Embarrassed About My Fourth Pregnancy
A funny thing happens after your first joyful announcement of pregnancy. The second one is loads of fun, with the introduction of siblings, watching a family blossom, playing grown-ups, round two.
The third child kind of shatters the illusion that you've got this parenting thing under control in both a completely happy and messy way. Strangers say things like, "Wow! You've got your hands full!" or "Are they all yours?"
Then, if you have the audacity to try (or in some cases, not really try, but get a little surprised) for a fourth pregnancy, the reactions change a bit.
The congratulations might become a little more forced, the smiles a little more wary.
And when I found out that we would be joining the ranks of family-with-four-kids, I couldn't help but worry about the reactions.
After all, when the average U.S. woman only has 2.06 children these days, it can be hard to feel like you are living against the grain simply by bringing another child into the world. Many people have the two-child mentality, like one co-worker I have, whose mother thinks that no family should comprise of more than two children, preferably one boy and one girl. How exactly she thinks people should pull that off, I'm not sure, but I guess that's a different story.
Deep down, I wondered what people would think of us, or heck, even what I thought of us.
Were we crazy to want a "big" family? Would we look like we were trying for our own TLC show? Would people judge us (all wrong)?
As it would turn out, I worried for no reason.
When I finally got around to announcing my pregnancy on my blog, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were no outwardly negative reactions to the fact that my husband and I had chosen to have a fourth baby. Instead of the harsh criticism I anticipated or the rude comments that I expected about our rudeness in overpopulating and resource-hogging, people so far have been, well, supportive.
Yes, there are certain things in life that can become a little more complicated when children are in the picture. And yes, there are certain things in life that are even more complicated when more children are in the picture.
Still, children are not an obstacle to be overcome.
They are not a roadblock to living life.
They definitely aren't something to be pushed aside in the way of more important accomplishments.
Children are an important part of the lives of many families. And the great part is, no one gets to define or determine exactly how many children that means for us.
I love that in today's world, people understand that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all-family. Some families struggle with infertility; some grow their families through adoption; some aren't really sure when their family will feel "complete."
There are so many examples of different, loving families, both large and small, and I really do believe that we all have the power to decide what is right for our own individual families. From the famous interior designers who have seven children to a mother who feels only one child is right for her family, families really do come in all different shapes and sizes.
And right now?
Ours is looking like a family of six.