Friday, October 30, 2009

Comments I've Heard As The Mom of a Large Family

*Disclaimer: This post is NOT meant to point fingers or rant at anyone in particular.  Maybe it is a rant, but these words are not meant to hurt, scald, or alienate anyone.  Thank you for understanding.*

The title of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but really, I'm not kidding!

I wanted to write this post because, in times past, we've been showered with all sorts of comments, rejoinders, and sayings that people think are so funny and cute, but we really think they're rude, cruel, perverted, or just plain crass!

I know you may not have noticed, but my husband and I have a lot of children.  Many.  Several.  Half a dozen plus one, here on earth.  We do not subscribe to any particular theory, such as the "Quiver Full" movement, we just want to allow God to choose the size of our family! My husband, as a young man, always used to dream about having 12 kids.  

I want to do a post like this to let you all know something most of you don't know about me.  Getting to this point was not easy for me.  Becoming the Mother of Many has not been an easy, straight, or fun road.  I'll tell you why: As a girl, I didn't dream about getting married.  I never once thought about having kids.  Babies scared me and other kids were brats.  I was the worst babysitter you've ever seen! My mom was a career woman from as early as I can remember.  She'd put nice clothes on and do her hair and makeup every morning, and that's what I wanted too.  I was frightened of men and mistrustful of them all, in general, after having a father who walked out on me when I was two.  Two years old, without a Daddy....

But God works, sometimes against our will, and in every circumstance.  The Word of the Lord will never come back void, and He never breaks His promises.  He quietly stands waiting.  He gently knocks.  He pursues.  For me, He pursued, knocked, and waited for me to surrender my whole self to him for many, many years.  In the area of marriage and family, I was a selfish, sniveling brat who would shout at God with both fists raised.  I was NOT letting Him have my fertility!!!

Once I let Him talk to me and I began to hear His voice, my heart began to be changed.  What I want you to know is, if He can change MY heart, He can change anyone's heart! The thing is, I didn't know I was blind, walking around in the dark.  My eyes had to be opened!

And here I am.

I am the Mother of a large family.  I have been pregnant 10 times.  I have had one stillborn baby, born at almost 27 weeks gestation.  I have had secondary infertility and experienced two miscarriages, one at 8.5 weeks and one at 15 weeks, the last of which almost caused me to bleed to death on my bathroom floor.

I love my life.  I am proud to be known as "that lady with all the kids".  

Just today, while dining with my oldest daughter at a local diner, the waitress thoughtfully cocked her head at me and said, "aren't you the lady with all the kids?".....and usually, this would cause me to bristle or be very cautious....But she smiled and said, "I thought it was you! I thought we were almost even with the amount of kids we have!" She has 6, 2 of which are hers, and 4 of which are her husband's.  Then she said, "and you're married to that Mailman, aren't you?"....Ha!

We get lots of comments.  Almost everywhere we go together we get stares.  We're used to that.

Here are some of the things we hear:

"Do you KNOW how that happens?"
"Man, every time you come in here, our waiting room looks like a nursery or something!"
"Are ALLLLL of these yours?"
"Hmmm, must be something in your water!"
"I'd better not drink the water at YOUR house!"

"Aren't you DONE yet?"
"ALLL of those girls?"
"Poor boy!" (to Russell)
"Your husband must have a good job!"
"Are you going to try till you get another boy?"
"Are you going to have anymore?"
"You must have GREAT pregnancies!"
"Sheesh, I can't even handle the one/two/three that I've got!"
"You're crazy!"

Most of the time, Dave and I can just laugh and shake our heads as these people spout this stuff, right in front of our kids, as the kids stand there embarrassed, with their mouths agape...

I guess I wanted to do this post because I really don't like to hear those things.  I've stopped going to the places whose employees would make comments.  These type of comments stress me out and are embarrassing and hurtful toward my children.

Makes me think about things that the parents of multiples say when I tell them that we have been praying for twins for some time now.  Usually, they say some variation of "You're stinking crazy!" Or, my personal favorite, "I wouldn't wish twins on my worst enemy!", all while their kids stand right there!

I'm a Christian, not Mother Theresa, people! If someone makes a rude comment to me on the size of my family or my "prolific fertility", they risk a snappy rejoinder! 

Once, when someone said "Don't you know HOW that happens?" to me, I shot right back

"I sure do, and man, is it fun! That's WHY we have all these kids!"


Katie said...

Leanne ~ Wonderful, sweet, and funny. Your children are beautiful.

I think it's a great idea to show the names and cities under Reese's name gallery pics. I thought of doing that, too, but I can't figure out how to save the info along with the picture as I save it in i photo.

Do you know how?

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I would love to be that lady with all those kids!

Renata said...

Oh I just love that last comment!! Bet that stopped them in their tracks.
I've heard most of those & I only have 4 - people are just so rude. Once while shopping a lady was so rude to me & went on & on about how disgraceful it was I had 4 children all the way down the aisle - her hubby turned & told her to stop & apologised - that was nice of him.
I think children are a blessing & always have - I'd have as many as I could - wish my hubby thought so as well, but God is working on him with wanting more. You have a beautiful family! - oh & my mum was like you she was never going to have kids - she had 5 living & 2 in heaven ! God's plans are the best!

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I'm expecting baby number seven in December and I have one set of twin girls, they will be 4 in December. The comments people dish out must be universal, as I have been on the receiving end of many of those comments too! We are the biggest family at church and our children have won the hearts of the people there, so mainly the reaction to our news of blessing number 7 has been positive. I do get - 'You are amazing, I couldn't do it', and most recently from another Christian, 'You're a glutton', to which I replied 'But that would mean you think children are a punishment, God tells us that children are a blessing' - and on the same day 'But you have such good children' and then I sweetly let the person know that lots of hard work and training went into turning out our 'good' children! I recently went to a garage sale and the lady watched as 6 of my children trooped into her front yard. The 'Are they all yours?' question was followed by 'I think big families are beautiful, so rare these days'. She spoke sweetly to each individual child and asked them their names. We bought a few items from them and then she proceeded to give us lots of things for free (all top quality, hardly worn clothing, shoes - all sorts of things!) I came away feeling very blessed, not so much by the items we had been given at no cost but by her lovely response to my big family.

Aim said...

Love this! you know what's crazy? As soon as I told everyone I was on my 3rd, I received the same comment. "Don't you know how that happens?" by my own family none the less. Love it! would love to have many more just to show how much of a blessing children are!

Kathryn said...

Oh, this made me laugh. GREAT post. I think large families are WONDERFUL. Andy and I would have given our eye teeth to have many more children. But, Morgan's pregnancy almost killed me, and we felt it best not to risk another one. So sad I was... :( I have a friend with 10 kids, and they look like the most fun ever!

I can just hear you snapping that comment back at that person. Too funny! Enjoy all of those kids Leanne...they are such a GIFT from God. And I remember Janie often. When I do, I pray for you. I often wonder when I do that if it has been a difficult day for you, and God is prompting me to pray from so far away...hope that is the case. Well, not that you're having a bad day, but that God would prompt me to pray for you when you need it.

Love, Kathryn

The Morris Family said...

We have had all those said to us too. Here's another one," you have your hands full." And I say, "no I don't, I make them carry everything for me."

Folks just do not know what they are missing out on....


Alison said...

We have 7, and I know what you mean! I'm going to have to try your last remark out on a few people... haha!
Enjoy them-

Sammy4meowz said...

Just clicked on your blog through my dear friend Marsha Drews. I am glad you posted this... you should send it in to the masses! People can be so rude! I have 3 wonderful kids, but I have heard these same things to other people I know that have lots of kids! I agree with Marsha... I would love to be that lady!! :) May God continue to bless you!!!!!! Your post about Janie also touched me.