Not a pleasant title, huh? But that's kind of how it seems to have turned out with our latest pregnancy announcement.
I am sorry to those of you who are truly happy for us and would have reacted with excitement, that I did not take the time to call you personally and tell you. I'm sorry you had to learn about our great news through Facebook or our blog. Please understand it is not that you didn't matter to us, but that we have learned we have to protect ourselves.
Have you ever had something really exciting come up in your life and then you tell someone only to be met with negativity? Imagine that nearly everyone you tell is negative about it. Wouldn't that make you not want to share? Yet the news is so happy and exciting you can't imagine anyone would be negative! Well, that's what it's like when a large family announces a new pregnancy. Sadly, we began experiencing it with our 3rd child.
The comments kept getting worse as we added to our family. The 5th was the worst. I guess we'd crossed some sort of line. But then it got a little better after that. I think part of the improvement was we quit telling people in person. We gave them a chance to react on their own before showing us their displeasure. Most people, if given time to think about it, still follow the old rule, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
Things that people don't seem to realize are not nice:
"Don't you know what causes that?" Duh. You learn that in grade school these days whether you want to or not. It wasn't funny the first time we heard it and it isn't funny the millionth time either. I don't know a single mother or father who has heard that comment and thought it was funny. You are implying that this pregnancy is something we don't want. That's not nice. Not funny. Shouldn't be said. I am telling you this so that if you ever feel tempted to let those words come out of your mouth, you can know that it will not be well received EVEN if the recipient pretends to laugh. They are just being polite. Trust me.
"How will you ever have the energy for one more?" Let me ask you. Do you think this comment is helpful? Let's say the mother responds with something along the lines of I don't know. Do you have something helpful to say in response? This comments seems to suggest that you think this person is already not handling what she has and won't be able to handle more. If you think this is the case, either offer some practical help, or keep your mouth shut. No one needs discouragement to help them through a pregnancy. I have not yet had a single pregnancy where I didn't wonder, "How am I gonna handle this? Can I really do a good job raising this child? This is such a huge responsibility!" With my first couple of pregnancies, I could talk to friends or family and be encouraged and get back to feeling okay. I can't do that anymore. Everyone seems to think that while I've done a good job so far, this time I will fail.
"Aren't you getting a little old for this?" Um, when is a comment that implies someone is old EVER a polite thing to say?
There are more, but my point is really just please, please think before you speak. It's too late with us. We won't tell you in person because we've been offended far too many times by people we never would have expected to react that way. But I'm sure you know people who will have a third child or more. Please don't be part of the reason that they someday share their news in writing so they don't have to hear rude comments. We have to hear it at the grocery store from total strangers. We shouldn't have to hear it from people we love.
The reality is that if we'd have trusted our own reason, we'd have quit long ago. I think we'd have stopped at four children. But I know without a doubt that we'd have missed out on HUGE blessings. God challenged us to trust Him and we had no reason not to. We still have no reason not to trust Him. Our children are nothing but a blessing. Roger and I often marvel at how stupid we nearly were to try to stop the blessings. The joys we had no idea we would miss out on are too numerous to count. Yes, we've had to make some sacrifices and will continue to do so. But the blessings outweigh the sacrifices.
A new baby is good news to us. We will continue to rejoice in our blessings.