This is the phrase I’ve always wanted to hear from my family when we announce a pregnancy, but never have. Actually, want I really want to hear is, “CONGRATULATIONS!! We are so happy for you!” And I would like it to be genuine. But, apparently, that’s too much to ask.
With every baby, there’s been some reason for them to be disappointed, worried, annoyed, or whatever else. Because of that, they have never rejoiced with me about the discovery of a new baby. Not even once. And it makes me sad.
With baby number one, I wasn’t married yet. I was in my 20s and about to graduate college. They were, understandably, less than pleased. But I really think it had less to do with morality than it had to do with me making them look bad.
With baby number 2, they were still waiting for my hubby and I to realize that we would never make it, and should never have gotten married in the first place. This second baby was just going to make it more complicated when we finally came to our senses and got divorced.
With baby number 3, we were starting to teeter too closely to being “big.” On top of that, my mother reminded me of an article I once showed her regarding ADHD and family size. The author concluded that it was best for those with ADHD to limit their family size; she felt they were incapable of juggling the demands of family life. Since I had been diagnosed with ADHD my first semester of college, I, too, must be incapable of handling family life, especially the demands of a large family.
With baby number 4, we were officially big in their eyes. My father asked if we were trying to keep up with the Duggars. (Because 4 is super close to 19…) After I joked about being a good subject for reality tv, he made a really hurtful comment about the fact that I’m pursuing a masters degree and reproducing. I love my Daddy dearly, so it really hurt.
With baby number 5, my parents refused to acknowledge that I was pregnant. Several weeks after they found out my mother said, “Don’t worry; we’re not mad.” I was well into my second trimester before they asked when I was due.
I think, maybe, this is why I’m so sensitive when strangers make rude remarks about my family size. I want so desperately for my family to celebrate my pregnancies, but they refuse. Somehow, I think that makes it harder to accept strangers’ negative reactions. You might think that it would toughen me up, but it doesn’t. It makes me extra sensitive.
And, just in case you’re wondering, I don’t ask for anything from my parents. They don’t even babysit, so it’s not like my family size is a burden on them in any way. They just don’t approve, and they make sure I know it. And like I said earlier, it really makes me sad.
I can’t imagine what they will say or do if we’re ever blessed with baby number 6. I’m sure it won’t be great, but, for some reason, I just can’t let go of the hope that they might be really excited for us.