Published 10:52 AM EDT May 10, 2020
CHILLICOTHE — After the birth of their first child, the Rev. Anne Pairan and her husband, Tom, decided to grow their family. As the couple was expecting to once again have a single child, they were surprised to learn Anne was pregnant with triplets.
In 2010, Anne and Tom welcomed their first child Jonathan into the world. And while the couple was hoping to provide a sibling to Jonathan, Anne learned she was pregnant with three babies — now 7-year-old Nicholas, Noelle and Abigail. For the Pairan family, there is no shortage of wonder, curiosity and love even amid this time of uncertainty.
“[Becoming a mother] absolutely changed my world,” Anne said. “Before having kids, all of my activities were based on my own wants and desires. After having children you realize that it is our responsibility to raise them.”
Anne grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota before moving to central Kentucky as a teenager. After graduating high school, she enrolled at the University of Kentucky where she pursued a degree in early childhood education. From there, she traveled to Columbus to attend Trinity Lutheran Seminary and studied theology, earning a Master of Divinity degree. Anne has gone on to serve in congregations in northern Kentucky, Minnesota and central Ohio.
Last July, Tom, who also attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary, began his ministry at Calvary Lutheran Church in Chillicothe where the family now resides. For two years, Anne worked at OhioHealth hospice and currently took a call to Ross Correctional Institution as their chaplain.
With a full and busy home, Anne says that all four of her children have unique talents and activities that they enjoy pursuing. Both Tom and Anne encourage the children to try new things and explore the world. Even amidst a pandemic, Anne says the Pairan children play well together.
When Anne learned that she was pregnant for the first time, she remembers feeling extremely excited. Her first pregnancy was normal and the couple welcomed Jonathan into the world. Three years later, Anne was pregnant with triplets. Although some women experience complications with a multiple pregnancy, Anne’s went very well.
To her, the most difficult part was staying home after 24 weeks. She transitioned from being a full-time pastor working in a church and a nursing home to staying home alone by herself. Anne recalls feeling very isolated and scared but was thankful the babies were born without any complications. The triplets were born at five pounds each and Anne and Tom were able to bring them home after three days at the hospital.
“It was a pretty overwhelming time to taking care of four young children,” Anne said. “I think the hardest part was the lack of sleep, but honestly, our kids were pretty well behaved even when they were young.”
As a twin herself, and taking the experience from her first child, Anne felt fairly confident being a mom of triplets. Although she says like with everything, it comes with challenges and blessings. Anne has also utilized her degree in early childhood education when it comes to parenting.
Tom and Anne do their best to help their children explore their community and the world around them. Anne says her approach to parenting includes allowing kids to be kids for as long as possible and not pushing them into sports and activities but allowing them to pursue their interests with support. Furthermore, Anne says that it’s important to provide as much positive feedback as possible and to take time to listen — also give a lot of hugs.
Yet it’s also important for new and seasoned mothers to trust their instincts. For Anne, living in a world with social media means that everyone else will have something to say about your approach to parenting. As a result, many mothers may feel like they are inadequate when in reality, they’re doing a great job. Although to Anne, the role of the mother means reading with her children, helping them learn to back, teaching them responsibilities and nurturing them, that may look different in every household.
“Try not to listen, because there will be plenty of advice and most of it will be bad,” Anne said.
Furthermore, Anne believes it’s important to overcome society’s expectations of what a mother should do. When her children were young, Anne stayed home to care for them. Some of that was because she didn’t want her children to be in daycare all day but it was also because daycare is expensive and hard to find.
And with the changes brought on with the coronavirus, like distance learning and working from home, Anne says her family has been working to cope with those challenges. In addition to their own work, Anne and Tom have also been managing their children’s education with everything else that needs to be done at home. Thankfully, despite some struggles, Anne says her kids have done a good job of being home and finding things to do.
To Anne, motherhood means raising the children that God has blessed her with. And over the years, she plans to shower her children with hugs and kisses while cherishing the moments they have together.
“I cherish being their mother,” said Anne. “I am constantly amazed at what they learn each and every day. It really isn’t a cliche — they grow up fast.”
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