Congratulations... Thoughts On Having a Fifth Baby

“I believe Congratulations is the word you’re looking for.” Words I never imagined I would hear from my husband more than once.

You’re getting married… Congratulations! Buying a new home… Congratulations. You got a new job… Congratulations!

A simple enough word expressing good wishes on a special occasion. Having a baby… CONGRATULATIONS! It comes so easily, right? You’re having your second baby… Congratulations (obviously you’re trying for the gender you don’t have).

15 letters. 5 syllables. 1 word.

You are expecting your third baby… your fourth baby… your fifth baby… Uh, , um, yeah.

This is where my sweet, sensitive, loving husband comes in. Whether to family, friends, neighbors, or complete strangers, when they hear we are expecting (GASP!) our fifth child, he kindly tells them, “I believe congratulations is the word you’re looking for.”


When we were married almost 11 years ago and started our life together we knew we wanted a big family. We never hid this fact. And as our family grew, our hearts did too. There were times I worried or wondered if I had enough love to give each of our children. My husband and I talked often about this in the early years. We were extremely committed to making absolutely certain that each of our children felt wanted and loved and belong to a family that honors, appreciates, and values them and their unique, amazing, specialness!

Earlier this year, my husband and I were ecstatic excited to find out we were expecting our fifth child.

That excitement gave way to worry and angst as it became clear that other people had some sort of problem or discomfort with it.

We have heard it all.

You know how this happens right? Really? You’re hands aren’t full enough right now huh? How will you pay for college? Oh my goodness. Why? That’s crazy! You’re a glutton for punishment. There should be a law against having that many kids. Good luck… Good… luck…

In the past, my husband and I would laugh these ridiculous and unsolicited comments off, mostly because the comments made us uncomfortable. Yes, uncomfortable. Just the opposite of how you want it to be when you’re announcing a new member of your family. These comments hurt, causing pain I don’t seem to have the words for. Whether the comments are intentionally mean-spirited and/or inappropriate or unintentionally insensitive… it doesn’t really matter because these comments do hurt.

I wish they didn’t hurt. But they do.

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What is the message you are sending to my children when you make these comments in their presence? My children have so much love and excitement in their hearts as our family prepares to grow. My youngest two daughters love to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” to my belly, to their baby sister or brother. Each night that my son and I read a new Harry Potter chapter, he loves to watch the baby kick and is certain the baby is enjoying the story as much as he does. And my oldest daughter is hoping for a brother and her face lights up the sky when she talks about how she can’t wait to meet who will be joining our family next.

So be careful with your words. Your opinions on family planning or college savings or the fullness of my hands are simply not welcome or appreciated.

Congratulations is the only word you are looking for.