As a child in a family of nine children and various foster children it never occurred to me that we were odd. We lived in the country and in a ward were there were many, many families with six or more children. We went grocery shopping once a month, because we lived so far away and my mother would buy at least two grocery carts full of food. She was often asked if she ran a school or other such comments and she just delighted in telling the people that these were all of her children. I do not ever remember it effecting her negatively, but we were not in public very often all together.
When I got married and moved to town the largest family in our ward had five children and we were told we needed to wait to have children as we were too young-we moved out nine months later, one month before our first child was due. We have lived in various places since then and I think that the locality does have a lot to do with the reactions you get. My sister has four daughters under five and has never got a comment, but she lives in Utah. I live in a lower middle class area of California and I constantly get comments and looks, but I think most are along the lines of shock that I am doing something that others view as impossible. I think because of the break down of the family, ecspecially in many parts of California people just do not know how to put family first. All they know is their own wants and desires and have not been trained to rear children well or keep up with a home. For many of these people I can understand why they think this must be so hard or near impossible. And without training and sacrifice I think they are probably right. Some women would even like to have a large family, but do not know where to turn for the training.
Saying all of this I have found that when I am engaged with the children, laughing, talking or adoring them I get less comments or looks of irritation and more smiles of admiration. I get a lot of "you have your hands full." When my reply is simply yes with a smile at my children I have often gotten comments like, "but you seem to be so good at it," or "it must be fun to have a large family."
I do so feel sorry for those who do not understand the joy of it. My children told me last night that they wanted at least three more brothers and four sisters. I know that they love having so many siblings and they are thrilled and proud that I am pregnant now. They play so well and have such sweet comments for me. My 8 yo son told me the other day that he thought I had survived a childhood accident so that I could grow up and have him and his brothers and sister and teach them the gospel and he was so happy I had taught it to him and knew that we were supposed to have families and care more about families then money. He gets it and I would venture to say he is a lot happier than most single children simply because of so many siblings and parents who put the family first. Others miss this point and while they may have more vacations and days off, they won't have much of what we do have.
As the world leaves the family and selflessness for selfishness, the comments and looks will probably increase. We must just smile and focus on our families and not them.