I’m 24 weeks pregnant. I have a toddler who’s not even 3 and a 15 month old. Everywhere I go I am wrangling two toddlers and a growing belly. So naturally, at this point, I’m pretty used to the sarcastic comments and the judgemental looks.
Yesterday, we needed an outing and I had a package to pick up at the post office. We braved the pouring rain, ran through the parking lot, Eli’s hand in mine and Addie laughing and bouncing on my hip. When it was our turn in line, I passed the delivery notice to the woman working behind the counter and patiently waited for her to return with the package.
“Are you expecting another one?”
“Yes, I’m due in January.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
I stared back, stunned for a few moments. My typical response to judgmental comments is to smile politely and to walk away but when I looked down at my daughter’s dripping wet curls and my son’s big eyes looking back at this woman, I chose not to be silent. Not in front of my children.
“Oh really? I’m not. We’re all very excited for another baby.” I responded.
As a signed for the package she had passed me I added, “This is actually the baby book for the new baby.” (Because, believe it or not, this baby is every much as wanted and eagerly anticipated as the first two were and I cannot wait to fill this book with memories of this pregnancy and all of the sweet moments from his or her first years of life).
I can’t stop thinking about this brief conversation and can’t help but wonder, when did we, as a culture, stop viewing children as a blessing and seeing them as a burden?
I’ve sacrificed to become a mother, it’s true. I can’t remember the last time I’ve peed with the door closed. I can’t sit down on the couch without two little heads snuggling and resting on my growing belly. I clean up more messes than I can count and wash laundry like it’s my day job… oh wait, it is. I’ve laid down my teaching career and the freedom of doing whatever I want and buying whatever I want to stay home with my little ones, to teach them and train them, and to live more frugally than we did before children.
But, you know what? It’s 100% worth it. I would do it over and over again to wake up to their sweet faces, to hear the pitter patter of their feet running across the living room floor, to hold them close when they’re scared, to kiss their owies, to read the same book over and over until I know it by heart, to rub their backs and hold their hands until their eyes finally close after a long day, and to see these little people grow and change right in front of my own eyes.
I am so eternally grateful for this calling to be a mother. I refuse to see my children as anything less than a blessing and gift from the Lord. And, in all honesty, in my own mind and plans, I thought we would wait a bit longer before adding a third baby to our family. Clearly, the Lord had different plans and I will receive this blessing with open arms, knowing that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. I am so thankful that He changes our plans, that He gives life, and that He has blessed us with this healthy little babe.
So, to all the mamas out there who feel the weight of a culture that is growing increasingly hostile toward children, hold tight to your little blessings. And to everyone who wants to comment on someone else’s pregnancy… a simple “congratulations” still works pretty well…