Having a big family makes you the good kind of crazy

Hi! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Melissa from Peanut Butter in my Hair and I’m so excited to be blogging with you at ChicagoParent.com.

I’m a healthcare worker by degree, but motherhood made me a writer. In fall of 2008 we left the city with 2 small children in tow for the far north suburbs. I started blogging to keep in touch and find my way in this strange new suburban world.

Motherhood is sticky in more ways than one. I write through those sticky bits-PPD, miscarriage, body image, mothering- to help myself (and others!) figure it all out.


“Girl are you crazy?”

“Um, really…um… WOW.”

“I need to make sure my wife doesn’t drink your water!”

These are just a few of the reactions I have received to the news of my pending fourth child. Wide-eyed stares and nods are another. I think much of the time they are trying to figure out if I am one of those Duggar types, or if it was an “oops!” and if there is a socially acceptable way to ask (there isn’t).

I’ve worked hard on my poker face the last 36 weeks because really their reactions have become entertainment for me. If I’m in a really ornery mood I may put them on the spot and say something like “Well this is my 6th pregnancy but it will be my fourth child“. That usually, but not always, stops a conversation. No one likes talking about lost babies.

I’m not any of those above things. I’m no a Duggar wannabe or crazy lady (well maybe just a little crazy). I came from 3, my husband from 2. I always liked the idea of a big family; it looked like so much fun on TV! My grandparents were each from families of 5+ and the holidays were fun with so many great aunts and uncles around. My grandpa and grandma had a whole village built right around them with their siblings, spouses and their spouses children.

It’s unconventional these days to have large families, although it seems to be gaining popularity… at least in reality TV land. I knew from the moment I walked away from a career that if I was going to stay home we were going to have more than one child.

In my first playgroup when all the kids were around 18 months, conversations centered around the idea of another baby and everyone chimed up that they all wanted one more. But that was it, they’d stop at two. I knew then that 4 seemed like a good number, one for each parental hand. I got shocked reactions then, too.

My kids have built in playmates and confidants. My older two are 23 months apart and they are best friends (and at times worst enemies). My daughter was almost 3 when we found out we were pregnant with our third, who we lost at 18 weeks. For a long time I thought, maybe there’s a reason, maybe we were being greedy and should be happy with what we have. My second daughter was born almost a year to the date of when we lost my son. I can’t imagine our family without her.

In four short weeks my youngest will both turn two and become a big sister. She is already bonded to this baby I carry. She hugs my belly and kisses it nightly. I don’t doubt that they will be as close as my older two.

The innate love and caring my children have for their siblings, the way my oldest son will take the toddlers hand and guide her-it melts my heart every time. If it wasn’t for my age, seeing them become older siblings and that love grow could easily convince me to have more.

Yeah, it’s a little crazy, but it’s crazy love and that’s the best kind of crazy.

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