How did you decide on the number of children your family was supposed to have? How do you know when your family is complete? Do you look at family photos and just see an empty space or spaces?
I have a three-year-old boy and a nearly one-year-old daughter. When my husband and I shared we were pregnant the second time with a daughter, we received many congratulations. Soon, though, we started hearing comments from people saying things like, “A boy and a girl. Now your family is complete.” It’s almost as if they were determining that our family was complete and that a boy and a girl is only acceptable. Of course I graciously just accept their “compliment” all the while thanking them sarcastically in my head, “Thank you for telling me when my family is complete.”
I’ve spoken with other moms, too, especially those moms that have multiples of the same sex. They hear things like “Are you going to try for a ______.?” To them it seems as if they are being pressured into trying for another child and as if people are telling them that something is wrong with their family. It can’t possibly be complete with two or more of the same sex.
With that said, our last MOPS meeting was about the things we say to other mothers. An example that was mentioned in the meeting was this woman whose son had two black eyes just from playing rough. She brought him into Sunday school and a younger mother said to her son (clearly directed toward the mom), “What did your mother do to you this weekend?” Now being a hormonal mom, already sensitive to every criticism about her child, she went to the bathroom and cried. She felt criticized as a mom and frustrated at the judgment bestowed upon her. When she went to pick up that child an older mother was there. She told her, “Mom, I had one of those children that I brought into Sunday school every week with some huge bruise somewhere.” This second mother chose to make a connection with this woman instead of coming off as criticizing.
I really think that we as mothers need to come beside one another and do this period of our lives together, not come off as criticizing, especially if it could be a touchy subject. In a world where everyone has access to us, criticisms can come a lot more often. So next time you speak to a mom, be careful, be choosy, and let’s lift her up. After all, she’s just doing the best she can with the hand she’s been given.
AND, don’t tell me when the number of children in my family is perfect :). I think I’ll leave that up to God :).