29 December 2007

With MY fourth baby . . . .

I've gotten to the point where people are out of horror stories for me. Most people don't have fourth baby experiences with which to out-mom friends and strangers working on their own number 4. What I hear now is stuff like this:

--my two were enough work
--if your labors were as hard as mine (!) you'd have quit too
--we just couldn't afford any more (this especially amuses me coming from people who have a pretty good idea what our income is)
--our house was/is too small for more kids
--I had such hard pregnancies (remember, this is usually from someone with 2 kids)

Well, here's what I have to say to all that: this is my fourth baby in five years, and it has definitely been my easiest pregnancy. Least morning sickness, fewest aches and pains (not that I'm moving too fast these days), least exhaustion-driven despair. Why? No idea on the morning sickness; maybe I've already been stretched to capacity so much that the anatomy is getting used to it; my oldest kid is finally getting big enough to be helpful and the three of them keep each other busy if I need a break. This is all just to illustrate something we already know, that people can make any excuse not to have more kids. [Insert here, for liability reasons, standard disclaimer about some people having serious reasons to quit or space] But it really is true that you don't know how your next pregnancy will go, or how many babies you can afford, or anything else. When we got pregnant with our third we were living in a tiny two bedroom apartment in which it was illegal for more than two children and two adults to live. We were in a very expensive housing market where as far as we could see we didn't have any other options. God in his mercy had us in a four bedroom house two months before she was born.

Anyway. We'll see how the fourth foray into L&D, dairy operations, and postpartum *ahem* instability goes. But I just thought it was interesting how the pregnancy-related conversations change as you start being the veteran, age notwithstanding.


Reb. Mary said...

We're only on #3, and so far it seems people still feel free just to repeat their horror stories of their #1 and #2. And, of course, to reiterate, completely unasked, why they didn't/"couldn't" have more than their two.

Yes, we too find private amusement at the long and unsolicited explanations, coming from people who surely know our income bracket, about how they can't afford any more kids. (Methinks they doth protest too much?)

We can't afford any more kids either, when you put it like that. But we're trying to act like we trust God as much as we say we do. It's a work in progress, to be sure! Even thinking about these 3 scares the pants off me sometimes (much easier nowadays, what with these stretchy elastic waistbands that never fit right anyway).

Did anyone else find that their pregnancy initiation with #1 was that, immediately following the congratulations, everyone told you the worst stories they knew about pregnancy/L&D? No wonder everyone wants to get out of the baby business as soon as they've begun.

Rebekah said...

This is the same kind of thing that you hear at weddings--there's always this middle-aged constituency making snide remarks about marriage and how much it stinks. I think they can't deal with other people being happy with their lives. So just wait, you'll get fat and hate that nice young groom eventually; and just wait, you'll have a terrible labor and never sleep again; and just wait, your life won't go how you wanted it to just like mine didn't.

It's actually really sad. I think there are a lot of people out there who would like to have, or have had, more kids, but for whatever reason cho(o)se not to. All they have left to comfort them are those reasons, and sharing them with other people (especially pregnant ones) is somehow cathartic for them.

Reb. Mary said...

Yeah. And whether or not they believe(d) their reasons at first, they try to convince themselves in the repetition, because that is all they have left. Guess we all do that, with something or other. I know that when I find myself randomly putting forth reason/excuse upon reason for something, it's maybe time to reexmaine that topic or action again.

Gauntlets said...

All this, and our very existence accuses and convicts them. I'm the same way; I see a mother treating her child with respect and I'm filled with guilt. I see a wife obeying her husband without grudge and I'm filled with self-loathing. I see these things and I have only one choice: change.

But it feels far better to laugh with scorn and work mightily to scratch out that wife's/mother's eyes.

Let the reader understand.

Rebekah said...