Say “Congratulations!”–Every Baby, Every Time

When I was 13 years old, my mom took my older sister and me to a meeting for a para-church organization that did puppet ministry. We were introduced to the leader and a few of the other teens.

One introduction shocked me, mostly because of my mother’s reaction.

“And this is Stephanie,” the leader said, gesturing to a pretty blond girl. “She’s 16 and she’s pregnant.”

“Oh, congratulations!” My mom exclaimed.

There were a few other details shared about the pregnancy, though I can’t remember if the girl was going to parent her baby or place the baby in an adoptive family. Either way, she was 16. She was pregnant.

And my mom told her “Congratulations.”

To my 13 year old self, this was really weird…no, not weird. Wrong. How could my mom congratulate this girl?
She was a teenager.
She was pregnant.
Everything in my narrow, black and white mindset judged this girl for being pregnant when she should NOT HAVE BEEN PREGNANT.

It wasn’t until this week that this event crossed my mind again and I realized the amazing example my mother gave me when I was 13 years old.

You see, my mother is pro-life. She told that girl “Congratulations” because she was pregnant…and she was choosing life.
LIFE is something to affirm and uphold. LIFE is given by God, no matter the circumstances.

Even though I didn’t understand the example she was showing me at the time, I am so grateful for and inspired by my mom’s reaction to this unexpected pregnancy announcement.

Mostly because I have been disheartened and down-right confused by the negative comments and tone I have received on my 3rd and 4th pregnancies (I am pregnant with my 4th baby right now):

“Are you pregnant AGAIN!? How many is that now?
“Another baby? Oh no!!”
“You’re having another boy? I am so sorry!”
“Do you know how that happens? Oh, honey. I need to take you out to coffee and we need to have a little chat…”

Whenever I get these comments, I smile and say proudly,
“Yes, I am! 4!”
“No, we’re happy…really!”
“I’m excited to have another boy…yes, really!”
(And yes, we know. We like it a lot).

The odd thing is I feel like I am trying to convince these people to be happy that I am having another baby. (?!?!?!?)

I was struck by the similarities in judgment voiced by the author of this article, published earlier this week.  In “Your Mother is Destroying the Earth,” the author describes her constant need to justify her existence as the 5th daughter in her family, citing that it is the WACO (Warriors against Child Overpopulation) feminist leftists that give her the most grief, stating:

Content to bear their own children, they avidly seek to restrict childbearing for other women whom they apparently deem less worthy of free choice.

The thing is, none of the people who said these things to me would probably ever classify themselves as a feminist, leftists WACOs…because all of these comments have come from Christian women.

Our Pregnancy Announcement for Silas, our 3rd son

One of the foundational elements of a Christian worldview declares this truth: Humans are made in the image of God.

And because of this truth, a Christian worldview declares life to be precious, worth saving, worth dying for, worth celebrating.

While the comments directed at my 3rd and 4th children gave me a chuckle (and an inner “seriously?” moment), good anecdotes for facebook, and food for thought, these comments also made me mad. But more than feeling self-righteous anger,  I am deeply saddened that this attitude toward pregnancy and new life pervades our culture, even in the Church.

And even at times in me.

My 13-year-old judgmental attitude lasted well into my adulthood. I know that it has taken 3…no, even 4 pregnancies, including my miscarriage, to break the “pattern of this world” and begin to be “transformed” and “renewed” in my mind (Romans 12:2).

I’ve rolled my eyes when family and friends announced their 3th, 5th…8th pregnancies.
I’ve thought, “Good grief! Honeymoon baby? They didn’t waste any time “getting busy” did they?
I’ve dismissed the grief of miscarriage as something that “would never happen to me” instead of extending real comfort to these women during a devastating time.

Until this year.

God has been transforming my mind to truly understand what it means to value life, family, pregnancy, and babies.

Every pregnancy is a miracle (Psalm 139:13-16).
Every baby is a gift from God (Psalm 127:3).
And every baby, no matter if it is the first, third, sixth, tenth, or more, should be accepted as a miracle and gift.

Without judgment, without eye-rolling, rude comments, or snide remarks. Just celebration.

Just “Congratulations.”

5 Comments

  1. Your mom is a hero, seriously. Reading about that moment–wow, what a great example! And I'm totally excited that you're having another kid! Kids are such a blessing. I've had a friend make “overcrowding” comments about “others” and that totally made me feel weird…..

  2. Bonny

    I really love your post! I am a mom to 5 boys, ages 8 and under. I am expecting #6. We won’t know the gender till birth. I was discouraged by the negative tone and comments I got with my 4th and 5th pregnancies. This one is different because we moved to Asia and everyone here is super excited when they see I am pregnant with #6! They think it is awesome that we have 5 boys. I get thumbs up and positive comments almost every time I go out. It was very encouraging for me to encounter a different world view on pregnancy and child birth. I learned how good it feels to be affirmed rather than made to feel ashamed every time I go out. My boys benefit from it too. Every women should be encouraged and affirmed when she is pregnant. Being pregnant is not always easy. We need all the encouragement we can get.

    • Bonny, how interesting about the cultural difference in Asia toward your pregnancy. YEA! Congrats on your 6th baby. What a gift. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment!

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