Warning: This is a long overdue and hormonally fuelled rant of a pregnant, very fed up woman on the proverbial warpath!
Why you might ask am I so annoyed? I tell you, shall I!
Other's people's opinions on large families and this pregnancy in particular. Ever since it became apparent that I was expecting again, the usual comments have started...
Now after eight babies I am used to it and it is largely water down a duck's back. And really folks have absolutely no originality in their comments. There are only so many times you can hear the old "Oh, haven't you got a telly then?" "Are you sure its not twins?" "Have you not heard of contraception?" "Are you mad?" "Why would you want to, I can't cope with my two." "Popping out another one for the benefits then?" "Are they all yours?" "Oh, you're bigger again." "Have they all got the same father?"
My usual response to the above is as follows:
"Yes, we have but we like sex much more!"
"No actually its quads!"
"Yes thank you very much if I hadn't I'd have twenty kids by now!"
"Funnily enough, some of us are good mothers and actually like our children!"
"My husband works to support us thank you very much and pays out more in taxes than we ever get back in tax credits!"
"No I collect them."
"You don't say, funnily enough they grow."
"Yes, thank you. I have been happily married for twenty two years!"
Now, like I said those are the usual inane comments and largely they are so preposterous I just laugh them off. But recently we had some other comments that quite frankly do hurt.
Apparently we are selfish, our children must be deprived. Some folks have even gone as far as calling the fact that we are expecting #9 disgusting.
Yes, you heard me right DISGUSTING! This was said to my husband at his work place. And being the polite person that he is he has not responded to this in kind. And don't even get me started on the comments from his own family.
Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion, BUT they are not entitled to express that opinion in a manner hurtful to me or mine.
Call me old fashioned if you like but I was brought up with two basic principles.
Manners cost nothing and get you a long way. And if you haven't go anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all!
Sadly these old fashioned values do not seem to exist in society nowadays. But they certainly exist in our household. I would be mortified if my children expressed such views as detailed above. Not that they would! They have not been dragged up, but are part of a loving, large family and know right from wrong. They are not deprived, far from it. They have a mother and father, who love each other and a brood of siblings, who will always watch out for them. And not only that. Ask any of my friends and they will confirm that my brood adopts their kids and looks after them when they are at mine. It is something that comes naturally to my lot.
Sure, we do not live in a big house, drive flash cars, have holidays abroad and sometimes they - gosh, horror- have to wait for large things they really want, instead of getting them instantly. They do not get £5.00 from the tooth fairy for instance, as some of my six year old's class mates do. No, mine are happy with 0.20p and some sweets and I am proud of them for not being that materialistic. They do not have the latest gadgets, but neither are they left to be babysat by the telly and dvd player in their bedrooms at age three.
They may have to wait for things and they do not have the latest designer labels, but they are rich in the things that matter. They are taught life values and to respect each other and their bodies. No teenage pregnancies in this house!
You will not find my children hanging around street corners, smoking, taking drugs, vandalising and whatever else seems to pass for amusement these days. My older teenagers have clear goals and are studying hard and I am very proud of the young adults they are turning into. Now don't get me wrong, none of them are angels.
I recall the time our eldest son broke into a what he thought was a disused garage and threw a lot of paint around. (He and his mate were going to make a den.) We marched him to the owner to apologise and he repaired the damage and repainted everything himself with the help of daddy and we had the police have a word with him too.
Need less to say he was never tempted to do anything like this again!
So, do enlighten me, how any of that makes my children deprived or my husband and myself selfish for wanting another baby? I get the whole - the world is overpopulated enough as it is argument- I do, BUT our carbon foot print is less than the average family of four and who is to say baby #nine is not the one who finds the solution to global warming or world peace?
At the very least I know that my children will contribute to society, instead of being a drain on them and if decent people like my husband and I do not have children, how is society ever going to change for the better? And btw. all you neigh sayers, my children will pay for your pensions one day! Or have you conveniently forgotten that at least in Western society the birth rate is not high enough to support the ageing population?
I accept that not everyone will share my views and that is fine. Large families are not for everyone and quite frankly some people should not be allowed to have children at all! I always say people show more consideration to their pets than they do to their children. But those of us that value children for the blessing they are, why should we not have as many as we choose to do. Be that one or twenty... As long as we can afford to have them and they are raised by a loving family, really what business is it of yours?
I do not ask you to look after my children or to provide for them. We work hard, we pay our taxes, we follow the law and we keep ourselves to ourselves.
I have lots of very strong opinions about lots of things, do not get me started on smoking in pregnancy for instance or baby feeding issues, but I keep those to myself, unless I am challenged.
I will not come up to you and lecture you on how many children you should and shouldn't have, so at the very least extend the same courtesy to me and mine and leave me to live my life as I see fit. Because quite frankly I do not give a damn what you think of me or my choices. I know they are the right choices for my family and if you do not agree with that....
Just remember the next time you open your mouth, your words have the power to wound!