We've gotten a few reactions:
- How did you keep it a secret for so long?!
(Sadly, it's easy when you're already 45lbs overweight.)
- Why did you keep it secret for so long?
(Well, come July Travis wanted to just show up with a baby, so this is early according to the original plan.)
- Wow... five kids... wow....
(You fail. But you also perfectly explain why we kept it a secret for so long.)
- Ahhhh! Congratulations! That is so great!
(Thank you. Really, thank you.)
In a way, I don't blame the people who can only say "wow". Even for Travis and me this pregnancy is a bit of a mixed bag of emotions.
There's plenty of good emotions. For starters, have you seen my other kids? Travis and I make cute kids and so there is no doubt that this baby is going to rock the awesomely adorable just like her* big brothers and sisters.
|See? Super cute kids.|
And we like our kids. We like having kids. Sure, by the end of the day we are ready for them to all be tucked into bed and fast asleep but our lives have been made richer by each of our children. We may not be able to do much traveling or pay for college or have phones with data plans, but we have been given much life and that seems to be a fair trade in our eyes.
But then there's the rest of the bag to deal with.
I think most people aren't happy for us because they know that we are already struggling financially, but that's not the part that worries us so much. Save winning the lottery we will never be rich, or even upper middle class, but that's never been our goal. And we are already working towards our actual goal of being comfortable enough.
Our real struggles are with natural family planning, getting enough sleep, and me not walking around screaming at the kids all the time.
We are so tired. With teaching, coaching, grading, and giving extra attention to kids who just cannot write a chemical formula Travis is working at least 10 hours a day and gone for almost 12. He gets up with James, I get up with Teresa, we both get up with Lydia and Bennet. I'm pregnant and irritable and the kids and I walk around as perfect examples for why people only want 1 or 2 kids.
And, while I will hopefully not be pregnant for the next five years (pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod) we will have babies and toddlers and little kids who do not sleep through the night for the next five years. Just thinking about it makes me so tired I want to take a nap. Who has energy to type?!
Then there is the irritability. I have never had pms moodiness but I pretty much have it for all 9 months of the pregnancy and 6-10 weeks post partum. The fuse for my temper is this (.) short and even shorter if I don't have enough sleep. And, well, you already read the previous two paragraphs so you know it's pretty short. Fortunately I'm almost half way to birth so the crankiness will end sooner than the sleepless nights. Just not soon enough for my poor kids.
And then there's NFP.
(And here's a Potential TMI warning. Don't want to read about sex and peeing and mucus? Then stop reading. Also, there be swear words.)
I've talked about this before, but for me and my husband post partum nfp is a Josephite marriage. We have tried CCL's sympto-thermal method. We have tried to incorporate Creighton teachings into how I observe signs. We have kept our babies exclusively on breastmilk for as long as possible. And doing those things has just ended up with me pregnant. All six of my pregnancies may have been planned by God but only half were planned by Travis and me.
After this baby is born we will try the Marquette Method but we will also be abstaining for a very, very long time. Long term abstinence is why we didn't get pregnant after James until we felt called by God to do so. Trying to chart without a period is why I'm pregnant now.
Right now the only reason we're using nfp is because we have to. The Church tells us it's good; I believe the Church is right on such matters and so even if I don't understand or agree for the moment I bow to Her authority. But mostly I lie in bed praying to God, "You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped!" (Jer 20:10)
I feel embarrassed to be pregnant but I hate feeling that way. Why should I be ashamed of being in a solid, awesome, enjoyable marriage?! But I look at my belly and my shopping cart so loaded with kids there's barely room for the groceries and I feel like a rabbit, a breeder, some stupid woman who can't tell the difference between mucus and semen and whatever the hell else there is coming out post partum.
I want to smack women who boast about using nursing to space their children. I want to smack women who have easily and perfectly spaced their kids every 2-3 years. I want to smack women who tell me I need to neatly fold my toilet paper and wipe before and after I pee, carefully checking the mucus both times. I've had 4 big babies in 4 years - I'm lucky I don't pee on the toilet seat half the time! Kegals my ass - I don't have time to neatly fold the toilet paper, let alone wipe before I pee! And I definitely don't have time to lock the door to keep the kids out so I can scientifically observe how opaque my mucus is - when I have to pee I have to pee RIGHT NOW and usually the door is left wide open as I dash to lift the lid in time.
I'm sure there are women with infertility struggles who want to smack me, who want to shake me, who are yelling in their head that they would gladly trade places with me. And honestly, at this point, I would love to give away my fertility to one of you. I know infertile couples shoulder a brutal, aching cross but sometimes I don't think it's that different than the cross of the super fertile.
I know God has blessed us with these children and with our fertility - and I in no way regret any of my kids - but anymore the fertility is only a cross and it's one I'm tired of carrying. Probably the day will come when I will regret typing those words, when I will long to once again feel a baby moving in my womb. But right now I just want to crawl under a rock and take a very long nap.
And when I wake up I want to have had experienced a trauma-less delivery, have all my kids sleeping through the night, have cycles to chart, and have lost 50lbs. That's not too much to ask for, right?
*Yes I think I'm pregnant with a girl. And I've been right on the gender of all my other kids so I'm just gonna go ahead and refer to this baby as a girl.