Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ABC, personal vs. public

I happened on this discussion over at Summa Mamas about personal versus public, and why it's commonplace to hear the "We're done!" announcement.
I have to guess that others think we're done with three. We don't want to be, but even Madeleine knows we should be in a bigger house first. (Our son has put in a specific order for a brother.) But we're leaving it up to God and self-control, thankyouverymuch. I do recall a coworker of Dale's asking in almost-dismay, "You really don't have a set number?"
How could you in advance? Once upon a time I said "At least two, no more than four." If I were to stick with that, what if we got twins the fourth time around? Should I "reduce"? Has anyone ever eaten enough chocolate? Read enough good books? Seen enough sunsets? Heard enough "I love yous"?
I understand if pregnancy is difficult (but are they ever easy?) or there are health-related complications. I'll admit, though, I had enough trouble getting the dog spayed. I can't imagine those circumstances for myself.

On a lighter note, about the whole discussion in general, I think perhaps it's related to women or motherhood in general. We know each other a matter of minutes and we share birth stories. (Admit it.) Perhaps it's because everyone up to and including the kitchen staff comes in and looks up our skirt in the delivery room, so there's no "privacy" left. Even once you're home, using the bathroom is a community endeavor (especially during potty training).
I think some are perhaps looking for validation, but there's more to it than confessing. Sometimes it's just womantalk. At least some have reasons beyond "We can't fit more carseats in our SUV" for not having more.

Okay, I'm still formulating my opinion, but that's what comboxes are for. Any thoughts?



At 7:09 AM, Blogger Milehimama said...

I always feel like a turkey at Thanksgiving in the delivery room - everyone's got their hand up there!

Yeah. We've never had "enough" room. My first son was born, we lived in a little apartment on a roof and children weren't allowed. We moved to a 2 bed. apartment, and 2nd son was born. By the time we got to #4 and #5, we had another 2 bed. apartment, 750 sq. feet.
Now we are closing in on #7; our van only seats 7 people total, so the brothers have to double up (3 are still in carseats). But guess what? God specifically created these children for His purpose. He will always provide (maybe He won't provide brand new Nikes, but as long as everyone has a place to lay their head, the home is big enough).
Are we 'done' - I don't know. There are 3 people involved in our family planning.
My pregnancies aren't easy, either, (preterm labor, bedrest, diabetes, and one case of preeclampsia.) but that doesn't mean I should violate my marriage contract or worse, kill off my babies with abortifacient drugs.
As for the public airing of birthcontrol, I hate it! Everyone, from WalMart stockers to the ultrasound tech to the lady at the tire place asks me if I'm done, if I know what causes it (Faith in God and love of my husband) or other even more vulgar questions.
I'm thinking about answering along the lines of "My, what a personal question! What size bra do you wear?" but, of course, I'd have to go to confession if I did that!

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wrote a whole long comment that turned into a rant so I deleted it. I think Mark and I are finally past the point where people bug us about when we're having children, but earlier in our marriage the comments we got from people we barely knew could range from mildly offensive to downright hurtful. As a result, I learned to avoid asking about people's family plans unless I already know for a fact what their feelings are on the matter. And if people have a set idea in mind of how big they want their family to be, I don't see anything wrong with that. Sometimes people like to think about the next stage of their lives, the stage they can dedicate to themselves and their relationships with spouses and friends and adult children, and getting ready for that takes some advance planning. Thanks to modern medicine and feminism, we have the option to map out our lives if we so choose.

I do agree that too many personal issues are made public, and I'm thinking particularly of 1) when women openly discuss really gory, intimate medical details with whoever is around, and 2) when women have cheery chats from the stalls of public restrooms. My own mother has started doing both, much to my dismay!

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Daisy said...

I have told my family never to ask me "if I'm done" while I'm pregnant. In the midst of morning sickness (they really shouldn't call it that), the pregosaurus stage, and recovering from the (seemingly) inevitable C-section, the answer would be a resounding yes. Then the memories of being useless to do any duty that smells like anything, of not being able to walk properly (my hips pop out while I'm pregnant), and then of enduring abdominal pain and not being able to explain to my toddler why mommy can't pick her up and play like normal fade. Then I want a dozen kids.

I heard a good comeback to the "do you know what causes that?" comment. I use it now, even though I have only 2. It's "yes, I do, and I enjoy it very much, thank you." Too much information? Probably, but they asked.

I also have a way to get people to quit sharing so darned much information. Quickly (I have no checkpoint between my brain and my mouth sometimes) I say, "oversharing! 10 yard penalty!" Gets laughs from the guys in the fall at least.

Just to continue the too-long comment... We have room in our house but until recently not in our cars. A regular cab truck and a 2-door Honda Civic are just not very likely to do well with 2 kids. But now that we have the dreaded minivan, we can have 3 more before wondering where everyone will sit! :)

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Heather, I think this is something that it's hard to talk about. I know so many women who would LOVE to be sick, to have that little person in their arms at the end of the pregnancy. I know women who have buried multiple babies, gone through several miscarriages...all for that little baby that they asked of God. But I feel that I'm surrounded more by the barren, and it reminds me that I'm not barren, and that this is a BLESSING. Nowhere does God ever, EVER, refer to children as a burden, or anything BUT a BLESSING. (I know you know this. I am not trying to rant at you. Sorry if it seems that way...) Anyway, when asked a number...yeah, we've talked about a number. But the reality is that we'll take what we'll let God give us. We are praying and trying to be as open as we can. We are praying to accept the blessings God sends our way. That's all we can do right now. "Here we are God, are you calling us?" And if the answer is yes, then "OK, God, we need your help!"

I worry too much. I usually make a joke out of the question when I'm asked, because it is such a minefield. I say something that I heard a lady at church say once: "As many as God blesses us with, one at a time, please!" That usually gets laughter and we can go forward from there...

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We stopped at two. The illness was too much and the premature babies were scary. We didn't feel God calling us to make more babies so when Brian asked me to get the surgery after our second son was born, I agreed. God is a caring God and he will call His children to do many things. We may think that He wants us to bear children when in reality He may have that part of the battle taken care of for us.

We now have 5 sons. God's plan for our lives included adopting 3 brothers from our state foster care system. He knew before we did that our children were waiting to be taken home.

It's important to remember that Some of our God given children do not grow under our heart, but in it.

As for the answer to "Do you know what causes that?" The answer is "God" :-)


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