Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Many is Too Many?

Who would have thought that having 4 children would be such a controversy? Now that we're expecting our fourth in the summer, the comments are starting up again. I say "again" because there were some people who felt that our third pregnancy was just a tad bit overkill. I'm normally a pretty quiet gal, and I don't usually pick fights. However, I'm wondering how to respond to some of these people.

I don't mind so much about my family or friends' opinions. I know they love us, and I can usually understand their point of view and their own preferences as far as family size. The strangers at the grocery store are a bit much, though. Perhaps it's easier to spout an opinion to a stranger you'll never see again.

Here are some comments that I've received (usually followed by our casual mention of baby #4 coming, or followed by a strange old lady rubbing my belly and asking if this is my first):

1) Oh, geez, I couldn't do it!

2) What? Are you crazy?

3) Yeah, like you needed a fourth!

4) *unbelieving wide-eyed stare*

5) Well I'm glad it's you and not me!

6) hehehe, your husband must be getting his fill *wink wink, nudge nudge*

7) Why don't you just get a pet?

8) Was it planned???!!

9) I'm going to get you guys some condoms for Christmas!

10) Ever heard of a vasectomy?

All in all, I must say that I agree with #5. I'm glad it's us, and not them, too. Will this be our last? Likely, but not necessarily. I don't really think it's our decision in the end. I like our kids. They are smart, healthy, cared for, loved, nurtured, clothed, warm and educated. Richard is an awesome daddy. I try my darndest, and Rich seems to think I deserve a thumbs-up as far as parenting. We aren't perfect, but perfect is boring, anyway.

There are some comments that are worth paying more attention to, though. They sound a bit like this:

1) Aw! I'm so happy for you!

2) I always wanted a big family.

3) Oooh! Another baby!

4) If you need any help, I'll watch them for you!

5) That's great news!

6) I grew up in a big family and it was so much fun.

As far as I'm concerned, having more kids doesn't mean family life quality goes down. Rather, I think it's like love - meant to be multiplied, not divided.


Andrea R said...

ha! Yes, we had a lot of the SAME COMMENTS. Except since Emma was 8 years after the last one, we got a few more choice ones.

"You know what causes that, right?"

"Oh, you were SO CLOSE to freedom!"

"I'd jump off a bridge."

Abigail said...

I think you guys are amazing parents and I'm super super excited you're having another one...I was hoping you would. =) It's too bad that people can't refrain from the negative comments.

Emilie said...

At least it gives me something to blog about! LOL I figure if you can handle it, and give them a half-decent life with their needs met, then why not? Some parents reach their quota at 1, and some are still doing great at 19 (like the Duggars). It's not in the numbers, I think.

yolande clark said...

I know *exactly* what you mean, Emilie. The comments in your first column are, for the most part, rude, offensive and ridiculous. I have heard comments made about the dangers of overpopulation--to the faces of mothers and fathers with 2 or more children. In terms of a real argument against having several children, the population control thing is totally bogus--and no one in North America has a right to claim superiority in that area when we *all* consume far more than anyone in developing countries. I think it is *wonderful* that you guys are having your 4th baby. I think kids with several siblings are lucky, and certainly kids with responsible loving parents are very lucky. The world needs *more* people who have been raised with love and a strong sense of family togetherness. Of course, I am also having my 4th baby this summer, too. On good days, I want two more after this one. We shall see. We do need lots of wood-pilers, after all. :)

Shanarun said...

Not sure how I happened along here....
We have 2 children in our family, perfect for us. Glad you have a sense of humor about the comments you sometimes hear. Congratulations on #4! Sounds like you have a great family. :)

Emilie said...

Thanks, Shanarun!