It started when I was pregnant with my third baby. The question: “Is this your last baby?” When our third baby turned out to be a girl, people asked if we were finally done now that we finally got a daughter. (Our first two babies were boys.) As if we only had babies to end up with a boy and a girl, and our second baby was just a mishap. When we got pregnant with our fourth baby, people became downright rude! The unsolicited advice about birth control and family planning was overwhelming. “Don’t you know HOW that happens?!”…”How many children are you going to HAVE?!”…”You have three healthy kids. Why would you want to test fate?!”… “Aren’t you concerned about the Earth’s resources?!”…and on and on it went. With our fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth pregnancies we heard more of the same. Now that I am pregnant with our tenth baby, people have become even more liberal with their opinions and comments. Some of the questions come from true curiosity: “How do you cook for all of those kids?”…”How many loads of laundry do you wash per day?”…”How do you spread your time?”… Other questions come from pure ugliness: “How can you possibly love them all??”…”You ARE getting older. What would you do if your baby has downs syndrome?” (I’m only 35 and some of my friends haven’t even begun having babies yet.) …and, from a dear family friend, “Can’t you keep your legs closed?!” (Are you kidding me?? I am married, after all!) It seems that having a large family makes me part of an exclusive club. I am often compared to other large families: “What do you think of Jon and Kate Plus 8?” (Well, since they are divorced, I am sure hoping I have a better outcome for my family.)…”Do you secretly want to be ‘Octomom’?” (Umm… No, thanks!)…”Are you trying to keep up with that lady from ‘Nineteen Kids and Counting’?” (Again, no. I’d love to have nineteen kids, but I am not trying to keep up with anyone.) My sister has eight children, so people even compare me to her: “You already beat your sister, why are you having MORE babies?!” I am often surprised when my family and close friends make rude comments. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a large family. ‘Twelve babies’ was my dream. Hearing that I am pregnant with number ten should not be a shock to anyone who has known me since childhood. Often, it is people who have never met my children, who have the most to say: “Gosh! That must be overwhelming!” (Some days.)…”Aren’t you afraid you are going to lose one of them somewhere?” (They know that they better stay with me. I have nine children. I am certainly not leaving eight of them to find one disobedient child.)…”My taxes are paying for your children!” (Only if your taxes pay my husband’s salary.)…”You obviously can’t take your kids anywhere!” (Actually, our children are quite well behaved. They have been taught manners.)…”I feel bad for your kids, they must not have anything new!” (My children have been taught to appreciate what they have – hand me downs or new.)…”You are so selfish! Don’t you think about the kids you already have?!” (All of my kids love each other. They always have someone to play with and someone to argue with.)… Then, there are the comments about me, personally: “Wow! You look good (insert pause) for being pregnant with your tenth baby!” (Should I say ‘thank you’ or be offended?? Would I look bad if I was pregnant with my first baby?)… I believe that I was born to be a mom. From the moment I could pretend, I carried around baby dolls. My family is my God-given ministry, a blessing. Next time, instead of judging a mom with many children, just smile at her. Perhaps you will be the only person who will smile at her all day. When you see a mom, shopping with her children, don’t grumble about them walking in front of you as you look at cereal…instead, give her kids a wink. Perhaps her children have already been to three other stores, and are doing their best to behave. When you see a family getting out of a van, don’t count the giggling kids and gasp disgustedly. (We already feel like clowns stepping out of a clown car.) Give them all a smile and continue on your way. Perhaps they are finally stretching their legs after a five hour drive. When you see a mom with nine children (soon to be ten), walking slowly through the zoo, it might just be me.