Tuesday, July 08, 2008

On my soapbox

So on Sunday I wrote a post about how I kind of keep forgetting I'm pregnant. I was honest about my still being a bit in denial about the whole fourth child thing and how my life is so chaotic that I forget about the one child who isn't pulling on me or screaming for help with something.

Since I announced this surprise pregnancy, back on April Fools Day, I've been open about how this pregnancy was not planned, about how we were fine with three kids, and about how we've been adjusting to the change in direction that our lives are taking. I've also talked a bit about how pregnancy and I don't agree with each other much.

And the response to all of this has been overwhelmingly supportive. I've taken great comfort and reassurance from everyone who has commented and e-mailed, telling me to hang in there or thanking me for putting my true feelings out there. All of these messages have helped me tremendously; I've made some great bloggy friends over the past months, and I'm extremely grateful.

But then yesterday I got a flaming comment about Sunday's post. The comment, left by an anonymous poster, said (sic all):

At first I wasn't going to respond to this yelling, but then I decided to post a reply to the comment. I said:

So, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, is every woman who finds herself pregnant supposed to be all rainbows and sunshine and bluebirds of happiness every moment of the pregnancy? Are women not allowed to not be excited about being pregnant and having another child? If you truly stood by your comments, you'd be brave enough to leave your name.

I was going to leave it at that, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I got, especially while I was lying awake at 3:00 this morning with a migraine that wouldn't quit. I realized three things about Anonymous's post made me angry.

First, the assumption that unexpected automatically means unwanted. No, we did not plan to have a fourth baby, but that doesn't mean that we don't want the baby now that I'm pregnant. I never, ever, not for a moment considered not having the child. Despite my qualms about how I'm going to handle four kids, I know as surely as I know my own name, that I will love and adore this child just like I do my other three.

Second, we are far from irresponsible parents. While we aren't wealthy, between the two of us, we earn enough to give our kids a safe and comfortable - if a bit crowded - house. I made the decision five years ago to switch to freelance work, despite the financial hit in terms of salary and benefits, so that I could be home with my kids. We also manage to let the girls take part in activities they love - rock climbing and ballet and the like. I am not a welfare mother having babies with random men and then looking for public handouts (and I know that's a wild generalization about welfare mothers, don't send me angry e-mails, I'm just trying to make a point).

Third, I'm upset at Anonymous's seeming belief that just because a pregnant woman discusses qualms about having the baby or ambivalence toward being pregnant, it means she doesn't want the baby. Pregnancy isn't all rainbows and rosebuds and lollipops. A lot of the time, at least for me, pregnancy isn't a lot of fun. And I ought to be allowed to say so.

I also know that the first 6-8 weeks of having a new baby are so hard. I am not a religious person, by any means, but I believe that babies are absolute miracles. It amazes me how tiny and perfect they are. But I also remember the sleep deprivation, sore breasts, constant stickiness, constant diaper changes, and zillions of loads of laundry that go along with a new baby. I will never romanticize motherhood.

So Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, suck it.


Runner Dude said...

You go girl!
You are bestest mom I know!

Becca said...

yeah baby, kick butt.
I got pissed off at the world when I was pregnant because there are all these nasty tings about being pregnant that no one tells you, like the incredible body hair growth, feeling like I got kicked in the crotch for three months, etc etc. I think society romanticizes pregnancy (and motherhood) and women let it happen. I loved your post.

Anonymous said...

Two of my kids weren't planned, either. And even when I was pregnant with the 2 that were, the only parts that didn't suck were feeling that life move inside me and the increased sex drive (ahem). You have every right, and indeed I think you do a service, to tell it like it is. Just remember that anonymous is probably just some hairy 50 year old guy who lives in the basement of his mom's house and likes to stir things up.

MadMad said...

Ay! I started leaving you a comment, and my laptop died! So here goes again: I don't know why we always let these Anonymous flamers keep us up at 3 a.m. It's crazy. Anyone who has ever been pregnant - even PLANNED it - has some misgivings. And anyone who has actually given birth and taken care of those children knows it's too much work to go into lightly - and so would have some misgivings. No one should think you won't love and care for the resulting baby!

Jolly Roger said...

Both of my kids were planned. And I still hated EVERY MINUTE of being pregnant (I know others who love it. I don't get it. Seriously. I just don't get it).

So I guess I must suck as a person because I didn't sing praises out my butt every second I was knocked up, because some people think I SHOULD have?

Where the sun don't shine, Anonymous. Rock throwing + Anonymous = very crappy person.

O'Pine said...

Go HOK, GO! But why do you think your mother-in-law is afraid to sign her name? : 0 JK

Seriously, though, don't let the stupid people get you down. When you have those 3 a.m. moments, just use my mantra to get back to sleep: stupid, stupid, dummy, dummy.

Memarie Lane said...

LOL @ O'Pine.

And the people that romanticize motherhood drive me nuts. I actually read a bit of a debate on another blog the other day between the blogger and a commenter who felt that a woman should devote herself so completely to motherhood that she no longer has any sense of self beyond that status. I think it's very sad that there are still women out there who don't think it's possible to be a mother AND yourself at the same time. And be honest about it.