I got married with the expectation of having babies.
I won’t say lots, but let’s just say my husband is one of nine and I am one of five kids, so having babies was something we both wanted from the beginning of our marriage.
We had our first about ten months after the honeymoon, and then our second 16 months after that. Our third came 17 months after her big sister, making us the proud and completely-in-over-our-head parents of three-under-three. For those keeping score at home, all of this came to pass before we hit the four year wedding anniversary.
But wait—there’s more! Right now, I am smack dab in the middle of my pregnancy with Baby #4. This time we thought we’d give ourselves a bit more of a gap, so #3 and #4 will have a whopping 20 months in between them (NFP for the win! Yes, totally planned this way. We stopped charting in July and, wouldn’t you know it, got pregnant right away!).
Yes, my hands are full. Yes, my triple, side-by-side stroller looks like an amusement park ride when we go for walks to the park. And yes, sometimes I wonder how in the world I am going to manage when this baby comes in the spring.
Now here is where I resist the urge to launch into the instinctual “defense of having a lot of kids” rant. I know all of the sassy comebacks to the inevitable judging comments.
“Yes, we know what causes it—and we like it!”
“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”
And the always classic, “We’ll stop when we get an ugly one.”
The thing is that those comments all seem to require a level of confidence and badass-mom-ery that just does not come naturally to me. None of those sassy comments describe my attitude toward being a mom to so many small children at once. Because while, yes, my heart is incredibly full, I also feel like I should state the incredibly obvious and say: THIS IS HARD!
Moms of more kiddos are just moms. We’re not special or infused with super-powers. Like any mom, I have moments of doubt, of wondering what in the world I was thinking, and of feeling just completely overwhelmed and not at all cut out for this. I don’t feel like a better or more confident mom just because I have more kids or because I had them closer together. I think I feel like every other mom on the planet, whether she has one kid or ten. There are wonderful moments of being overwhelmed with feelings of love and pride in the amazing children I have been given, and other moments of feeling utterly defeated and stretched way too thin.
I think that, as moms, we rise to the occasion presented to us. The truth is that being a mom can be hard whether a woman has four or fourteen kids, because no matter how many she is giving to, a mom is always giving ALL of herself.
So the truth is that my heart is probably no fuller than yours. Hubby and I enjoy the baby-making process as much as the next couple. And I don’t care whether it’s my first or my twelfth, “Ok but after this one are you DONE?!” is NEVER an appropriate response to the news of a baby on the way.
You can do it, momma! These children— whether you have one, ten, or anywhere in between— were given to YOU, on purpose. Just keep on loving them.
Mary Pearson has an on-again, off-again thing going with America’s Finest City. After a three-year stint in the Dallas area, she and her husband are thrilled to be back and raising their family on the west coast, where they first met. As a stay-at-home mommy of three (soon-to-be four), Mary is passionate about sleeping in, easy dinners, and getting the kids outside to play. She also enjoys writing, going on dates with her husband, and constantly learning and sharing about her Catholic faith.