We were sent a message over on the Larger Family Life Facebook page yesterday from someone who had received a negative reaction to what they considered was happy pregnancy news. They asked whether bad reactions were something we had experienced.
Had we ever?!
It made me dig out this old post on when a pregnancy announcement doesn’t get a good reaction.
Reactions we’ve received over the years have included being advised to abort, to being told in no uncertain terms that I/Mike/both of us need to be sterilised (no reason given – just because that’s what the dictator was dictating), to being warned – very seriously – that ‘this better be it’.
The saddest thing of all? All these reactions were made by the grandparents of our babies. In fact, we didn’t even get congratulated by one in particular this time. Actually, stony silence followed by pretending it had never been said was the reaction. No doubt this person was annoyed I hadn’t heeded their regular warnings that ‘there had better not be any more’.
The comments we received on Facebook after I linked to the the post were plentiful.
Unfortunately, because it quickly became apparent that we were not alone. And even more upsettingly, a regular story was that these comments were made by closer family members the majority of the time.
Sometimes I’d wonder if the comments were well meaning, mis-guided and ill-thought out and badly worded concern.
Certainly that is what I would like to think of them as.
I have since realised that no, actually. They’re just people, any people, who think they have a right to stick their noses in and tell us what to do – unable to handle the fact that we – a working husband and wife couple – can decide for themselves whether or not to have children.
We can and we will. Because it is ours and our decision only.
But here is a message to those who think it within their right to say something nasty (or nothing at all) instead of congratulations – or even something a little bit nice.
When the baby arrives, don’t bother.
Don’t bother pretending how happy you are.
You give it away when you sit there holding baby whilst telling us how ‘there had better not be any more’. If you can’t see what a gift you’re holding, and how any more would be equally as precious, you don’t deserve to be holding that soul in the first place.
What about you? Have your pregnancy announcements been celebrated or have you had to deal with negativity too?