About Me

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I am a 29-ish yr old married mother of 8. My family is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. My darling husband is my very best friend and together we are raising 8 of the best kids in the world! They are Rose(12) Sarah(12) Ammon(10) Malachi(8) Gabriel(7) Hannah(5) Maggie(4) and Abbie(3) We currently own 2 dogs, 1 bird, 5 chinchillas, 1,000,000 rabbits, 1 cat, 4.5 horses, and one ferret. We just purchased a home that is definately a "fixer-upper", with land and room for the kids to roam. Our goal is to run a mostly self sustaining farm and live in peace as we grow as a strong family unit. We have seen our fair share of hardships, but we are thankful for the many blessings the Lord gives us on a regular basis!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"How do you do it?"

If I had a nickle for every time some one asked me that, I would be a millionaire.

I have also heard "Wow, you're brave!" "Are they all yours?" " ...and you brought them ALL out in public?" "You need a T.V." and my personal favorite " Don't you know what causes that?

My reply to the latter varies depending on my mood. I like to look at them with a very Innocent stare as "Nooooo Could you please tell me." One time I was feeling quite angry, so I looked at this woman and said "Yup sure do...and it is SO MUCH FUN!"

Nothing will beat the time when a woman in her 70s very sweetly took me by the hand and patted it. Then held hit very firm and said in a sincere quiet voice..."It's OK to tell your husband 'NO' " I was so shocked by the level of concern in her voice that I just picked up my baby and told my other 5 "Okay kids lets go"

I would like to know why people feel that they have the right to make comment on such an intimate and sacred part of my life. I would never, NEVER, walk up to a stranger that had no children with her and say, "You know if you'd just....... you could get pregnant!"

Why is the fact that I have so many children an automatic invitation for perfect strangers to open their mouths and say some of the most insensitive (and stupid) things.

Here's what is really getting to me lately. Pretty much my entire motherhood career people have been asking "Are you done Yet?" (UGGGGGG!) Up to this point, my reply has been a sweet smile and a quick "I don't know. It depends on what the Lord has in store for us." Now here I am taking my 8 babies out in public and people are making all the same comments and asking the same old questions.

Most of you know that during my last delivery a partial hysterectomy was needed to stop some bleeding. It wasn't an extremely life threatening situation...but it WAS an emotionally challenging one. Can you imagine having that thrown up in your face every time you leave the house? It's kinda' like the scarlet letter only I need a big H (for hysterectomy)...The kids can be my drummers.

I would love to have 20 children. But my body just couldn't handle it any more! (19 pregnancies in 11 years will do that to you) So now, not only do I have to live with the fact that I'll never feel a baby moving in my belly again, and I'll never nurse another baby again, I'll never have any of the joys associated with pregnancy ever again....but I have to give one of two answers to that very irritating question...

option A) Spill my guts to a perfect stranger so that they have no doubt what my point of view is, because I would never want some pro-choice liberal to use me as an example of some one who regrets the number of children they have- "Unfortunately I had to have and unplanned partial hysterectomy during my last delivery so it looks like I won't be having and more biologically, but we hope to adopt someday."

option B) Give the short and sweet answer with no explanation. "Yes" Allowing them to walk away think what ever they want.

Either way, I walk away feeling completely violated and almost ashamed of the fact that I have 8 of the most amazing kids in the world! There is something wrong with this picture!

I'd like to point out that my children are VERY well behaved in public. With VERY FEW exceptions we can walk through any store and not hear "can I have..." and on the rare instances when that does happen a quick "No" quiets them again. I have never had a child throw a fit in the store longer than the two seconds it takes me to jerk a knot in their tail.

While I have had the regular shower of compliments one might expect when taking eight well behaved children, I must say that the ratio has to be at least 4 to 1 (with compliments being the minority). I am sure that most of the people mean no harm. I would suspect that most are intrigued and a large portion are some what envious. I think that most people want to just start a conversation with me... and they think that a "funny" comment will break the ice.

Here is my advice to any of you that my be tempted to make a comment to a mother with more children than you have...If you can say "Boy, you have your hands full" You can just as easily say "Here, let me get the door for you". Don't offer advice on birth control (especially in front of her children or you might get your eye balls scratched out) praise her on her beautiful family...tell her how lucky she is!

Sorry about my rambling but I just realized today that the idea of taking my children out in public turns my stomach. Not because of them but because of the world's view and it's insensitivity to such private matters.


Rick said...

I guess the Hank Williams lyrics come to mind, "If you mind your business then you won't be minding mine." Don't let them get you down. You did it your way (up until the hysterectomy), and their comments are just words. If you have questions about the hysterectomy itself, visit: http://hersfoundation.org/.

All the best to you and your family,


Stephanie said...

Although YOU might never be willing to advise someone on how to get pregnant, I've had the opportunity to meet several people who had no such inhibitions. As a matter of fact, it's almost a little funny to me that I've had the privilege (haha) of being approached by insensitive people who, for 8 years when we struggled to have children, advised me on how and when to get pregnant, and now I'm in a phase of my life where I'm getting the "You're so brave" or "Don't you know what causes that?" commments. People nowadays have no sense of appropriateness! I agree with you completely. So many women I know with larger families end up feeling embarrassed to be so greatly blessed because of those thoughtless people. It's ridiculous that they try to make you feel ashamed of something so amazing.

Brad Phillips said...

I had so much fun filling in the blank for your advice to non pregnant people...some of it was angry though...hehe

Missy Hoback said...

I think you are wonderfully blessed, and I am sorry if I ever said anything in jest that made you feel bad. I love every one of your children and I would give just about anything to have so many little blessings running around, or at least one more. Heavenly Father must just really trust you and John, because he has entrusted you with so many of his strong, beautiful, special latter day children. Love you!

William said...

Erica when you have a moment look up one of Aesop’s Fables titled the man the boy and the donkey. It describes well the judgmental situations you have written of. As a side note I take flack from a completely different side. As I only have one child I get sick and tired of people asking me when we plan on having another. I am always tempted to A) reply “my sex life is fine thanks for asking” B) tell them that “do to a near fatal illness I’m not able to have any more children” or C) or tell them to “(Insert colorful metaphor of your choice here) off.”

It seems to be human nature, as most individuals seem to think that it is there divine responsibility to judge any activity or course that is not comparable to their personal worldview.

Guffey Family said...

Erica I am going to quote your comment to me "I could have written this post!!!" Seeing as we've had six in less than seven years and know there are still more children that are waiting to come into our family I totally get you on this! When people make the comments like "wow you've got your hands full" I just shock them even more by saying "not really, we have so much fun we're wanting a couple more." People usually don't know how to respond to that. And the "you're brave" remarks get "I know. Most people are so afraid of what society thinks they will never know how awesome and fun a big family is." Not only do these kind of responses surprise the person, but they let my children (who hear every word even if they don't act like it) know that I am proud of them and our family.

Now I'll be the first to admit it's not all fun and games and there are days I want to pull my hair out, but the good always outwieghs the bad and the fun is always more memorable. And in the end that's what I want the well intentioned, yet sometimes thoughtless, people to know.

Leisha said...

I have a good friend with 9 children and she always laughs and tells people how much she loves her kids and moves on.

I can see how annoying it must be! We got the "you have your hands full" when I had 4 children with me at the store. I liked it though, I've always wanted that comment! LOL! I would say "I sure do! Isn't it great?"

As far as the partial hysterectomy...I don't think there are any real "accidents"...I think the Lord has a plan for you and your family if you want more children! I'm so sorry that there are things to be sacrificed (like feeling your baby move/nursing) but the rewards are just as satisfying, I promise.

leschornmom said...

Wow! I didn't know this many people would respond to my rant!
Please know that it's not my friends and family that I've really been upset with...It's the perfect strangers.
I do agree that on a good day it's nice to hear the amazment in their voices...The problem is that strangers can't seem to tell when it's a good day or a bad one!

Cali & Travis said...

Erica, It's amazing what perfect strangers have the audacity to say. I mean try being 30 years old, married for six years with no children in a predominantly LDS community. (Actually I think I've covered that one in previous posts.)

It's the same for people who are unmarried. Travis was 30 when we got married and for several years people kept saying stuff to him, "You need to get married. Don't you like girls?" Etc, etc, etc. I mean seriously, who do people think they are?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that on a level I do relate. When people would say things like, "Just relax and quit worrying about it then you'll get pregnant." I seriously wanted to scream.

I'm sorry for people's insensitivity, but I think in many ways they only comment on what they can't understand.

And I'm sorry you won't get the opportunity to feel another baby growing and moving inside of you. Believe me I understand what that sacrifice is like.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I just wrote this long post and when I hit submit my browser window shut down. Ugh!

1. People are fickle and just can't keep their mouth shut even when they dont' have anything good to say.
2. Yes, they are jealous too.
3. Most people have know idea what they are talking about so don't even think on any comment some random stranger makes.
4. The next time you get a comment like that, you could say... "Congratulations for noticing, do I need to give you a sticker?" or "Figured that all out by yourself did ya?"

You are awesome and wonderfully blessed. Our society is just so unfocused on family and children that they are more freeked out by a large family than they are by the two drag queens they saw making out in front of Costco!

Darryl and Cindy said...

I had to laugh at Jen's comment, but it is so true. I totally understand you kiddo. When I got pregnant with Hillary (#6) I was so tired of people asking me those same questions (especially the 'Don't you know what causes that?') That I didn't tell anyone other than Darryl and his parents that I was expecting until I was 6 months along. When my family and friends acted upset and asked me why I didn't tell them, I told them I was tired of hearing their comments, it was no ones business but mine and Darryl's and I didn't want to hear them anymore. Needless to say, I had no problem after that. And many people actually apologized. That was not what I was looking for, but it was nice all the same.

To the stranger or anyone else when they would pose that question it got to the point where I loved to just look at them with a big smile and say.... "Yes...Why do you think I have so many? I love children and I love sex, so I will probably have more." I would walk away with my head held high and a smirk on my face at the look I left on theirs. Probably not a very Christian thing to do. Once I did say "No. Could you please advise me." I still smile when I think of the look on that face.

Most of the time I would just feel sorry for them, because they would never know the joy of a large family. I think someday I will right a post on an experience Darryl had on this very topic. Take heart honey. Hug those kids and know that your Heavenly Father is very pleased with you.