Posted by: littlebitofparadise | May 24, 2013

My Name is Baby Factory

Boys

I had two out-of-the-ordinary encounters this past weekend which couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in every way. They’ve been on my mind a lot this week so I had to share…

Scenario 1: 

I was in the grocery store the afternoon before my husband’s graduation, grabbing last minute items for our big celebration shin-dig the next day. A gentleman came up to me in the dairy and egg aisle and gently tapped my shoulder.

Ma’am, is Number Three a boy too by any chance? 

“Yes as a matter of fact it is!” I replied with a laugh as I unconsciously rubbed my basketball of a belly.

The elderly man beamed. “Sweetheart that’s wonderful. I had three boys too. Can I just say God bless you for what you’re doing – your boys are beautiful…” and with those words he turned to chat with my two Bear Cubs in the shopping cart.

After saying his goodbyes to the Cubs he turned to carry on his way…and then almost as an afterthought turned around once more and proclaimed: Ma’am, you’re a saint! 

“Either that or a crazy person!” I retorted with another laugh as I thanked him for his kind words.

It’s always refreshing to find encouragement and support from a stranger who recognizes both the trials – and the joys – of a young family with young kids. I never know what conclusions and judgments strangers are drawing when I’m seen in public with my two kids ages two and one and my ever-swelling baby bump. It’s nice to know it’s sometimes tremendously positive!

Scenario 2:

The very next day, after the Hubs’ graduation, I was standing in the lobby of Georgetown University’s bookstore/student center with my boys beside me in my best-ever double stroller.

An elderly gentleman walked out of the bookstore and strutted directly towards us.

“Two boys? How old are they?” he immediately asked as he peered into the stroller. He seemed quite taken with their pinstripe seersucker summer suits and bow ties.

“Almost three and 17 months” I replied.

The stunned man looked back and forth between my children, then he turned and stared a full few seconds at my bump before making eye contact.

“YOU’RE A BABY FACTORY!” he burst out with a cocktail of disdain, disbelief, and what seemed like utter horror.

Now the bitchy Cruella De Vil that probably lies dormant in every mother’s soul (at least it does in mine!) threatened to rear it’s ugly head at this man’s abrupt name calling to my person. But as I remarked to the Hubs later on, I think most southern girls have a hard time getting the Cruella De Vil comments to actually get past our throats in the heat of the moment. We were raised to act better than that.

So I gave a nervous little laugh and a smile and said “Well, yes, I guess you could say that.” 

…and with that Mr. Full of Lovely Compliments went on his way.

But his comment did not walk away with him.

A Baby Factory. A Baby Factory??? That’s how he sees me? That’s how he views the beauty he sees before him in those gorgeous chubby cheeks and bright eyes and heads full of thick yummy hair? That’s how he reacts to my children waving their dimpled little hands at him and saying “Hello!” without even a prompting from me? That’s how he views my baby bump and my life that I have literally poured into these little ones…as a human assembly line for making, outputting, and caring for babies? 

Part of me wanted to run after him and explain myself. To defend my life and my choices:

“All three of them were PLANNED and INTENTIONAL and WANTED by my husband and I. We actually TRIED to have them this close together because we wanted our children to be close in age and good friends and we felt the Lord put this same desire in both of our hearts. They are not “oopsies” or “surprises!” or “we haven’t figured out where babies come from” or “we are Catholic so we can’t do anything about having so many kids if we want to have sex more than twice a month”. Nope. They were wanted. Planned for. Desired. Loved. They aren’t ruining my life (even though they sometimes DO drive me crazy), they are completing it and making it far better than it’d ever be without them.” 

I felt like in one accusatory, shocked outburst the gentleman was throwing contempt upon everything I lived for. Everything I sacrificed for. Everything I worked hard for each and every day.

****

Last night when I walked in my son’s room to give an extra tuck-in and check on him, as I do every night before I go to bed, I crept up to his bed in the dim light and watched his sleep-soaked face. He was cuddling his “blankey” and his Daniel (favorite puppy stuffed animal) in his arm, and he was smiling a full-on smile in his sleep.

As I pulled up the covers and smoothed the hair from his forehead, I was powerfully reminded of this truth:

They are beautiful. They are happy. Oh so very happy. Yes, they throw tantrums, yes they fight, yes they argue, as only two toddlers 17 months apart can argue. But they are also inseparable. They love each other. They love life with every ounce of their tiny beings. They are learning to love Jesus. They love being part of our family. They know they are loved. And they make the Hubs and my life together so wildly happy, fun, funny, and complete.

And in the end, all those things are what really matter.

Yes, maybe in some ways I am a Baby Factory. I’ve been preggers quite often in the past four years. But the former gentleman was also correct. Or almost so. I’m not a saint yet, but this crazy vocation called motherhood is the path to sanctity that the Lord has chosen for me.

And I accept it with all my heart, along with as many beautiful babies as the Lord is gracious enough to entrust to my care.

To Him be the glory, now and forever.

BoysNMe

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Responses

  1. Good for you! You will never regret having them so close together. All 3 of mine were born in under 3 years, and I got those comments, too. One lady looked from my babies to my belly and said, “Well, that had to have been an oops!” (It wasn’t.) The only one that really got to to me was the lady who saw me leaving the pool with two toddlers and an infant and said, “Wow. That looks hellish.” In front of my kids!

  2. Beautiful!

  3. So what if your kids were “oopsies”. All three of mine were and I’m so very blessed to have them.

  4. I meant to say “not oopsies”. It seems to me that you believe that people who plan their families are better than those who don’t. You were upset by the man’s comment towards you, but have you ever thought that something you might say would offend someone else?

    • So sorry ASB I did not mean to offend anyone who has unplanned children.
      Was just trying to make a point since the gentleman I encountered was making all sorts of assumptions (with his other comments) about my life that made me want to defend myself against his incorrect conclusions. Most people I encounter “off the street” so to speak assume my children weren’t on purpose and its frustrating.
      Unfortunately many in the world do not consider it “normal” to desire/plan for multiple children very close together.
      That was my point. Please accept my apologies if I’ve offended you, and many blessings to your family!

  5. Interesting piece. Some people really have no filter between thought and verbalizing said thought. One thing, I don’t understand this sentence: “we are Catholic so we can’t do anything about having so many kids if we want to have sex more than twice a month”. Can you please explain it before I make incorrect assumptions about your knowledge (or lack there of) of Catholic teaching?

    • Hi Mary Therese,
      I was trying to point out some of the many MANY misinformed comments my husband and I receive as a newlywed Catholic couple who practice Natural Family Planning. Many times in public I’ve received comments from “well you MUST be Catholic” to “You’re either Catholic or just trying hard for a GIRL” etc etc as if to imply that newlywed Catholic couples have lots of babies “because we can’t use artificial birth control and therefore MUST have lots of babies if we want lots of sex.” Truly, I’ve heard some shocking comments. I was trying to point out (perhaps in an overly frustrated way – because I am) that there are many couples out there, like us, who choose to have lots of babies close together because we truly LOVE babies and love family life. Sorry if I was unclear. Perhaps this Mama needed a bit more caffeine before sitting down to write this morning.

  6. Stephanie,
    You are so blessed! I am a mother of 6 children ages 10 down to 8 months. If you get these comments with 3 imagine what it’s like for me! 🙂 And, 2 were not planned by my husband and I (but definitely were planned by God). You are a wonderful witness to God and to the true meaning of marriage and family! Good luck with your move and for a continued healthy pregnancy and delivery!

    • That’s wonderful Jenny! My mom had 8 children in 13 years and I’m only now beginning to truly understand some of the comments she must’ve received ALL THE TIME.
      Many blessings to you and your family and thanks for the encouragement!!!

  7. Hi Stephanie – I have 13 biological children, and, although I know that there are people out there who really hate the thought of big families, I can truthfully say that over the years, almost everyone I’ve met has been supportive and kind to me – surprised, but supportive. You can see their minds ticking over – I believe that big families really prick people’s consciences. Your priorities are immediately clear to them. (Faith, family, mothering, etc.)

    • Wow that is wonderful! Thank you for your witness to love and life!

  8. After awhile, you not only get used to the comments but they also make you appreciate your children and make you so happy that you have them! When people say “You have your hands full!” I think to myself “Yes they are and I’m so glad!” I’m sure your mom is a wonderful source of love and encouragement! Just wanted to say that your boys are adorable! I can’t wait to see number 3! I really enjoy your blog.

  9. beautiful, Steph! 🙂

  10. Stephanie, thank you so much for being such a wonderful example of a Catholic pro-life family! You are a powerful witness and I am sure God is very pleased with you! You and your adorable family are in my thoughts and prayers!

    I wish so much that my husband and I were able to be a good example of a Catholic pro-life family. I prayed the rosary (esp. 54 day rosary novenas) asking for the grace of motherhood, but my age (diagnosed eight months after getting married at age forty one) and endometriosis stage four has made it impossible. Still hoping and praying for a miracle.

    You know what Stephanie? I am going to pray for you and your family every day in our daily rosary! It would make me very happy to pray for you! I think you are wonderful and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!

    May God Bless you and your lovely family!

    Love,
    Maria Therese In Mass 🙂

  11. Liberal college + icky old alumnus that screwed up our nation = said comment. Just remember what setting you are in. I’ve heard everything from “Fertile Myrtle” to “she really likes being pregnant”. And this is from Christian and Catholic FAMILY members. I’ve also heard NOTHING – as is in NO Congratulations when telling people of a pregnancy. I think that is the rudest.

    Most likely this “gentleman” was complimenting you. A lot of the 60s-70s generation only had one or two kids. Three is a lot in their world. Get ready, three IS INDEED a lot. No more everyday outings with the kid. Time to be homebound for a couple of years and order from online. Grocery shopping? Hubs will start doing that and probably take the oldest child to free you up with your younger babes. Just saying, from experience. With that said, I’ve read that three children is the hardest to manage while adding more to the family GETS EASIER.

    What is all boils down to is that our nation does not value women and children. And it really hurts when you are full of hormones and brillantly expecting and then you have some jerk reach across your eight month old baby bump to get a free pastry sample at the coffee shop. And he didn’t even excuse himself. Happened to me and my first reaction was shock and then yes, I wanted to CRY.

    I’m glad you got it all out and posted this entry. We women all needed this. I needed this. God Bless you! We love you!

  12. Hi Stephanie,

    I loved your blog and your beautiful pics of your boys! I have 5 sons and 6 daughters. To say that I can relate to your story would be a huge understatement!

    If it’s any consolation, I found that the more children we had, the more positive people were.

    Number four was definitely the worst. Especially, because we’d had 2 girls, then our first boy. People just assumed that we’d been trying for, and succeeded at having a son. When we were expecting again, we both received the most vile comments….I won’t even go into them all. However, once pregnant with number 5, we were seen as being obviously off our rockers. By number six, we were secretly called the ‘holy family’ by the altar servers at our church. 🙂 From then on, we’ve had more love, more support and more weeping elderly people (who grew up in large families themselves) than I can now count.

    I admire the love and devotion that you have expressed in your beautiful vocation of motherhood. God bless your lovely family!

  13. […] I must say a big thank you to everyone who read, commented, or sent feedback on my post last week “My Name is Baby Factory.” Seemed to hit a nerve (whether positive or negative) with lots of folks. I really appreciated all […]

  14. I just got a chance to read this and I think its so well-said. I do totally get what you were saying about the planning aspect, and though that may have offended some, I appreciated it! I think that this is a witness in an entirely new way – to emphasize to people that you didn’t just “accept” something blindly, you discerned it lovingly and generously. Though we all of course accept calls from God that we wouldn’t necessarily have “planned” for ourselves – jobs, moves, losses, etc – and this is beautiful and admirable in its own way, when we are completely humbled and forced to surrender our plans for another… it is just a very needed witness right now in our culture to say, “Hey, I PLANNED this! I am not some miserable, barefoot and pregnant poor woman… I joyfully chose every bit as much as the girl who spends years doing coffee runs to get the corner office on Wall Street!” [This was the most run-on sentence of my life!]

    People need to see this, they need to see examples of mothers who are clearly thriving, not just surviving. And I would definitely categorize you as the former, Stephanie!

    • Thanks so much for the comments and encouragement Kallah! xoxo

  15. […] I usually get more blog comments on other social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, etc) than on my actual blog, so the comments award is actually a tie between NFP Sucks and My Name is Baby Factory. […]


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