Now, in case you aren't aware, by the time you'll be reading this, this post - like the other pregnancy ones - will be a couple weeks old already. At present, we have yet to make that public announcement. In fact, we have only personally told our families, some friends and employers so far.
Here are the three top responses we have witnessed:
I call it this because the level and intensity of the excitement is almost naive. There is this unbridled euphoria about a new baby, without any consideration to the number of ways in which this will turn our personal and larger worlds upside down, for a while anyway.
Advocated by: the grandparents who have not had 8 grand-kids in 8 years
There is simply no nice way to state - or hide - this one. It usually appears in the form of an emoji-inspired facial expression of big, wide eyes and an open, o-shaped mouth, followed by deathly silence and shaking of the head lasting a good number of minutes. The brain seems to shut down entirely, except to fulfill essential functions like breathing.
Advocated by: the unsuspecting parents
Sympathy & Concern
I wanted to say Disappointment but perhaps that is a little harsh. In this instance, there is an immediate look of pain sometimes accompanies by "oh" or "sorry" (I kid you not) because more than anything else, these people understand that kids cost time, money, promotions and various other sacrifices. Sometimes, you can feel the lingering question of "how did you let this happen" hanging over the conversation too. To be fair, this is usually sometimes also accompanied by some happier emotions as well, as people weigh up the pros and cons of the situation. Generally though, the resultant response is a reality check that life is going to get tough, for a while, anyway.
Advocated by: my gynae - and the realists who know what our life is really like
*Disclaimer: the sympathy and concern of those close to us, is very different, and much more loving than the sympathy and concern of less intimate acquaintances and almost-strangers who stumble upon the information, and feel the need to give their opinion.
Now this post is not to bash anyone for the way in which they have processed (or not) this news. For most - myself included - it was totally involuntary. And honest. What it has done though, is simply reminded me that our ways, as people, can be weird, and that in everything, I need to have a bit more of an eternal perspective.
Things are going to be different. And more difficult. It was the same when Sam was born. But then, as I recently told a friend who just had her second baby, everyone adapts to the new life, and families establish their new normal. And before we know it, we'll in our own routine again that just gets easier as kids get older and parents get wiser.
At its most fundamental point, we still serve the same God whose promise to provide doesn't have a clause on the number of children He is able to provide for. Here's praying for grace as we navigate these waters once again.
"Children are a heritage from the Lord; offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." ~ Psalm 127:3-5a