"You have how many kids?!"

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Growing up in a large family, I don't ever remember hearing comments about the number of children my parents had. I am the youngest of 4 biological children, then my parents became foster parents. One of the children they fostered lived with us until she was well into her 20s. I was only a small child, so she has always been my sister. I don't think any less of her than I do my biological siblings. I'm now in my 30s and she in her late 40s, but she is still very much my sister. We always had friends over and at one time, 3 of my cousins came to live with us as well. I grew up with the bustle of children around.

When I married my husband in 2000, there was no doubt that we wanted to start a family right away. My husband, Brandon, wanted 10 children and he was completely serious. He grew up as an only child, raised by a single mom. I guess in his mind, having a large family would compensate for growing up alone. After our first son was born in 2002, he brought down his expectations a little and decided that two, maybe three, children would be ideal. In 2005, we welcomed our second son. We were at a very comfortable time in our lives with two kids. This was the "American Dream"; the lifestyle society expects us to have. Despite preventative measures, when baby #2 was only 5 months old, we discovered that baby #3 was on the way. Believe me, I've heard it all - "Use some birth control!", "Don't you know what causes that?', etc. In reality, life happens. I was using birth control, but it's not always 100% effective. In 2006, with a 3 year old and a 14 month old, we welcomed our third son.

Time passed quickly and our boys were growing up. It seemed as though our family was complete, but my heart ached for another baby. A part of me longed for a daughter. Brandon had mentioned in prior years that he dreamed of having a "daddy's girl". Of course we also received the question everyone was eager to know, "Are you going to keep trying for a girl?" The answer was "No." No, I wouldn't keep trying for a daughter. I, nor my husband, had any control over the gender of our child. But I did want to have another child, boy or girl. I approached the subject delicately, but he immediately shot me down. We had purchased a 4 bedroom home when we were expecting our youngest son and Brandon was pleased that each child had his own room. He was happy with the way our family was. Finally, when our youngest son was almost 4 years old, Brandon approached the subject of another baby and wanted to have one more. Needless to say, I was elated!

In 2011, we welcomed our fourth child, a daughter! We were both ecstatic to have our little princess. In our eyes, our family was definetely complete. Of course with a fourth child came a new batch of comments. One sticks out in my mind more than others. I was walking into the local super market and there was an older gentleman sitting on a bench outside the door. With the hours Brandon works, I don't go out too often without the kids. So of course I had all four of them with me. As we were walking in the door, this gentleman mumbled "Boy she has a herd." Looking back, I wish I had spoken up and defended my family. Instead, I walked past him with my children. No, I don't have a herd. These are my children. Every one of them was conceived in love and each one of them hold a very special place in my heart. To compare them to livestock angers me.

As time went on, I learned to take each comment with a grain of salt. That is, until early 2013. Again, despite taking preventative measures, I learned I was expecting baby #5. I was as shocked as everyone else because this pregnancy was completely different than my previous pregnancies. I had been on the same birth control for 2 years; no antibiotics to interfere with it. I hadn't missed a period, yet I was over 10 weeks pregnant when I saw my obstetrician. Brandon and I were sure we would have another son, but were in complete awe to learn that we would welcome our second daughter. Our sweet baby girl was born in October 2013. As surprised as we were, I cannot imagine my life without her now.

Here are a few Q & A that we receive quite often.

1) I bet you have your hands full! - A) Yes, I do have my hands full. Who wouldn't with 5 kids?! But I would prefer to have my hands full than empty. I know so many women who struggle or have struggled with infertility and having my children is not something I take for granted.

2) Where do you put all those kids? A) First off, we have an SUV that seats all 7 of us. Secondly, we have been blessed and were able to add on to our home last summer. This gives all 5 children his/her own room. Before that, our two younger boys shared a room for 2 years.

3) Do you plan to have any more? A) At this point in time, no. Brandon says we are done, but I would not be opposed to one more in the future. I don't plan to be the next "19 Kids and Counting" though.

4) How do you provide for all those kids? A) My husband busts his tale to provide for us and so that I can be a stay at home mom. Though I don't work a public job, I look for ways to save us money. I have recently become addicted to couponing and can't believe how much money I wasted by paying full price!

We all have this image in our heads of what we want our families to be like. Society pressures us to have the "model family" - 2 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog in the yard. But why does society get to choose what our family looks like? My family may not be perfect, but it's the perfect family for me and I wouldn't change a thing.

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AmandaKA Apr 9th '14

You go girl! Kids are a blessing and you shouldn't have to defend them! Share some couponing tips!

Lisa Herndon Apr 9th '14

Thank you Amanda! They certainly are a blessing and my life is better because I get to be their mom! :)

Misty Cooley Apr 10th '14

I am expecting baby number 4 May 20th another baby boy that will make 2 boys 2 girls. and Sadly I am getting the same type of comments from people some of then I don't even know others are in my family and also people we go to church with. We also thought we were done after baby number 3 who is now 2 years old but SUPRISE we found out we were pregnant again at first ill be honest I was mad but now I am so happy and excited I can not wait to meet him so it makes me so mad/upset when I walk into a store and people ask me " wow aren't you done yet?!" or my fave one was in Wal-Mart from some lady I did not even know it was just me and my youngest and she looks at me and says "wow again already is she even out of diapers yet?" I was so shocked someone would say something like this to me I did not even no how to respond to her first off it was none of her business. It is just upsetting I wish people would keep there rude comments to them self's. But for sure this is going to be our last baby it will be my 4th C-section so we are just going to get my tubes tied with this one.. But I do understand and feel your pain, I just don't understand why people have to be so hateful and rude cant they just be happy that you are bringing another amazing life into this world?

7 lucky charms Apr 12th '14

lol yeh ive heard all them comments and much more. ive just had baby no.8. she is my second daughter, my other daughter is 17 and of course i got all them comments about wont be be lovely if you just had another girl, then your family would be complete, like its up to others when my family is complete. i wish we had couponing here, i have to budget hard. wishing you all the best.