He Wasn’t Planned, I Promise!!

Mr. B and I stroll into the park.  He holding Manly and me chasing after the Queen.  We laugh at the Queen’s antics and giggle at Manly’s chubby cheeks.

Soon enough,  a mom and her toddler son enter.  She engages us in a conversation.

“How old is your baby?”

“3 months,” I respond.

“He is adorable!”

“Thanks,”  I say.

“How did your daughter adjust to a new sibling?”

“Fine.  She is young enough that jealousy issues were nonexistent,” I proudly answer.

“That’s wonderful!”  She looks down, works up her courage, and tentatively asks “how far apart are your two?”

I blush and slowly respond “14 months.”

With astonishment she quickly exclaims “Wow! You are brave!”

“Well, he wasn’t planned,”  Mr. B interjects.

“You are brave!” is only one sentence of many that we hear too frequently.  Others include, “Boy are you busy!” and “You sure have your hands full!”   These statements don’t bother me too much.  It is the feelings they evoke,  the responses I, or B, inevitably give that pierce my heart.  I feel as if I should wear a shirt that says, “He wasn’t planned! I promise!!”

I wonder why.  Why must I feel the need to apologize?  Why must I lie? That’s right, lie.  Why must I falsely accuse myself and my husband?  Accuse us of not planning?

We did plan.  Our plans were to wait until the Queen was older before trying for another baby. We just forgot to plan for contingencies.

When the Queen was 6 months old,  I felt that something was changing in my body.  My concerns were validated when the Queen refused to nurse.  I whispered my concerns to B one night.

“Hon, I think I’m pregnant.”

“Why don’t you take a test?”

“I am not ready for that yet.  I’ll wait to see if my period comes.”

So I waited.  I waited and waited.  Nothing.

I finally decided to take the test.  Just to be sure, I took two.  Both said negative.  As silly as this may sound, I felt betrayed.  I was 99% sure that I was pregnant.

The next morning, B called out to me–“Amber, you’re pregnant!!”

The lines were faint.  The test needed a few more minutes to confirm my suspicions, but I had been impatient.

I was ecstatic.  It’s true.  I was so happy that I would soon be welcoming another charming baby into our household.

At the same time, I was frightened.  I did not want to share the news with the world because I didn’t want to hear what people would say.  Initially, I only told those whom I knew would understand, friends that would be happy for me.  But, I get too sick to hold any pregnancy secrets.  All too soon the moment came for us to tell our families.

“Do you know what causes that?”  many asked.  My joy turned to sadness.  That was when we started to tell people “I promise, he wasn’t planned!”

The thing is, he was planned.  He just came sooner than we expected.

I have matured.  Matured enough to stop apologizing.  When I hear people remark on their closeness I now respond with, “I know! It’s awesome!”

And it is.  It really is.

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57 Comments

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57 responses to “He Wasn’t Planned, I Promise!!

  1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling people you were thrilled. I agree that telling people it wasn’t planned almost makes him sound like a mistake.

  2. I totally feel the same way. It bugs BIG time when people make ridiculous remarks like that, even when cloaked with a twinge of kindness. I get comments and looks like that all the time especially when they were all little, I had a herd (well.. still do) 5 within 8 years it does look a little silly BUT I do not care! We take them places, where ever I go, they go and they love being together as a result. I am a firm believer that my children join my life, not the other way around and life does not stop because I have 5 kids. We go to the mall if we have to and yes I take them to Costco and we all giggle at the “lookers”. It will probably never stop surprising me when people are wet blankets about big families, it is just such a stark contrast to how I feel. You have a great attitude. I love it!

    • “I am a firm believer that my children join my life, not the other way around.” The Spirit is directing me in this direction. It is something that I (and my husband) have struggled with complying to, but we are slowly coming around.

  3. Well said! I think that’s a great attitude to have about it!

  4. My boys are 20 months apart and I get those looks and comments too. And I also sometimes find myself making excuses or explaining away their age difference. Thank you for the reminder and the affirmation that having two babies so close together is a blessing!

    • I had a feeling you’d understand. It’s funny because people don’t necessarily come out and say “What is wrong with you!?!” but their statements imply that I (we) don’t know what I’m doing. I feel as if I need to grab my boxing gloves and defend my choices. I don’t.

      I was frightened about having two babies so close together and it was hard at first. Now, it is fun. I am learning, they are learning, and together we have, and will, weather the storms.

  5. Kimmie

    As you know, I can TOTALLY relate! I had 4 kids in 4 years. I got all the same things you mentioned.

    Your attitude is exactly as it should be. Don’t let those who don’t know your joy bring you down. You and your little family is perfect and exactly as it was “planned”.

    Love you!

    • I know I have said stupid things before to people, things that I wish I could take back. I hope, though, that my experience will teach me to *not*say anything rude, to only say something joyful.

  6. Amber, I have two things to share with you, things that I have learned in my many years on this planet. Before you read any further, you must know, these things will change your life forever. Don’t continue if you aren’t prepared to live with the burden of these revelations.

    Ready?

    One, 99% of all people are stupid.

    And two, I’ve read the last several comments from you on my blog thinking you were my sister because the pictures weren’t showing up.

    • HAHAHA!! I know that I have been included in that 99% many times!! It is true!!

      Your have a sister named Amber? Suweeet! Don’t worry about it! I was SHOCKED to see your comment on here! I know how busy you are with your blog that I didn’t even think you would swing on over here! Ah, but I like surprises so thanks!

  7. Wow. I totally cried for two days when I found out I was pregnant with my third. My twins were not yet a year old, and so, yes, I had three children under two years old. It’s okay now — my memories are pretty foggy. I think it’s best if they stay that way!

    The twins were IVF babies. Number three? Wasn’t. Talk about not planned.

    • I can relate. If Heavenly Father hadn’t told me it would be all right BEFORE I found out I was pregnant, I would have cried. He knew me. He knew I needed a peaceful confirmation to prepare me for the news. Rather than crying when I found out, I was able to remember that peaceful feeling.

      Foggy? Yes. I understand that.

  8. For me this brings up even bigger issues of why we always feel like we have to make self-deprecating remarks to make others feel more comfortable about our lives. I’ve done this so many times it’s ridiculous, not exactly about my kids, but about other things, like stuff I own.

    But you’re right, Amber, to stand behind your perfect son who was born exactly when he was meant to be born to just the right parents with just the right sister!

    • You bring up an important issue of self-deprecation. It is not necessary. We need not explain anything we have, or have done, to anyone. Our experiences are our own. Can a person who doesn’t know me, or my situation, or my spiritual knowledge, really have claim to perfect understanding? No! It is okay for them to be uncomfortable. I know the reasons behind my decisions.

      Thank you for this wonderful response. It really made my day.

  9. Kim

    My wee-ones are 17 months apart. Sometimes it’s hard, but overall I really enjoy it. It took so long for me to get the first one, that I was overjoyed when I realized #2 was on the way. We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, but we were trying for it.

    I often hear my M.I.L. tell people that #2 was a surprise. He was, but not in the way it sounds. He was a very happy surprise, not an “Oh Crap, I’m pregnant” kind of surprise. 🙂

    As long as you can provide for your children, there is no one you need to apologize to.

    • I love that! Manly sure was a very pleasant surprise!! He still is! His calm demeanor is exactly what we needed at this time in our lives.

      I don’t know about providing for our children, we are college students! Just kidding. That was one reason I wanted to wait for a year or so to have another baby. But, the Lord had other plans. Those plans included unexpected blessings that have allowed us to take care of our little ones.

  10. I got some of the “Don’t you know what causes that?” responses.

    Having children close together is crazy at first (I had three in three years, all in diapers at the same time– that was crazy). But oh, I just can’t even list all the positives of having them close together. I probably would have planned to at least wean before getting pregnant (I was pregnant and nursing twice), but I’m so glad they are as close as they are.

    I also can’t say enough about how grateful I am that they came when they did for us for other reasons — not the least of which that health problems came and we have not been able to have more. We shudder to think about not having one or both of our girls had they not come when they did.

    Anyway, I just look at your family and say, “Ah, so many wonderful blessings and wonderful opportunities because they are close.”

    They are blessed to have you as a mom.

    • When B and I discuss the possible reasons behind us needing to have two so close together, I often bring up potential future health concerns. We don’t know what the future holds for us. This is often scary until we cling to our faith. I know that there is a bigger plan for our family, one that I couldn’t possibly understand or hope for. So, I will take what comes our way. I may grumble and question, but in the end I will do as asked and have faith everything will work out. Miraculously, it always does.

      • BTW, I worried a little about sharing my story because I know it can be worrisome to wonder about the whys. So don’t let my story worry you. I know lots of people with kids close together, and few of them have had yucky reasons to “explain” the blessing. 😉

      • Oh, Michelle, don’t worry! I know what you mean. Sometimes I do wonder. And not because of stories like yours. : )

  11. Nicki

    Amber! When people would ask me if I knew what caused kids, I got to the point where I told them “YES! and I love sex!” I use to get so annoyed at statements like that.

    You have your children when God wants you to have them. They are in the perfect family for them.

  12. Allyson

    We get similar responses when people find out we have twins. And I feel the same way you do. No, we didn’t plan on having twins. We didn’t do anything to get twins other than praying for children. We’re not sorry that we had twins. I can’t imagine our family starting off any differently. To the people that tell us, “I’m so glad it’s you and not me!”, I always want to reply, “Me too!” I am glad that we were blessed with these two kids. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Allyson, my only question is–why in the heck would you plan on having twins?!? Who CAN plan on that? What a silly (and can I say stupid?) thing to say!!

      I love your twins!! Looking at videos and pictures of them make me smile. I imagine they have brought blessings into your family that you didn’t expect. I know they blessed my life in that short time I was able to get to know them.

  13. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, and they should be ashamed for making you feel like you do. Spacing between children is personal, and there is no wrong or right. We adjust. All are special gifts from God. You have a beautiful family! All are happy and healthy…you are blessed, indeed!

    • You are right, of course. We don’t owe anyone an explanation. Our family wants what is best for us, I know that. So, when they found out we were having our first WHILE STILL IN SCHOOL, they were shocked. And, when the second came so soon? Well, let’s just say they were trying to joke off their uncomfortableness. I am sure they are puzzling over our decisions. But, I can’t argue with God. I have tried and am usually unsuccessful. I can’t explain how we have been able to pay for our children, but we have. I can only say that trusting the Lord will bring about miracles.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  14. They are going to be such tremendous friends. It *is* awesome.

    And hey, nothing wrong with kids close in age! My grandfather’s family called those “Irish twins.” We have plenty of those in my family tree.

    • They already are tremendous friends!! (Even though the Queen doesn’t quite get that she can’t throw things at her brother’s head. She thinks he will catch it!)

      You know, Kitch? You always say exactly what I need to hear. Thank you!

  15. I used to think of my 3rd child as “unplanned.” But we were only wanting another 6 mo. So really she was planned, just came a little earlier. Someone once told me never to tell your children they were a “unplanned.” No one wants to hear that–especially your kids. Unless you want to call it a surprise. The best surprise ever, that you love and cherish for the rest of your life.

    • Yes! I was only wanting another newborn (and 3 month old, and 6 month old, etc!).

      This post came about because a few weeks ago I told B that I was worried what our Manly would think if he heard us talking about him as “unplanned.” I do not EVER want my baby boy to think he was unwanted. Sure he was a surprise, but a wonderful wonderful surprise.

      Thank you for imparting such sage advice.

  16. I’m glad you finally realized that you don’t have to apologize for the blessing of your son. 🙂
    I had a similar experience, finding out I was pregnant with #2 when the first born was barely holding up her head. She celebrated her first birthday and then greeted a new brother two weeks later. We had also ‘planned’ for him, just a few years later, but now that they have just turned 17 and 18 I know for sure I am thankful that God planned our #2. He came at exactly the right time!

    • Judy, thank you for stopping by and leaving such an inspiring comment!

      If I were to use one word in describing my experience it would be faith. Heavenly Father knows more about my situation than I do. For some reason, my little Manly needed to come when he did. While it was an adjustment at first, I am SO glad to have him!! I am also glad my husband and I had a strong enough faith to know that it was going to be okay.

      Your words have increased my faith. Thank you.

  17. As I’ve told you before, my two boys are 14 months apart. I remember calling up my husband at work in the middle of the afternoon just sobbing. I was having such a hard time adjusting to two kids for some reason that when our surprise baby came along, I was not ready.
    But he has turned out to be such a joy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    But I do know what you mean. When I start to feel like I’m getting a somewhat negative response, I will often throw in there that he was a “surprise”, just so I don’t have to hear yet another judgmental comment.

    • I think that two kids is a hard adjustment. I cried and cried in the beginning. It still is hard! But, it is getting easier as they are getting older.

      As I mentioned to another reader, I would have cried had I not received revelation previous (like a few days before) I found out I was expecting. Because that revelation, and the comforting peace that enveloped me, I knew that if I was pregnant it would all work out. And, it did.

      I wonder if the judgmental comments are what brought me to such despair in the first place! I never thought it would be hard to have two babies UNTIL people would say things like “Don’t worry! It will be hard the first year, but after that it will be a breeze!” of “Don’t worry, they will be the best of friends!” I wasn’t worried in the first place, you know? But, let bygones be bygones I suppose. Now that I have a more positive outlook I can stop those comments before they get me down.

      Thanks for the comment!

  18. In other times and other countries, having a baby every 12 to 18 months was perfectly normal. There are incredible advantages to having children close in age (mine are 18 months apart – planned – and I would do it that way again).

    Glad you stopped apologizing!

    • I have come to realize that I *love* having my two so close together!! It has so many advantages! Like you said, it wasn’t always considered a “bad” thing.

      Wolf, thank you for leaving this comment. Your perspective always gives me hope (and makes me smile). I am so grateful to have met you in this blog universe.

  19. Good for you, Amber. You *should* celebrate the miracle of little Manly.

    My experience is different because my first is adopted and there is a large span between him and Bella. What I hear most is, “Well, now that you’re a mother…”

    Excuse me? I’ve been a mother for nine years asshat. I leave out the asshat part, but I do make sure to remind people that adoptive parents are mamas and daddys too.

    • OK. I *laughed* so hard reading your comment! I usually edit out swear words but I felt yours were perfectly used!

      I completely agree with you. I am astonished that you were not recognized as a mother until you had Bella. How ignorant!! Correct me if I’m wrong, but you adopted Javi when you were still single, right? You have not only weathered motherhood, but have weathered single motherhood. And your little Javi is dang lucky to have you as a momma.

      Believe me, girl, I think you were given the Mommy sticker as soon as Javi was placed in your hands. That is why you are such a great mom to Bella!!

  20. Hold on. Why did you feel the need to apologize? What would people have to say? I am probably slow. Or just plain old perverted here… ’cause the only thing I can think of right now is: Wow. My kids are 7 and 12 and we haven’t got back to before-kids yet… LOL. 😉 People are probably just envious. Don’t mind or even worry about them.

    • You aren’t slow. I felt the need to apologize because the hurtful insinuations (and tone) behind remarks like “Don’t you know what causes that?” of “Wow! You are brave!” Dang right I am!! And I would do it again!!

      Your comment reminded me of what your 5 favorite things are (sex, sex, sex, sex, and sex). I could copy and paste your list into a description of myself and it would describe me perfectly!!

  21. My first two are PLANNED 15 months apart. I always rather enjoyed the startled looks and funny comments. I used to tell people “I have no idea what causes it and if I ever found out I would stop right away, my husband swears he has NO idea…” But when I had to explain I was JOKING, I stopped. People must not expect me to have a sense of humor, or a brain.

    I did have a surprise pregnancy (#4) and it took me months to be okay with it and the rather stressful timing. But I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything.

    I do, though, from time to time, find the need to preemptively explain things. I like how Linda expressed it, “we always feel like we have to make self-deprecating remarks to make others feel more comfortable about our lives”

    The older I get the less willing I am to explain, though, my life desicions are mine to make and if someone is that upset about it, it is their problem.

  22. Eva

    This post makes me smile, Amber. It’s like a love letter to Manly. He joined your family just when he was supposed to. Even with our best planning, sometimes things are meant to work out different. We have to keep faith in the universe and that things will be as they should be.

  23. 🙂
    The little boys are 15 months apart…or something like that. I can barely keep track of anything. I don’t know how old Ethan is. He’ll be two in April. As for how many months that makes him? Whatever. I could figure it out anytime I wanted, but I just don’t really care to anymore.

    Funny thing is, the comments don’t bother me. The questions. The looks. I’ve got three boys headed in different directions when we are out of the house and I feel lucky if we ALL make it back to the car/house okay…without catastrophe.

    Having kids so close in age has it’s good and bad, just like having them far apart does. There is no perfect number. We are given these little gifts and we are lucky to have them. We are here to make the most of it, right?

  24. Hey, my kids are only 12 months apart! Well, 11 months and 28 days to be exact… I was WAY embarrassed to tell anyone. I found out I was preggo when my daughter was 4 months old, and I totally freaked out for most of my pregnancy. But he came along, and it was easier than I thought. I just tell people that he was our fun little surprise.

    I’m totally with you – he came, he’s part of our family, we hadn’t planned on him that early, but we can’t imagine life without him now.

    • I love that–“fun little surprise.” That describes my little Manly for sure. He is so sweet tempered and mild mannered. I am so happy he joined our family.

  25. “The thing is, he was planned. He just came sooner than we expected.”

    Perfectly put. Never apologize for your baby bounty.

    (Wonderful, vulnerable post.)

  26. I have five girls–25, 24 [Kristen above], 21, 15, and 11 today. Who would know I’d have 5 miscarriages between and around them? I’m so thankful for each blessed one. They were born at the right time–for them, for us, for school friends, and for future mates.

    I feel bad that there aren’t as many missionaries because people are having less children. They are SOOO missing out.

    At the best time in history it says, “…There still continued to be great peace in the land…. …The Lord did prosper them exceedingly…. …The people…did wax strong, and [and my favorite part] DID MULTIPLY EXCEEDINGLY FAST, [every 9 months?] and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people…. Surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God… They were blessed and prospered….”

    He will always help us take care of all the choice spirits we are privileged to parent.

    • Thank you so much for coming by. I can’t even express how much your response meant to me. You are right.

      I once had a religion professor suggest that “joy” in the scriptures always refers to children. I know what he means now that I’m a parent.

      Miscarriages are often overlooked. I am sure you think about those miscarriages more than most people think. I also bet you count your blessings more than I do. : )

      Thank you, again.

  27. I have the opposite problem. We have one and always have planned to have more. We followed this plan, but not Little Princess is 3 and more still haven’t come yet. So people are always asking if I’m going to have more. And I’m like working on it.

    • Sometimes I wish we could just be happy with each other rather than say mean things. I am sure I have said something hurtful unintentionally, but I have learned to hold my tongue in regards to family size. I have no idea what a person is going through.

      I am sorry for your experience and the hurtful remarks.

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  29. I hear yah! I’m always amazed at how people think your business is theirs to critique! We too had a planned oops and are so glad it happened!

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