It’s very funny the things strangers find appropriate to say to pregnant people and parents. I remember the first time someone made a comment to me about Maggie having a pacifier. She was only about 9 months old, but this stranger seemed to think that was already far too old and let me know it. I was so upset and offended. 6 years and a few kids later, I’m actually pretty entertained by what strangers say. I know they mean no harm and perhaps think their advice might really help me out. But of all the comments I’ve gotten from strangers over the years, I have never been quite so entertained as I have been the past few months while pregnant for the 4th time. I started writing a few things down so I’d remember when they’re all grown. Friends and family are thrilled but while I’m sure strangers have the best intentions, their take on our 4th pregnancy has been funny:
1. We HAVE to be trying for a boyThe general consensus of all strangers over the past 9 months has been there must be one reason and one reason alone for having a 4th child: we have to be trying for a boy. It doesn’t matter if Tommy is dressed in head to toe blue with a construction hat on his head holding toy trains…Being 9 months pregnant with a cart full of children makes people assume they all HAVE to be girls and I HAVE to be trying to have a boy. It happens all the time. They see this crew in a shopping cart and my large pregnant belly and say:
“You must be going for the boy!”To which I reply: “Nope, we already have one!” (patting Tommy on the head).To which they then stare at me in confusion, as if to say “then why????” 2. Your hands are fullNow this one I’ve been getting since #2 was born. Now it makes me laugh more because they say that my hands are “going” to be full. With 3 kids, I already have more kids than hands, so how much worse can it get? I think the most shocked look I got was one day I was in the store with just Alex and Tommy. It was a particularly rough moment of a 4 year old tantrum combined with a teething 10 month old cry fest. A lady said “oh my you have your hands full”, to which I replied:“Yes and if you can believe it I’ve got one at school right now and one on the way.”To which I received a look of shock and fear…..
3. You are going to be busyI enjoy this one because I’ve heard it many times, and always at times when I look very busy/frazzled. When you are chasing after 3 kids: one is eating food off the ground, another is crying and the third is running in the opposite direction of everyone else and someone says “a fourth baby…. you are going to be busy”, I just stare at them…. wanting to say “do I look not busy right now? Do I look like I am very relaxed and bored, and the arrival of this 4th baby will give me something to do? “4. The only people that seem to relate are over 65From strangers, I get a lot of “oh my gosh, 4 kids” in a very shocked, perplexed tone. I don’t think they mean it that way, but it’s more of a confused look than congratulatory. Except for older women, 65+. I can’t count the times I’ve had older woman come up to me and say things like: “you remind me of what I was like back when my kids were small. I had 6 kids under 10 at one point”. Or they say “I had 4+ kids close in age, what a blessing” or my favorite “will you have 4 more? I did!”
5. Comments with the kids vs without. NO one, and I mean no one comments, asks or mentions you might be pregnant when you are holding a baby. As a rule, you should never assume a woman is pregnant just because she looks like she might be. When holding a baby, I think people really don’t want to assume, because honestly there’s more of a chance you have baby weight to lose than you’re pregnant with ANOTHER baby. With this 4th pregnancy, I feel like I started to “show” by about 8 weeks. At that time I had a 6 month old…. no one was asking or assuming a lady carrying around a 6 month old had “ a belly” because she was crazy enough to be having another baby! When I had all 3 in tow, no matter how big my belly got, people looked, but were hesitant to say anything. It wasn’t until I was WELL into the 3rd trimester that strangers would say something.
Now it was certainly not because I didn’t look pregnant because when I was out without the kids… people asked “when are you due” before I was even in my 2nd trimester. Now this brought up plenty of funny interactions and conversations. I am pretty young to be having a 4th child (well young for the part of the world/country we live in I guess). People often would follow up their “Ohh when are you due” with a “is this your first?”. I’d always love the look on their face when I replied “no, 4th”. I actually had someone at a check out line call someone else over and say “come here – this lady is pregnant with her 4th baby” as if it was the craziest thing they’ve ever heard. 6. Are they all yours?Last, but not least, I am surprised at how many strangers have asked me “are they all yours”. Here’s a few examples:Stranger: “When are you due?”Me: “Next week”Stranger: “And are all these yours too?”Now they could very well be nieces, nephews or children I babysit, but it’s more they way they say it…. “all these” like I am herding animals! One time someone actually asked 1 by 1 if the kids were mine:“Oh your expecting? Is this one yours? How about that one? And the baby (Tommy) too?!”
And what do I have to say about a 4th pregnancy? It’s gone way too fast! At this point, I think Maggie and Alex have just gotten used to me being pregnant. I don’t think Alex remembers a time I wasn’t pregnant. They know when I need to sit down and rest and sometimes even say things like “you shouldn’t do that, you’re pregnant”. They remember when Tommy was born and are beyond excited for another baby in the house. Maggie has been “counting down” to my due date for weeks now, but is still baffled at exactly how I “know when it needs to come out”. This is the first pregnancy that they’ve sat patiently at my belly to feel the baby kick and really examined ultra sound pictures to guess if they are having a brother or sister. Their interest and involvement has made this last pregnancy more memorable. And Tommy… well he certainly has no idea what’s about to happen. I had guilt about that when I first found out I was pregnant, because he’s still a baby himself. But the thing about being pregnant with a baby while you have a baby: you really enjoy the moments with your little one without the sad “their growing too fast”. At least that’s how it’s been for me. I’ll be a sobbing mess when my last baby learns to walk, grows all their teeth or gets haircut. With Tommy I just enjoy it, every little bit. The due date is tomorrow!