October 1, 2009

Baby Factory

I've always had a feeling that I would end up with seven children. Even at a young age, when I didn’t like kids, people would ask how many I wanted to have when I grew up and I would automatically reply, “Seven.”, though the thought of it made me retch a little in my mouth. Being barefoot and pregnant and having a pile of kids with runny noses, Kool-aid moustaches, and dirty hands hanging off my hips wasn’t my ideal way of life. Unfortunately, I've always known it's God’s calling for me, and it is ultimately going to happen, no matter how much I fight it.

A stay at home mom with a half a dozen kids is a completely acceptable life style…..yeah, in 1950! In today’s commercial society it is totally taboo. If you have more than 2.5 kids you are considered irresponsible or insane.

No one has been happy to hear I’m pregnant since my third baby. My real father has been the most outspoken about his distaste for the whole situation, telling family members he’s going to neuter my husband, because, you know, he holds me down and impregnates me. Come on! He told me to stop after my 4th son, but I didn’t listen. The 5th baby turned out to be a girl, so it was acceptable. My dad then said, “Now that you have a girl, can you please stop?” Yeah, like that was why I kept having kids. I was at peace with having only boys.

The way things have worked out I have been consistently pregnant or nursing since 2002. My babies turn 9 months I start to sweat, because I know what’s coming. So, in May when I realized my monthly woman friend, that I rarely see, didn’t turn up, I wasn’t surprised.

Lesson 20: Being pregnant or nursing for 8 years straight = white trash

The only thing that confused me was that I didn’t feel pregnant. I have been pregnant 5 times and all those pregnancies had been fairly similar. I wasn’t sick, hungry, or tired. I told Adam, “I’m not pregnant.”

Adam looked at me with a skeptical grin. “Well, take a test anyway.”

I rolled my eyes. I think I know my own body, but there would be no living with him until he had proof.

On Adam’s next day off we decided to take all the kids to the Pittsburgh Zoo. We stopped at the store to pick up food and drinks to take with us (we’re cheap). I went in alone, because we don’t dare take all five kids into Walmart, not only is it chaotic, but Adam hates all the time I waste sanitizing carts and children. As I ran through the aisles (the kids’ patience in a car has a life of about five minutes) I decided to take a detour to the pharmacy and pick up a pregnancy test to get Adam off my back.

We went to the zoo and I never gave the test another thought. After a day of fun we pushed the envelope and kept the kids out a little past their bed time. (Having so many kids makes a routine necessary.) Unfortunately, my kids don’t handle staying up late very well. Their moods had waned from an excited high to an all time whiny low.

When we got home, I immediately ran upstairs with our hysterical 9 month old daughter, Jovie. She cried in her bouncy seat the whole time I took the pregnancy test. When I finished, I quickly put the cap on and threw it on the bathroom counter. I had more important things to do than stare at a stick of urine.

I summoned Adam and our 3 youngest boys upstairs to take a shower (they still needed help). My oldest son (who can shower on his own) yelled and whined up the stairs at me about some game system that wasn’t working. Adam’s eyes were huge as he pushed three crying boys into the bathroom, his look let me know how absurd the current situation had become.
I started the shower and helped Adam get the kids ready to get in. The ridiculous ado was so intense, Adam and I had no choice other than to yell to communicate. As Jagger screamed, he hung off the top of my pants, nearly pulling them down. Jovie’s screams had become ear piercing, Jet whined in the corner, Jude screamed wildly as he threw a tantrum, jumping up and down violently, and Marky was now at the door complaining once again about the stupid game, I peered over at the ominous stick. I looked up to see Adam looking at it as well, seeming satisfied with being right.

“Maybe it’s a mistake!” I yelled with a laugh.

Adam chuckled. “Really?!” he asked in a severely sarcastic tone. “I can name a few more!” he screamed motioning around at our children, now in a state of total meltdown. We stared at each other for a second before breaking out in hysterical laughter.

Learning you are having another baby, while your other kids are at their worst, is not the best way to find out…….trust me!

“Ugh.” I sighed. “I knew I was going to have 7 kids.”

Adam, being the optimist that his is, said, “Well, at least we’re almost done!”

“Oh no! Clayte’s going to kill me!” I exclaimed, remembering my brother’s wedding that was only a few months away. I had promised I wouldn’t be pregnant for it. How sad is that? People beg me not to be pregnant for their functions.

Knowing not many people would be happy to hear we were expecting our 6th baby, we considered keeping it a secret. You know, to change it up a little. We wondered how many people would come to visit and not even notice a new one in the mix. We were definitely entertained by the idea.

I personally didn’t want the negativity. Like anyone telling me they weren’t pleased was going to stop the outcome. Oh, you don’t think it’s a good idea?.....poof!…..I’m not pregnant. Sorry, never gonna happen. I told a few people I could trust and knew wouldn't judge me, like my mom, my best friend Jackie, and my cousin Brett. They of course were very supportive and happy, which was what I needed.

I am now 20 weeks pregnant, and everyone knows. I had a lot more happy responses than I expected, so I was pleased, but I also got a lot of flack from those who I knew were going to dish it out. Some people just don’t seem to understand why Adam and I don’t have a problem with our lives being completely wrapped in our family. We’ve chosen to surround ourselves with little miniature symbols of our love that fill our house and make our lives sing, and now that we have them, as crazy as they all may be, we can’t imagine life without them, and to limit the amount of love we bring into this world seems wrong.

I’m Jessica, and I’m a baby factory…….and proud of it!

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