Not One More

An offhanded joke about being barefoot and in the kitchen left me feeling full of rage and irritation.  I bristled at the barb about being barefoot and pregnant.  I blurted out that pregnancy was very difficult for me.  I recognized the rage that was threatening to boil over my veneer of carefully posed self-control.  I made my way out of the now stifling kitchen outside to sit in a chair and just breathe.

Why did I get so triggered by this lame attempt at a joke?  One of the main reasons is that I think of myself as a feminist.  I bristle against the stereotype of a woman barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  It speaks of a reality that is not mine at all.  Both my husband and I work outside of the house full-time.  He is the primary cook in our family due to his work schedule and fantastic culinary skills.

I am not dismissing the role of stay at home moms at all.  In fact the majority of the SAHMs I know are not in their homes, barefoot and pregnant.  It dismisses the very real contribution of all women to keeping the household running through scheduling, maintaining and balancing budgets, cleaning the house and feeding the family.  Many of these women are fantastic volunteers who singlehandedly keep our schools and other non-profit organizations running smoothly.  I know many SAHM in the blogosphere who are changing lives with their advocacy and commitment to raising awareness of issues like special needs, postpartum mood disorders, suicide prevention, and mental health awareness.

The other reason is that pregnancy was not sunshine and rainbows for me.  I had gestational diabetes which made my pregnancies high risk.  I struggled with undiagnosed antenatal depression and anxiety throughout my pregnancy with Skeeter.  Sciatica was a constant companion.  I felt very little joy during my pregnancy; all I felt was irritability, anxiety, and panic.  I was not myself at all.  My husband and I had made the decision that my pregnancy with Skeeter would be my last.  So making a joke about me being pregnant triggered a visceral reaction of rage within me.  I did not know how to tell anyone how I felt during my pregnancy.  All I knew was that I was not okay, but I had to hold it together for my husband and my sweet Munch.  What kind of a mom feels like that when she’s pregnant with a very much wanted child?  So please, please jokes about having another are not okay.  No one of us can truly know what types of struggles a couple is having: infertility, postpartum mood disorders, financial struggles.  So if someone asks me again, I will try to reply graciously and firmly.  Not one more.  Our family is complete.


About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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18 Responses to Not One More

  1. Becky Schroeder says:

    Great post, Jen. No one knows, no one should judge. You know what’s best for you and your family so people should leave it at that.

  2. This was full of emotion, as it should be. You have every right to feel that way, Jenny. xoxo

  3. addyeB says:

    I don’t blame you for having such a strong reaction. Great, honest post.

  4. John says:

    For what it’s worth, while I can’t ever be pregnant (because, well, I have a penis), I’d almost always rather be barefoot and in the kitchen than most anywhere else.

  5. The assumptions people make are silly. More people need to learn to bite their tongue. I am currently in the kitchen, but I have socks on, nothing is actually being cooked and I sure as hell am not pregnant.

  6. Amen to that. Pregnancy was a miserable experience for me and there’s no way I’m going through that again (on purpose-knock on wood-fingers crossed). I hate stereotypes. You rock, mama. Love you.

    • Thank you so much sweetie. Your support means the world. I know how much you struggled with HG throughout both pregnancies. We need to smash that myth that it is all sunshine and rainbows.

  7. ozifrog says:

    I hear ya. I had infertility then six months hellish bedrest complete with haemorrhages x 5, gestational diabetes etc. I had to take longer off on maternity leave just to work past that feeling of, well, trauma. Pregnancy was so incredible traumatic. I gave up everything. Everything. Even standing up. For 23 hours a day. And people joked about ” well rest up before the baby comes”. Rest? Rest? In a 24/7 life & death situation, panicking, watching for every little change thinking this is it, this is the end? I actually don’t have the capacity to go through that again. It was also joyous, of course, but in glimpses between the terror. So when someone throws a cavalier joke my way about more children, or being pregnant, god I could punch them. I think of the will it took me to hold it together back then, the sheer bloody minded ness it took to make it, and it is no joking matter.

  8. ace1028 says:

    I hope that writing this out has helped you find your sense of balance after hearing someone use this term, or whatever it is. Sending you hugs. Your words are beautiful.

  9. I get your frustration. Mine comes from the flip side. As a home schooling mama of 8 living and 6 deceased (through infant loss and miscarriages) I resent the “Are you done now” question. I am thrilled to be barefoot and pregnant, but that doesn’t belittle my power and ability to do great things in the world. Consciously surrendering my fertility even in light of so much suffering has led to awesome gifts and strengthens. And being a home schooling, ecologically breastfeeding, non-contracepting mother requires more of me mentally, physically and spiritually than societal stereotypes generally acknowledge. So I get how stupid stereotypes can bristle your nerves.

    On a little side note, I noticed you tagged postpartum depression in some posts and I want to share a little information. PPD is truly a very real problem. Not everyone knows that Dr. Hilgers (MD), who created NAPROtechnology has had real success in helping women overcome PPD with bio-identical progesterone injections. Some women have felt complete relief after as few as one injection. Dr. Hilgers has done extensive research on infertility, endometrosis, prematurity, etc. I just thought I would share that for what it is worth because I hate thinking mamas are suffering when there is real promising help available.

    • Thank you Tara. So sorry for your losses. I sincerely wish that people would not judge. I am in awe of your strength. I cannot speak to homeschooling or non-contracepting, but I can speak to breastfeeding. Society belittles how much mental, physical and spiritual energy motherhood requires.

      Thank you for the information on the bio-identical progesterone. I know that it has had promising results for many women. Unfortunately, we do not do universal screening. At the point that most women receive help like myself, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication are prescribed along with therapy. I wish that more doctors would run the full physical panel on postpartum mamas to rectify any underlying physical conditions that may be exacerbating the postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.

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