We are expecting baby number 5!
This is our fifth baby in seven years. Our oldest is currently 6, and our youngest is 21 months. While big families are back on the rise (based on my own personal assessment), when I tell people this is number five they absolutely cannot control their reactions. There is something about the idea of five children in such a short time that causes people to bypass political correctness in their reactions. I’m finding this is one of those life events that leads people to reveal their authentic selves. And you know what? I don’t mind at all. In fact, I welcome it and love that news of our fifth baby can bring that out in people.
I have encountered the range of reactions to this pregnancy, and it has been a blast. I do not take offense or get tired of repetitive questions, and I certainly do not hold how someone initially reacts or feels about my current life situation against them.
Reactions have included laughter, speechlessness, obscenities out of shock, questions, assumptions, and some high fives and fist bumps. Such as…
“Will you be able to send them to college?”
Maybe. Maybe not. They might have to earn scholarships, pay their own way, start their own businesses, or work in trade. I’m pretty sure these paths can also work out well.
“Are you out of your mind?”
Maybe. I’m not quite sure yet. Check back this time next year.
“I’m not sure what to say.”
Try, “Congratulations!” It’s OK. We planned this.
“You must love exhaustion.”
Not so much exhaustion. But I do love babies and large families!
“Where will they sleep?”
In a bed, in a bedroom. They will most likely share a room. I hear it’s really good for kids to share rooms.
“I think that’s great — I could never do that, but good for you!”
Thanks, I think I can do this. It’s like teaching middle school… crazy every day. My kinda fun.
I am a believer that, for the most part, we all want to be good.
I recognize and embrace that we all have different journeys to take. Our experiences and histories vastly differ, and it is unfair for me to expect that every single person I share crazy exciting news with will respond in some neutral politically correct manner. Nor do I want them to. I want to see them excited and shocked and curious. I want them to have a physical reaction and feel OK in my presence doing so. I want them to feel safe asking questions. I automatically feel more connected to people when I openly share and openly receive their reaction. We may not see eye to eye, but who says we have to? Many of the joys in this life are the differences that each of us brings to the table.
We are all human beings and struggle with our responses to others.
We try so hard to respond the right way so as not to offend. But what if we just respond to others naturally expressing our true reactions and talking through them. Do we really need to expect someone to respond in some artificially predetermined manner just because the content may be sensitive, emotional, or complicated?
I’ve come to find that most feelings and reactions to my life are all with good intentions. They are not intended to cause me pain, insecurity, or stress. And when others’ responses to my choices do bring on uncomfortable feelings, I attempt to work through those emotions with compassion and understanding. I may let it go. I may confront the individual and ask them what they meant or try to better understand what they were trying to say. See, I find that many people present differently than what they intended. I only find that out, though, when I ask for clarification if I’m unsure. Now if the intentions were meant to hurt, cause discomfort, shame, or demean, I just move on and leave them behind.
I choose to trust intentions.
I am choosing to show my children how to be the good in the world. I want to teach my children how to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want them to learn how to communicate with people when they are unsure, confused, or hurt. I want them to be able to accept people as they are and not what they think they should be. We all have learned some lessons on our life journey, and all of us have missed a few lessons. So instead of passing judgment on one another for being an authentic, flawed human, let’s embrace the idea that most of us out there really just want to be good and trust their intentions.