Surprise! My husband and I are expecting another baby! For those of our family members and friends who do not already know, we will be welcoming our fourth baby later this year. We are overjoyed at the blessing that God has bestowed on us again and our children are equally ecstatic. Even our toddler, who enjoys screaming “HI BABY!” into my growing belly and then giving raspberry kisses, can’t wait to meet the newest member of our family.
When we’ve shared the exciting news with others, most have been very excited for us and shared sentiments of congratulations, blessings and have assured us of their prayers. While we choose to focus and spend our time and attention on those who positively react to such news of our family, there have been those who have responded more negatively.
All of society should be aware of the proper etiquette associated with the news that someone is pregnant. Whether it be their first, second, third, fourth or so on.
Without further ado, here are just some of the comments that my husband or I have personally been on the receiving end and that you should never, ever, ever say.
- Oh no!
- That’s enough now. (Regarding our family’s size)
- Don’t you have a television.
- Are you done after this one?
- But you already had a boy and a girl. (As if children were Barbie dolls.)
- “You know what causes that, right?”
- *Takes the Lord’s name in vain.*
Now that I have regaled you with just a few of the negatively charged opinions that we’ve received, it is important to note that maybe they made a mistake and didn’t really mean what they said.
If you have said one of the above statements to someone, don’t fret, society has conditioned people into thinking population control is good and that larger families are not. Perhaps you can apologize to the person, even if it has been years since the occurrence, or praying for them is always a great idea as well.
Just as when I am teaching my young children that they should not do a certain thing, I try to always replace it with something that they should do. So here is a list of things to say to a pregnant woman that are not rude:
-God bless you.
-Your family is beautiful.
-God has blessed you all.
If for some reason it pains you to say one of the above, remember, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. Really. Don’t.
If you have, like my husband and I, been on the receiving end of a rude comment, remind yourself that people reacting negatively toward larger families is, again, one of the downfalls of a secular society that adheres to a false ideology of population control. A society that tells men and women that having any children, let alone many children, will hinder you from living a life that is just your own, a life in which you can’t “do what you want” or “do as though wilt”, which is a phrase from satanist Aleister Crowley.
Instead, Catholicism teaches us quite the opposite and calls children the “supreme gift of marriage.”
“By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring, and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory. Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves” (CCC 1652).
While I really want to shout the hook “It’s none of your business!” from Salt-N-Peppa’s song (and only that part of the song, as the rest is vulgar), I instead just smile and ignore or say one of the following:
- God has blessed our family.
- We are happy and thankful.
- All children are a gift from God.
- This is what works best for our family. (This can be rinsed and reused for many occasions!)
Showing support for parents and their families is crucial, especially in this society. I know personally, I often have various worrying thoughts of “how are we going to do this” regarding our growing family. Then I am reassured by the words of God to St. Paul “My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity.”
It is also prudent to mention that under no circumstance should anyone mention or express negative opinions on the size of another’s family, regardless of how many, if any, children they have.
Instead, what parents and families need to hear, especially those expecting children, are loving words of encouragement, support and prayers. The Holy Family Prayer is a personal favorite.
“And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).
Christina Frye is a lifelong Rhode Islander, wife, mother and founder of Catholic Mom Rhode Island, www.CatholicMomRI.com.