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I Was Completely Embarrassed About My Fourth Pregnancy

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A few months before I discovered I was expecting our fourth baby, I was breathing a sigh of relief that our lives finally seemed to be slowing down.

After having three babies back-to-back-to-back, many sicknesses, buying a house and more than a few career changes, it felt good to just put the "cruise" on for a minute.

"I feel like I can finally breathe!" my husband announced one day, practically giddy thinking about the full nights of sleep ahead of us for the first time in years. I agreed, relishing my complete lack of aching womb and happily handing newborns back to their respective owners without any sort of desire whatsoever to add to our clan again. On my blog and social media, I happily declared us on a "baby break," bragging about our fully-paid-for upcoming trip to Mexico—a gift from the in-laws.

So when I got pregnant a month before that all-inclusive trip to Mexico, you had bet your not-empty bottle of prenatal vitamins that I felt more than a tad bit embarrassed, like a teenager who didn't realize sex = pregnancy.

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I locked myself in our downstairs bathroom and cried while my husband hurried our other kids away from the door. "Why is Mama crying?" I heard one of them say. "Is she sick?"

More sobbing.

The sad and pitiful truth is, I cried because I felt sorry for myself. For our obvious lack of planning, for missing out on my beautiful Mexican mojitos, for having to go back to the world with a sheepish, "oops!" after so vehemently declaring we were done, for looking like "that" kind of mom who kept popping babies out one after another.

And in many ways, my fears were realized.

There's something about having a fourth child that really seems to bring out the crazies of the world who think it's their duty to police your reproductive choices.

At the store, I got the up-and-down looks, the side looks, the eye widening, the quick and hurried count of strangers when my little flock of ducklings trailed behind me everywhere I went. I'd like to say it's silly how moms seem to get so worked up over everything these days, taking offense to people saying harmless things like, "My, you have your hands full!" but unfortunately, there's something about having a fourth child that really seems to bring out the crazies of the world who think it's their duty to police your reproductive choices, which I didn't understand then and I still don't understand now. I heard everything from flat-out disgust to creepy old men wondering if I knew what caused that, hardy har har, elbow jab to my husband. (Side note: Gross.)

So yes, it was hard in some ways to know what I was about to face in announcing our fourth pregnancy. And yes, I was embarrassed. I wish I wasn't and I wish it had been different because, of course, as fourth babies tend to be, our daughter is a complete joy and delight in our lives.

But at the time and in that moment, I'd be lying if I said I was really excited to announce that she was on her way, simply because I feared being judged by other people.

It's so silly, isn't it?

To be embarrassed about creating life, adding one more member to the family and sharing a little extra love with the world?

But if you're there and you're feeling a tad bit foolish about that fourth, that fifth—maybe even in some circles, the third—baby, I get it.

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But I promise you, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Life happens, and in my experience, it happens when we least expect it. Nine months later, when you're staring down at the most beautiful sight in the whole world (again), you will be left in humble gratitude that despite your "best" intentions and despite your embarrassment, you have been given a true gift.

A gift you never knew you needed, but couldn't imagine living without.

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