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So What If I'm Pregnant for the Third Time?

Photograph by Twenty20

Last week, I was ordering tea at one of my regular stops. I was chatting with a barista I had become friendly with since I first started using their bar as makeshift office a few months back. She noticed I had stopped ordering a traditional cappuccino and replaced it with a flowery, herbal tea. So, I sheepishly told her I was expecting and had lost my taste for coffee.

"Oh! How exciting! Your first?"

"Actually, it is my third," I said with a bit of hesitation.

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Maybe it was my delivery, or maybe she would have responded poorly no matter how I said it, but her one-word response of "Oh" didn't really offend me, because I had grown to expect it.

I already knew the awkward truth about about third pregnancies. I knew that people had a lot of mixed opinions about us being pregnant again, and so soon. When my husband and I found out about my pregnancy two months ago, we were immediately nervous about sharing our news. With my first and second pregnancies, we had been so excited we had waited less than 24 hours after my positive pregnancy test to tell those closest to us. This time, it was different.

I was bothered by the number of people who felt they were entitled to express their concerns about my pregnancy, when in reality, it is none of their business.

We were nervous about how those closest to us would respond. We were concerned they wouldn't be excited, or that they would question our ability to parent more children—so much so, that I brought my concerns to my counselor, who said that what I was experiencing was fairly common. Apparently a lot of expecting moms feel a level of nervousness and even embarrassment when announcing a third or fourth pregnancy, and rightfully so because many of their friends and family responded poorly when they finally announced.

Eventually, we told our parents and then let the news trickle out to other family and friends. And even though those closest to us were genuinely excited about our news, we did quickly realize that people have mixed opinions when parents start to break the mold of your typical family of four.

We had people express their concerns about our ability to manage three children 4 years old and under, while others immediately asked if we were done now, if we could afford another child, and some struggled to hide their lack of enthusiasm. I would like say that their opinions didn't phase me, but I since I already felt hesitant about sharing our news, their responses didn't help.

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In the end, it is my family and the choice to have another baby is my decision to make, along with my husband. I was bothered by the number of people who felt they were entitled to express their concerns about my pregnancy, when in reality, it is none of their business.

So whether they're beginning their first pregnancy, or their sixth, expecting moms don't need judgment or a list of your concerns—they need your support. Maybe another baby isn't the choice you would have made for your family, but that's OK, because it isn't your family.

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