Thursday, September 04, 2008

We don't lose our minds when we become pregnant

Really, we don't. Even when we sometimes feel that way or possibly even act that way.

Having more than the socially acceptable number of children, contrary to what many might think, did not reduce my IQ to below room temperature.

But you'd never guess that from the way people have treated me and other mothers, especially in light of the ridiculous questions I've been asked. When I announced my pregnancy with Child #4, guess what question I was asked more than any other: "Have you even thought about where you will put this child?"

Come on, our house was small, but not that small. Another mom, much in the same sort of situation, gave me her answer. She would gasp, open her eyes wide in shock, and exclaim as dramatically as possible, "Oh, no! We never even thought of that! Whatever will we do? I guess we'll just have to stick the baby...on the back porch!"

Other questions/statements I've had to endure:

"I suppose you've never given any thought to what you will do if you are ever in an accident or incapacitated."

"Have you considered what you will do if your husband dies?"

"You might want to think about how you and your husband will manage to pay for all these children."

"Have you even thought about finding someone to deliver this baby?" (I kid you not --- I was about two weeks away from my due date, and as hugely pregnant as could be, when I was asked this question.) Despite the fact that I'd chosen the birth attendants long before conception, and was more than fully prepared to have the baby right that minute, I was tempted to give my blankest look and ask, "Huh? Deliver this baby? What do you mean?"

"What are you going to do with your other children after this baby is born? Have you even thought about how you're going to take care of them?"

"I don't think you have any idea of what it's like to try to handle six children." (Said by a father of two, who seemed oblivious to the fact that I had two years of full-time experience handling five children, and about 12 years of full-time mothering experience to his three years of part-time fathering!)

"Have you and your husband ever thought to discuss whether or not a large family is a good idea?"

"Have you even considered, for a moment, whether it's fair to your older children to keep bringing more children into the family?"

"I suppose you've never thought about what it will be like when all these children are teenagers."

Newsflash: Women are not stupid. Mothers are not stupid. We do think about these things. In fact, we tend to think about them far more than our husbands do. We lose sleep over such questions. We spend the "night watch hours" in prayer. We read; we study; we research; we consult trusted advisers; we plan. If anything, we spend too much time on these questions, not too little.

"Does she have any idea what she's going to do with her children once she's vice-president?"

I'm sure she does. After all, she's had a workable plan in place while being governor. Yes, handling six children was more of a challenge than handling five. Yes, being vice president will be more of a challenge than being governor. But I doubt that Governor Palin is a fool or an idiot. I doubt that you know more about combining family with governmental responsibilities than she does. I certainly doubt that you have given more thought to the issue than she has.

She has a husband, a man who is obviously no stranger to holding and tending his baby. That doesn't make him a "mom"; that makes him an involved father. She has experience working with babies in her office --- probably far more experience than you do.

I'm sure she answered that question, with much careful consideration, long before you even knew she was being considered for vice president. In fact, this is what her answer looks like.

Another friend of mine came up with a standard answer to what she termed "I know you're an idiot so I need to ask you" questions: "Don't worry. We already have all sorts of plans and contingency plans in place. I know the idea of this is new and overwhelming for you, but it's old hat for us. Thanks for your concern."

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  1. I have a lovely friend who has six. Will she and her hubby have more? I don't know but if they do, I know they will continue to be the most excellent parents they already are. Blessings to you. And thanks to the link for the photos of Sarah Palin and family! That was great viewing!

  2. Thanks for linking to me.

    Good points in your post.

    Go Sarah!!

  3. Rebecca,

    I am really appreciating your posts on Palin. Thank you!

  4. Ditto to Corrie's comment. Keep 'em rolling!

  5. one of my favorites is from a friend of mine who went to a "big box" store with her 5 children - who are adopted from many different ethnic backgrounds. A woman observed that she had a unique family and asked her what their father looked like. My friend said that she couldn't remember...

    answer a fool according to his folly