Vance and I have felt the need to keep private some news we received.
It's not bad news.
It's actually good, happy news.
Yet we still felt the pressure, and desire, to not share it.
And the reason for our timidity in sharing has started to annoy me.
Really annoy me!
And so the time has come.
The time to tell of the good, happy news received nearly a month ago...
We have been blessed with a fourth baby!
We were a tad bit surprised, yet happy, to learn this news.
But for some reason, we felt like others would not share, nor understand, our happiness.
Why did we (and to a certain extent, still do) feel that way?
~ Perhaps it's because we already have three children. A number that already exceeds the
standard 2.3 average in our country.
~ Perhaps it's because those who know us well know we live a chaotic and busy life.
~ Perhaps it's because of our advanced age.
~ Perhaps it's because Molly is so young.
~ Perhaps it's because I can't "get it together" with the children I already have.
~ Perhaps it's because I haven't slept through the night in many years.
~ Perhaps it's because we are Catholic and a certain negative stereotype tends to relate to
large Catholic families.
Or maybe it is a combination of all of those reasons.
These negative feelings were somewhat confirmed when the first question my OB asked me this week was...
"So did you plan this one?"
I can't say for certain, but somehow I don't imagine he would've said that if I were pregnant for the first, or even the second, time!
And then there was the reaction from several family members.... silence, absolutely no acknowledgement whatsoever in response to our exciting revelation.
Hurtful as these reactions may have been, unfortunately, I think they are a testament to the way society, at large, views children. The more you have, the more burdened you are. Financially burdened or socially burdened or both. And the more children you have, the more crazy the parents are who choose to take on those so-called burdens!
I don't hold that view. In fact, I hold one that is in direct opposition to it.
My view is that the more children you have, the more blessed you are! And the more opportunity you have for learning to become selfless. There is nothing quite like raising children that transforms you from being self-centered to being selfless... if you allow it.
So let me answer the question that I know people want to ask, even if they don't have the guts (like my OB) to ask it!
Yes, we planned this pregnancy!
No, it was not an accident!
No, our NFP (Natural Family Planning) didn't fail!
Yes, we are excited!
Admittedly, we are slightly terrified as well. But the excitement far outweighs the fear.
And all of those reasons I listed for why we worried about people's reactions are, in fact, true.
~ We do already have 3 children. More than the national average. More than either of us
had in our own families.
~ Our life is busy and messy and chaotic. All the time.
~ We are getting old. At least for child bearing.
~ Molly is barely a year old and we are just starting to get the hang of her sleeping habits.
~ I don't have it together. I just realize that I never will. And I've also realized that it's
not a requirement for good parenting!
~ I haven't slept through the night in many years. In fact, with the exception of about 6
months, I have been pregnant or nursing for seven straight years! Which means I really
haven't slept well in seven years!
~ We are Catholic and we do practice Natural Family Planning. It works for us. And
as I've mentioned here and here, it has worked to change my heart towards the number
of children I wanted.
So given all of those truths, one might reasonably question whether or not we are able to handle another child.
The truth is, it doesn't matter what we, or anyone else thinks about the subject.
The only thing I need to know is that God thinks we can handle it. It is His plan. I'm certain of it because we did nothing to stand in His way.
So I may be old, sleep deprived, out of shape, frazzled, and stressed, but if God thinks I can handle another baby and has chosen to bless us with one, then I feel confident we can handle it!
"Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them."
Psalm 127: 3-5