Sunday, July 10, 2011

Appropriate Responses to Joyful Baby News...

The joys of first trimester pregnancy hormones may only be rivaled by the fact that they are usually accompanied by first trimester morning sickness (blessedly not in this case… so far!). And let me tell you, first trimester pregnancy hormones, at least in my experience, are not pretty.

During the second trimester I’m a joyful bundle of energy, bouncing around the house organizing and nesting. The world is a beautiful, wonderful place and I’m thankful for everyone in it. In the third trimester I’m a somewhat more exhausted version of the second trimester (usually added to be the fact that so far I’ve only been in the third trimester during late spring and summer… It will be nice to try the third trimester in winter this time!).

But in the first trimester… Paul watches from a distance, hoping I don’t burst into tears because there weren’t any ripe avocados at the store (I didn’t… I went back to the store by myself and found the ripe avocados… and stomped back into the house triumphant).

It was during the first trimester that I nearly punched a man in the nose at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (in my defense he’d grabbed my arm and tried to stop me from going with my tour group. However in normal, non-pregnant life, my first reaction isn’t to instantly cock my arm and threaten to punch someone…).

So the comments my family has been receiving lately, while indisbutably rude in any state, may feel a bit more serious in my current state: In other words I feel a bit like King Kong shut up in a cage made of… oh I don’t know… aluminum cans glued together with Elmer’s glue, being poked with a cattle prod. You just know that something is about to happen and that it’s not going to be pretty.

The thing is that I knew that it was coming… I just thought it would be a bit further off! We have two children. We’re expecting our third. Our family is certainly not large by Catholic standards. However the (real life) comments began rolling in as soon as we announced the pregnancy and the simple “Congratulations” that we’ve received are few and far between.

Instead we hear (and all in a similar disgusted tone… because many of these same comments could be perfectly fine in a joyous tone!):

“You’re having ANOTHER one?!?!”
“You’re having A THIRD?!?!”
“You’re wife is PREGNANT AGAIN?!?!”
“You’re poor wife!!!!”
“Was this one planned?!?!”
“So, you’re done now, right?”
“Are you going to keep trying for a boy?”

We’d already been getting the “don’t you know what causes that” and “don’t you have TV?” comments which I thought was a little strange because, let’s face it, two kids isn’t a huge family by any standards.

I know that our culture is less focused on manners than it probably was at pretty much any other point in history. Profanity on television is pretty much the norm (although I guess it’s not considered profanity any longer?). And apparently disgust is a normal response these days when a person hears that a bouncing bundle of joy is expected.

I’m having a harder time being polite in response to rude comments with the hormone… surges… coursing through my veins. I have managed to not say anything rude in response to anyone (although it can be very tempting… and several bloggers have already come up with clever responses…). However, I’m pretty sure my face gives away the lie that the fact is that I don’t think that sort of comment is appropriate.

And let’s keep our fingers crossed that King Kong doesn’t escape from the aluminum can cage any time soon… because I can promise you one thing… it wouldn’t be pretty…


  1. Oh, I hear you. Like I wrote about on CAF - the other day, after I said I was expecting our fourth, someone at work sad, "WHY would you want to have that many?!" Um, babies aren't a disease!

    I adore Simcha's response to the "don't you have TV?" comment... "If you think TV is better than sex, you're doing it wrong." LOL!

  2. Well, you could always disable the comment box and just have people email you if they have something to say. That's how is handling it, so I've noticed. She has a lot of boys and as a good Catholic is not closing herself off from having more children.

    I really dislike how the attitude of the general population has turned from "congratulations" to "you're overpopulating the world". I remember as a child envying the kids in large families. I had two brothers and very much wanted a sibling who would play with me and want to do stuff with me. I now am married and have one little boy (8 months on Thursday) and I can't wait to have more. I'd love to have 4 or 5 or 6 kids. I don't really care how many as long as they grow up to love the Lord and desire to defend the faith.

    You have my love and congratulations for your newest addition to your family. I hope you have a very good pregnancy and I can't wait to enjoy more posts about your lovely children. I have to say the post on your realization that having two children is easier than one was excellent ammunition for those who nay say multiple siblings. I can't wait to experience that myself when I one day get pregnant. Hold firm and try your best to not sock anyone in the face. On the other hand, there's always confession if you just can't restrain yourself.

  3. People are rude. I know your children are spaced pretty closely when compared to mine where I have nearly 4 years between the first and second, and over six years between the second and third, but apparently wide spacing doesn't insulate you from the rude comments either. We've had a family member complain upon hearing our news that "all these kids are getting expensive" to which my husband replied it wasn't a problem only to be told "no, it means I have to buy more gifts!" one asked you to buy gifts. I was asked point blank by my best friend's father if this one was an accident. I was almost rendered speechless at that question. And, now that we know this baby is our third girl we've received condolences from strangers who ask if we know the gender, and remarks where the other party assumes that we are not overjoyed to be having another girl.

    Fortunately for me, we were able to keep the pregnancy secret until I was in my second trimester. The few people who know I was pregnant before then were all overjoyed to hear our news so I didn't have to deal with rude comments during my first trimester. Instead I got to stockpile all of them for the second and third.

    Hang in there, Cam. Not everyone thinks the blessing of a new child is an awful thing. I'm happy for you and I can't wait to see your next beautiful baby on the blog.

  4. I understand completely. I reflected about it quite a bit last Christmas when I was pregnant with Baby #4.

    I now have 4 girls, aged 5 and under. The comments keep coming. The only thing that will keep King Kong in his cage is grace. God Bless†

  5. I forgot to add: It is only in real life that people have... forgotten their manners! In the blog and forum world everyone's been wonderful! You guys have really been wonderful!

  6. I'd deck them. I'm amazed you can keep it in. Three kids is not a large family. I personally don't think I could handle more kids than I have hands but that's totally a personal thing and has nothing to do with how many kids I think a family should have. We have many friends who have 6 or more. Now that has got to be a hand full. But I have been told that once the older ones hit 13 things start to get easier because then all of a sudden you have new helping hands (that actually help vs. think they are helping). Best of luck with the new bundle of joy. Does Sadie still think Pooh Bear is a good name, and that your having two? I'm surprised she doesn't want you to name the baby Holy Baby.

  7. LOL!! I know how you feel! I'm first trimester too, and only told a few people. Luckily I like loose fitting clothing so I won't have to deal with comments until the last trimester. In my case I am also an older mommy and that gets its own set of rude comments.

    A nice airy comment like, "oh, we are considered aiming at a nice round dozen children" is fun because in come cases it renders the other person unable to speak they are so horrified.

  8. I think it's wonderful Cam. I can't believe how rude people are getting these days. It wasn't that long ago that people didn't even discuss a woman's pregnancy in 'polite society' :) And you can tell the people that say you are over populating the world that you are just having the babies that your friends can't -so it all evens out! I wanted a bunch of babies but God is only giving us our one beautiful girl.

    Try to hang in there with the comments. We all think it's great!!

  9. *hugs* Sadly I expect that at 3.... Good grief we're already getting some of it and I only have 2 and not pg again yet. As soon as we heard he was a boy people started asking us if we're done now. :-(

  10. I'm impressed at how well you've been handling the inappropriate responses. I don't know if I'd be half as calm!

  11. "We’d already been getting the “don’t you know what causes that”"

    My husband's favorite response to this question is: "Yeah, and we're really good at it?"

    I have been amazed (and I'm pregnant with #5) that I haven't had many response from anyone really. The worst response I've gotten was from my mother who said, "I don't know how I feel about it, I didn't think we raised you to just have babies."

    My father still doesn't know, and I'm almost 32 weeks pregnant. Oh well.

    Of course, I had several friends from college who aren't talking to me right now, for various reasons. But I'm sure the pregnancy is part of it. Considering that when I was pregnant with my 4th, one of them said, "I guess I'll have to take a butter knife to him," pointing to my husband. Needless to say I'm not worried about them not talking to me anymore. I'm better off without them.

    Otherwise, though, I've been waiting and expecting perfect strangers to make rude comments when I take the 4 and my pregnant self to the store, but all I ever get is, "Well, you have your hands full." Which I don't find offensive, just obvious.

    Good luck with handling the people; it's a joyous occasion, even if they don't realize it.

  12. Please let us know if (or when) King Kong escapes from the cage; I would love to see that! ;)

    It never ceases to amaze me how utterly without manners many people are.


  13. It is absolutely wonderful that you are having a 3rd child. Not everyone will say or think negative things about you for bringing life to this world.

    I'm 35 and pregnant with my first--and I am extremely grateful to be. We weren't sure if we would be able to have kids. So this is great.

    Our closest friends are pregnant with their 3rd. We are thrilled for them. Plus, on a purely selfish note, it is nice to "see" someone have kids close together (i.e. ~2 yrs apart) because if hubby and I are going to be able to have up to the 3-4 we would like, they are going to have to be conceived close together.

    And that purely selfish aspect is one of the main reasons why I read your blog. I want to "know" people who have multiple kids because I would so very much like to have a large number (larger than I can really manage given my starting age).

    Don't let the gray storm clouds of other's negativity get you down. If you are happy about your bundle of joy, that is really all that truly matters.

  14. Wow - people sure are rude! I'm sorry that you are hearing these things. I liked what Paula said about having the kids that others can't. Since I can no longer have children and I only have two (though they are pretty close together at 18 months apart), I say have all the ones I can't have.

  15. I've had to deal with the opposite problem (weird Uncle-in-law nudging and implying to keep having more). And while it may sound like a relief to people who have the "ANOTHER ONE?!" comments, I can tell you it's not.

    I think the reason is because of how we're being treated. In either case, it's like we must conform. Somehow having children as being God's will has lost all meaning. It's now about either you're having too many or "wink wink nudge nudge" like I'm some sort of incubating device or play toy.

    Children are a blessing. And they are a gift from God. Making them out to be something purely sexual (I really can't think of a better way to describe it) instead of a gift really bothers me. And people should say things like "Congratulations" or "oh, what a blessing for you" instead of grotesque comments like "got another bun in the oven?" or "don't you know how babies are made?"

    I think I can handle the "having another one" comments a little better because I'm mentally prepared. But I don't think I could handle another "you're a good man" to my husband while simultaneously rubbing my belly. I was to the point of slapping my husband's Uncle silly.

    I don't suppose anyone has had to deal with the sort of comments I've had to deal with. If anyone has, pretty please tell me how you managed it gracefully.

    Getting off my soap box now.

  16. Many about a post on ACWB? Btw C is now "Christian".. a long story! Love hearing about the car...we went up to a 17 seater minibus & are coming back down to "normal" cars again! enjoy

  17. Dixieagle / Marie gets my vote! LoL

  18. I'm infamously a repeat offender offender, but even I don't mess with that topic. Partly out of fear of pregnancy hormones, and mostly because it is none of my concern how big or small another's family is.

    The Baroness and I have the opposite problem, mostly from my dad who is itching for his first grand-baby. He told us back in March that if we hurry we can make it for calendar year 2011. I punched him, we laughed.

  19. For me, the comments from strangers are more amusing. Now when my family says things, that's when I have to really try not to get annoyed... Most recently, I took my 3 kids (4.5, 2.5, 13 months) and the pharmacist said "Got enough kids?" to which I replied "No, I don't think quite yet".

    It's a whole different story when my (Catholic) parents tell me to not even think about another one, tell me I'm done or even go as far as my mother, telling me I have more than enough to handle and harassing me about birth control. I'm sure they are well meaning, my husband is pretty much not here half the time, as he's in the military, but still. And I tried it's none of your business on them, but they insist I am their business. - J

  20. And since my first two were boys, my whole pregnancy all I heard was oh you must be trying for a girl. And a month after she was born all we heard was well at least you can be done now since you got your girl and aren't you so happy it wasn't another boy? I love my little girl, but I would have been perfectly happy with a boy too! - J

  21. I would SO love for my older (30) daughter to be able to announce a pregnancy; I can think of nothing that would make me happier. We are hoping that with their move from CA to LA in a few weeks that stress will be reduced and a happy event will take place. So hard when ALL of your friends, and younger sister, have had babies or are pregnant. :(


  22. well- all I can say is - Congratulations! The world needs more wonderful children!

  23. We're on number 6 and the comments we are getting are so very sad and rude. I almost cried back when we told a few people. Sadly, they were family. I just continue to pray, not only for them, but for me to keep my emotions in check. God bless you, you are in my prayers.

  24. In my parish having 5 kids is called a "starter family", and many families have over 10. And at Sunday mass all are there, well-behaved, and paying attention. I guess I am blessed to live where I do. (And about 10% of families home school)

  25. I have a friend who once snapped and said, "When my daughter is old enough to understand, I'll be sure to let her know that you had reservations about her very existence on earth." My jaw dropped but my mind was saying "You tell 'em!" If I'm ever blessed enough to be in that position, I may use it myself.

    I think it's really indicative of how the world has come to view children. Contemporary society views children as a "lifestyle choice" - as sort of living dolls who fulfill the dreams of parents; contemporary society does not view children as the fullness of human life that simply happens to come into the world through the form of childhood in a family, the way Catholics (among others) do. It's just a totally dichotomy in thinking.

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I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!