I know the signs well. That slight nauseousness just noticeable enough to be irritating, yet not debilitating. An intense craving for salt; only strange to me because of the way it manifests itself in an overwhelming desire for – of all things – Top Ramen. And of course a new layer of exhaustion, which seems to whisper, “This has nothing to do with the three very little children you are already raising.” Yes, with two such recent pregnancies I do know the signs.
And yet I waited. Waited to look at those two lines that would solidify the truth. Waited to call my midwife to make an appointment. Waited even to share the news with some of my dearest friends. It was with delight that I recognized I would be bringing another little life into the world, and yet that delight was jaded by a dread that had no right to creep into this peaceful mommy heart. It was not a dread stirred up by the thought of how busy our lives will be. Dishes, laundry, sticky hands, and tumbles are all expected regardless of number. And I am thankful for the perseverance and patience these things have taught me.
Instead, this dread stemmed from the amount of times I am asked with a look of horror if we are going to wait longer this time. From, “The twins must have been a surprise pregnancy, right?” and “Please slap your husband if you get pregnant again anytime soon.” It stemmed from the look we almost always get when we share our hopes for a big family. From, “You do know how that happens, right?” and “A big family is one thing, but so quickly is another!”
If I lived a hundred years ago my growing family would be expected and celebrated, but because of the incredible advancements in birth control and women’s rights I must be either completely crazy or under the thumb of a domineering husband to be choosing this. I am neither. And I do choose this.
What else do I choose? I choose to recognize that although there will be many who will shake their heads in ridicule there will also be a handful of people who, like us, delight in the news of our fourth little darling. People who see children as a blessing instead of a curse. Who see them as precious and unique. Perhaps there are those who fear there will not be enough love to go around in a big family, but I like to think that is the wrong perspective. For even when we welcomed our first little one into the world we learned that our love was not stretched to accommodate her. Our love grew.
So with full and complete joy we would like to announce that at the end of February our love will be growing again.