Do people judge you for having too many babies? - Mothering Forums
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Birth and Beyond > Do people judge you for having too many babies?
hnybee's Avatar hnybee 10:51 PM 05-12-2004
Here's the deal. I've got 3 kids (ages: 8, 3, 1) and I just love being a mama!! It is kinda hectic, but I love it. I already feel those urges to have another one, but all of my friends and family think I'm crazy. I don't think I am. DD was this age when I got pregnant the last time (they are 23 months apart). My hubbie says now or never. He wants to stay in "baby-mode" until we are done. He doesn't want them to be spread out. But I really can't talk to an friends or family about it, they think we can't afford it or we don't have enough room (we have a four bedroom home). I feel like people would judge me if I turned up pregnant again.

do any of you have to deal with this, or is it all in my head?? Any mamas out there with a large family or babies that are close together?


SaraC's Avatar SaraC 11:17 PM 05-12-2004
I only have 2 kids, now ages 3 and 1, but want at least one(or two ) more. Every time I tell people that they look at me like I am crazy to want more than the 2 kids everyone has. Even my mom thinks I am crazy. I love my kids age difference(although I was a bit shocked when I first got pregnant again). My youngest is the same age that my oldest was when I got pregnant and I feel the baby fever now. I agree with your DH to keep in the "baby-mode". The farther away you get the less I would want to go back. I say do want your heart tells you to do and bug-off to everyone else.
laurata's Avatar laurata 11:47 PM 05-12-2004
But really, I think people are just blowing off steam re: their own parenting struggles, and imagining that you have the same feelings of inadequacy as they do. It's not about YOU. Being a parent is tough work no matter how many children you have. How many is definately a very personal decision.
2BMamaof3's Avatar 2BMamaof3 02:14 PM 05-13-2004
Most definately. It's like 2 kids is FINE, but anything more is definately weird. Of course, not all people are like this...but many are.

My mom keeps saying, " this it?" and my MIL...well, she's expressed near disdain for our choice to have ANOTHER baby (not to mention the timing...long story). But if I'm getting flack for having 3...I can't imagine what people who have more than 3 go through!

Sigh. But then again, I remember being 17 and calling one my friends mom a baby factory for having 6 kids. Rude, disrespectful and immature...oh yeah.

cottonwood's Avatar cottonwood 04:23 PM 05-13-2004
My oldest is 7 and I'm pregnant with our fourth. We didn't get any outright criticism, but a lot of polite "oh... gee... well that's interesting..." kind of comments from my side of the family. A lot of support as well, since my husband's side has some big families (5-6 children) and are proud of it.

Mainly, though, I'm aware that it's socially an unpopular thing to do. When I go grocery shopping with three young children and a big pregnant belly, I do get some disapproving looks. I sometimes get smiles, too, usually from elderly women. But in general I'm aware that people just don't get it, and think it's weird or irresponsible. But these are people who (generally speaking) consider children and family to be something of a burden. I admit I am somewhat disdainful of that point of view, so I don't really consider their opinion of my choice valid in the least.
Mothra's Avatar Mothra 04:35 PM 05-13-2004
I don't think about it much, but I think people judge me. I have three kids, 6, 2, and 4 mo, and am a military spouse, to boot. People make lots of assumptions-- that my kids were all accidents (only the first, and he was a surprise, not an accident), that my life as a writer is surely over, that I have no ambition to do anything but raise my kids, that I'm trapped in this marriage because of the kids, blah, blah, blah. I'd like to just say, "Whatever," but it hurts sometimes. I know that if I were to have another we'd get a lot of shit. I'm not planning on having more, but so what if I was?
CryPixie83's Avatar CryPixie83 05:26 PM 05-13-2004
There is a general negatve attitude towards large families in my area, but I think that has to do with the large population of families living on welfare, who will have baby after baby just to keep their government checks and food coming in The sad thing is, I've seen a lot of these families and some of them are great with their kids, really love them, but so many others just treat them like dogs (and I would never treat my dog this way...), yeling at them, swearing at them, draggin them around by their arms, spanking (in the middle of the grocery store) and just plain disrespect... Maybe that's where a part of this negative social attitude towards large familes stems from?

Another comment I hear a lot towards large families is about population control... I'm sory but there are definately preferrable ways to control the human population than limiting the number of kids you have.

I think overall today's society just doesn't understand such devotion to family. The masses devote themselves to themselves (careers, social status, whatever...) and many can't imagine putting forth the effort a large family requires.

DF and I are currently planning on having only two, but that may change. I personally love seeing big families I admire those moms!
KiwiZ's Avatar KiwiZ 05:42 PM 05-13-2004
No one ever seems happy with the size of your family! I have a friend with one son and she is perfectly happy with him, but she is always getting the "when are you going to have another" comments. Also, "Thats selfish to just have one" (huh?)

I have 2 girls and am always getting prompted to "try for that boy". My dh and I hoped for 2 kids and we are happy!

But my friends with 3+ kids say that they are always asked why they had so many and get the "now you are outnumbered" comments all the time

You just can't win , so have the size family you want and do your best to ignore the stupid comments!
HelloKitty's Avatar HelloKitty 06:04 PM 05-13-2004
God yes, I have three and we are ttc'ing for number four - I've talked about the possibility of having 5 or 6 and people always say that I'm nuts or they ask me "Why???" Umm, because I like kids and I want a big family obviously! Or they go with the lovely "kids are expensive" - gee I have three already I think I know how much they cost! :

Some people just love to be judgmental about anything and everything though so I try not to get too bothered by it - as long as we are happy that's all that really matters.

AngieB's Avatar AngieB 06:27 PM 05-13-2004
My husband and I get the same thing from our family : . I'm pregnant with our 3rd and hope for a 4th soon after. IMO unless you are asking your friends and family to help care for your children physically or financially it is none of their business how many you have and if they can't be supportive then don't talk to them about it. The only person who you should care about their opinion is your husband, the person you will be raising the children with.
grnbn76's Avatar grnbn76 07:10 PM 05-13-2004
Woo hoo!!! People who get the same crap I do!!!!
I am about 34 months pregnant right now, and I look like I am going to explode any second. I also have an almost 7yo (next week!!), a 3 1/2 yo, and an 18mo. And we are a military family (ya know, those "military baby making machines).
People, unfortunately, can be downright rude about it. I've heard...
"Don't you know what causes that?" (either yes, I do, and I'm very good at it, or NO! Please fill me in! I've never been able to figure out why I keep getting knocked up!)
"Were they accidents?" (I actually have a maternity shirt that says "Yes, I Planned It!")
"Why on earth would you want that many kids?" (because I like noise and messes and chaos?)
"There is no way you can afford that many children. How will you feed/clothe/house/send to college all those kids?" (well, I'm doing just fine for now. When I can't, then you can start paying my bills, and you'll get an opinion in the matter)
"You must really like babies" (actually, I think babies are boring. I like toddlers and preschoolers who can carry on conversations. But it's much more difficult to push a toddler out of your vagina.)
"So, you don't believe in birth control?" (well, our birth control IS a lot of kids)
"I can't believe I have to support you so you can stay home and have that many children!" (dh is military, so yes, your taxes do pay our paycheck. But he DOES do a little work everyday to actually earn it...)
The list goes on and on and on and on...some people are nice about it (a la "I don't have the patience for that/You're a better woman than I"), and those people I can deal with.
The rest of hell with 'em. Who cares what they think? We are going to have children until our family feels complete. Until everyone who is supposed to be part of our family is part of it. And that's up to us...the people who make the babies and raise the babies. The only person who can decide when your family is full is you.
AnaNicole's Avatar AnaNicole 09:28 PM 05-13-2004
My own father was actually mad at me for getting pregnant again, and said in an email that he questioned my judgment about my "fertility choices."

It hurt very very much. Then he and I went around and around about the population growth/environmental impact of large families, with him pointing out how the average American consumes roughly 40 times as much as the average 3rd world citizen...and how he had a hard time understanding how ANYONE could justify bringing another American consumer into this world.

We have since worked it out and have come to a better understanding but still, it really hurt.

It DID get me thinking about impact and consumption, however, and that isn't a bad thing. I'm trying to be more proactive and walk a little more lightly on the earth. It's a long process cause, see, I was raised by people who taught me how to be an American Consumer! Thanks, Dad.
mama7x's Avatar mama7x 09:44 PM 05-13-2004
You know, people do judge you for having a large family. They also judge you for having no kids, or for having "unruly" kids, or kids that aren't allowed to eat candy, or whatever! Forget them. Follow your heart, dear. I'm pregnant with our sixth and I've become immune to the rude comments and stares. It helps to tune in to the supportive people, like the older people who smile knowingly, and tune out those who have some sort of need to try to impose their values on you. What is up with that anyway? You know whats right for you and your family. Some arrows might come, let them go right thru you, and look for the hugs and support, they're there too!

hnybee's Avatar hnybee 11:56 PM 05-13-2004
Here is my frustreration:

If I have family or friends come over to hang out or go shopping with me and my kids...and they see us having struggles or stressful times (which is very normal)..if they see me get frazzled..their first comment is "well, i guess you're done having babies." Why does frusteration = no more babies? I feel like i can't be myself around them and show my true colors because they will judge me. Yes, it is stress full to have 8, 3, and 1yr olds but i love them and i want more. Maybe one or maybe two, and it probably wil be stressful, but that's okay.

my sil doesn't want anymore children just because she likes to sleep in! she has two (5 and 8) and really wanted a son, but the older her kids got, the more she realized that having another one would be a lot of work.

i think big families are very healthy. the dynamic of a larger family is so great because it teaches the children patience and working together as a team.

Where did you find that shirt "yes i planned it!"
I might need one of those!!

snuffles's Avatar snuffles 12:03 AM 05-14-2004
This is me: :

This is a sore subject for me.

I am pregnant with #4, and I am 24 years old. I have a 6 yr old, 3 yr old, and 2 yr old. I have to say I was pretty irritated with the comments I got when I first told people that we were expecting. People just assumed that it as an accident, and that maybe congratulations wasn't in order. Some people didn't even bother to ask when I was due. None of this happened with any of my other children, and it hurt at first, but now I have to say that I really don't care what people think. Yes, this child was planned, but it wouldn't have mattered if it weren't-- we would still love and want this child the same.

grnbn76's Avatar grnbn76 12:04 AM 05-14-2004
Originally Posted by hnybee
Here is my frustreration:

i think big families are very healthy. the dynamic of a larger family is so great because it teaches the children patience and working together as a team.

Where did you find that shirt "yes i planned it!"
I might need one of those!!

We got a lot of odd looks after our 2nd, because we weren't done yet. People kept asking why we would want more when we had a "King's Family" (dad, mom, sister, brother). May be perfect for them, but not for me. Now, they keep asking if I'm "trying for another girl" I'm only getting pregnant in search of a 3rd twat for the house!!!

I, too think big families are healthy. That's one of the reasons I couldn't stop at just one. No matter how big or wonderful or famous or rich my brothers get, I can always remind them of the times I made them drink water out of the toilet. How can you survive without the constant "Mom loves me more than you" fights? How do you deal with a holiday that doesn't involve 30 people? Who else but your siblings would come up with the idea that we all need different colored post-it notes so that we can mark the stuff we want when our parents die? (we do that jokingly, btw) Who else will tell your soon to be dh "We will love you as long as she loves you, but if you ever hurt her, we'll kill you."?
My brothers were a constant PITA when we were growing up. Now that we are adults, they are my closest friends, confidants, allies....they're my brothers. I can't imagine living a life without them...without the tears, anger, sadness, laughter, and love they've given me. We may be very different people, but we are bound by invisible ties no matter where we go or who we become. We are siblings. I can't imagine not giving that to my children.

I found the shirt online...I know I've got the link somewhere!!! I'll look for it!
AnaNicole's Avatar AnaNicole 12:05 AM 05-14-2004
We recently put in our garden and had plenty of willing help from the kids. As we were working I looked over at my husband and said, "That's why we're having so many kids--we're building our own personal workforce!"
seabreeze6's Avatar seabreeze6 03:25 PM 05-14-2004
Hello! I'm jumping in here for my first post! For me I let the comments roll off my back. I've heard it all-how can you afford them, don't you know what causes that, are you catholic, what about all the neglected kids, yada yada. We have 6 children ages 12 down to 2 with baby #9 (lost babies #6 & 7) due next month.
I must say that over time people tend to be awed. I keep a smile on my face, dress in something other than "mommy" clothes when I go out and just try and exude a positive attitude. I enjoy shocking people with the number of children I have;-) In my mind it is...maybe not jelousy but something close-a kind of "if I can barely handle my two, how can she handle 6!" type of thing. Just like when people can't/don't/won't breastfeed and you do, they wonder what is "wrong" with them and it comes out as very negative comments toward you.
So I smile and throw out comments like "yeah, isn't it great??!!" And leave them to there ponderings.
Is it easy having lots of children-heck, no! But the joy, ahh, it's something that cannot be duplicated.
Just my thoughts.
AnaNicole's Avatar AnaNicole 09:22 PM 05-14-2004
Yep, I must admit I love it when I tell people that the baby in my belly is, indeed, my 4th and their eyes pop.

They invariably ask me how old I am shortly thereafter. Apparently I look pretty young. Not really feeling that way these days but hey!
mattjule's Avatar mattjule 10:09 PM 05-14-2004
okay, I want to preface this by saying that I don't have and don't want a large family, but I want this to stay a supportive thread and I really don't think this is the place to start that whole discussion (plus I come from a VERY large family-13 kids, 8 of which were adopted so our birth family is still large by today's standards- so I understand what you are going through). That said, I don't look down on ppl who have large families. As long as the parenting is sound and it is obvious each child is treasured, what business is it of mine? I feel privileged to be able to make my own choices about my family and I think every person should make that choice for themselves. Having ppl question whether you can afford more children, or that it is sad you don't have a full time career is rude and inappropriate. My IL's thought it their place to question whether or not we could afford a postpartum doula. I don't think our financial affairs are their business. And as far as a career goes, it depends on what you find more fulfilling. Personally, being a good mother to my children is infinitely more rewarding and far-reaching for me than any career. And it doesn't mean I sit around at home and have no adult interests or pursuits-I just put my family first instead of the other way around. You know, it isn't just large families-attachment parents in general get the same flack from ppl about extended breastfeeding, being a SAHM, family bed...

Have as many children as you want. Ignore the naysayers. My only advice is to not let them get to you-once that starts to happen, you feel like you have something to prove and your kids can feel like they have to be better than other ppl's kids because everyone is waiting for you to screw up to prove that large families are bad (this is what happened in our family). So just live your life and love your family as you see fit. Tell ppl you aren't interested in their opinion.
Attached_Mom_to_7's Avatar Attached_Mom_to_7 10:59 AM 05-17-2004
I'm almost 32, I have 7 children and will be expecting our 8th in November. I pretty much get the same comments posted here as well, I'm at my breaking point with some poeple and ready to just tell them to mind their business!!
magemom's Avatar magemom 11:52 PM 05-17-2004
31, expecting #5 here. And ALL of my kids were "accidents" I can't say surprises since I DO know what causes them! I guess letting nature take it's course is not the same as charting and scheduling conception.

Whatever. I decided this time to get it over with and tell people NOW that we are looking for 6. Not sure we really are. Some days I am at the end of my rope, but that is DH more than my kids.

The most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me was when I was pregnant with our 3rd. There is an 8 year gap and we were told no more babies 2 years before. This woman at work said "I forgot to wish you congratulations or condolances- whichever fits" Before that I thought the car salesman who said we should lease not buy because we 'never know what might happen' was rude.

I can't imagine not having a one of my kids. My uncle did say thanks for procreating for him as he is childless by choice.

And yes, I do love the looks people give me when I say this is #5
tuffykenwell's Avatar tuffykenwell 12:10 AM 05-18-2004
Okay I am the youngest of 5 children so I can totally relate. DH and I have agreed on four (he wanted two, I wanted six...we compromised LOL!)

I have problems with "sub-fertility" meaning I can (and do) get pregnant without intervention but it takes a great deal of planning to get that way (I doubt I will ever have an oops baby).

My mother gave me some guff about our choice to have 4 and then I asked her which one of her children would she want to trade in? It shut her right up LOL.

I keep telling DH we really ought to have 5 because everyone knows that the fifth child of a family is REALLY something special For some reason he roles his eyes at that one when I use it though

One of DHs uncles made a smart comment about us wanting four when Rhys was a few months old. I just told him that unlike all the other men in DHs family he wasn't going to have to trade me in for a new wife to get two more kids (all the men have 2 kids first wife, divorce and then 2 kids second wife...its bizarre really). That shut him up too LOL!

My mother in law makes comments too (she is *shocked* everytime she asks how many we want and the answer is still 4!)

We only have DS right now (with bump due in November) so I don't have to deal with many comments yet because I think everyone figures I will "come to my senses" when the baby is born and I realize how much "work" more than one child is. <shrug> whatever. DS is the best thing that has ever happened to us and I just look at DH and tell him how can we not want to populate the world with wonderful people like Rhys

I guess the comments will start with #3...which we will hopefully be able to conceive between 2 and 3 years after this baby is born. It took us 2 1/2 years to get pregnant with Rhys and a year of trying to get pregnant with this baby (who will be 2 1/2 years younger than Rhys) so I figure that maybe my body is only meant to produce a child every 2 1/2 years

roxy's Avatar roxy 12:48 AM 05-18-2004

can i just say how jealous i am of all you moms with bunches of kids?

i think you should have as many as you want/can handle, as long as you can afford it.
townmouse's Avatar townmouse 01:00 AM 05-18-2004
What's weird is the way strangers will comment, and give advice!!! Why in the world would I stop having babies, just because the woman at the deli counter told me too??!!??!!

We'll probably have several more, although when Toby is born in August, I'm sure 4 boys will be even more noisy and rowdy than three boys.

But what I've been answering lately is this: "My large family has never taken a dime of government money, or welfare of any kind. They have cost YOU nothing. We live frugally and well, below the poverty line, so I can raise these precious children myself and give them a good start in life. These little ones that annoy you so much by their very existence, will one day be your doctor, your lawyer, your pastor, your judge, your president, or the aide at your nursing home who brings you your pills and changes your diapers. Will you be grateful for them THEN, or will you still think I was foolish for bringing them into this world?"

with baby #3 I was still polite, but now I'm just honest
mthomas's Avatar mthomas 04:11 AM 05-20-2004
Originally Posted by grnbn76
"You must really like babies" (actually, I think babies are boring. I like toddlers and preschoolers who can carry on conversations. But it's much more difficult to push a toddler out of your vagina.)

too funny!! I just have 2 right now, but am getting DH in the groove for one more, 3 doesnt sound strange to me at all - but I have 2 siblings, so maybe that's why. People always talk abt how difficult it must be to have more than 2 kids, but I've been told by some mama's w/bigger families that it's that second one that takes getting used to. But once you figure out how to handle 2, then more is cake!!
mommy2three's Avatar mommy2three 09:21 AM 05-20-2004
Did anyone here see "Cheaper by the Dozen"???

I'm sure people think we're crazy for having so many kids but I don't care about what other's think I LOVE being a mom! This is what I'm supposed to be! And I love my kids! They're each so different and individual! I have crazy almost 5 year old twins, and absolutely hilerious almost 2 year old and we're due with our fourth and final in Sept.

I know my family probably thinks it's way too much and society seems to think you should have no more than two but we're complete now as a fmily (or will be when the baby is born).

I think today if you have more than 2 it's almost like your seen as "irresponsible". i've had SO many people say "better you than me" and I think, most likely with that attitude, it definitly is better me (am I making any sense today???)

I think the other issue that I've gotten is how are we going to pay for 4 kids, especially in college? And, honestly, I have no idea! But right now, financially, we're set since babies don't cost anything with the way I parent. I already have all the clothes since I had boy/girl twins first. I exclusevly nurse, and use cloth diapers. Ok, so there it's costing a bit because I"m having way too much fun buying new cloth diapers. It does get a bit more pricey when they get older and all have dance lessons, classes, etc but we always make do.

I do get lots of looks when I'm out with all my kids and obviously pregnant but it doesn't bother me. (I probably get even more looks because I'm almost 30 but seriously look 12- not kidding, could pass for a 12 year old in a second and with my freckles coming out from the sun- not helping LOL)

One more thought (please excuse my post being all over the place- I got sleep last night but woke up feeling like I didn't get any, go figure) Anyway, my last thought is that I notice now that I look at the end of the posts here at Mothering at the kids' names (I love names) and also count how many kids people have. I've been delighted to see that a lot have bigger families on the board! I'm wondering if that's because of the way we, here at Mothering parent/ attachment parenting?
mommy2three's Avatar mommy2three 09:25 AM 05-20-2004
One more thing- we were out to eat the other day with the kids and while I was at the bathroom a mom turned and said, "you have have a beautiful family" to my hubby. My hubby thanked her and as I was walking back to the table he pointed at my tummy and said, "there's baby #4". The other mom looked enviously at me and said how she wishes she could have a big family too. (she did have 2 beautiful boys though). Then the rest of the meal she kept glancing at us and smiling It was one of the first times we've had someone say something as positive!
mama2cubs's Avatar mama2cubs 10:09 AM 05-20-2004
I just had baby #2 in February and I thought that was going to be it. But now I am not so sure. When I see women at the park with a huge brood (that's 3 to me! LOL), I am having serious envy pains.

I really think I want to have one more. I'm inspired that you mamas haven't let any negativity stop you. I would probably have to deal with our parents questioning our decision and sanity But, I have to go with my instinct and that may mean one more...a very exciting prospect!
HelloKitty's Avatar HelloKitty 10:54 AM 05-20-2004
I always wanted to have three boys - figured that would be it once that was accomplished but now we are ttc'ing for number 4 and I'm seriously considering having a 5th after this next one because the age gap will be so big between my two "big guys" and my two "little guys (or possibly one girl!)" and I always thought 3 little kids was so cool!

My sanity has been called into question on many occasions.... but you just can't stop a mothers desire!

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