Because Christian’s on vacation, and because we have a long day planned, and because I have an assignment due that isn’t ready, today I’m going to share some random thoughts on pregnancy and family.
- I’m in that in-between stage of pregnancy. My clothes don’t really fit anymore, but I’m not big enough for maternity. In fact, if you look at me you probably would just think I was gaining weight, not a baby.
- Nighttime is especially troublesome. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m having so much more trouble finding something to wear at night than in previous pregnancies. I finally figured it out: I can’t walk around the house in XL T-shirts anymore. I have to wear shorts. Always before, the kids were (read that: Alex was) so small that I didn’t really have to worry about modesty. That ship has passed.
- When I’m pregnant, I dream vividly about the baby. Sometimes nightmares, sometimes transcendent moments, but mostly neutral. This morning, right before waking, I dreamed that I could not get the baby to nurse. In one of those irrational dream sequences, the baby was Nicholas, at Nicholas’s size, but newborn. He would latch but wasn’t interested in actually nursing. Not a nightmare, exactly, just stressful.
- Sometimes I feel like I overuse the words “noise” and “chaos,” and people tune me out. My parents came for dinner on Father’s Day. My parents sat side by side on the far side of the table, and the normal mayhem ensued: Alex roaring at Nicholas, who was by turns screaming and giggling; “Wa-wa! Wa-wa!” and “Euh! Euh! Euh!” and silverware clattering to the floor… Finally my dad’s shoulders began to shake. He tried to hide the laughter for a minute, but then he turned to Mom and said, “I can’t believe all this noise. It was never this noisy in our house!” Aha! Vindication!
- Remember Grandma, who reacted to pregnancy by saying, “Oh, dear”? I couldn’t understand her reaction, because she has four kids too. But I never realized that hers are all four years apart. So by the time the next came along, the last one was already trailing along afterDaddy, learning the ropes of the dairy farm. No wonder she fusses at me, with my 6, 4, 2 and minus-six months!
- Speaking of lots of kids…I’ll close with this. In conversation with others, I always feel that I have to apologize for being pregnant again. I think of neighbors and colleagues who like me, but really struggle to reconcile why such a nice person would be so irresponsible as to have four kids. I can see the work going on in their heads, the effort to wrap their brains around it, turn it from something appalling (which they truly think it is) into something halfway justified. And the same argument always comes up, in one form or another: “Well, stupid (reactionary) (uneducated) people are having kids, so I guess we’d better have kids, too, so They don’t outnumber us.” (Remember that I live in the middle of two groups that pull far to the left and right, and I’m constantly resisting the pull of one extreme or the other. None of the right-leaning people I know see anything noteworthy about having four children. Only those who lean left.) I understand the logic of such a statement, but I can’t help wincing at the utilitarian way of referring to children.
Okay, time to get to work on my assignment. Have a great day!
As to your last bullet – I spent an inordinate amount of time of my fourth pregnancy on that. I remember being quite irritated. Why couldn’t people just recognize that new life is beautiful and welcomed in our family?
I have been so surprised that this go round for number 5 has required nowhere NEAR the amount of energy on that particular issue, gratefully! But I’ve wondered why on occasion…but anyway, it’s an interesting thing to hear of others going though that, too. Almost like 3 kids is “barely acceptable” but once you go the road of more than that, people start questioning and judging…strange.
no matter how many times one is pregnant and no matter how many children one has, someone is going to say something….so the best thing to do (as you know) is for you and dh to work out the details with God…. noone else is paying your bills or raising your children so pooey to them
Nice post Kate! As a member of that select circle of irresponsible nice people, (with way to many children), now that they are grown, I often find myself longing for the simpler days when they were little (even the craziness); but in the same respect, I cherish every minute of their adult lives 🙂 With 4 (or more) stress is a fact of life, but for those of us who “went the extra mile” we are truly blessed as well:-)
I hope I never gave you or anyone the idea that I thought having 4 children or 3 or 8 for that matter was in any way irresponsible or “stupid” to use your word. (A good word that actually fits so many other circumstances today.) I’m not a very gushy person so maybe I do give that impression some times when someone tells me they are pregnant. I have to admit that I want to warn those expecting their first baby that raising a child is not as easy as our parents and tv made it look!
“When I’m pregnant, I dream vividly about the baby.”
Wow, that never occurred to me. I’ll have to ask my wife if she had dreams like that.
I guess questions about four kids are kind of like the “same husband?” questions I get when I tell folks my kids are 19,16, and 7