Baby Number 4

baby

We’re expecting baby number 4! Whoo hoo! I’m so excited. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d be blessed with four kids.

Motherhood has taken me by surprise. I knew early in life that I had an adventurous heart, one that wanted to travel and experience new things. What I didn’t know is that motherhood would be an adventure all it’s own. One that has felt more fun than burden, more joyous than laborious, more miracle than mundane (although it is all those things).

That is why I have been fascinated by the way people’s enthusiasm has seemed to wane as our subsequent pregnancies are announced. Consider some actual reactions from people we’ve told about this fourth one:

“Wow, really? Again?”

“Ohhhhhhhhh.”

“I’m so glad it’s not me.”

“I guess it’s your choice!”

“Is that it, then? Are you done after this?”

“You’re so busy already.”

“Are you guys Mormon?” (No.)

Silence. (My husband. Though in fairness, he responds that way to many things.)

“Yeah!!!” (My mom and mother-in-law.) baby Here’s me and my 22 month-old Lucy Kate showing off our bellies a couple weeks ago!

The response to baby number 4 has not been unkind, but people certainly have a more reserved congratulatory level than in previous pregnancies. I almost feel like I have to say, “Don’t worry, it’s my last one. I don’t want any more after this.” Translation: “I’m not insane.”

Here’s the deal, hesitant feedback givers…you’re all off the hook. Unless you want to be involved, this baby is pretty much our responsibility. No one has to give us any presents (I know we’ve had more than our fair share). I have all the car seats, onesies, and other baby gear I need. (Diapers, I wouldn’t mind!) In fact, I’ve already got a pile of kid stuff I’m dying to get rid of at a garage sale sitting in my basement. Yes, I understand it’s expensive, but no one has to help fund anything, my husband does magical things to stretch our budget. Like make me convince me to stop buying clothes I don’t need. All Christmas and birthday money is immediately plucked from our children’s sticky little hands (that want to buy yet another stuffed animal) and siphoned to their 529 college accounts. Yes, we’re making your world a little dirtier and the landfills a little higher with all those diapers, but hopefully, we’ll make up for it, somehow, someday. At least one of these kids will figure out a way to improve the plight of humanity and it’ll be a fair trade.

If it’s not going to negatively affect people essentially in any way, why doesn’t everyone get just as excited? Well, partly because becoming pregnant multiple times is old news. In psychology, The Novelty Preference refers to the fact that humans/infants are more likely to pay attention to new objects or people than those they’ve seen before. There’s even an infant intelligence that is based on this concept because it’s a marker of normal human intelligence. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding, except for three months, ever since fall 2008, so really our recent announcement is status quo. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, the author bemoans the monotony of earthly life – “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Alright, so it’s old news, but it’s our precious “old news.”

Lastly, I think people are gauging our reactions. “Did they want this or didn’t they? Because they couldn’t possibly want more chaos, could they?” Yes, we wanted it. My husband was leery at first, and would have been fine stopping at 3. We (he) had done an Excel spreadsheet before we even had kids, trying to map out the timing of grad school and how pregnancies would fit in. Yup, we (he) went all crazy firstborn on it. And we had 3 mapped out, maybe because we both came from families with 3 kids. But during the third pregnancy, I didn’t feel like it was my last. I can’t really say why. I just knew I wasn’t done. Rationally, it would have made a lot of sense to wrap it up then. I had both genders, all the kids are healthy, life is already plenty full, and my pregnancies and deliveries were perfect. Why tempt fate? But we know our lives are so much more than our plans and my husband acquiesced to my (I think God-given) longing and now he’s excited. One of my most loved verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” No Excel spreadsheet could dictate how our future would play out, that is in God’s hands!

So get excited with us, hesitant folks. No one’s going to make you do anything. When you see us trying to load all four kids in the car, or someone’s missing shoes at church, or you stop by after dinner and it looks like a war zone, just smile and nod. We wanted it.

 

Comments

  1. cute, heidi. each family story is interesting in this regard. i love that God gives us the choice: no children, some, many, adoption. but no doubt, children are blessings. happy for you all, and that your husband is on board.:)

  2. So so many congratulations Heidi! I know big families are not the norm these days, and although I have a lower threshold for chaos (only 2 kiddos,) I love that you’re creating more wonderful Wheelers for the world to know and love!

    Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

  3. Natasha says:

    So very thrilled for all of you Heidi! You are a wonderful woman, thus I’m sure wife and mother! We need more of you in this world! God speed all is well, healthy and happy with this pregnancy! I can only pray for the same in mine and my fiancé’s future! Big love!

  4. You make me laugh. Very well written. Way to leave me hanging about the gender…

  5. Linda F says:

    I remember the first time your whole family came to our house your hubby said he felt like a traveling circus. Well who doesn’t love a good circus?!!!!?? They’re fun and full of energy and smiles and fluffy cotton candy messes. Kids are great! So happy for you ALL!!