I Got Shamed For Having 3 Under 3—But it Was So Much Worse Than They Knew

We had just ordered our food and were walking the boys to our table at the sandwich shop. I had Emery on my hip and my hand on Jonah’s head as we walked past all of the other customers to pick out a table. The last family we passed was a young couple with a little girl around Emery’s age. Emery is obsessed with babies and every time he sees one he points and shouts, “Day-tee? Day-tee?” That’s Emery talk for “baby”. So I said, “Yes, that’s a baby. Look at her pretty bows.” And he waved, and then she waved, and then I smiled at the baby’s mom and she smiled back at me. But then she lowered her eyes, stopped at my baby bump, and she dropped her smile as she raised her eyebrows. She looked at Emery, then looked at her husband and did that eye thing that you do with someone who knows you really well that communicates everything you want to say without actually saying anything at all. I didn’t get it at first. I kept talking to Emery about the baby as we sat down at the table directly behind them and I still didn’t get it until I’d walked past their table to get our drinks and caught their slightly judgy stares again. And then I got it.

OH. I have a baby. And I’m very obviously and overtly pregnant. Le sigh… 

Now before I get started on describing the next five minutes of my inner dialogue, I have to acknowledge that I could’ve totally just been projecting my own insecurities on to what was actually innocent glances at my growing belly. But I don’t think so.

As I walked to the soda fountain, I felt my cheeks flush. I was embarrassed. Ashamed that I got pregnant so soon after having a baby. And this girl doesn’t even know the half of it. She doesn’t know that we’re living in my parents’ basement, that Emery still sleeps in a pack ‘n’ play, and that Zach’s job continues to be a big financial question mark. She doesn’t know that our debt is through the roof, we’re scraping the bottom of the bucket to pay what few bills we have now that we’re not living in our apartment, and that us going out to eat that day was an absolute violation of our budget that we’ve been butchering lately because we just can’t seem to get our act together. She doesn’t know that one of the first things I thought when I found out I was carrying another baby was, “How could we be so irresponsible?”

BUT, by the time I had our drinks and was walking back to our table, my shame was replaced by an intense amount love and pride for this little one growing inside me. How could I ever EVER be embarrassed that we’re having another baby? Four years ago, I knew that we would never have children. We were looking at adoption agencies and signing up for classes and home studies. Two years ago, I knew I would never have another baby. I was certain my brief window of fertility was up and Jonah would be my only biological child. I prayed desperately for another baby and God heard my cries and he answered them. Six months ago, I said I was done having kids. That I was thankful that making babies didn’t come easy to us because we’ve never had to worry about birth control. I was dreaming of the day that we could maybe adopt a little girl from India, but totally content with the idea that I would never carry my own child again. And then this baby comes out of no where. The baby that I didn’t know I wanted. The little oops that is a perfect blessing.

And then I realized that I’m actually not embarrassed at all by this quickly conceived baby. Maybe I just feel like I should be. Maybe if I acknowledge the irresponsibility and inconvenience of this baby, other people won’t feel the need to. I mean, I’m the type of person that has learned to make fun of myself before anyone else because then they won’t have anything left to pick on, so maybe this works the same way? But no. I’m not embarrassed. I’m thrilled. This kid is such a gift. A beautiful, perfect, mess of a blessing and I cannot wait to hold him or her in my arms.

Regardless of how a baby is brought into this world, no one should ever feel ashamed that they are carrying life. Teen pregnancy, out of wedlock pregnancy, back to back pregnancy, whatever it is, life is life and babies are gifts. I know that’s such a cliche’ thing to say but it’s just so true. And who gets to say when a good time to have a baby is? Why does anyone else get to have input on other people’s family size and the speed at which that family grows? Who gets to decide who is is worthy or “deserves” to have a baby?

We may not have planned this baby, but we’re the only ones that get to have an opinion about him or her. No one else gets to shake their heads and say “That’s so irresponsible”. No one else gets to say, “How are you going to care for another kid when you can barely afford the ones you already have?” And please if we can keep the, “You do know how this happens, right?” comments at bay, that’d be nice too.

We love this baby so much and we are (finally) SO excited for him or her to join our family. March can’t come soon enough.

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Kristen LaValley
I’m Kristen : wife to Zach and mama to Jonah, Emery, and Anna, living in Western Massachusetts. I love a good book, a crisp fall day, and a hot cup of chai. I don’t take myself too seriously, so neither should you. My kids are my life and my husband is my best friend. I hope you'll visit my blog, When at Home—and stay awhile.