April 30, 2010

What is said vs. what is heard

I found this link on another blog, and I can relate. We just yesterday announced this pregnancy to everyone we know, partly because we wanted to wait until we knew this one was going to stick around. But now, it's because we, well I, did't want to deal with the comments like "Wow, 4 kids, you're going to have your hands full", "Don't you know what causes that?", "dont you guys have another hobby?", "Are you going to get fixed?", "How are you going to handle another one?"or "How are you going to afford that?". I know sometimes people say things and they don't really mean anything by it, they just think they're being funny. Other times, people say things and they are being judgemental of someone else's decision because it isn't what they would do. Mothers are the worst at this. You see it all the time, the critical comments left on blogs when someone tells the truth that motherhood isn't always a rose-colored world. God forbid someone think it's hard, or maybe want a moment of quiet time to herself. We are judgemental when someone does something different. Or if she chose to deliver one way or another. Or if she breastfeeds or doesn't, co-sleeps or doesn't, vaccinates, or circumcises, etc. We should all just support each other and agree that we all do things a little different, and different is okay. Because this happens so often, we are insecure about our decisions and we feel like we have to justify them. Anyway, I'll get off my soap box. I found this on Notes from the Trenches and wanted to share this with you.

She said, “Are all those kids yours?”

I heard, “Is that impossibly large number of children yours? Have you ever heard of birth control?”

I said, “Yes. They are all mine.”

She heard, “They are all mine. I am a saint.”

She said, “Oh my god, I didn’t know people still did that.”

I heard, “Have you ever heard of birth control?”

I said, “I was an only child so that is probably why I always wanted a larger family”

She heard, “Being an only child was so awful. Your child is going to grow up and be lonely and resentful”

She said, “What do you do? Do you work?”

I heard, “Do you just stay at home all day doing nothing but watching Oprah and eating bon-bons?”

I said, “No, I just take care of my children all day.”

She heard, “I don’t put my children in daycare and let someone else raise them.”

She said, “I could never do that. I mean it’s great that you do, but I would go crazy.”

I heard, “You are obviously mentally deficient to be around children all day and therefore I am better than you.”

I said, “Well, there are days… It is a sacrifice.”

She heard, “You suck because you aren’t willing to give up your entire life for the good of your children.”

She said, “Well we couldn’t afford it. We want to give our kids everything, you know.”

I heard, “Unlike you who wants to give your kids nothing.”

I said, “Yes, I guess I am… lucky.”
She heard, “Poor you forced to toil away at a job when everyone knows that it is better to stay at home with your children. Too bad your husband didn’t make more money.”

She said, “How are you going to afford to send all those children to college?”

I heard, “How could you be such an irresponsible breeder and not think of the cost of a private college education times seven? Don’t you want the best things that money can buy for your children?”

I said, “No one gave my husband or me a free ride, and I’d like to think we are doing fine. It will work out.”

She heard, “Your priorities are all screwed up.”

She said, “Wow, and now you stay home? Even with a college education?”

I heard, “I thought you were too stupid to know better before, now I think you are a sell out to the feminist movement. What a waste of an education.”

I said, “Yes. I do.”

Silence.

I thought, “Why do I feel like I have to justify all my decisions. I wish I were as confident as she is that I have made the right choices.”

She thought, “Why do I feel like I have to justify all my decisions. I wish I were as confident as she is that I have made the right choices.”

I did feel like I had to justify having #4. On my facebook announcement, I put a comment under a belly pic: "Yes, this is baby #4, yes, we know what causes it, and no, it wasn't an accident. Our hands may be full but so are our hearts and our arms". I felt like I needed to to say that to avoid all the comments people may have made. I'll still hear them, and that's fine, it's sort of like a big pregnant belly seems to be an invitation to touch, which I also don't really like, but that's another discussion. Maybe someday we'll all just support each other regardless of decisions we make.

8 comments:

Morgan said...

I'm glad your pregnancy is going well. Having #4 really wasn't too much of adjustment for our family vs. going from 1 to 2 or even 2 to 3. Your hands will be full for a while, but I'm convinced it gets easier eventually.

The comments I actually like to hear are: "are they all yours?!?" (I hear: wow, you look way too young to have given birth to 4 children), "you must be very busy" (I hear: kuddos to you because there's no way I could keep up), and "You have a lovely family"- now if people would just use that line more often than the hands full one.

AGNES STYLE said...

What a cute header, really really cute!

Anonymous said...

My parents have 7 kids. The usual comment they got when we were all together : "They are all yours? With the same husband/wife?"...

I recently gave birth to my third, and also had some comments at work... and not even a note of congratulations when I delivered...

Will see how they will react when I will hopefully be expecting #4!!!!

Emily said...

One friend of mine, while pregnant with her fourth, heard all those comments too, the subtext being that she was irresponsible. She felt very guilty & unsure until she remembered that Mahatma Ghandi was the fourth child in his family. That allowed her to shed her doubts; just suppose, she said, that Ghandi's mother had chosen not to have her fourth child?

You will have major fun, I'm betting.

Karlee said...

Large families have a ton of fun! Love my family of six. Wounldn't change a thing...except the laundry and the grocery bill :)

TJWriter said...

Being pregnant with our third, and it being a surprise baby to boot, we're hearing all sorts of comments.

We're hearing lots of, "So who's getting fixed?" and the like. It does get irritating. Neither of us intend to get 'fixed'.

Teenycakes said...

LOL I am a bit jealous! At 39 with my first and 42 with my second, we have doubts about if we'll be able to have more.

I would LOVE to have 4. =) Maybe. Someday. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

At my age, I still get the comments on birth control, said jokeingly -- you two are old enough to know how to stop that!

And of course, the medical establishment is even worse - the code is for "elderly multipara" meaning any woman over 35 who is pregnant for the second or later time. The skepticism is kinda sad.

Have fun!

A NURSE said...

congratulations to you!

:) I just had to add this: you should hear the COMMENTS that I get because I don't have ANY kids... :) The latest was one of the docs from MDOD...as if not having kids explained everything his little mind thot about me when I tried to make a positive comment on their blog. :( people can be so cruel...and they don't have to be uneducated to make stupid statements.....