Monday, June 26, 2017

5 Tips for Dealing with Negativity When You're Pregnant Again

Every now and then, I get an email or Facebook message from a mom who's pregnant for the 4th, 5th, or 6th time. It usually goes something like "I'm really excited for this baby but I'm dreading the negativity when I tell my family/friends/coworkers/total strangers that I'm pregnant again. Any advice?" When everyone seems more dismayed than excited that you're adding a new baby to your family, here's how you can deal.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I know how that feels, because it describes me exactly when I was pregnant with Baby #5. I thought of 4 kids as "above average but still normal," and I envisioned everyone freaking out once we told them we'd crossed over to the dark side and were having a fifth.

Which some did.

I don't know why some people get so bent out of shape about how many children you have (or when you have them, or how close together in age they are) when it doesn't directly affect them. But their negative reactions can really take the wind out of your sails.

Eventually I stopped feeling sheepish about my many pregnancies and announced proudly to the world when we were expecting again with Baby #6, and here are some things that helped me get over it.

1. Tell people who will be happy for you first.

It might feel weird not to tell your mom or your best friend you're pregnant before anyone else, but if you're dreading negativity from them then tell someone who you know will be supportive. Hearing someone say "congratulations!" instead of "not again! what are you thinking?" will boost your confidence and remind you that babies are blessings. It will also soften the blow when others aren't excited to hear your news.

2. Announce it in writing to the Negative Nancies.

If you know certain friends or family members will flip out, do yourself (and them) a favor by telling them about your pregnancy over email, Facebook, or in your Christmas letter. That way they can do their shock-and-disgust routine, process their feelings, and hopefully be more pleasant about it to your face later on. We all say things when surprised that we regret; people who are going to have a hard time hearing about this pregnancy might actually like having some time to compose themselves before having to respond to the news.

3. Don't tell anyone you don't have to.

When I was dreading so much negativity with my fifth, I told my close friends and family but that was it. I didn't announce it to people at church, my mailman, or the other moms from my kids' school. After a while I got so visibly pregnant that everyone just knew. For some reason people feel less license to say something rude when you're obviously enormously pregnant (possibly because they're afraid you'll eat them,) and that was fine by me.

I dreaded announcing our 5th pregnancy to family and friends (even though it was very much planned and wanted) because of the negative reactions I anticipated. Here are 5 tips that helped me when telling people we were pregnant again, and how I kept anyone else’s negative reaction from stealing away my joy. #pregnant #pregnancyannouncement #pregnancy #expecting #bigfamily #largefamilies #unremarkablefiles

4. Find a support system of big families.

The antidote for feeling like the only weirdo on the planet with a big family is finding the thousands of other people for whom it's just regular, everyday life. If you don't know any in person, the Internet is great for this. Join a big family Facebook group or follow a big family blog I personally like So-So Mom and Hands Full and Loving It.

There are also a lot of big family moms on the Unremarkable Files Facebook page. A while back I asked my Facebook fans for recommendations on vehicles for families of 8+ and it was refreshing to get a ton of helpful answers instead of gasping face emojis and stern directives regarding birth control. The point is, there are plenty of other people who get it. You just need to find them.

5. Remember their reaction says more about them than it does about you. 

It's discouraging when you say "I'm pregnant" and they say "%$@&!" but try to remember that their shock and dismay doesn't necessarily mean they believe you personally are going to be a failure as a parent and your family will be a disaster. Maybe they grew up with many siblings and had a bad experience, or maybe they don't know any big families and can't wrap their heads around how one would work. In any case, their opinion about your family doesn't matter nearly as much as YOUR opinion about it.

The truth is, there's always going to be someone who responds badly to your pregnancy announcement, whether it's because they think you have too many kids or they're too close together or you're too young or too old.

To those people I say: whatever.

Hearing people be critical about your pregnancy is hard, but these tips can help. And after all is said and done and your child is born, you'd be surprised at how the naysayers soften up and agree that there's nothing quite as wonderful as a baby.

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Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Yes to all of it! I like your suggestion about telling the people who will be excited for you first. That's gr at!

AuntSue said...

We lived in Oregon for a long time, when Zero Population Growth was the mantra. Only children were common, and many people were negative about more than two children. But as a mom of six, and a public school teacher, we need more good parents raising more children in stable and loving families if our civilization is to flourish.

PurpleSlob InRecovery said...

What great ideas, Jenny!!
I love the phrase "Negative Nancies"!
Babies are truly blessings from God!

MommyB said...

Have to admit, I have really had the wind let out of my sails this pregnancy (baby #2 for me). My first pregnancy ended in the first trimester with a miscarriage, and I got pregnant very soon after that with Baby Boy. My pregnancy was very difficult (pregnancy induced gallstones, emergency C-section, and six weeks later gallbladder removal w/ 3 corrective surgeries after that.) Baby Boy was born in August 2016, and I got pregnant with Baby #2 (SURPRISE!) in December, unintentionally. So my first baby will be just barely over a year when I have #2. So far I have had only 3 people be genuinely excited for me...My Mom, a nice lady at our church, and a random friend of my husband's mom. Everyone else has basically been giving me variations of "Poor you! Your life will be absolute H*** for the first year!" This pregnancy has been going extremely well, and I'm looking forward to ENJOYING both my one-year-old and newborn, thank you very much. It gets very depressing when all I hear is "Poor You!"

Jenny Evans said...

Maybe not everyone can or wants to be a parent, or a parent of many children, but to those who can do it - why rain on their parade? The more people who come from good families who wants and love them, the better it is for our entire society.

Jenny Evans said...

It is SO disheartening! Glad that at least some people are positive, but it's sad you've encountered so much negativity about it. You're going to love having those two babies so close in age, they're going to be great playmates and you will look back and be glad it didn't happen any other way. Like most everything motherhood, having two kids a year apart will have hard parts and rewarding parts. Apparently all the negative people choose to accentuate only the hard parts. Pfft.

Rhonda Kennedy said...

We told our kids and let them tell the world because who's going to tell an elated child that it's a bummer he's/she's getting a new brother or sister?

Jenny Evans said...

Oh my goodness, that is so brilliant.

Jaszmyn Moreau said...

This is the best post. �� So many great ideas and perfect points made. I have 4 kids and am expecting number 5. My oldest is 4 years old... so yes, we've been busy! Although my family has full heartedly accepted our big family, I still have had to listen to the negative comments and it makes me dread telling anyone this time around. Loving the christmas card idea for sure!!!! ������

Janelle Zwart said...

As the oldest of 5 girls, I remember as a 12 year old being SO EMBARRASSED when my parents, pregnant with their 5th, told us they were 'crossing to the dark side' as you put it! There is definitely a stigma around big families, which is really unfortunate - now as adults my sisters and I are all very close, and I can't imagine our lives without Katie (the youngest). Growing up in a big family was a blessing, even if 12 year old me didn't see it that way!

Sherry said...

Around this time last year I announced at a team meeting at work that I was expecting my fourth. My co-workers were positive, but my boss (since fired) responded with, "Is this good news?" /sigh

Jenny Evans said...


Patti said...

I have eleven. I’ve heard it all. I usually just laugh at their comments.

Jenny Evans said...

By #11 I'm sure you feel like the comments just bounce off of you. Like literally, who cares.