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
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 =
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?"
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
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
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