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Stop shaming me for the size of my family

Chaunie Brusie is writer, speaker, and labor and delivery nurse. Her first book, Tiny Blue Lines, a guide to young motherhood, was released in May 2014. She writes about life as a young mom of three.

How many kids I have is none of your business

When I was pregnant with my fourth baby, people tried to warn me that I would soon be in for a world of judgment.

"Get ready," fellow moms of more than the standard 2.5 children told me. "People will be so rude."

I chuckled along, all the while thinking that surely they were exaggerating. It wouldn't be that bad. I mean, it couldn't be that different going from three to four kids, right? And it's not like I am raising a Duggar clan here, it's just four kids. Plus, we are an open-minded society these days, so why would anyone care how many kids I have?

Well, as it turns out, I was sorely mistaken. Having four children seems to have placed me squarely in the "I'm crazy so please tell me your opinion of my lifestyle choices whenever you feel like it!" category. From comments to emails to strangers at the store, it seriously feels like everyone is shaming me for having a "large" family. (Keep in mind, "large" is a relative term to me — I come from a family of four and it feels totally normal to me.) 

Case in point, some of the most recent examples:

Via an email sent to me through my personal blog: "There are over seven billion people. Overpopulation is killing the environment. Having so many children is just out and out narcissism and greed. Overpopulation effects all people, wildlife, and the environment negatively." I am particularly digging the incorrect use of the word "effects" to point out my shortcomings as a human being. #goodone

On an article I wrote about taking kids to a restaurant: "Why do you need 4 children?" Gee, Jenny, I don't know, why do you need to care?

Or this gem, which also managed to bash women who breastfeed: "Wait until she pops out another rug rat and expects you to watch her breastfeed." So, in addition to controlling the world with my legions of children, I also control your eyes? I'm more impressive than I thought...

And then there was the one time a friend told me to stop being surprised when people give me dirty looks in the store with my kids because everyone knows that the majority of people who have four kids only do so because they are too stupid or too poor to use birth control. I must have missed that memo...

Oh, and speaking of birth control: "how about we just hand you a leaflet about birth control?" Yes, please, because I'm totally clueless as to how I keep getting pregnant! Thank god you are here to set me straight!

I could probably go on and on with the number of comments I've received about having four children and honestly, part of me really wants to defend myself. I want to tell you that my husband and I have always wanted a large family, that we both come from families of four, that we are a happy and loving bunch, that our kids are well provided for and heck, we even send them to a private school so as not to offend those of you who would insist you are paying for my little "tax breaks" (another real comment).

But it's getting to the point where all I can do is let it go. Because what others think really doesn't matter — we will raise our family as ours, and the most important thing you need to know is that we love our kids.

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