We are expecting a baby this spring. Most people we have told are super excited for us. They say congratulations and then turn to our two older daughters and ask them if they are happy for a new baby. But, there are a few people who have taken me by surprise. Those who maybe don’t know we have two older daughters, those who do not know our painful history, or those who tripped and fell and had their politeness filter fall out of their brains, these are the people who shock me.

 

“Oh! You are going to have your hands full!”

“THREE?! That is a lot of kids!”

“Should I congratulate you or console you?”

“Was this baby planned?”

“You know how hard it is going to be with a third baby in the house, right?”

 

These are all responses I have had said to my face from friends, family, and acquaintances. I have been shocked, hurt, and mostly amazed at the reponses. I had no idea that having three children was going to be so controversial. With our first we were surprised at how controversial our decision to breastfeed became. With the second, our openness with our losses before her became open for public scrutiny, and now, the very conception of this baby has people raising their eyebrows. It is amazing.

 

So, here I am, at my laptop, deciding which way to go with this. Do I address this at all? Do I nod and smile politely and walk away? Or, do I take to my column and write this thing out, answering each absurd question and remark so that the next time someone decides it is appropriate to say something less-than-congratulatory I can hand them this issue of The Reformer and be done with it.

 

I clearly have chosen the latter. So, without further ado, here are my responses to our most frequently asked questions/comments:

 

“Oh! You are going to have your hands full!”

 

Yes, I am. Luckily, I have an amazingly hands-on and supportive husband. Also, the fuller my hands, the fuller my heart. It sound contrite but I don’t care, it is true.

 

“THREE?! That is a lot of kids!”

 

19 kids and counting is a lot of kids, three is a family. My family. One we are growing and creating. Not your family, not your worry, right? Right. Glad we can agree on that.

 

“Should I congratulate you or console you?”

 

This is just insulting. We are having a new baby after years and years of uncertainty and mutliple losses. I am in my late thirties, we have two children and have been married for over a decade, and I am happily telling you that we are expecting. Why would you ask this? We are over the moon excited to add to our family. Say whatever you feel is right for you.

 

“Was this baby planned?”

 

The short answer is yes. All of our children were planned. However, if this one or either of our older children had been a surprise, we would have loved them just the same.

 

“You know how hard it is going to be with a third baby in the house, right?”

 

This is the one I hear most frequently. Of course it will be hard. Parenting is hard. Life is hard. Adding another human to the world is hard. Being responsible for raising a person to become a contributing member of society and a happy, well-balanced individual. That is a herculean task and it is HARD.

 

But you know what? I don’t want easy. I want a full and fulfilling life and the things that will help me to acheive that are hard. I am not fearful of hard, I am fearful of silence. And an empty house. Nothing about raising my three children will ever be as hard as losing pregnancies was. It will never be as hard as the thought that we may not be able to have a family.

 

We are expecting a baby this spring, she will be our third. We are just as excited about this baby as we were with our first two. Sure we will be outnumbered but if you include the cat, our dogs, the children and the mountain of laundry that is threatening to erupt, we have been outnumbered for years.

 

We are having our third and she was planned, it will be hard, our family may seem big to some, and our hands will be full, but, man, are we excited for the challenge.

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