3 Under 3: Sorry I’m Not Sorry

DCA2AE8FA9When I first found out I was pregnant with this current baby, I texted a couple friends pictures of the test–very sincerely thinking they were going to tell me nothing was there. Instead the responses I got were (hilariously, in retrospect):

“Are you okay?”

“…Congratulations?”

I was so embarrassed for having gotten pregnant again, so soon after the birth of my daughter, I didn’t tell anyone for as long as I could. To be totally honest, I was certain I would probably have a miscarriage. I had convinced myself we wouldn’t actually be having another baby because I couldn’t fathom how my body could possibly be capable of carrying another baby to term after just having one.

But I’m 30 weeks now, and this baby is due in two months. I am gigantic–much bigger than I ever was with the other two–and life has gone on. My two-year-old is two, my 10-month-old is 10 months old, and every time we go out, someone has something to say about it.

“You have your hands full!”

“Oh, I bet you’re busy!”

“DON’T YOU KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENS?”

I actually asked my sister, one time, if the responsible thing to do would have been to have an abortion. Like somehow I’m too… what?

Irresponsible/old/unorganized/flighty/stupid/messy/poor to be having these kids?

Because, why? My kids are running around like feral animals, unbathed and poorly dressed and underfed?

12189788_10102619518830138_4349020867322272656_n-2I can realize now that I felt judged by what were probably just passing comments meant to be funny. I felt like people were commenting at me–not to me, not with me. And I internalized this as:

I’m not ready.

I’m too tired.

I’m not good enough for this.

I’m not responsible enough for this.

I don’t have enough money for this.

In a tearful fit of anxiety, I was sharing all this with a dear friend, who commiserated for as long as she could, until she said the thing that I will carry with me forever.

“You have nobody to apologize to. You’re having a third baby with your husband, who you love. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.”

She’s right. So maybe we Neftlixed and Chilled too much too soon after the birth of our son…and then our daughter. But, my kids are clean and fed and I think they’re pretty happy. And you know what? I’m pretty damn happy they’re here.

So perhaps these comments are just fleeting attempts at funny conversation. And maybe these people spaced their kids out intentionally and are better at planning or taking birth control, or maybe even actually just watch Netflix and chill. They see how busy and tired I am and how much busier and even more tired I’m going to be, and don’t want to be me–they’re grateful they’re not me.

But you know what? I don’t really care.

12095309_10102619518835128_2787173595446257626_oFor the first time in all these pregnancies, it’s kind of amazing to me that, when I thought it couldn’t, it did: this body has conceived and carried another baby while taking care of two other ones.

So I have this idea. Let’s lay off of women and their bodies in the passive language we use: let’s stop asking when they want a baby, when they want another one, and why they wanted the ones they have, even as chaotic as their lives may seem.

The next time you see a pregnant lady carrying one baby on her hip, and one by the elbow out of a parking lot, just open the door for her without a comment that alludes to her sex life.

There’s space in this world for women to make their own decisions about their bodies. Instead of teasing them about their offspring–the absent, the lone, the many–just say something nice.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to 3 Under 3: Sorry I’m Not Sorry

  1. McKenna November 3, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    This is perfect! I had my twins at 18. I remember the stares and awkward conversations that happened. “No this wasn’t planned!” “Yes there’s really two babies in my little frame!” “No I don’t want to discuss how my two gorgeous daughters came into this world in the delivery room!” “Yes they are twins.” My situation is quite a bit different than yours, as I wasn’t married and it wasn’t “conventional” by any means, but making a woman feel less of is NEVER okay. Great article!

  2. Heather November 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Standing ovation!!! I’m pregnant with twins and have a one and three year old at home – I’ve heard it all, mama, and what you say here says it PERFECTLY. Brava!! We can be crazy together!!

  3. jane November 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    I was given these same snide glares and remarks in the early 1970s. Mine were 3, 2 and new. Here we are 2015 and mine are 43, 45 and
    46. The are great and making both the world and my world a better place.

    Jane

  4. Rene H. January 18, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Nickie, my mom had 7 kids under 9 years old at one point…then took a break and had 5 more kids. You just do what you have to do in the moment…and when you look back in about 15 years, you’ll be amazed at how you managed. You’ve got this, even if you think you don’t.

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