I know there are at least a few other mommas on here with what most would consider big (or even HUGE) families. How do you deal with judgmental people and their big mouths? I can't be the only one going through this. I'm one of 5. DH's bio dad was one of 11, the guy that helped raise DH was one of 7, DHs step-dad is one of 9, DH's mom is 1 of 6.. Where we were from it wasn't usual to see families of 6-12 kids. Even still, by the time we announced our 3rd pregnancy we started getting more negative comments and questions than anything else. By this pregnancy I didn't even want to tell anyone about the baby which makes me feel a little guilty. It's not that I don't want the baby because I do - we are thrilled to have another one on the way. I just don't want to hear what people think anymore because so few have anything nice to say.
Almost 3 years ago we moved 9 hours away from our home area. We have one family here that we are very close to who are super excited for us. I told them about the baby almost as soon as we found out even though we didn't tell most people till just a couple weeks ago (almost 12wks pg). The mom (M), who is about 14 years older than me and has grown children in addition to the ones that are close to my kids' age, knew I was reluctant to tell people because I was concerned how the news would be taken. I had hoped it would be different this time because we decided this year to start home schooling. The kids are in 2 different groups with M's kids and there are several families with more than 2-3 kids in both. I think the largest has 8 or 9 even. I'm starting to think my hope was misplaced though. After we started telling more people I would often over hear M telling people about the baby which didn't seem odd. Their whole family (even extended family) has kind of adopted us since we are so far from our own families. Her older sons with with my husband and we spend time together pretty much every week. Despite our difference in age we have a lot in common and she's become my best friend here. What did seem odd to me was that no one really seemed to come say anything to me - not even congratulations most of the time. Well this week M's kids were sick so we ended up at the Monday group without them and I now know why. Turns out M was running interference for me even more than I thought. She had been selectively telling people that she knew would give me grief and answering all the questions I didn't want to hear then basically telling people to leave me alone if they couldn't be nice. I know that now because as soon as she wasn't there I got jumped on. All the typical questions - "Do you realize your youngest just turned a year old and you were pregnant again before that?" "Are you aware this will mean you'll have 5 kids in 6 years?" "Are you almost done now?" "What are you going to do with another baby?" "Do you know how this keeps happening?" "How do you even have time to make another baby?" "Do you REALLY think you can give them all the attention they really need?" "Do you know what this will do to your body if you keep it up?" "How will you afford this?" "What kind of birth control are you using? You might want to consider using something more effective." "Was this one an accident?" "Is it even exciting anymore?" "Are you going to keep it?/Have you considered adoption?" "When do you get your 'me' time?" "Does this mean you're finally going to wean the ones you're still nursing?" "Do you want us to each take one or two of the others for a while?" "How are you going to handle them all? I couldn't even handle my (2or3) and they were way more spread out than yours." I guess it just hit me harder because I thought I might be mostly in the clear there. It was all from "typical family" moms (you may know some, the ones with 2 or 3 kids that believe they are the epitome of the true American family and everyone should be just like them) and it has been my experience that the more you try to reason, argue, or justify with them the more aggressive they get about what a terrible mistake I've made. I have a horrendous temper which I can mostly control, but I know better than to force situations like this because it usually ends in me burning bridges by I say things people don't want to hear. The co-op activities are good for my kids and I really don't want to have to pull them out over this. When I did finally manage to ask them why they suddenly cared they basically told me the only reason they hadn't tried to 'help' me sooner was because M told (or more likely politely threatened ) them not to talk to me but since she wasn't there they were compelled to make an effort on my behalf. I was torn between really sad and really angry. After I became amazingly involved with what my kids were doing and had no time to talk to anyone else till we left. I was texting with M today (haven't told her what all happened Monday yet, just that it was a rough day) and told her I didn't know if I was coming to the Friday group because I was fed up with people and their opinions. She said she could understand and that it was probably best not to talk to anyone at our church about it just yet either. I don't know what's going on there, but after this I'm not sure I want to. Especially since this is all in addition to 2 of my sisters being angry at me right now too.
I have heard some positive things that didn't seem scripted/fake from my mom, M, and a few other close friends but the negativity is a little (well, a lot, actually) overwhelming sometimes. How do you deal with it? Do you try to justify it? Do you walk away? Do you just not tell people? Honestly, I just want to hide from the world right now so DH, the kids, and I can be happy and nobody can ruin it for us. I know I shouldn't let people bother me so much but I can't help it. Does it ever get any better?