Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Receiving Contempt With Joy (Sort of)

My baby annoyed someone at church on Sunday.

No, not that one......
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the one that is still in my belly!

As I registered the words I heard, I looked down at my budging 18 week belly. I had this silent debate with myself:

"You mean this one?
The one who is completely silent and still fully wreathed in my stomach muscles?
This is the baby who is most annoying you in this second?
For real??????"

I mean, come on. At least, give my youngest kid a little time. He's a Benjaminite, after all.* I have no doubt that in a few short months he'll crying during the exact moment of the Consecration. However, in this specific moment in time, I'm pretty sure that I, his mother, am the ONLY human being in the planet who is remotely affected by my little sweet pea's presence.

I talked about this later with my husband on the phone (because I'm so rotten at practicing the art of silence, of letting bad things die with me and not further troubling the waters--hence this blog post). We were laughing about how EVERY SINGLE pregnancy brings a fresh batch of trouble.

You receive contempt.

You make new groups of people mad.

It never gets easier.

We were reviewing the situations from last to first--number six--making some people mad at church. Number 3 (a miscarriage), Number 4 and Number 5 (getting scorn heaped on us by the medical professionals at my obs office). Number 2 (conceived less than 9 months after the first) got us disowned by our extended families.

I was stumped on Number one.

"Every lets you have a first child," I said. "Oh wait, work." Yeah, I was working during my first pregnancy and my co-workers so angry at being inconvenienced I quit as soon as I discovered I was pregnant with baby number two.

In the middle of the 40 days of life campaign, I just want to remind us--do not be scandalized. Pregnancy = contempt. The world is a harsh place. The world does not welcome new life. If you are currently pregnant, and you find yourself at the other end of a verbal thrashing equal to a grizzly bear attack, just remember "I am in good company."

Rumor, has it that Mommy Mary couldn't find a kind face from the midst of a crowded inn while the poor dear was in labor!

*No, I don't know yet if its a boy or a girl. I just assigned a gender for the sake of clarity in this post.


  1. How does a baby in utero invite contempt??

    At Church, no less....

    You are probably being charitable, and maybe I need another cup of coffee, but I do no get the context...?

    Carla - Henry's mom

  2. I'm pregnant with my first and I get nothing but wonderful comments from strangers. My own family and friends, however, let it be known that we were too young, too poor, and had been married for too short of time for us to get pregnant. In short, they think we are idiots for welcoming a baby into our lives. Most of them don't say anything now that we are pregnant, but I still remember the harsh words they had when they found out we were trying - and some unsavory comments sometimes slip out.

    I was hoping it would get better with the next pregnancy...but from what you said, I guess not...

  3. Contemt for a baby not seen yet? And why at church where babies, pregnant mommies, and children should be welcomed, loved, cherished? How did this happen? I am confused.

  4. Carla, Ginny,

    Oh my goodness! You've never seen a pregnant Mommy receive some contempt at Church? Where are you going to Mass. The Vatican? :-)

  5. Carla,

    As for context: A person was annoyed that my pregnancy was preventing me from doing a task he/she was personally certain that God meant for me to do.

    Maybe it only strikes a secondarily infertile person as funny but I'm just like "Dude, He's gave me this pregnancy. I'm sure He'll understand....." :-)

  6. That's insane. I'm pregnant with #4 and no one at church seems to have a problem (and I don't go to church at the Vatican!).

    Actually, I've been rather surprised because I've received far fewer negative comments than I'd anticipated. Most have been at work and even they've been infrequent (and I don't think the people who made them realized how rude they sounded - they were just genuinely perplexed as to how I could have four kids and be open to more).

  7. We have 4 kids, ages 5 and under and we've gotten the "are you done" and "are they all yours" and "you've got your hands full" comments. (Only the first one really bugs me.) But we get many more compliments on our girls than we get negative comments. We ate at Cracker Barrel last week and had 5 total strangers compliment our girls (and they aren't saints). At our parish the ushers greet them when they walk in the church as "princesses" and frequently get smiles during and after Mass.

    I do think that, the more children you have, the more tempted people who wouldn't have said anything at 1 child, are to say something less than kind about many but we really do try to surround ourselves with people are are family-friendly. They are out there. I hope you find more of them.

  8. I'm sorry, I don't mean to suggest that EVERYONE in the Catholic Church is anti-life. Duh! :-) I just meant that wherever you are, or whatever number baby your on, you're pregnancy is bound to get you some negative comments from some unexpected quarters.

  9. As a mother of an only, the contempt I get at church and other places is for only having one. It's odd that the mothers of many think me less of a mother because I only have one.

    Right now, I'm working on a contented attitude and practicing my smile for the inevitable "Only one?!?!?" question. My pleasant reply is "Yes, but hoping for more..."

    The biggest problem with things nowadays is that people are just so blabber mouthed. There was a time when privacy was respected and expected.

    It really does seem that you just can't win anymore.

  10. Thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog today! It's great to "meet" you!

    I agree with you that there are folks everywhere, even at church, that aren't happy with the size of your family. Especially if they're asking you to volunteer for something THEY think you should do!

    I'm already getting comments and we're only expecting #3! And, like you, after secondary IF, I just think, "I'm thrilled! What is your problem?" But they don't get it. So we have to be charitable :)

  11. We actually switched parishes due to so many unkind comments about our kids (and we only had two and one on the way at that point!). I still don't understand - they were well-behaved. I guess they are supposed to be invisible because it was just the sight of them that set some people off (mostly older, grandmotherly types oddly enough). Our new parish has tons of kids and we feel much more welcome. I hate to "parish hop" but our new parish is actually in our town, our old parish was in our old town so we are probably where we are supposed to be anyways.

    Are you going to find out the gender? We learned almost 3 wks ago that we are expecting boy #2 (child #5). I couldn't NOT find out! :)

  12. OK, now I get it, thanks for the explanation...

    I have heard that same kind of argument before..like one can even equate coordinating potlucks or some similar Church-related and otherwise very kind service with assisting in the CO-CREATION OF AN IMMORTAL SOUL WHO WILL SOMEDAY LIVE WITH GOD FOREVER.....(yes, I was yelling)....


    Henry's mom

  13. I still don't understand negative comments at church. I'm pregnant with number five and have certainly heard stuff from others, but the church has been my refuge as the little old ladies tell me how they raised five, or eight, or nine. And they are so patient with my littles - thank God - even when I don't feel so patient. I'm sorry you experienced that.

  14. ...just wow...even though I don't know you- HUGS!!!