The lonely mission of motherhood

If I’ve learned anything during my transition from mom-plus-2 to mom-with-a-double-fistfull it’s this: the culture at large does not understand you, or your predicament.

You know, the one you got yourself into when you got yourself knocked up so far outside the status quo that strangers at playgrounds goggle their eyes at you and actually stutter the number “4” because it’s so shocking.

And it is, by the way, fairly shocking.

The average family size in the United States of America in 2013 (the most recent year I could find reliable statistics for) was 1.9, a number that has held steady for at least half a decade. Which means by the time you get your “one boy, one girl” matched set lined up, you’re already technically outpacing the national norm.

So when you roll into Costco with a trio of small people riding dirty in the double cart and then have the audacity to cut a maternal profile should you be foolish enough to leave your winter coat unzipped over the burgeoning baby bump below…you’re gonna get some arched eyebrows in your general direction.

I’m grateful to be on the receiving end of mostly positive feedback when I’ve got my small-but-multiplying crew out in public, but make no mistake, it’s not an “atta girl, good for you” warm fuzziness that usually greets us, but generally more of an incredulous “better you than me,” or “you will overcome, mom” vibe.

But God help me if the day is going downhill, or if anyone has a public display of insurrection.

If there’s one thing a culture which is fundamentally opposed to (or even merely apathetic to the existence of) the child is notable for, it is in not knowing in the least how to react to one when encountered in its native habitat of, say, the peanut butter aisle at King Soopers.

Nervous laughter, averted eyes, or, if we’re especially unlucky, pursed lips and disapproving scowls.

And sometimes the only thing harder than being a mom to a bunch of little kids is the way the general public reacts to them – to you – when you muster the audacity to take them out of the house.

Listen, I’m not looking for some kind of medal of recognition when I hit up the grocery store at 4 pm with my wild posse, but for the love of all the generic Oreos on the shelf, don’t stare at us like we’re the 8th world wonder because we’re there.

You might be the first adult I’ve laid eyes on since 7 am, and I’d love if I didn’t have to pretend everything was fine fine FIIIIIINE with an unnatural glint in my eyes and a slightly manic smile fixed on my face, because otherwise you might think that I’m not enjoying myself and this little child army of mine.

God forbid you think that.

God forbid I’m allowed to demonstrate, in public, how hard this is, because after all, didn’t I literally and figuratively make my bed and lie in it, and then repeat the feat 2 or 3 or 4 more times after that?

Yes, I know what causes this. I know where babies come from. I do have a tv, but it’s in the basement and we generally prefer Netflix, but that’s beside the point.

I’m raising children in a culture that despises them, for all intents and purposes, both in word and in deed, and indeed, by the very laws of the land itself. And it kind of feels like it despises me, too, most of the time.

Motherhood is already hard as hell, because, yes, diapers and bedtime chaos and ear infections and the crushing isolation of a post industrial society bound up by fiberoptic cables, but fractured of any physical community…but the difficulty is greatly magnified by the public disdain for and incomprehension of our children’s – and to some extent, our own – existence.

So what does this mean? Well, lots of the time it means I’ve got to be the brave little soldier mother, the one bucking the trend and smiling and saying “yes” over and over, not because I’m oppressed or brainwashed or lacking in education or opportunity, but because I chose this of my own free will.
And for that, I have forfeited the right to complain, at least outside the 4 walls of my home or my safe  little corner of cyberspace.

I have abdicated the right to expect a sympathetic ear or an understanding spirit from a total stranger, or even my next door neighbor, because we’re swimming upstream in this household and most of the other salmon we’re commuting with are not only staring at us in blind incomprehension, but sometimes they’re throwing their slippery bodies in our way. Because we might be idiots. And we’re clearly not operating out of our right minds.

And some days it’s harder than others.

Sometimes I want to not have to pretend that everything is fine while we’re out and about only to come home and collapse in a sobbing mess behind the bathroom door once the groceries are put away and the snacks are dolled out.

I want to share with the other moms I encounter that it is hard, that I’m not doing it all, and that even though there are more days than not where I feel like crying by 8 pm, I wouldn’t have chosen another life than this one.
Can’t it be hard but also worth it?

Can’t I confide in some well-intentioned stranger that it is a struggle to be this busy and pregnant again, but that some hard things are worth doing, and that pursuing a life of self-actualiztaion and leisure isn’t the only thing we were put on this earth for?

Can I be unafraid of coming across as a stereotype of the tired, overwrought, and oppressed mother who hasn’t yet happened upon the wonders of birth control and daycare if I let the smile slip from my face and I make honest eye contact with you while my 4 year old is lying on his back sobbing in the library because his favorite dinosaur book was checked out by somebody else, and his two other siblings are ready to leave now, and we can’t spend 20 minutes hunting for an acceptable substitute?

I wonder how much of the hardness of my hardest days is because it is hard right now, and really lonely, too, and I feel compelled to put on a brave face and pretend that it isn’t hard, out of fear that someone judge me accurately to be the sobbing, overworked mess of a mother that I really am.

Motherhood is always hard, and it always has been. But motherhood in a culture that shies away from self-immolation and self-denial and radical generosity in grotesque horror is especially challenging. And sure, I’m doing my little part to buck that trend, bit by bit, baby by baby. But it isn’t easy.

I remind myself over and over again of Pope Benedict’s words (but not often enough, obviously) “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”

But God help me if I don’t crave comfort, just the same. I just wish I could talk about it honestly sometimes without getting counseled on the latest, greatest advancement in IUD technology.

I didn’t say I wanted to exterminate the little darlings, just that raising them is hard, and doing so in a culture that sees them primarily in terms of risk and cost is exhausting. Because I feel compelled more often than not to play along like everything is rosy, lest I be adding fuel to the anti-child fire.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, I am myself exhausted by the effort to make this look good, make this look enjoyable and attractive and worth it.

It is all those things, and more. So much more. But I’m so tired. And sometimes I just don’t have it in me to pretend otherwise, even when I know people are watching.


  • Jodi Bonjour

    For the record, people have been a lot nicer to me with this 6th pregnancy. I just smile and laugh as I tell them how many, and for the most part they accept that I am just a Weirdo and that’s okay. 😉

    • Amanda

      I theorize it maxes out. Once you have 5 or 6, people give up on trying to make you normal. (I’m expecting #5 so we shall see.) And as there are a lot, fewer people take them all to the store, (eventually they can stay home alone praise the Lord!) so people like us with a bunch of littles are the biggest family people who seriously have no idea anyone would want a basketball team see. But YES to all this. Can I show how annoying this all is? If I fake that it’s not am I going to convert someone? Many years ago I was convinced a big family might be a nice thing by some that came to the library where I worked, but some of them were terrible so it must have been God anyhow. Soldier on, the Catholic Internet is behind you.

    • Erica S

      I absolutely agree with that Amanda. We are due with #8 in a couple of weeks, and with the exception of some teenagers, most people just look at my crew of crazies and probably write me off as crazy as well. Some days they might not be so far off, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Cammie Wollner

      Yes! I feel like the mean comments maxed out at three and now at four people just give us a wide berth on those days when I have all four of them with me in public. I’m hoping it’s a trend.

    • Cari Donaldson

      I absolutely agree. Pregnant with no. 5 brought the worst in the vile comments. I guess if you have your matched set, the third is an accident, the 4th is stupidity, but the 5th just cannot be borne. By the time I was pregnant with no. 6, people seemed….jovial? Maybe it was jovial in the way one is when visiting a freakshow, giddy laughter and goodwill brought about by the hysterical gratitude that it isn’t you that are the freak, but frankly, after the abuse heaped upon my people with no. 5, I’ll take it.

  • SarahG

    I hear what you are saying. We have only 3 children. I feel after we had our third our family felt, it was our choice to have three, so “deal with it”. It is hard, very hard to keep it together most days….

  • Valerie

    We are currently raising and homeschooling six kids (9 and under.) I can relate to every single word that you have written here. Thank God for blessing me with one friend (a homeschooling mother of seven) that I can be very real with. I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like though since we are both busy raising our children. I know all too well the loneliness of motherhood. Yes, we choose to be open to life. Yes, we choose to homeschool our children. Yes, we have faith that God will give us the grace we need to get through any hardships that arise because of these choices. But it is hard work! My husband and I look at each other frequently with the thought of, “What have we gotten ourselves into??” Neither of us would ever change a thing about our lives though. If I saw you at the store or the library, I would give you a big hug and say “What beautiful children you have, and keep up the good fight mama!”

  • Jill Hall

    Your words are true, chilling and so very real to us all. Thank you so much for using your talents of showing life through words, to bring us all to the same place of remembrance of why we’re doing this, and how really hard it is. I’m so very thankful for your blog and your fun kids. You also have great hair, but that is besides the point, your soul is stunning and that helps us all see Christ in you so very clearly.

  • Christy from fountains of home

    Yes. And I often compound my own guilt by feeling like an NFP failure that can’t complain because everyone’s judging the space between my children! I think that your paragraph on being the overtired mom stereotype is something that’s haunted me my entire time of being a mom. Because it’s been like that for me since the start. I don’t want to be the stereotype of course, but of course, every mom even of one kid feels that way from time to time because…motherhood. And it does feel like a giant F when you barely make it out of the grocery store without cursing because a kid has thrown an almighty fit because you wouldn’t buy Hello Kitty paraphernalia…which may or may not have happened today. I guess my defences go up with strangers because the first thing they comment on is how many kids I have and after that I just feel I’ve gotta put on that brave face because they’ve already jumped to those conclusions? I don’t know, I guess I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even think about being honest with strangers anymore. Ugh…I’m sounding really depressing! I’m sorry!

  • Caroline

    Yes, we have four, 9 , 8, 3 and 21 months, and when I was pregnant with my 4th, a young woman in JCP looked aghast and whispered audibly to her mother who was with her that ‘gasp! she has three – and IS PREGNANT again!’ What can I say, I am from a family of 8 children (the youngest), and I think it’s weird to NOT have a nice big family. One time, a cashier made some remark about large families and I mentioned to her that my mother had 8, and I was glad she didn’t stop, because I was the 8th one, and was happy to be alive… it doesn’t bother me that they think I’m a strange outer space creature for having four kids (what I think is NOT a big family), it rather makes me think how sad for them that they don’t realize the beauty of children. HOwever, living in Colorado, I have found people to be pretty open and have found in our homeschool grous that large families are not at all uncommon. Just say a prayer for them and move on.

  • Sildah

    I hear you. I was somewhat deflated, if not crushed by a comment on my FB wall today by someone who I’m trying to believe was not out to hurt me. Because I’m not going into a response in that forum about why we chose to have the number of children that we did. (I’m not sure we would always choose to have the particular children that we do but thankfully that isn’t up to us.) I would like to believe that I’m being oversensitive–pregnant and all that, you know–but I am having a hard time reading it any other way. I am fortunate to be a part of a church community where three or even four kids aren’t unusual but the prevailing environment is almost certainly less that the 1.9 average.
    It was lovely to have the opportunity to be out one day with just my oldest and see a woman struggling with her groceries and her infant and have the opportunity to offer to give her a hand out of genuine BDTD sympathy. I hope that it wasn’t creepy but it was so nice to be able to show some solidarity with a situation we’ve all been in whether with one child or many.

  • Nell @ Whole Parenting Family

    It’s the not being able to complain part that is hard. I am so grateful for my close girlfriends who also have 3+ because they understand when I cancel, when my daughter has a tantrum the entire play date, and why I am still in my pjs when they come over.

  • Lisa

    I’m not often out and about by myself with all 3 so I haven’t received too many “out there” remarks, but I can’t tell you HOW many times other moms have started chatting and volunteered they have 2 or 3 and are done…maybe they’re thinking I’ll chime in too about no more kids? IDK but sometimes I wish I could go out in public and not have conversations about fertility, or worry about people’s reactions to my kids. *sigh*

  • JKingLam

    I’m a “card-carrying” Catholic, NFP user, and mom to 3 boys. I’m totally morally and philosophically in support of large families, and if infertility had not prevented us from getting an earlier start on childbearing, we might have more. And yet…when I find out someone has a large number of children, I have caught myself more than once saying something like, “Wow. I can’t imagine.” SOOO not the best response! But I just imagine my own crazy brood, plus a couple more thrown into the mix, and MYSELF trying to manage everything (because of everything you said!), and I just go into a mini-tailspin and say something foolish. I usually catch myself afterwards and tag on something like, “That’s awesome!”, but probably too late. I need to rehearse a better line beforehand!

  • Molly Walter

    Ugh, this is the part of motherhood I can’t stand. It’s lonely on some many ends of that spectrum, it’s like you can’t do right by anyone when it comes to family size and though I’ll probably never be in your shoes I sympathize completely.

  • Beth Roznowski

    OK. I must be doing something wrong..as I get these comments with two. But…I of course have the perfect family of four (one boy one girl)…that are awfully close (23months)…and I definitely haven’t figured out what causes. I am fearful for the comments with more. Maybe I just look frazzled. Oh well.

  • Emily B

    I hear you and am praying for you and all moms. I have many friends with larger families and the stories they tell me of the comments they have received from complete strangers are horrible. I have been blessed with 3 wonderful children. I always that I would have more but it wasn’t God’s plan. When I was pregnant with my 3rd I got a few comments from puzzled people because I already had a girl and a boy, why would I get pregnant again?…I can only guess that they were doubting their own decision to stop having children, and so were made uncomfortable by my decision to continue to be open to God’s plan. Sometimes in Catholic circles the reverse is true. I have had women question my commitment to church teachings because I don’t have a slew of children. I can only return to prayer. Bless them Lord they know not what they do.

  • Jacqueline Novak

    For the last few days I have been struggling with all these things. The “loneliness” of being a SAHM to a bunch of littles can be really taxing. I also do daycare and tutor and am really finding my compassion reserves for other people’s kids to be dried up. Most days I go to bed feeling like a terrible person! The hardest thing about it is that you feel like you shouldn’t say these things out loud, lest you be called heartless and, as you said, didn’t you choose this?! It is so hard to find a woman you can confide in that has the same convictions AND understands. I find myself desiring a kindred spirit.

    • Caroline

      Oh Jacqueline, take heart! I know exactly how you feel, not being able to speak with someone other than little kids all day, does make one feel a bit lonely. All my sisters live far away and somehow, it’s hard to make a close friend, a kindred spirit as you say, (Anne of Green Gables and Diana come to mind), it seems hard to make time for a friend even though one yearns for one- we homeschool and it’s sometimes hard to even get together when we are so busy just at home. Sometimes when I start feeling low I have to remind myself how wonderful I do have it, and how fortunate I am compared to sooooo many. I think when I turn to God first, other things just fall into place. Morning prayers do a lot to jump start the day, and if I go to bed feeling like I completely messed up the day or didn’t make the most of it, well, what can I say- prayer- AND IT WILL GET BETTER!
      “Prayer is the refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerefulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness” St. John Chrysostom

  • Loveisneverdefeated

    yup, i think the norm is 2 maybe 3…so when you go beyond that it sets you apart. we have 2 little girls so people seem to accept that we may “try for a boy” ..we get one more pass i guess…. i think it will get better when your kids are a bit older….the costco trips…that is…i have a just turned 2 year old and a 6 month old and leaving the house is a shear force of will….like i have to want it…cause it usually isn’t pretty …lol. somedays it is funny and somedays it literally makes me cry. i just typed that whole thing with one hand. sorry about the lack of uppercase letters. that picture is beautiful. we can all be Diana’s to your Anne Shirley…..Kindred!

  • Kris

    There were many, many days when my 5 were younger and my husband was gone that I thought I would never make it through the day. But I did. I totally relate to this. I think the only thing that saved my sanity in those days was a group of like-minded Catholic moms. My olders were not always homeschooled, but my younger two were (along with two of my older ones for part of the time). I got connected to a local Catholic homeschool group and those women were lifesavers and still some of my best friends. You just need a sanity check sometimes! And a comforting word that “no”, you are not crazy for feeling this way, nor are you the only one. Makes me wish I could move to Denver and have you over! Keep on keeping on. The blessing I have gotten as mu kids have gotten older are numerous. And remember this post when you are the “older” mom with bigger kids and you stumble upon your younger self in the form of another mom with multiple littles. Then you can be the one with the encouraging smile, the helping hand and the “your family is beautiful” comment.

  • Mary Wilkerson

    That’s been the hardest part of me. With being pregnant with this fourth. I know I have bad pregnancies, so why did I do it again. And it’s been really hard. Because this is a particularly bad pregnancy, and with a 3. 2. and 1 year old- I feel most days like I am on the verge of something not awesome. But even talking to family about it is hard, because, I made a choice and put myself here. It’s very tough to not be able to have empathetic conversations with people. Isolating is a very good word for this season in my life.

  • Melita Sikes

    Oh Ladies, How lovely you all are:) How much I wish I could come and bring you all coffee and cake and let out little ones run around and be crazy and awesome together! I hope that each on of you knows, as Veggie Tales reminds us, GOD MADE YOU SPECIAL!! And it is SO true! Though we might be in a culture that seems to tell us otherwise, we are each all here because of love, and for love. I hope we can all let that just soak in for a moment:)

    We have been blessed with 5 funny little people, 9, 8, 6, 3.5, and 5 months. Although I totally relate to everything Jenny has written, it was certainly more difficult when I only had littles ages 4 and under. That was like the boot camp of my motherhood thus far. I remember an older mother saying that once we had a 7 year old, life would be so different. And she was so right:) Though my “older” girls can fight a lot, they are very happy most of the time and love to play with the little boys, love to help out. So take heart!! This also shall pass!

    The other day when I was in the store with my three younger kids, I noticed an older gentleman looking at us. After a moment, he came over to me and said, “You are a rich woman.” Then he looked down at my boys with such love, and tears in his eyes. He was so loving, I hardly knew what to say, but answered, “Yes, I am indeed!” Then we smiled at each and he walked away. It really touched me that even in my moment of feeling like people must think I was a crazy person, he saw the beauty of God in my children, recognized the gift they are. I will think of him every time I go to the store now. We are blessing the world with out children even when things aren’t “perfect”
    Love to all of you:)

    • Caroline

      … about the older gentleman’s comment- that reminded me of a comment from an old lady (she was old, probably in her 80s), while I was happily coming out of the blood lab while very pregnant with my first child. She was waiting there too, and she looked at me; as I recall, she looked at me, but her eyes seemed to be elsewhere, somewhere beyond. She wistfully, sadly almost, said “ahhh, to be young again”. So let us all enjoy where we are now, full of babies and full of life around us.

  • Theresa Sullivan

    So I wrote a long (and maybe eloquent) comment. Then the comment box ate it. But basically we are with you, and by your writing you make this very difficult job bearable. (and I only have two! 4 and 20 months – that did raise some eyebrows so I can only imagine…)

    I’ve been reading Robert Hugh Benson’s “Lord of the World”. I was going to recommend it on your recent posts about books for when you are looking for something a little weightier but still not too dense. It’s sometimes referred to by Pope Francis. I find it has been oddly satisfying even if it’s a dark story (I’m halfway through). It has been helpful to me because, unlike telling me everything is going to be better, it confirms Papa Benedict’s conviction that we were not made for comfort but for greatness. I think in this culture it can be exhausting until we realize just that. It’s going to be an uphill battle because we are sort of permanently the “visiting” team no?

    Anyways, thanks for sharing. I’m with you and if we have to be the visiting team, it’s a blessing to have blogs and catholic community – online and off – to accompany us in the game 🙂

  • movie girl

    Speak it, sister! Would it kill any friendly stranger out there to say “thank you, mom of so many little kids, for bearing, birthing, raising the future of our society.” And I could say, “you are welcome, citizen, because my many (in actuality only 5) children will grow up to be hard working tax payers, informed voters, and loving parents to the next generation.”

  • Ashley Hooker

    I just wanted to say that it is wonderful to see this post written and it’s wonderful that you have a large and growing family! My husband and I only have one, and probably won’t have many more unfortunately, but I love large families. People say such odd things to parents about all sorts of things, it makes me wonder why they open their mouths at all (when my preemie was in the NICU people said “it must be so nice to have this time to sleep while you have nurses taking care of your baby” – yes, it is fantastic to be separated from my newborn child, pumping instead of breastfeeding, getting so sleep as I shuttle back and forth to the hospital because I can’t bring my baby home with me). Keep up the good work momma!

  • mary

    Okay, please don’t hate me for saying this, but sometimes I wonder if we impose peoples’ judgement, when really they’re not? I’m not talking about the jerks who actually say rude things, but the looks. I used to always assume and worry that my boys where annoying the people around them at mass, especially older people used to living in their quiet worlds, getting myself all worked up the whole hour. Then they’d lean over the pew after mass and i’d brace myself, only to have them say something really kind and lovely. Or at the store, I apologize for one of my guys darting in front of someone and they say, “Hey, i know what it’s like with kids.” Sure, I see a lot of sour faces, but maybe it’s not directed at me or my kids, but just the person having a bad day, or, you know, having “resting bitch face”? 🙂 Or maybe they’re ogling because they are looking for your cape. I mean honestly, you’d probably catch me doing the mental head count if I passed you in Target because four under four IS a super power that I do not possess! (I think we do the same with breastfeeding in public-get ourselves all pyched out that people are judging, when really, they don’t notice/care. Or they do notice, and want to give you the secret “ya! rock it” salute, but don’t know what that is and come off as a creep.) It just seems kind of harsh to say, “I’m raising children in a culture that despises them, for all intents and purposes”, but I don’t know your personal experiences, so please forgive me if you do, in fact, have to encounter that many rotten people.

    i agreed with your post about not helping the cause of NFP when we sugar coat it, and love when i see posts like that because it’s so true! i think the same stands for motherhood. I don’t think we have to let it all hang out and shuffle around like a hot mess, but I also don’t think we do our fellow women, moms, or especially women who are not yet mothers, any favors when we always put on the happy face. I was around A LOT of kids before marriage, and was still painfully shocked at how very hard motherhood is. I think we NEED to wave the banner that, yes, this is REALLY hard, but like you said, is also worth it. I’m normally the first to be critical of our culture’s selfishness, but I think we actually DO admire sacrafice, we’re just not very practiced at actually doing it. Think of all those Thai commercials that people always share on FB? Where the guy is doing all the nice things for strangers, or the woman makes the sacrifices for her little girl- you know what I’m talking about? People gobble those up. I guess i’m just rambling that we need to be authentic. I think it’s okay to be honest about the hard.

  • Heather McCool

    Have 5 kids, my oldest is 6 and there’s no twins. During my last two pregnancies i just decided its dangerous for mw to out with them by myself because little people, as you know are prone to having to go potty and not always stayibg right with you, etc. So, i stopped going out with all my kids unless my husband is with us. He is the magical presence that repels the nasty comments! Its great! Now that there are so many little ones though, i find that people dont really get opportunities to interract as we are so busy directing, answering questions. I feel a little guilty, but its wonderful only going out together when he is with us. Plus i love going out alone on errands and people smile so sweetly at me and say, oh is this your first? And i say fourth or fifth, they are shocked! Its quite fun in that environment. I sorta cant wait till we hit 8, 9, 10 because they just wont have words! The most hurtful is our families, i cant let my husband take over all the calls with my mother, for instance, or stick right next to him at the in-laws.
    Thank you for writing this. Especially the part about this being a convenience and comfort based society. We’ve been saying that for years now! We call it the false god of concenience and we wont offer up our future children to it. And i love the greatness quote, hadnt heard it applied to motherhood, but i love it.

  • Ari Mack

    You speak the truth. Keep on keepin’ on. I have to say that people can be judgmental and rude no matter what. Don’t have kids? You get judgment for being “not open to life,” or “using NFP with a contraceptive mentality,” or being just plain selfish. Have kids? You get judgment for how many, when they were born, how much space you have between them, etc. You just gotta live your life. It feels like swimming upstream, no matter what vocation you are called to, if you live it authentically. Other Christians, and sometimes Catholics, are not always better than those in the world. Those are the comments that hurt me the most.

  • EW

    I used to feel weirdly pressured to get out to public places with my kids, like not taking them to Target every couple of days was somehow detrimental to our psychological well-being. So I’d load up the three under three (How easy it all was in retrospect! Having three kids seems like a lark compared to six kids aged six and under) and head out despite the fact that it STRESSED ME OUT. Of course, once our twins arrived and we had five under five, going out in public wasn’t even an option for me anymore. And you know what? I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss the buckling, the threat of checkout tantrums, hoisting babies into germ-ridden carts. We still get out; don’t get me wrong. But the idea of loading up the kiddos for a Starbucks or Target run, which used to be commonplace in our house, strikes me as completely asinine now.

  • j'aime

    yes. just yes. i am struggling with a VERY unexpected 4th pregnancy; this little one will arrive before my oldest is 6. i know other people have them closer together but i did not get an early start and this has been extremely hard on my body. we haven’t “announced” it to the general public because the thought of trying to be oh-so-joyful, both for the twee pro-life people and the nasty anti-child sneers sure to happen. my kids don’t sleep; everything is crazy and overwhelming and when my sister-in-law sent me your post . . . just yes. it is so very hard, and the tremendous pressure to make it look good, to be together and on top of it . . . thanks for sharing, and yes.

  • Becky

    I seriously look at my pro-life ministry to be my response to pregnant moms. I’m in that season of life where you meet a ton of pregnant mommies and a lot of them weren’t totally expecting it and are reeling a bit. Without fail, I say, “That’s wonderful!” and I mean it. When I see a mom out and about and we talk about how many children we have, it’s always, “How wonderful!” I think those of us not in the middle of it all sometimes forget how much of a difference that one comment can make and it’s the one thing I’m trying really hard to not forget from my life with little phase. (yes, Becky from he MacKenzies Go Adventuring :-))

  • Adriana

    A year later but I just came across your post, I just wanted to let you know I am one of those people that stare when I see a mother with her little children at the grocery store I try not to and I’m sorry , it’s just very beautiful and rare to see a “big” family, you see I long for a big family, my husband and I tried for 5 years for another baby, (we were blessed this year with a precious baby boy) and when I would see a mom at the store with her little ones, it gave me hope, and trust that God will answer our prayers.

  • Jay

    Hi Girls try being a stay at home dad with 4 kids ages 3-4-6 and 10 . This is 1 of the most lonelest times in my life!!!!!!

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