The news of our fifth child was certainly met with widely variant responses. Most of my friends were shocked but excited for us. Our family, on the other hand… well, once I got over the tears and the anger, their responses seemed downright amusing.
The words below are all ones that I have heard, whether for this child or a previous one. I’m sure many of you can relate.
1. “Aren’t you a little old?” Well, thanks for the vote of confidence. I was of “advanced maternal age” when I had my last one, so, YES, according to most of society, I am TOO OLD to have another child. But I am healthy and active and pretty sure that I can survive having a child at forty.
2. “I’ll bet your husband was ticked!” The man who threatened to jump off a tall building if I got pregnant again? Well, the good news is, he hasn’t gone to those levels… yet. Now, the task before me is to identify a hospital whose maternity ward is on the first floor. Just to be safe.
3. “That’s going to be a huge financial burden.” Thanks for pointing out the obvious and being so imminently practical. Yes, children are a tremendous financial burden.They are also a source of indescribable joy. I will trust in God to provide. (Those words were met with a snort, btw.) On a bright note, I’ll now have five children to look after me when I’m old, decrepit, and broke.
4. “I’m sorry.” Nobody’s died, here! I don’t need – or want – your condolences!!! An added hug only makes it worse. I don’t need to be comforted. Instead, I would really like someone to celebrate with me. Clearly you are not the person with whom I shall be doing that.
5. “You do know what causes that, don’t you?” Yes, as a matter of fact I do. And I’m kind of a fan.
6. “There’s a way to prevent these things, you know.” I’m well aware. That “way” also happens to be contrary to my beliefs. I know you don’t understand that, but I’d ask that you please respect it.
7. “You should have gone to the doctor a long time ago.” (This said to the father-to-be.) Seriously? When should that have been? After #4 was conceived… or before? Or perhaps it should have been before #3 was created? Exactly which ones of our children do you feel we should have prevented?
8. “You’re killing me.” Okay. This one left me without words. How could my having another child possibly kill anyone, with the possibly exception of ME? I do not intend to raise a homicidal maniac. In fact, perhaps this child will grow to become a great scientist and find a cure for cancer. So, perhaps, rather than killing you, this child could actually save your rude, thoughtless, life-disrespecting @*s.
Ending on this note might leave one thinking that I’m bitter, and I’m not. Honestly, some of these responses left me in tears, and others left me red with anger. But I understand the intentions behind them (well, most of them. Let’s face it, though, a few are just really rude and selfish), and I know that… most of them… were said out of love.
The kids’ response was what really got me. In the midst of the negativity, they screamed in joy, jumping up and down, immediately arguing whether it would be a girl or a boy, and asking what we were going to name it. The continue to make me a little uncomfortable by coming up to “kiss baby” and give him/her hugs. They loved and were overjoyed by this child from the moment they knew it existed.
Jesus tells us that we must become like little children. This was a glimpse into exactly what he meant.
What responses have you heard when you shared the news of an unexpected pregnancy?