Please don’t feel sorry for me because I have a lot of children


Engel in Trauer


The other evening Caitlin came home from a Guide trip and soon enough launched into her story of how another girl had urged her to reveal to an unsuspecting leader how many siblings she had.

When the leader, a mum herself, heard that she had one sister, seven brothers and twins on the way she said, “Your poor mum!”

As she told me this my eyebrows shot up in surprise.  Poor?  Me?  I’ve never thought so.

I have always thought that we’ve been incredibly lucky and blessed.  I’ve never thought that being fortunate to have nine healthy, happy (for the most part) children makes me a poster child for the sympathy brigade.  I did feel low and sad and at times – amazingly close to rock bottom – when I was going through the physical and emotional pain of eight miscarriages.  Then you could have said, “Poor Tania,” if you wanted.  But since did being able to carry and birth and raise my children make me so wretched?

Oh, I know she didn’t mean anything bad by it and I know it wasn’t said nastily, or at least I hope it wasn’t.  It makes me curious though, why anyone, particularly a mother, would deem having children as being something so negative.

Did she think of my laundry pile?  If so she needn’t worry too much.  We’re lucky to have machines to take care of things and I haven’t had to resort to a tub and mangle to manage my five loads a day lately.

Was she thinking of mealtimes and imagining I’d be spending extra time in the kitchen to feed the ever expanding brood?  Maybe she doesn’t notice that it doesn’t take too much longer to peel one extra potato or to brown an extra half a pound of meat, and one meal takes the same amount of time to cook regardless of how many it is for.

Or was she just thinking that nobody could possibly want more than x amount of children and I’m rocking myself in the corner of the room on a daily basis?

With this mindset, we wouldn’t be sending out “Congratulations on the birth of your baby!” cards to new parents.  We would be sending our condolences to them.  “Our deepest sympathy for ruining your life” cards, perhaps?

I don’t take for granted my healthy family.  I don’t take for granted that we have been blessed so greatly.  I still mourn the babies we lost but I am so very, very thankful for the babies I have.  I wouldn’t want to be without any of them and I can’t imagine not having any one of them in my life.

So please don’t feel sorry for me because I have riches more than I can measure.


18 thoughts on “Please don’t feel sorry for me because I have a lot of children

  1. Hi Tania,i have 6 kids and you wouldn,t believe how many times ive heard that one myself!! Some people talk like i have some horrible disease instead of 6 wonderful healthy kids.We lost a little boy the day he was born,and really appreciate just how lucky we are to have them all.

  2. Hi Kita,

    It always puzzles me when people say it. It's not the first time I've heard it and I always wonder why. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your son. It's a terrible thing that no parent should have to go through.


  3. Love this post. I also get that response when people find out we have 10 children and you're right, it's so wrong.

    By the way congrats on the twins!!

  4. We have 9 children and I would love more. The thing is I'll be 50 next month. Doesn't bother me, but everyone else has been stressed out since I turned 40! People say,"You've got your arms full!" and, "God BLESS you!" I say,"Full of love", and "He surely has!" Great post. Thanks a million!

  5. Thank you, Kimberly! It seems quite common to get this reaction. I'd be interested to know how many people are familiar with it and how many children you need to have before people start feeling sorry for you.

  6. Betsy, great answers! My cousin told me earlier this week that a friend of hers had her tenth at 50 so you never know!

  7. Hi Tania, this post really touched a nerve with me I get the same comments along with "so have you got the TV fixed now!" so witty I haven't heard that one before and "poor you, how do you cope", Like you I have suffered miscariage, 5 of them and I lost my first little girl to cot death when she was 3 weeks old so I know how hard it actually can be to have children and even though they can drive me insane and there is the odd rocking in corner moment I count each of them as a blessing.

  8. Emma, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter and your miscarriages. Life is truly precious.

  9. Couldn't have written this better myself! We only have 5, yet people look at us like we have 10 heads when they ask us if we're done and we don't say yes. I know it's because they couldn't imagine themsevles having more than a couple of children, but I really do wish they understood what an amazing experience it is having a large family (and FWIW I do not think our family is large but the rest of the world doesn't seem to agree!)

  10. Lol! I'm now getting the head-nodding prompt… you know, "You're finished after these two, aren't you?" *nods head up and down repeatedly*

    And no, our family still doesn't feel like a particularly large one yet. I wonder at what point it will?

  11. I love this post!!! I don't have lots of children, just one little 12 week old, but i think children are love wonderful and can completely understand how irritating it must feel! it should be 'congratulations' not 'poor you' or 'how do you cope' !! Well done and so so sorry about your losses xxxx

  12. LOL! How many times have I heard this one? The only time I was truly shocked was when #9 had gone missing and a policeman asked me if I had thought about getting help from social services to look after all that many children!?! I was stunned and replied that I had most certainly NOT thought of asking for help from a govt dept as I could quite cheerfully cope with the 10 we are raising. Now that 311 is due next month, people keep asking if we're done yet, phhhhhhht! If I can keep going till I'm 50, I'll be the happiest and most blessed mum around!
    And you're right Tania, hardly any one commiserates with you when you lose one. That breaks my heart, especially when they make thoughtless comments about how I'm too old, got too many kids and maybe God doesn't want me to have any more now.
    God bless you always Tania, you are such a wonderful and truly blessed mother!
    PS: I'm totally jealous that you're having twins!! What a wonderful blessing for you and your family! 🙂

  13. He really asked you that?! I don't know how I'd have reacted. I think I'd have been quite speechless! Thank you for the kind words too 🙂

  14. When my five children were all little, I remember being in a grocery store with them all gathered around me as we shopped. Off in the distance, I noticed an older woman with this serene, sweet look on her face. I realized she was my mother's friend from the old neighborhood. I walked up to say hello because she didn't recognize me. She told me she had just been watching me, and thanking God that I was given so many blessings! God only gave her 2 children and she had always wanted more.

    Mrs. White
    The Legacy of Home

  15. even just four kids gets a certain amount of "goodness me" and "that must be hard work" – I reckon a LOT think that 1 is great, 2 is normal, 3 is a bit of an extravagance and anything else is either greedy or crazy!

  16. Even when we only had four I heard those kind of things. Or even worse every sunday after church we have a meal and they would think we need to send the extra food home with us. although my hubby made more money than most of them. Now we have 2 more and it is even worse. My husband refuses to buy a 12 passanger van because of comments like this. some days i can laugh and somedays it annoys me

  17. Hehe, it wasn't that long ago that my husband swore blind we'd never have a minibus. We now have a 17 seater on our drive. Who's eating his words now, then?!

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