I’m pregnant with my fourth baby right now. Any mom who’s bore that many children—and even some with just two or three—knows what it's like to share the news of another pregnancy. People are quick to make comments like:

"Are you pregnant again? How many is that now?
"Another baby? Oh no!"
"You're having another boy? I am so sorry!"
"Do you know how that happens? Oh, honey. I need to take you out to coffee and we need to have a little chat..."

Whenever I hear these responses, I cringe inside, but smile and reply:

"Yes, I am! Four!"
"No, we're happy...really!"
"I'm excited to have another boy...yes, really!"
(And yes, we know how it happens. We like it a lot).

Moms shouldn’t have to try to convince people they’re happy to have another baby. (Nor should dads, who also hear snide remarks as they have more kids. CT blogger Peter Chin wrote that he started getting Duggar jokes after having just four kids.)

But in a country where more women are delaying childbirth and having fewer children, “big” families are bound to face pushback. Parents are told that it’s not financially responsible. Or that it’s bad for the planet. Sites like The Federalist have called out feminists and leftists for judging moms, but the comments I heard all came from faithful, Christian women.

One of the foundational elements of a Christian worldview declares that humans are made in the image of God. And because of this truth, all life is precious, worth saving, worth dying for, worth celebrating. Sadly, our society, even members of the church—even I—can forget that. I've rolled my eyes when others announced their third, fifth...eighth pregnancies. When newlyweds become pregnant, I've thought, “Good grief! Honeymoon baby? They didn't waste any time did they?”

When I was 13, I was introduced to a girl who was a few years older than me through a church ministry. She was 16—and pregnant. I was shocked when my mom told the girl, “Congratulations!” I just stood there thinking how wrong it was. How could my mom congratulate this girl? She was pregnant when she clearly should not have been pregnant.

Now, wishing people would offer their congratulations rather than joking judgment, I realize the amazing example my mother gave me. As a pro-life woman, she recognizes that no matter the circumstances, a baby is given by God.

What better time to remember this than during the season of Advent? As we celebrate the birth of Christ, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), we remember that the way Jesus took on flesh was scandalous, even shameful, from a worldly point of view. We don’t know the reactions Mary received as her belly swelled with new life. We can assume that there side-long glances, whispers, shaken heads, or cruel comments from family, friends, and strangers. Even her own fiancé was initially determined to legally dissolve their betrothal.

Mary knew she was “blessed” (Luke 1:46), but the only thing the world saw was that she was pregnant when she should not have been pregnant. The teen mom, the mother having yet another baby, and Mary herself became pregnant in radically different circumstances, but each pregnancy resulted in a life given by God.

No matter the context, the gift of a baby is always worth affirming—without judgment, without eye-rolling, rude comments, or snide remarks. Just celebration. Just "Congratulations."

A version of this post originally ran on Brittany’s blog, mengalings.blogspot.com.

Brittany Meng is wife to Aaron and the mother of three, soon to be four, wild boys (including twins!). When she isn’t referring wrestling matches or grading English papers, she loves to cook, drink tea with friends, and curl up in bed with a good book. She also blogs about everything from menu planning, to going through miscarriage, to being a homeschool alumna and a public school mom.

Photo by Andrew Seaman / Flickr.