange that people would make comments like that.

Uberchildbearing is for the WEAK said...

I'm sorry, but I seriously doubt the mental competence of anyone who has more than three children.

I grew up as the oldest of five children, and guess what? Our needs were not met as well as they could have been had there only been 3 of us. Or two of us, since my twin brother was born with cerebral palsy.

The rational decision is to stop having kids at two, with the outer limit of that equation being THREE. There are two of you, yourself and your husband, and so in order to keep the species going, you should have one or two. Three max. Four and you are DOUBLING THE POPULATION. You are also spreading your family's resources ever thinner by adding more children. The ONLY REASONS people had TONS OF CHILDREN were 1: No birth control, 2: not many babies survived childhood (so out of 10 pregnancies 3-5+ would survive), and 3: GOD SAYS SO.

I don't believe in God, I do believe in birth control, and I take seriously the needs of current children and our family before the SQUEE of a new tiny baby. That tiny baby would be stealing food, clothes, and opportunities out of the hands of my current two children, and I can't understand why ANYONE would do such a thing to the ones they supposedly love.

Now increase that number to 5, and you are spreading resources so thinly that they're lucky to even see you, let alone see a COHERENT you who can help them without getting overwhelmed at the needs of SO MANY HANDS that are NO LONGER TINY AND CUTE.

I'm sorry, but it's a very irresponsible thing to do, in my opinion (have more than 3 kids).

LoriD said...

Congratulations!

Even now when I tell people I have three children, I get strange reactions from "Wow!" to "How do you do it?" to the real doozie "You're stopping at three, right?!" (as if my reproductive plans are any of your business). Some people are just jerks.

Actually, saying that reminds me of a jerk I used to work with. I heard that he and his wife were expecting their third and I congratulated him. His response: "Thanks, I'm trying to think of it positively." Can you imagine living with that moron?

Nellyru said...

I think it is totally possible to ask people questions about their pregnancies and kids WITHOUT meaning it in a horrible, judgemental kind of way...I mean, I ask people stuff because I am genuinely curious...not because I think they "should" or "shouldn't" be doing something. I don't ALWAYS ask out loud, but I DO often wonder if the family with five girls is totally fine with that or if they are trying for a boy...don't you? I mean, I've seen it both ways-some folks would be GREAT with a herd of twelve boys, others may have stopped at TWO if they had one of each...everybody's story is different and sometimes it's just really interesting to know, you know? Of course, I guess not everybody asks without judging, and certainly not every comment is appropriate (ie, "you finally got it right?" uh..what?).
I guess part of it is that some people are more private about it, when I never really considered pregnancy and family to be all that private...I mean, it's not like nobody is going to NOTICE, heh. =)

Jenni said...

Okay, so this isn't about a reaction when expecting a third, fourth, fifth child, but we found out I was expecting #2 when #1 was a mere ten months old. MY FIL says, "You didn't plan this one did you?" OMG! Can you believe he asked that?! I mean, okay, so #2 wasn't planned (no so soon, anyways) but isn't that just the rudest question?

Misty said...

Wow! Jen could BE ME...

Except, of course, she's not.

Anyway, maybe I just don't have dumb-dumbs that I actually talk to, but no one has expressed dismay at my current pregnancy. Although, most people think it was an accident. Which irks me. Hm. Maybe I know more dumb-dumbs than I think.

Congratulations on your expectation, Jen! Yay! A baby! Whoo!

Bethany AKA Mother of the Munchkins said...

I agree with what Amanda said at the top, about the projection. When a family member of my hub's was pregnant with her third child she asked us if/when we would try for our third. I know my immediate reaction was not the best. (An Elvis lip curl is never a good reaction to give anyone!) But it wasn't against her, it was from the immediate thought that there was no way I could handle a third at that time. I just wasn't ready, not even as a thought. But that's been several years ago, my two are older now, so the thought of a third isn't as scary as it was when that comment was made. So maybe, just maybe, it is projection and not anything against the expectant mother. At least I hope so... I never want to say I'll never have a third, or a fourth or shoot, a fifth... just NEVER know! (And now my youngest will chime in and say, "But you just said never!" LOL)

Nellyru said...

Well, then...aaaaand there's a fine example of some Judgy Mcjudgins for you.

Beth said...

We've discussed this on Swistle's blog before, but I am in the OPPOSITE situation, but with the same results. We have one, and are happy with one and are finished having children. We get lots of comments about our selfishness and our daughter's potential lonliness, etc. We all have our opinions (obviously, see overly-opinionated idiot above) but sometimes it is just polite to keep it to yourself. Congratulations on #3, OP.

Fran said...

ummm...yeah...uber-whatever-the-hell...hi! You DO realize that Swistle has 5 kids right?? And a lot of people read her blog and ask her questions about how she does it so well? So...ummm...maybe you should just keep your opinions to yourself? sheesh
That being said, Congratulations on your 3rd Jen! I have 3 myself and the "Finally got your girl" comments don't bother me much because, yes, we did, although we always wanted 3 and I wouldn't trade my boys for anything. People seem to get all foot-in-mouthy around pregnant women for some reason and you just have to take it with a ginormous grain of salt.

jen(melty) said...

Congratulations, Jen :) 3 is awesome!

I am so happy we had a boy and a girl before we had #3 because I might have killed anyone who said I was trying for the other sex if we'd had 2 of one first.

First pregnancy, everyone's excited to the point of being annoying. When that kid is born they ask you when you're going to have another.

Second pregnancy, apparently the 2nd one was too close to the first one (he was intentional, honest.) and people were like "um.. should I say congratulations?" Wow, what a buzzkill.. or the outright "this was intentional, or...??" The only people who reacted with pure joy for #2 were my in laws. True story.

Third... well what the hell were you thinking.. was that an accident? You already have one of each, why would you do that to yourself, etc etc. Also, 3rd pregnancy - old hat.. people forget you're pregnant, let the door hit you in the face, ask you to help them move their sectional when you're 9 mos pregnant, etc. No one thinks "gee, she must be tired, what with being 900 years pregnant and having to chase those two kids around all day!" and give you no leeway or consideration.

But I'm not bitter, honest ;)

parkingathome said...

Oh man. The rest of the country is like this? God, you multiple birthers, move to UTAH! They'll stone you to death if you have less than 15 kids! They'll say "when's the next one coming" just as rudely as they did when you had number 1, number 2, and number 8!

Congratulations, young lady, and we're all proud of you for making the choice to make your family what YOU want it to be. I'm number 6 in my family, and I'm glad my mom was proud to have all of us, just as you should be proud that you are strong enough to have as many babies as you DAMN WELL PLEASE.

Also....did "uberchildbearing" really just say that his/her twin with a disability should not have lived? Or that she'd rather not have her siblings lived after number 2? Either way, Jesus Christ, what kind of monster are you?!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

CONGRATS ON NUMBER THREE! I'd love to have three or four kids myself one day, so no judgement here! I think the best thing to do is really try SO HARD (even though it's not always easy) to be EXCITED for your new baby who will be loved and cared for, and try SO HARD no to hear negativity. It's their own prejudice and their own issue -- it doesn't really have to do with your choices. Three is a great number of children to have, I think! Or more! I love big families: my mom is the only sister in a family of seven (yes, that means she grew up with SIX brothers!), and my best friend is the youngest in a family of six. I love it! I want that great feeling for my own future children that being in a big family has.

Also... wow... I can't believe the rudeness in that one comment on here... good thing it's buried deep between so many GREAT and SUPPORTIVE comments, so that we can look past it. That's a pretty rude thing to say on a Blog of a fabulous mother-of-five. I guess a lesson they missed out on while too busy swallowing their Bitter Pill was "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

nicole said...

Congratulations to the writer! How exciting!

Yes, people generally say rude, thoughtless things once you have had two children and then audaciously add to your family. We are expecting our sixth. I have noticed that since #5 came on the scene the comments are generally positive again. My thinking is that people who disapprove realize they are not going to have an impact and that everyone else figures we must actually want these children. My husband hears a lot more negative comments (things like "your poor wife" as if I am being forced to bear all these children against my will) than I hear.

I definitely have moments when one of my kids, especially my toddler, acts up and I think people must be looking at me wondering what in the world I am thinking, having another child. But I try to get over it, because it is not their business and even people with one or two children have days when their kids make them crazy.

Anyway, I'm sorry the writer is having those negative experiences and hope that she starts getting more positive responses soon.

Frondly said...

Congratulations! I am from a family of three, and I simply can't imagine life without my little sister.

To UBER: Ah, if only your mother had shared your opinion.

Jen said...

Congrats to Jen, from another mother of 3, who incidentally had the same thing happen... I actually "unfriended" someone on FB (ultimately) because she made a comment something like "wow, really?". It was just the straw the broke the camel's back, as she had made too many comments like this before, but still. How not nice! SERIOUSLY. Three children is nothing! And it's nobody's business how many children you have and when you have them! I'm sure adding a third will be challenging in its own right, but the benefits far outweigh the hardships. Right? That's what I keep telling myself, at least, when the 3- and 4-year-olds get so crazy that I just want to hide in a corner with the 10-month-old and snuggle him, saying, "YOU won't be like this, will you, darling?"

Congrats!!

Buttercup said...

Jen, I am now 27 and just about every day I am glad that I have an older sister and a younger brother. So there--not only am I a proud proponent of not stopping at two, but I am a middle child who is satisfied with her life.

Also, I can't believe people would say "oh, now you're finished" after you have a boy and a girl! WHAT?! Does that mean if you have seven boys in a row, you should keep trying to have a girl regardless of whether you really want to?

I would also like to add (because this isn't long enough) that I went to a verrrrrrrrry Catholic law school where many of my classmates came from huge families (like 12, 14, 16 kids) and had been neglected by their parents to the point that they earned advanced degrees and were pleasant, kind, intelligent people. You could do much worse by your kids.

DCMOMMA said...

Congratulations! The more the merrier!

I'm sorry people suck and are out there that DON'T THINK BEFORE THEY SPEAK. Think fast, talk slow I always say...
The most hurtful things are said without thinking...

When I was going through infertility, and seeing everyone around me get pregnant I had surgery to increase our chances of getting pregnant.
I returned to work with everyone under the impression I had my appendix out...which I did because endo was on it. A woman at work
commented how I looked sore still (which I was...) and she said

NEVER HAVE KIDS. I cried for days about this...

So for all the readers that comment harshly...

Whether a person has 1 or 5 kids it's their business...unless you are personally supporting them? ZIP IT.

Shelly said...

Congratulations, Jen! May your three beautiful children bring you joy your whole life long!

Anonymous said...

First of all, congratulations!

I usually stay out of comments but I couldn't resist. I am one of those "barren/infertile" woman who would have loved to have a "quiver" full of kids. I personally believe that it's no one else's business on the number of or lack of children. People often assume we "chose" not to have any, not so.

I have a friend who has given birth 10 times. Tney are all healthy, happy, and well cared for children (you can imagine the comments they get). So more power to you!

melanie said...

i've been having the same problem with baby #4. in fact, i try not to go out in public now with all three at once so i don't have to deal with all the "you've got your hands full" comments. try having to pay for stuff with WIC coupons being obviously pregnant and having three kids with you. people don't like that very much. i wish i could explain this is temporary while my husband finishes his Ph.d.

i blogged about this here: http://www.chicagomomsblog.com/2009/09/bumpaholic-i-dont-think-so.html

and about people's insensitivity here: http://myattkids.blogspot.com/2010/01/people-should-have-better-filter.html

did you know that someone actually asked "dear abby" if it was okay to tell someone they are "as big as a house" in their eighth month of pregnancy? seriously!??!?

Anonymous said...

I come from a family of 6 children and I would never have wanted it any other way. When we were younger, there was always SOMEONE to play with. Now that we're older, there's always SOMEONE to talk to. Family holidays are the best. AND we all grew up to be responsible, educated, and emotionally stable.

I have 3 children. Girl, girl, boy. A co-worker of my husband's actually said, "I'm sorry" after he heard news of our third pregnancy.
And of course when we found out the sex, there were all of the comments like: "You finally got your boy!" and "your husband must be so relieved that it's a boy!" Um. He's pretty fond of his daughters too. The baby is 11 months old now and I still get comments about "finally getting a boy". Even with my daughters present and listening!

First or sixth, boy or girl, a loved and wanted baby is reason to celebrate! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Baby! Yayyyyy!
I think it's people just not thinking about how their actions could be perceived. I get so hurt when my MIL repeatedly acts as though it would be devastating if my husband of several years and I get pregnant with any baby, let alone a second or third. There are no rational reasons for us not to be trusted with a child - the only thing I can think of is that she doesn't think we make enough money and that upsets me too.

I have another friend who's first was a boy and there were lots of boys in the fam and so people were pretty much like, awwww crap, no show here, just another boy. And my friend is STILL pissed off 12 yrs later.

lmrwells said...

It's so tiring when people can't just be happy for you one way or the other. Not to highjack the thread, but for a very long time I had only one child and people felt compelled to comment on my choice. It's like you have to have two - no more no less - or you are somehow crazy.

cheryl said...

Congratulations, Jen!


From "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz...

"Don't take anything personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering."

Jane in Pa said...

Congratulations!! We just had our third child and it is crazy-wonderful :)
I agree with many of the sentiments above and hope that the support is easing your anxiety. Right now, the trend is that "2" is considered the perfect number of children. Aside from how many, if your kids are close in age- forget it, you are NUTS. I have two boys ages 3.5y and 2.5y...and we just welcomed our daughter in November. We do get some negative comments as well as some admiring-type comments. Bottom line: People really can be stupid and often don't think before they speak. Also, not everyone has bad intentions but it's hard to think that way when your emotions are running high anyway. A new life is a blessing whether it is your first child or your 19th (a la Duggars). Best wishes for a happy, healthy baby and a happy, healthy mommy :)

Leeann said...

That is so funny to me, because in my area, it is far more usual to have three children than to have two. I have to actually think to come up with folks who have only two children! And I know very few.

Three is awesome. Three is the feel of a larger family without some of the greater challenges of a large family.

Congratulations to you!

aibee said...

People are assholes.

Which might be Teh PMS speaking, even though I don't think the NotPMS state come with some kind of magical Asshole Blindness. ANYWAY!

Congratulations on your pregnancy, Jen. I reallyreallyreallyREALLY mean that.

xx

Saly said...

Oh congratulations!! A new baby! Yay!!

I have been on all ends of the spectrum with the awful comments. Sure, everyone was ecstatic for #1, but when I told everyone I was pregnant with #2 when he was just 9-months-old, it was an uproar of 'are you crazy' and 'clearly, this was not planned...'. As if it is anyone's business.

When #2 was a girl, I heard 'oh, now your family is complete!' or 'the perfect family, a boy and a girl'. I think those are the worst comments of all, as if our family would have been missing something with 2 boys.

So anyway, then came #3. The stunned silence. The 'don't you know how this happens???!!???' questions. It is not unheard of to have 3 children. I agree with a lot of the comments--just because 1 or 2 children is all somebody else wants doesn't mean that it is not ok for you to want 3 or 4 or more!

So anyway, this is long, I know. But seriously, congratulations and I hope you have an excellent pregnancy and birth. Everyone will STFU when you are holding that perfect baby in your arms.

the new girl said...

I. I think I may be guilty of doing this to people...And I have to say that it totally IS a projection, because if someone told me that I was pregnant with my third, I might want to go and lie down across some nice, cozy, railroad tracks somewhere.

I am trying to think back, to see if I was a massive, inconsiderate jerk. I hope I wasn't too bad. I think families of all sizes are cool, though, you know. Let that pregnancy flag FLY, sister.

PS. Swistle, your description of the responses to your various pregnancies were HILARIOUS. 'Get people staggering backward, pretending to have a hot flash' was just about the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

Superjules said...

Congrats!!! A baby!!!

I am the fourth. Of four girls. Ultimately it is only your opinion that matters to you and your little one. My dad always made it clear they weren't TRYING for anything-- he was thrilled with girls and that's what they got. And that's all I've ever known. So... pardon my language but fuck eveybody else.

Veronica said...

Congratulations Jen!
I'm the Mama of 4 and Holy Crap did I get some strange, sweet, funny and one down right mean reaction to my pregnancy news. One mom at my daughters preschool looked at me and said, "OH MY GOD! That is too many kids! What were you thinking?". Well, that lady has two daighters aged about 12 years apart (so she was in her late 40's with a 4 year old) and since I was hormonal and feeling very offended, I told her, "Well I don't want to be too OLD when I'm having my babies". That sure shut her up. Now, I know it was a petty and mean thing to say but she hurt my feelings and I would say the same thing again.
So Congratulations on your 3rd bumpkin and remember that it really isn't anyone elses business how many kids you choose to have.

Lippy said...

Oh yay! I just had my third, ummm 9 months ago, so I guess not "just" had her. I got the same reactions. When we told my dad he said "why would you do that?" Because we want three? On my husband's side of the family everyone is having their third. Three is awesome. Congratulations.

Siera said...

Bring on the reality TV show. 2 and counting! It's not like she's the Duggars. (whom I completely respect BTW)Demographics may play a role here depending on where she lives... I met a mom from San Fran who said 2 is considered a lot there and 3 is a gaggle. So maybe it's the attitude of the general public where she lives.

Christy said...

We have three girls and get comments about trying for a boy all the time. When I was pregnant with my third, the "hoping for a boy" comments really got to me. People often say things without thinking. Same as above, congratulations and three is awesome. Even, gasp, three girls.

mom, again said...

Congratulations!

I have 2 by my first husband and 1 by my 2nd husband. Significant number of years in between so many people who never see my grown children forget we actually have 3. Most offensive comments were the now generic 'did you plan this?'

I'm sort of freaked out that asking if you were using birth control has become a reasonable question. which is odd, you wouldn't ask a co-worker or a stranger about what else they use in the privacy of their bedroom. Sometimes I was tempted to embellish my 'yes, we've been trying for over a year' with some juicy where? when? how? plus costume & accessory details. some of which might even have been true.

I got a few 'don't you know how that happens' comments, but they were all from people whom I expected such stupidity from. I know one of them says that to/about every pregnancy he hears of. For some reason he thinks implying someone in our middle class social circle may not know about birth control is hilarious.

There were a few comments on it being a poor plan considering I was in my 40's, but both our mothers and 3 of our grandmothers had kids in their 40's, so we weren't fussed. Yes, the stats for issues are higher, but not so much that it is inevitable. I was the sane age as my husband's mother. We were hoping for another soon after as she'd managed, but alas, no. We are discussing adoption.

I guess I was expecting those comments: the first has become so common, the second was sort of predictable too as I've known other assholes like that one, the 3rd was a bit rude but also not unexpected. as if we hadn't considered & accepted all the risks ourselves.

I am astounded that 2 has become so standard that people are bothered by 3. 3 is not a surprisingly large family in my opinion.

nic said...

Haha! Makes me think of my own family.

We're four kids at home, and when I recently compared our birth-announcements, I saw that on the first three it says: 'We happily announce the birth of our son/daughter' and the fourth one just says 'We announce the birth of...'. So apparently it can even happen to the parents ;) (And I'm pretty sure they were as happy with the birth of their youngest as with the other ones!)

Kelly said...

my friend is expecting her 6th and stopped getting friends congratulating her at around the 3rd. the family stopped around the 4th. even her (former)doctor/his staff has been condescending and rude about it. its very common. and sad. but people are mostly caught up in themselves. the important thing is that YOU are happy because a baby is always a blessing to a family wanting a baby. whatever other people think...pllffffttt!!!
happy gestation!! ;)

clueless but hopeful mama said...

It is SO much about projection. How what YOU do makes ME feel. And then I feel like I have a right to tell you about it!

It reminds me of when I was going traveling with my mother to Africa. Friends, coworkers, clients, they all said: "You're going traveling with YOUR MOTHER?!" as if it was the worst thing they could imagine.

And I always answered: "I'm going traveling with MY MOTHER. Not YOUR MOTHER."

Kellie said...

I'm right there with you. My husband and I hope to have 5. I just had our 4th 9 months ago. I can just tell that many people around us think we're crazy. And, many are holding their breath to see if we're going to announce yet another one! We get all sorts of comments too. People told us that 3 was "a lot", so imagine what they think about 4. And, I'm already worried about announcing 5 when the time comes. It helps if you plug yourself into groups with larger families. And, remember that it's your life! You and your husband get to live it! Not the people making the comments! Do what's right for you and your family! You are the one who has to live with it! I like to think further down the road about our family life. People and their comments come and go like the rain. But family is forever. You'll be enjoying those 3 beautiful children, and their children for many, many years. And, after you are gone, your children will have each other as a support network. Children are a blessing and a gift! Don't let others steal your joy!

therextras said...

The people who respond with (personal and inappropriate) questions instead of congratulations get not one ovum of credit from me.

This is probably a generational leftover of the false belief that the earth can possibly be overpopulated.

Sara said...

Well, first of all, congrats!!!! Yay for babies! Hope that you are feeling well! My mom is one of 5, my dad is one of 7, my grandpa is one of 14. So, to me, 3 is not that many kids. However, I am going to "woman-up" here and say that I may have been one of those asses who followed up my congrats with a "wow" or "that's crazy". But here is why: I have rough pregnancies; my now 5 year old only slept 7-8 hrs a day as a newborn (in the whole damn 24 hrs); and my 1 yr old has a milk allergy and won't gain weight. I am constantly overwhelmed with my kids (who I adore), so the idea of having 3 or more makes me lose my mind. I love the idea of more kids, but I truly don't know if I am capable of handling that many. So, if I say that's crazy, then that's my own personal projection, because I would seriously question how I would deal with the day to day. I am still THRILLED for you, and even a little jealous. You obviously are better at this whole parenting thing then I am! Just look at it that way whenever someone says something nasty.
Oh, and we have 2 girls. Even my dr has asked "so does the hubby want a boy"? Oy.

Uberchildbearing is for the weak said...

I didn't imply that my poor twin shouldn't have lived- rather, my parents should have stopped producing children after he and I were born, so each of us might have received the maxiumum amount of resources.

My opinion is still my opinion. And your children are entitled to their opinions, too.

Coming from a family of five children was REALLY hard for me and my siblings.

Kate W. said...

I can't wait to be able to read everyones comments- but I have to go feed my 10 week old FOURTH child. I totally understand where Jen- and others are coming from. People just love to say what ever they feel-no matter how obnoxious.

Household_Deity said...

Congratulations!!!!!!

I have two boys (5 and 4 yrs old) and recently had a little girl (4 months ago). When I was announcing "the news" of my last pregnancy my own father says "OH NO!!" And was completely unsupportive of the entire pregnancy. I feel your pain! I am soooo thrilled to have 3 children and if anyone has a problem with that tell them to kiss it! Its your choice, your life, not theirs! :) Best of luck to you with your little tax deductions ;).

Thank you Swistle for posting this!

g~ said...

I come from a family of five siblings and I LOVED having so many siblings. I never felt neglected or like I wasn't given enough attention. That being said, I am sure I went to school wearing some crazy outfits as I was the second oldest and was 'independent'.
While I LOVED this for myself, I have only two children and have NO desire for another. And when friends tell me of the impending arrival of numbers 3,4 and so on, I usually imagine my own reaction to finding out I was pregnant again, which would be panic. I do not, however, project it onto them as I recognize that some people are gifted with the ability to handle more children than I am. I can barely handle the two I have sometimes and I am in utter and complete AWE of people who can not only handle three but WANT three or four and so on. It's like it's beyond my capacity to understand. Like I imagine we all feel when meeting a savant or something. So, my WOW is genuine amazement and happiness. Like "Wow! That's awesome!" and "Can you tell me who the third Tzar of Russia was and what his wife's name was and what day of the week she was born on?" You know. Wonder, amazement. That sort of thing.
So WOW! That's awesome! Congratulations! Can I touch your awesomeness?

Uber said...

I, for one, would prefer (not demand) that people have 3 or less children. One or two is best. Why do I say this? Because I grew up in a house with five children. And yes, I am well aware that Swistle has five children. This isn't meant to be mean, only to explain the idea that the CHILDREN should be considered first when deciding to expand the family. My twin brother has cerebral palsy. Why on earth didn't they stop with the two of us? Or with THREE of us? Why did they have to go on and have another set of twin girls? I love my sisters, all of them, but our quality of life was not optimal. Our father was OCD, controlling, and having five children in his house was not something he dealt with well. They shouldn't have had five kids. And I don't think ANYONE should have five kids. Even if they "think" they can handle it, because they might not be able to handle it. And I don't want any poor soul to go through what I had to go through growing up.

It was horrible for me, awful, we were all scarred for life because if it. It was a terrible experience. How many of your own children will have these things to say because you had more children than you could handle? That's all I'm worried about.

My wellbeing wasn't noted. I was the "good" kid, so I was ignored because other kids had more pressing concerns to deal with. Now, my twin brother with cerebral palsy, I understand. But to have MORE children, once you have one who has very specific and GIGANTIC special needs? Why would you do that to him? Stick with two. Don't spread your resources so thinly.

I grew up with a fear of closed packages of food. If food hadn't already been opened, I was afraid to eat it, in case I might get in trouble or punished. Why? Because they would punish us if we raided the fridge and accidentally got into food that was supposed to be for another night's meal. Why they didn't show me, the highly intelligent one, the meal calendar (oh, right, it was in their heads, as they didn't have enough TIME with 5 kids to write it down) and kindly explain the rotation of groceries is beyond me. Instead we ALL got punished with bread and water for dinner.

And where did the above situation come from? My crazy, ill-fit, OCD parents, of course. Where else, though? If they had 2 kids, would this have been such a problem? Probably not. But with 7 mouths to feed for 20 years in a row, their budget was SQUEEZED to the max. We didn't get really healthy food. We didn't get the time or attention we needed.

How many other HUGE families have this same problem but can't see it or can't talk about it?

My opinion: Don't spread your resources so thinly that you can't be rational and kind with your children. And if you're pregnant with your 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, nth child, don't get upset if everyone isn't as warmly congratulatory as you want them to be. Not everyone had a great experience as a "multiple" child. Some people would prefer that parents enjoy the children they supposedly love, rather than having more and more and more, to fulfill their own desires.

And , obviously, if you're doing this for the congratulations, you're doing the wrong thing.

Swistle said...

Uber- You are absolutely entitled to your own opinion about your own family---both your family of origin and the family you have now. You are not entitled to project that opinion on other people's families.

Kristi said...

Uber - scarred for life is right. I feel pity for you. It must be hard to be so incredibly bitter.

MoMMY said...

1st, CONGRATULATIONS! Three is fabulous.

2nd, I'm a mom of 4 boys all within 5 years of each other. And when people tell me they're pregnant with their 4th I inevitably say. "I'm so sorry." I AM JOKING. It still seems like such a big number to me and my youngest is nine. You'd think it wouldn't shock me anymore. No, we weren't trying for a girl. In fact, we weren't trying and when we found ourselves pregnant again, hoped for another boy.

But this is all beside the point. People feel the need to comment. I've never taken any of the comments I've received as offensive (and I've heard it all). I'm happy with my family and I have no idea what anyone else's situation is. I realize now I've said, "better you than me." And I was sincere. It doesn't mean I'm not happy for you. In fact, I AM happy for you. I would not be happy to be pregnant again. It is always about the commenter's feelings and has nothing to do with the pregnant woman. I also think people in general get too upset by others comments. Maybe because I try not to judge I assume no one else is either. And when I ask questions...it's because I'm interested. Not judging.

My last comment will be that since this topic has come up so often online, I've stopped saying anything but Congratulations. I'm just too afraid people will take offense. Of course then I feel insincere. Not because I don't want to congratulate you but because I feel like I just need to keep my mouth shut.

MoMMY said...

ACK! Sorry for the book.

robin said...

I'm a fourth child. It never before occurred to me that my mom would have gotten flack for having more than two children. I love all my siblings very much, and I'm so glad there's four of us! So, congrats on the newest member of your family, and try to shut out the idiots who don't know any better than to be happy for you.

Maureen said...

Congratulations Jen!

This is interesting to me-I have one child, and I often got the "so have you started on the other?" question. One time, I had gained some weight, and someone said "so you are finally adding to your family!"-ummm, no, but thanks for pointing out the extra pounds!

I grew up one of five, and loved all my siblings, but all I ever wanted was some peace and quiet. So I knew that a big family was not for me.

For me, not anyone else, just me. As long as kids are loved, isn't that all that matters? Big family, small-I say bring them on. I don't know how we have come to the point where somehow people think everyone should be the same as them. Just because someone makes a different choice than I did, doesn't make me right and them wrong. It makes us different, and that is what makes this a big, old interesting world.

Once again, congrats Jen, and I hope for everyone who says something silly to you, that you have twice as many who wish you happiness and joy on your new addition.

Joanne said...

Congratulations, first of all! It is always exciting to me when someone is going to have a baby, including myself. I am Catholic and my husband and are open to life, but I am also OLD and OVERWHELMED a lot of the time, so I got some crazy reactions when I came up pregnant with my third when my second was just eight months old. My oldest has autism and that's another thing, well-meaning people inquired whether or not I had THOUGHT about my SON! Sheesh. I wrote a post about it at the time, just reading about it it makes me kind of mad on your behalf. http://anthonyjoseph2005.blogspot.com/2008/11/monday-and-announcement_03.html

Man, who thinks that they get to comment on other people's lives? It's crazy, to me. Congratulations, again!

Anonymous said...

Uber...I can definitely see where you are coming from. That is tough! I am from a family of nine kids. The oldest has Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism). I sometimes marvel that my parents had so many of us because WOW! Not that I would trade any of us or wish they'd done it differently, just WOW! I'm in awe.

But, your childhood experience and mine are completely different. My parents were/are awesome. All of us have gone on to lead educated, productive lives--including the oldest who teaches school and does an amazing job there. He found his niche and so have the rest of us. I never felt neglected. I always had what I needed. My siblings and I are very close and all of us feel blessed to have had the upbringing we did. Now, we didn't go on exotic vacations and we didn't have a lot of extra money to throw around, but we never went hungry, we were always dressed nicely, and I can tell you we learned a lot about frugality and creativity which has come in handy for our own families.

I think Uber brings up a valid point. While I don't agree that five is TOO MANY! QUICK! SAVE YOURSELVES!, I DO agree that people should take into consideration their resources and their capabilities. My parents were able to provide and care for nine. A friend of mine would lose her mind past the two she has. And she knows it. But that's the point. I think anyone considering having children needs to take their own emotional well-being into consideration. I would hate to see anyone have a childhood like Uber's and have to feel that they were robbed, cheated, etc. Not that every family is perfect, but anyway, I just felt that Uber had a valid point. At the same time, one, three, nine, or nineteen...it's your choice and more power (and emotional health ;)) to you!

Congratulations on your pregnancy, Jen!

Morrigan said...

Jen, congratulations on the impending arrival of child number three! I am so excited for your family.

I cannot understand why anyone feels entitled to comment on other people's reproductive decisions. My husband and I are happily child-free and are frequently subject to the opposite sort of questions: when are you having kids? What do you mean you're not having kids? And my personal favourite, you'll change your minds when you get older (at 35 and 40, I think I we know our own minds). We both love children, but have decided that we don't want kids of our own. People assume that we are selfish or lazy (and say it), and seem compelled to try to 'convert' us to their chosen path.

Perhaps we should all try to remember that the decision to have children (or not), how many to have and how to space them are those of the individual couple and none of our freaking business. Regardless of our own personal feelings, why can't we just smile, congratulate the couple and be supportive of their decision?

Anonymous said...

I am 40 and due next week with my 4th - AND I work full time. I get the rude comments based on size of family, my age (as in: do you know how old you will be when that baby is out of the house?), and my employment status (as in: are you really going to work full time?)
I too find myself hesitant to tell people I am pregnant with my 4th or to even be seen in public, pregnant with 3 kids under 7 in tow. But I have created a nice little response to people who make the "are you crazy?-was this planned?-don't you know how this happens?-comments. It goes something like this:
"This was an intentional pregnancy - why did I do it? Here's why: (and I tick the reasons, indignantly, off on my fingers):
1) I produce great looking, smart, funny, nice kids - the govt. should pay me to populate the planet with these kids (its an exaggeration of course but it stops people cold).
2) I've got the energy
3) I've got the money
4) I've got great health insurance
5) I've got a great husband who does everything; and you know what?
6) Because I still can....
That really shuts them all up...(:

Celeste said...

I grew up with 3 sibs and we did have to do without things. I didn't want a large family for this reason. I was fortunate as it turned out to even be able to have the 1 child that I do. People actually asked me pre-child if I was a child-hater (nope) and post-child others have been in my face about just having one.

People can be counted upon to say the wrong things, but when they manage to say the right things it's like the skies open and the angels sing.

Carol said...

Uber, you had an abused, neglected, and apparently impoverished childhood, and your parents were mentally ill. This is TERRIBLE, and I hope that you have been able to find the strength to make yourself a happy life despite that horrible start, perhaps with therapy to work through those terrible times.

And surely you can understand that abuse, neglect, poverty, and mental illness are not connected either to family size or to the people who choose to have larger families. It's understandable that you would associate the two because of your terrible upbringing, but at your age making that connection toward other people's families is irrational and offensive, and the things you're saying (like about how an additional child takes food and clothes away from an earlier child, or about how people only have additional children because they like tiny cute babies) don't make sense in the majority of families, big or small.

I don't know you or have any connection to you, so of course it doesn't affect me at all if you continue to rage against the evils of large families and the mental states of those who have them, but for your own mental health I think it would be helpful if you spent some time disconnecting the two things so that you don't continue to lash out irrationally at others. You can see just by looking around you that many people from larger families DIDN'T have your experience, and that some people from smaller families DID, so you can see that the correlation is faulty.

Erin said...

This is fascinating. I had no idea, but I just have one (so far). Which people would consider unjust if I were Chinese. So is, like, 2 the official # for American families?

Also, how does this work for parents of multiples? I mean, take triplets. Is the last one old news?

Jen said...

I don't think three is that many and I'm one of those people who DOES believe population growth is a bad thing. So, congratulations! I have one and am expecting that if we don't have another we will get the oh, your poor only child reaction a few other ladies have mentioned. Oh, well... ;o)

Buttercup said...

@Erin - HA! Like four minutes after the birth of the first one, people are all, "oh this baby thing is so passé."

Erin said...

Interesting post and discussion. I don't have any kids yet, but hubbins wants two or one largely because of environmental and population concerns, he believes its irresponsible to have more than two because of the resources not just of our family, but of the world at large. And here I sit, thinking I'll eventually want three, mainly because I grew up in a family of three, and it was so much more fun then the quiet little family my husband had growing up (nothing wrong with that, just my 2C).

I do think Uber has a point about taking things like population and resources into consideration, whether or not her experience growing up is indicative of all large families (I suspect its not). Not just the particular family's resources (although even then, you should bank some resources, in the event number 3, 4 or 5 has special needs) but to be conscientous citizens. However, I completely understand wanting more than 2 kids, too, and everyone has to do what is right for them.

For example, I'm vegetarian, and strongly feel that supporting the meat industry and taxing the environment and using all that energy is wrong and unhealthy, but that doesn't mean I should preach that all meat-eaters are insane or irresponsible. We also always have to recognize where we make exceptions. While I don't eat meat, I fly on planes to distant places because I enjoy traveling so much, which is also terrible for a lot of reasons. If I enjoyed so much having a big family, that might outweigh these concerns, or I would do other things to mitigate any strains, too. So bringing up the point that people may want to consider these things is not terrible (if they ask), but judging them isn't right either.

And quite frankly, when the bun is in the oven consideration time is over anyway, and people who don't at least act excited about a third (or any) pregnancy are just plain rude.

Nowheymama said...

Wow! I'm late to the party. I stand by my original post and can't wait to read these comments.

I will say that I was not offended when a father of five gently teased us about number four the other day. It was obvious he didn't mean it, and he has five kids, so it was like an inside joke. That might be the exception to the rule, for me anyway.

Nowheymama said...

And congratulations, Jen!!!

Virginia Ruth said...

Congratulations!!! I'm one of four, and I loved it!

I agree with many of the above posters that often it's just people unable to imagine how they (and, by extension, anyone) could handle more than two. I work with small children and their moms, and one day a new lady came in, very pregnant, with two little girls of the same age. She was very quick to tell me that one was her daughter and one was her niece, so I wouldn't think she was "crazy" for having a third child with two-year-old twins. It made me sad, and also a little amused, since we in fact have a couple of families with exactly that family structure (and I don't think they're crazy). But I'm sure she was thinking that there was no way she could possibly have handled it if both the girls were hers.

Anonymous said...

I came from a family with three kids and had a great experience. That said, I don't think that I'll have three or maybe even any of my own, but I am strongly considering adoption. For me, there are so many kids out there who need a home it almost seems selfish to have more than one or two of my own, especially when population growth is a concern.

Now families with five kids? cool. Families with 20? I cringe a little, but yeah, on a certain level having that many kids makes me wonder about you...maybe that has to do with me? But maybe 20 natural born children is just crazy?

Either way, once you're pregnant and talking about it? To say anything but congratulations is just plain old rude.

Jen, Congratulations!

-Chris

Jess said...

I am currently pregnant with my 4th and am wondering what kind of comments we'll get. Not because we'll have 4 kids (I'm a Utah Mormon, we have big families) but because there will be an almost 9 year age gap between the 3rd and 4th. We always wanted more kids but wanted to wait until we were more finanically able to provide for another one. That time wasn't until now. I know people are going to think this baby is a "surprise" or an "accident" and it totally isn't. But I have told my parents and both of them are very supportive and very excited for a new grandbaby! Reading the comments from everyone else has helped me to feel much better. It's not my busines what people think of me, right?

Uber said...

To Frondly: I agree, oh, if only my mother had shared my opinion.

She also passed on fibromyalgia to me, as well as HLA-B27, an antigen that in my very unlucky case means I have a degenerative joint disorder and I have to be very careful not to have a flare up.

Whose fault is this? She carried those genes, she passed them on to me. I almost died as an infant. I often wish they would have, so I wouldn't suffer in pain every day like I do.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Jen!!

I guess this is all a matter of perspective because I am totally shocked by the stunned responses you've received! I know FAR more couples with three kids than with two (seems like the popular thing to do in my neck of the woods, I guess!) and I don't think any of them ever mentioned getting negative comments . . . maybe because we all hang out with each other - HA!

I am sad to hear that you've been made to feel like you shouldn't be excited about this child by people who can't keep their narrow-minded opinions to themselves. As you said, you gave a lot of thought to this and were very excited to announce your wonderful news at first. There is NO REASON why you shouldn't continue to feel and EXPRESS just as much excitement about this child. I think any time you make the announcement, you should give a big build up "Guess what? I have some absolutely FANTASTIC news to share!!!!" or some such statement, and you should be grinning from ear to ear. Any reasonable person should get the picture that you are thrilled, and that they should be too. For those in stupefied shock, Maybe a "the kids are so excited and we are too!" would help bring about the appropriate response.

Honestly, people can be SO rude! I think another poster mentioned that pregnancy seems to bring forth stupid comments, and of course, it's a time of sensitivity and heightened emotional response on the mother's part - a terrible combo! I've certainly heard many stupid comments like "Oh you're pregnant! Well, yes, your face is filling out, isn't it?" or "12 weeks? Really? But you're showing already! Are you having twins?!" etc. GRRRR! ANYWAY, as the overwhelming majority has said here, let those poor responses roll off your shoulders because only YOU know what's right for your family and YOU are thrilled to soon welcome its newest member (whom you will soon not know how you ever lived without!). :-) All the best to you!!

Christina said...

I am pregnant with our second...a girl. First is a boy. I can't tell you how many people have said "now you have your girl and your boy". I only want 2...but would have been thrilled with another boy too...I didn't know that we lived in China or something!

Blondie said...

I only have 2 kids, but I really wanted to have 4. I came from a tiny little "nuclear" family with parents who were "estranged" from their parents, so I never experienced the Big Family Holiday Get-Togethers until I married a man with 3 siblings, 16 aunts/uncles, and over 40 cousins. I continue to hope that I'll have LOTS of grandchildren someday, but, culturally, I suspect that won't happen, and that makes me a little sad.

Leah said...

I find the neo-Malthusian overpopulation/resource consumption scare tactics to be distateful at best, and racist/classist at worst. Also, flat-out wrong.

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/10/malthusian_myop.html

Just because something makes intuitive sense does not mean that it has any relationship to reality.

Alicia @ bethsix said...

I have four children, all planned with military precision. Our oldest, a boy, will be 9 in April. Our daughter will be 6 in June. Our two youngest sons will be 3 and 1 in May.

I have one half-brother, 10 years younger than me. My husband is an only child, and his dad was an only child. Both our mothers had three siblings. I have just two cousins, and my husband has four. So. This is my context.

"I don't believe in God, I do believe in birth control, and I take seriously the needs of current children and our family before the SQUEE of a new tiny baby. That tiny baby would be stealing food, clothes, and opportunities out of the hands of my current two children..."

Uber and I are alike in many ways, but we've come to such different understandings of the world. I don't believe in God, I do believe in birth control, and I take seriously the needs of my children and family. New tiny babies mostly make me want to DIE; I'm just not a baby person.

But life is not all about resources. It's not even MUCH about resources. You know what I think is more important for my children than being able to give them THINGS? Creating a family. Siblings that will love and support each other throughout their lives. Experiences playing and pretending and learning from each other. Learning to collaborate and cooperate and share and live with other people (in a way that simply isn't possible in a house with just one or two children). Feeling grounded by siblings and two parents who love each other and them, who provide encouragement, opportunities, and yes, THINGS, for everyone. These are things neither my husband nor I had, and we both wish we did. Just as Uber's experience inspires him/her to spew vitriol about people with "large" families, my experience makes me want to have one. (We're stopping at four, btw.)

And I don't buy into the "overpopulation" argument. For a lot of reasons. Mostly detailed here: http://popdev.hampshire.edu/projects/dt/40