I’m not sure if it’s a general large family thing, or if there’s no hard and fast rule but though many reactions to the news of an impending new arrival are positive there are one or two which are, well, not.
The more children you add to your family, especially if it’s not “accidental”, means the stranger you become, at least according to general opinion.
General opinion can consist of family, the local neighbourhood and anyone that hears or knows of you. So that narrows it down to… umm… anyone, then.
So the announcement of a new pregnancy comes not only with excitement, (because come on, it is an exciting time! How can a new life not be exciting?!) but with the back and forth conversation between Mike and myself which goes something like this:
“So what do you think Minnie Mouse will say?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Wouldn’t bank on a good reaction though.”
“I think you should tell her.”
“Um, no. I think I’ll leave it to you.”
“Well, what about Daisy and Donald Duck?”
“Not sure. They might be alright about it.”
Now just for the record, we’re not actually discussing Disney characters there. Those names have been inserted so that I haven’t used real names of real people that are normally killjoys in the pregnancy announcing world.
We don’t usually have negative reactions from Minnie Mouse or Daisy and Donald Duck. Or at least, I’m sure they’d be quite happy for us if they knew us. Which they don’t.
True to our expectations given past history, one person we’ll name Minnie Mouse for the sake of privacy came out with the gem “Well good luck to you”. Say that in a non-cheery voice and with every single ounce of that word slathered in sarcasm and you’ve got the tone.
I guess it beats the reaction of my pregnancy with Eddie where she told me “Well, that’s YOUR problem.”
Good luck to us? Why thank you. I’ll just put a spin on the tone of your voice there and re-imagine you saying that with a happy face. You know, the corners of your mouth turned UP instead of the normal down. . You may want to try that for real some day.
And as for “our problem”. He’s fine. He’s fun and lively and smart and cute and to be honest, I’d love all my problems to be like him.
Now I know this person loves my children but why do people feel the need to do this? Why do people, especially those close to you, have to turn joyous news into something akin to you announcing you have a terminal illness?
Of course, then there’s the obligatory comment after the birth of each child, “Congratulations but you’d better not have any more”.
Because you look after them?
Because you pay for them?
Because you see them probably a handful of times a year.
Yes, that’s all.
So how does it affect you what we do?
It shouldn’t bother me really as I know what these people are like.
Of course, you know that when you are past two or three kids you become topic for conversation. Then begins the “You’ll never guess who’s pregnant….!” or “Did you hear….?” and you know it’s all going on.
I think much of it is curiosity rather than malice. I hope much of it is curiosity rather than malice. If you’re honestly, genuinely curious about something just ask us! We don’t bite you know (unless you’re a Krispy Kreme donut or chilli. I really have a hankering for both at the moment.)
We understand that families our size aren’t the norm any more and there are real, innocent questions that people have about our lives. We’re happy to answer (most of) them. If we don’t feel it’s appropriate to discuss something we’ll tell you.
But for now, we’d appreciate happy thoughts, congratulations and prayers for our tiny little eight week one day old baby number nine.
A life is special whether it’s a firstborn or your ninth (or more!).
Edit: Since writing this post we have gone onto have another three children. Our next pregnancy – twins – was met with pretty much the same reaction, along with the comment ‘It doesn’t surprise me’. By the time we were expecting child #12 we didn’t even tell certain people. Now #13 is due in three weeks. The main naysayers now have no place in our lives and so their reactions no longer matter. In the meantime, we’re excitedly looking forward to our newest member’s arrival.
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