Have you ever heard of those Duggars?

What do you do when you are about 59 weeks pregnant and your devoted husband offers to watch the children on a hot Saturday? You go get your pedicure on, of course.

I keep forgetting that venturing out in public with my conspicuously pregnant belly invites a lot of comment. Most of it innocuous, of course, but some questions inevitably lead to the discovery of our lack of moderation when it comes to child bearing. I give you Exhibit A of a conversation I had with a middle aged lady sitting next to me while I was waiting at the crowded nail salon for my turn to get a pedicure. 

Lady: When are you due?

Me: May 19.

Lady: Oh, so you’ve got a lot of time left. 

(Not striking the proper tone with me already, but I’ll reserve judgment).

Lady: Is this your first?

Me: No, it’s my fourth. 

Lady: (Taking some time to gawk at me a bit). Is it a girl or a boy?

Me: My fourth girl!

Lady: Oh no. I’ll bet you were hoping to get that boy finally. 

(Ok, she just said one of my biggest pet peeves, but this is my me time, and I’m not letting anything bother me today). 

Me: Not really. (Attempting to add some levity to the conversation). I wouldn’t even know what to do with a boy at this point!

I look hopefully toward the salon chairs to see if I am going to get an easy escape from this rapidly disintegrating conversation. No dice. I fiddle with my nail polish bottle nervously. 

Lady: (Not to be dissuaded). So this is your last one, right? 

Man, this lady is just checking off every pet peeve question on my list.

Me: Well, I don’t know. We’ll see. (Lady gapes at me, and I hope this means she will stop asking impertinent questions. But I get a bit uncomfortable with all the staring, so I make the fatal mistake of offering a bit more explanation). 

Me: We’re Catholic. 

Lady: Well, I know plenty of Catholics, and none of them have that many children. 

Me: (Deciding it would be uncharitable of me to argue, and would make this conversation even more awkward to point out the obvious fact that some Catholics struggle with infertility, or some, like me, struggle with extreme fertility). Well, some of us are more orthodox than others, I suppose. Just like any other religion. 

Lady: Well, I guess people these days are having bigger families than usual. It must mean the economy is recovering. I know of some who have up to 3 kids! What are your children’s names? Or are there too many for you to remember?

Me: (Having an incredibly hard time not getting offended at this point). Um, yes I can remember their names. There are only three of them. Ruth, Rose, and Wren. (Ta da!)

Lady: What are their ages?

Me: (Bracing myself). 3, 2 and 1.

Lady: I don’t even know what to say to that. 

Me: (Trying not to show my infinite relief). 

Lady: (Rallying anyway). Have you ever heard of the Duggars on that show, “19 Kids and Counting?” 

Just as I prepare to fire at will with all of the scathing remarks I have built up for the past few years and turn to the Lady with my best imitation of the crazy eyes, they fortuitously called me back for my pedicure. You got off easy this time, Lady. And on the bright side, I didn’t have a chance to say anything I’ll have to go to Confession about later. But really, sometimes I feel like I live in that place in the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” where all children are banned and the adults live carefree lives playing with all the toys. How could it possibly be such a foreign concept for a Catholic married couple to have a big family? Any day now, they are going to unleash the Child Catcher at our house. 

  

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About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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49 Responses to Have you ever heard of those Duggars?

  1. eclare says:

    Dying laughing, especially at the “Yes, I can remember them. There are only 3.” I think I had this exact conversation 4500 times (at the pedicure place even!) last year when prego with my 4th boy.

    Found you thru Sancta Nomina today… love your naming style! And congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Courtney says:

    I probably shouldn’t comment to this, but how rude!?! I’m always blown away at how random people who I’ve never met can form an opinion of my family size by any sort of information they can gather in a 2 minute conversation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. morgan says:

    I heard that “oh geee, how many siblings do you have…? …. are you catholic or what..?!?” one too many times growing up.
    (My favorite was: “don’t your parents have any hobbies?”)
    As if that would explain anything. I remember vaguely reading something that sex is only allowed when you actually want to get pregnant. (maybe an early try at birth control?)

    So whatever. I know I’m ranting. I think being catholic is a poor excuse for trying to explain to ignorant (stupid) people why you want and / or have a large family. When I grew up we were the only catholic family with 4 kids. All other families I met and who did have that many (or even more) kids were either Lutheran or belonged to an evangelical church. Oh wait. I remember one kid graduating in the same year as I did, she had 5 siblings. She was actually catholic (I think). And her parents were italian. Oh my, I don’t want to imagine the comments she got…

    Please answer “oh my I just love to f*ck my husband and I’m too stupid to take the pill regularly.” next time and post a pic of their faces πŸ˜€
    (that’s me trying to say “none of you [beep] business”)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am the oldest of 6 kids and I even got some comments like this growing up!

    “How many siblings do you have?”
    “I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers.”
    “Do you all live in the same house?”
    “Yes.”
    “Do you all have the same parents?”
    “Yes.”
    “Any twins or anything?”
    “Nope.”

    I’m also 13 years older than my youngest brother and people often assumed he was my son. Oddly, people were less horrified with the thought of a 13-year-old having one baby than they were with the thought of one woman 34-year-old woman having six children.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ajummama says:

    whoa, just caught this – four girls!? congrats (no matter what the sex of belly baby was going to be)! it’s extra cool (to me) when a family has four boys or four girls. SO meant to be! extra perk: so many hand-me-downs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I get comments similar to that all the time. My favorite is when I’m just with my youngest at the hospital or doctor’s office (which is FREQUENTLY) and somebody in the waiting room or some medical professional smiles condescendingly at me and asks, “Is he your first?” and I smile condescendingly back and reply, “No, he’s my fourth.” while I watch their jaw drop.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Geez Bass family… don’t you know what causes that?! #checklistcomplete

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Why are people so flipping crazy? And why do they have no boundaries?! You are so much better than me…I would have been either completely awkward and apologetic like I was the one being rude, or just lost my shit and let her have it. I would love to be a fly on the wall when she gets home and tells her husband about the crazy Catholic lady she met at the pedicure place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Yeah, my smile was probably looking pretty Joker-like by the end of it because I was really having to plaster it on. She’ll probably just call me the crazy Duggar lady (because 4=19, apparently).

      Like

  9. MJ says:

    I get the same looks and comments from people when they ask how many children I want. These people who ask have one kid, usually. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. blessedlittlemama says:

    That is just awful! I am surprised you guys get comments like that. I feel like we get them because people just think we are stupid kids who don’t know how to use BC while my hubby is in school. I guess it just proves society can’t stand big families for whatever reason. You guys rock! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rachandboys says:

    See I don’t think that 4 is a large family anyway, we have 3 boys (and no we aren’t trying for a girl we are perfectly ecstatic with what we have πŸ˜‰), but just around where I live I can think of several families with 5 or 6 kids, my sister has 5 aswell. Maybe in the uk it’s more “normal” to have more than 2? Good luck with your labour, hope your little lady gives you an easy birth xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ashley P says:

    My new response for “wow, you’ve got your hands full”….. I now say “doesn’t every mother? One or ten, it’s still tough” and people are actually starting to agree with me haha I am starting to think about responses in my spare time. Today we got the… ” your third wow do yall know what causes that” 😀 Jesus says to instruct the ignorant but man it’s tough lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      It’s true! I totally think that having three is only about as overwhelming as having your very first baby. And such a good reminder to instruct the ignorant!

      Like

  13. Rebekah says:

    Ugh. People can be so so rude! And what’s worse is I bet she didn’t even realize how rude she was! Props on keeping your cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. beverley Baggett says:

    Oh, I am so sorry you had to go through that on your Me time, in particular. You are better than I cause I would have had to say something to shut her up! you’re so blessed and I think it is wonderful to see larger families because the children are blessed as well to have siblings. I always feel bad for the one child homes.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. loveh3 says:

    When i first started reading I thought it was the lady doing your pedicure and then they “called you back” and I was like thankfully : )

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh I have so been subject to these sorts of remarks! Bless! You are so close to finished with this pregnancy! ! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. katylady says:

    Again I say, you are so much more graceful than I. I don’t understand why people are so rude. There were 5 kids in my family (8 if you count the ones who returned to heaven before they were born–we did). I remember my mother getting the, “Are they all yours?” question on what felt like a weekly basis. And on more than one occasion, it was followed up with, “Same father?” YES, REALLY! Two of us were brunette, three of us were blonde…but really, who asks that?? I’m only just beginning to notice a pattern of questioning for our family–people seem to struggle with the math of how we have three kids aged three and under. Today at the park, we encountered it again, from a mom with a school-aged kid and a toddler: “How old is your baby? (3 months) And your oldest? (3) And your second? (21 months) Wow. You have yours hands full, huh? How are you doing? ” (Well, they’re all alive, I think to myself.) I gave the terse reply, “Surviving.” My husband said, as we walked away, “You really don’t know how to make mom friends, do you?” Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      So hard to make mom friends when everyone thinks you’re crazy, lol. And I lost 3 babies in the womb before we had Ruth. I count them as my first children, but it is so hard to convey that to people sometimes (even though it is important to me). Such a weird attitude people have toward child bearing these days. Impossible for me to function within these parameters!

      Like

  18. Alana says:

    Wow! Just wow. I cannot fathom the motivation behind her side of the conversation. Good job on remaining cordial. My blood would have been boiling. I don’t know what would possess someone to be so inappropriate, I couldn’t help but laugh. Here’s to a smooth last half of your third trimester!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Melissa says:

    AHH!!!! ALL THE TIME!!! EVERYWHERE!!! I totally understand!!!! I can say that the comments die down SLIGHTLY as your children get a little older and strangers can see what wonderful little people they are. So, hopefully that offers a bit of comfort. But yeah, awful. Once I actually did try to talk back and you know, explain that my marriage wasn’t a shot gun wedding and my husband and I were both college grads and he has a good career (basically trying to say, look, my family was a conscious choice, not some mistake or accident), and it just led no where.

    There’s no cure for it.

    Just know you’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Ugh, thanks. I don’t even think it should matter if the baby is planned or not? What the heck is with the obsession with that?! In our experience, the unplanned ones are just as wonderful as the planned ones.

      Like

      • Melissa says:

        I absolutely agree! It’s not like there’s a different kind of love for the planned vs. the unplanned. Besides that I think it’s just the inability to comprehend living by faith. Which is sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. cori says:

    People like this really annoy me too. I have 7 kids and my youngest are twins, 5 months old. If I had a nickel for every “you’ve got yours hands full…” I’d been filthy stinking rich ha ha. I guess since ‘so many of us’ are having big families now days, we might be changing perceptions for future generations. Actually it’s only recently in modern history that people had small families as a RULE so maybe we are just heading back to normal, common sense. Maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Yeah, I didn’t want to get into my whole soap box about how contraception vastly changed the family landscape to inadvertently shaped negative attitudes about big families because, you know, “you can do something about that now.”

      Like

  21. Kari says:

    She was incredibly rude. I’m pregnant for our sixth child and our oldest is five, and we’ve been married six years. I’m sure she’d have a lot to say to me too. I get a lot of ugly comments and stares when we go out. Thankfully there are still kind people with kind comments too.

    I was just thinking the other day about how people mention that parents should ‘want’ a boy or girl, instead of just accepting what God has planned for each family. I think it’s beautiful to see a family with all girls, all boys, or a mix of both boys and girls. It’s amazing and beautiful to see God’s design and love in each family.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ha! Yes, I totally relate to this. Some people mean well I think. But others come across just plain rude. Ugh!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sara says:

    I got more and more angry with everything she said. WHAT A LOON. This would have been one of those situations where I would have spent 100% of my time in the spa chair thinking of things I WISH I’d said to her. For example, in response to “Well, I guess people these days are having bigger families than usual.” I might have shot out a “Well I guess perfect strangers feel they have the right to judge someone’s way of life without hesitation these days.” Man oh man, you are a saint for not going off on her!

    Liked by 1 person

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