Justifying pregnancy to others

I am currently 7 weeks pregnant with baby #7. I am 36 and my husband is 38. He has a good job which allows me to raise our kids at home. I love it and enjoy watching them grow up. However, as I posted before, since my last pregnancy, I have been living with hip pain which basically will require a total hip replacement whenever I say go. My husband and I decided this was a “serious” reason to avoid but long story short, even though we thought we were safe, I still got pregnant. Most of the time, I think I am at peace with this. However, I am afraid this pregnancy will really make it hard for me to walk and care for my other kids. These fears really seem to pop into my head at night and I will just lay awake worrying about this pregnancy and my impending surgery.

Anyways, outside of my husband who is supportive, I am afraid to tell anyone. I am even putting off scheduling an ob visit. Everyone knows of my hip issues and will surely have an opinion. My mom and dad have been hinting since my last baby was born, that I should be done. I feel like I need to justify myself to others, especially to those who don’t understand our position on birth control. And, in reality, I question that myself all the time. Am I doing my current kids a disservice? Am I being irresponsible? That is my biggest feeling. I used to think we would just have a vasectomy when we were done having kids. However, in the last few years, I have come to see the great blessing nfp has been to our relationship and I really want to make this work(even if we don’t seem to be very good at it!) I can’t imagine complete abstinence until menopause. I know some people do that, but sometimes I think the risk of pregnancy would be better than that lack of intimacy in our marriage.

So anyways I guess I feel like when we tell people about this pregnancy, I need to explain that it was a “mistake” so no one thinks poorly of us. And I know I can simply announce the pregnancy and leave it at that but, believe me, people will come out and ask. Please pray for me and this baby. I am afraid for our future and this surgery looming over my head. I have an appt with my ortho doctor in may after baby is born. I would like to breastfeed for a year so unless I end up pregnant again or need it ASAP, I will be getting a new hip at the ripe old age of 38!!! Depressing!!!

First of all, congratulations on your new pregnancy! I can tell that you and your husband are very welcoming to new children, despite your trepidation about what your health will be like.
Okay, to the question you are asking. I do not believe you need to justify your pregnancy to anyone. People demanding a “valid” reason for a pregnancy is really them saying, in not so many words, that you were wrong to have marital relations with your husband. They have no right to say that and it is not their business. If you and your husband were willing to express your love and renew your vows in the marital act, and despite your thought that you were not fertile at the time, you became pregnant, well…it must be God’s plan for you all, right? :slight_smile:
If you do feel like you want to have some answer for it, you can choose humor or sarcasm or honesty or whatever. Here are some examples:
“Maybe my husband is just too irresistable!”
“We were being prudent with our use of NFP, but God had other plans for us right now.”

There are many other ways to respond with grace and cheerfulness, if you choose to answer at all. But most of all, I think that everyone will be most swayed as they see you eagerly prepare for the impending birth of your new little one. Your and your husband’s witness in the way you meet this challenge will matter more than your initial response when questioned about the prudence of a pregnancy at this time.

Finally, I said an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for your intentions just now, and I also pray that God blesses you for your faithfulness and generosity. :slight_smile:

Am I doing my current kids a disservice?


I have heard this before from older people: “No one ever lays on their death bed and says, ‘if only I didn’t have any kids.’ But there are many people who grow older and wish they had been more open to life.” And I have a SIL who constantly thanks her mother for giving her the gift of siblings. They might not have like each other very much when they were growing up :wink: but now they are best friends. I believe Pope John Paul II said the greatest gift you can give your child is a sibling.

This child is a blessing. You will probably be in a lot of pain during this pregnancy, and it sounds like you might get some nosy and rude comments about this; you can offer up all that suffering for the sanctity of your children and particular for your unborn child.

There are many ways to respond to those comments. Choose something that works with you and go with that. You may want to pray for discernment and prepare a response before you tell people so you feel ready. Some things I’ve done:
*]opened with “I have GREAT NEWS!” in hopes that the person I’m talking to will realize that I don’t see this baby as a burden, and react appropriately.
*]have a few funny/lighthearted responses at the ready and then change the subject…if they persist you can more seriously say “I’m not comfortable discussing this anymore,” blatantly change the subject, or come up with an excuse to leave.
*]come up with a pithy response like “God won’t give us more than we can handle, so He must have faith in us and I will have faith in Him.”
*]say “thanks for your concern, I can see you’re really worried and I assure you that we know what we’re doing.” Sometimes people make rude comments because they are genuinely worried. It took four pregnancies for me to figure out that my dad didn’t think I was an idiot for having so many children, but he was worried about how I would pay for things. Once I assured him that we were doing fine financially, he backed off and loves his seven grandchildren with all his heart.

I would recommend against explaining that this was a “mistake.” You don’t want that hanging over your child’s head for the rest of his or her life. What if someone let it slip one day to your child that s/he was an “accident?” My cousin and his wife thought they were done having children, and when their daughter was a teenager, another baby was conceived. They let it slip that it was a mistake and by the time the news got to me, EVERYONE knew they were trying not to conceive. They love that little boy now, but for her whole pregnancy, he was referred to as an “oops.” She ended up having an emergency birth and the baby wasn’t expected to live, so you can imagine her guilt when she realized that everyone had the intention that he wasn’t wanted in the first place.

The only one you need to justify yourself to is God, at your particular judgment after death. It is perfectly acceptable to say “thanks for your concern but we know what we’re doing” and leave it at that. If someone asks point blank if this baby was planned, you have a couple options. Tell them that’s between you and your husband, and repeat this as often as is necessary for the person to take the hint. Smile and say the pregnancy was an unexpected blessing and you couldn’t be happier. Say yes, the baby was planned all along by God, and you’re so glad you were open to life so you could be a mother to this child. Or just stare blankly and say “why do you ask?” (a great response to any unwanted question - and keep it up with “what do you mean by that?” and so on until it becomes painfully obvious that you don’t want to talk about it)

I think the risk of pregnancy would be better than that lack of intimacy in our marriage.

I agree. That might not be the case in all marriages but it is for my husband and me. But really, you don’t have to tell ANYONE that. It is truly no one else’s business. Whether it’s a complete stranger or your own mother, no one needs to know the details of this child’s conception except you and your husband. I do think it is important to be of good cheer if you can, because if people see that you are joyful they may realize that you know what you’re doing and stop questioning your decisions.

Here’s something to hopefully give you a laugh, because it sounds like you might need it. :slight_smile: You are in my prayers!

Congratulations on #7!

There is absolutely no reason to explain to most people that your current pregnancy is due to a “mistake” in your use of NFP. You might need a refresher course in NFP and perhaps a chart review by an instructor to see what happened and get ideas on how to overcome the difficulty. The Marquette method uses a monitor to determine the hormone levels more directly, so that may be of benefit to you.

This. Where the hell does anyone get off trying to demand valid reasons for either having a baby or trying to avoid? We’d all do much better minding our own business, wouldn’t we?

I’m sorry for your health issues but don’t think that you are doing your kids a disservice. Who knows what will happen or even if the pregnancy will make things worse? There are no guarantees in life.

If someone spouts a ridiculous opinion, ask them when the last time they had sex was. That might be a nice retort.

Sure, you might need to learn all there is to learn about NFP and use the most conservative rules after this baby. That’s OK. But that’s up to you and not other people to talk about.

Oh, and congrats and best wishes!

You don’t owe anyone an explanation, let alone an apology for bringing a beautiful new life into the world! If people choose to judge you, shame on them. For every finger they point at you, they have three pointing back at themselves.

If this were me, I would maybe (maybe!) think about telling my mum that this baby was a “surprise” (never a mistake!) Not because I would need to justify this baby, but in the event that you are very close and often share your decision-making processes with your mom, or if she helps with the children and does it somewhat reluctantly (i.e., not because she wants to, but because you “need” help), just to show you are not purposefully “using” her and you don’t take her assistance for granted.

You also seem to be asking, “am I a responsible parent?”. Responsible parenthood is not determined by the size of the family, or even the handicaps we face. I would not even judge a paraplegic who became pregnant! The question that will show whether or not you are a responsible parent will look more like this: Are my kids reasonably: happy, healthy, safe, loved, warm, fed, clothed, housed, and being educated? If the answer is yes, then you are likely a responsible parent.

Incidentally, you don’t need to apologize for using nfp, either. Contraceptives also have “failure” rates, and anyone who would even think about asking you to mutilate your body via elective sterilization should be ashamed of themselves.

Also, please do not be afraid and put off prenatal care because of what the doctor might say. You and your baby both deserve the best care you can receive, and in a perfect world, that would be judgment-free. Do you have options among healthcare providers? Perhaps you can find another equally-skilled obstetrician who does not criticize her clients?

Best wishes for you and the pregnancy, and the surgery. I will add healthy mom/baby to my prayer list. Congratulations, you sound like you have a beautiful family!

Congrats on the new baby!

My wife has similar impulses towards explanations. I firmly believe that – for something like this – you don’t owe anyone an explanation. And you certainly don’t need to justify it.

I know how the “hinting” can go, and it is easy to let it make us self-conscious, particularly when it pokes the finger at something we ourselves feel unsure about. But truly, I think that less is more in these cases.

Maybe this is just my personal experience talking, but I think explaining too much in an attempt to justify things is counter-productive. They are likely to think whatever they think and giving them more information usually just gives them more ammunition for their opinion, or it will encourage them to think poorly of you in other ways, or it will verify for them that it really is their business and you really do owe them an explanation. None of these are good paths to go down.

Think of it. If you tell them this was an “accident”, it seems just as likely that an outsider might think, “I was right, that NFP stuff is bunk and they should have been more responsible by taking other measures to prevent pregnancy.” You’ll quickly find yourself more and more on the defensive as you try to respond to their every criticism.

Again, this is my own expereince and may not be the case for you, but I have found that the desire to explain things stems from a desire for all to think well of me and to attempt to control other people’s reactions so that they don’t think poorly of me. The more time goes by, though, I realize that (even when I think I might) I really have no control over other people’s reactions. And it is usually a waste of time to try to anticipate every objection to my family’s personal decisions. All it does is introduce stress. I don’t need any more of that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Time to change your username. :slight_smile:

Unless they’re paying your bills, it’s not anyone’s business. I understand that people might be concerned for your well-being, but what’s done is done. If people are truly concerned, then they can help you with the kids from time to time, or offer to take you places so you don’t have to drive, or make a shopping trip for you.

The other thing that bothers me is that five years from now, your world will be totally different. Why people decide to make a lifelong decision based on how it will affect you in the short term is bizarre to me. As another poster said, nobody ever says as they’re growing old and dying, “I wish I hadn’t had those last two kids.”

May God Bless you and your husband for being open to life-and indeed He has-7 times over! You will never regret this ,not in a million yrs. I gave birth to my 4th baby last year at the age of 37. My husband (a non catholic) and I wondered how on earth we were going to manage for many. reasons but God made up what we were lacking. Having our surprise little boy and indeed all our children has been the best thing that has ever happened to us.We now have 4 kids age 6 and under. People said and still say"you must be mad". I say “No, just very blessed”. I wish there were more mothers like you out there. Good for you x

Sweet love, please don’t feel the need to justify your newest little baby to anybody. A child will not be conceived if God Himself didn’t allow it to happen! You know this is a blessing. :slight_smile: You are not doing your kids a disservice. You are not being irresponsible. Be joyful, show your joy to others, and if anybody feels it is their place to judge you then kindly walk on. :smiley:


I might explain to my parents that I was not planning another baby due to the health concerns, we were using NFP and we thought we were safe, etc. I think parents who are loving and concerned are in a more privileged position and should get an honest answer.

Anyone else I’d tell that my sex life with my husband and the number of children we have is really none of their business.

a) You do not need to justify yourself or anything you do to anyone but God.

b) Will you tell your child he or she is a mistake? No? (I hope that answer is no) Then for heaven’s sake don’t tell anyone else that! I cannot think of a worse thing to think or say about your own child!

c) Who cares what anyone thinks of you???

I can understand all of your concerns-- hip, strain on the other children, your intimacy with your spouse-- but NONE of that requires justification. Hold you head up, go about your business, and who gives a FLIP about what anyone else says or does??? If they butt in, butt them right back out with your firmly established BOUNDARIES.


I am a very honest person. “Tell the truth and shame the devil!” type. Not a single one of my 3 was planned. In fact, quite a few of the babies between my parents generation and my generation were not planned. Some were even conceived while contracepting. Once those kids get old enough to realize something was going on like health or financial concerns and ask why they were conceived considering… It’s tradition of a sort in our family to tell the unplanned babies they were wonderful surprises.

I wouldn’t use the word “mistake”, but I would be less concerned by the word “accident”. The latter word just means “an event occurring by chance or from unknown causes”. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so most of us either are “accidents” or have them. I remember my dad saying once, of his 5 kids, only the first one was planned, because he “figured she’d show up sooner or later.” It didn’t traumatize me or my other 3 siblings a bit to know we were “accidents”. Being unplanned for is not the same as being unwanted.

Planned children are no better than unplanned children.

Of course some of us are accidents. My parents were 22 and 20, unmarried, and not even engaged. I can do the math and it’s pretty obvious I was an accident. That generally doesn’t affect how much your parents love you or how they treat you. If it does, it’s because the parents are horrible people anyway.

This. The OP can answer, “I beg your pardon? How about you bury that sentiment, because if you ever say a word to this child that he/she was not greeted with the same happiness as every other child in this family, I’ll have your skin. Anything not clear about that?” And then “Yes, I know about my hip. I also know I love this baby. As far as discussing with a pregnant woman what her intentions were, I can’t imagine what could be more rude. You aren’t carrying this child. I am. If you aren’t going to greet this child with bells and whistles, I don’t have the time of day for you. End of discussion!” And that’s the end of it, at the peril of their skin.

Don’t get angry at anyone who hasn’t said anything yet, though, OP! That is easy to do, if you are afraid of condemnation. Be charitable and expect the best. Their opinion, like yours, may have only have been prospective, and like you they may remember to switch their noodle immediately when real life has other plans.

When my parents learned they were having me, they wept. And they were not tears of joy, I promise you. I was a surprise, an accident, a mistake, whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t supposed to happen. But, clearly I was supposed to happen. I am not hurt knowing that my mom was upset about her pregnancy with me. She tells me to this day how glad she is that I showed up, what a difference I have made in her life, what a blessing I have been, to which I say… “tell me more.” :wink: But in all seriousness, some of us just weren’t planned! It’s the truth! And it’s ok! You are going to be so glad this baby came into your life, just like you are thankful for your other children. You will NOT regret this. :thumbsup: Be strong, mama! I am praying for your health and for the health of your sweet baby! Please do the same for me–I feel absolutely ready to burst and I technically still have 3 weeks to go. My doc is hoping I just make it for the next week and a half. :blush:

Congratulations. I pray for you, your baby and your hip.:gopray:

You’ve gotten a lot of good advice here. As so many others have already written, when announcing a pregnancy to people who were likely to be negative or judgmental about it, you do not need to offer any justification or explanation.

In fact, you don’t even need to announce you’re pregnant-- at least not to everyone and not right away, especially if you are feeling vulnerable right now. At some point, most people figure out a woman is carrying another baby. People might be a little less likely say something rude if they have spent a bit of time trying to figure out if you are pregnant or not, while they adjust slowly to the idea that you* might* be expecting another child. Delaying any announcement could give them a chance to guess correctly before you officially tell them so when you do say something their response might be more like, “I* knew* it!” And then they’re often happy because they were right. :slight_smile:

May I say what wonderful inspiring posts! Im new to this site but am so pleased to read all these great comments. Lots of good advice. Id recommend the Kimberly Hahn book life giving love which got me through some difficult times during my last pregnancy and beyond

I know a fellow like you. His mother had believed herself to be past conceiving, and was on all sorts of medications to treat a health problem she had, medications she would not have been on if she had thought she’d have another child. She was petrified he’d have all sorts of problems. As it was, he was fine, and the apple of his parents’ eye.

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