'It's nobody else's business whether I have boys, girls or aliens with me'
Amy Farrell knows all about the comments people make to the mothers of large families.
With five beautiful sons - aged nine, seven and four as well as 18-month-old twins - the 35-year-old from Delgany, Co Wicklow, is a veteran of the 'pass-remarkable' habits of the common-or-garden bystander.
"I get unbelievable comments," she recalls. "One remark that really annoyed me was 'So have you learned how it happens, now?'
"I have had that comment from men and women who are complete strangers to me.
"However, on one occasion the remark was made by an older man in his 60s who approached me in a supermarket. I felt quite creeped out.
"I've also been asked if I know how expensive it is to rear children - almost as if I was being told off for having them! This kind of thing happens usually when I am out with all of the kids.
"I got married at 24 because I wanted to start my family at a young age," she says, adding that she believes people often don't mean to offend. "I also get compliments from people who are nostalgic about the fact that there are fewer large families than there used to be.
"However, when my husband and I are out with the children we feel like a bit of a circus! People will look at me with the five boys.
"The average family now is two children and anything outside of that attracts attention. Sometimes I feel self-conscious about it," she says, adding that she also often gets questions about how disappointed she is not to have a girl.
"At one stage so many people were going on at me about having a girl that I really felt under pressure to have one. I feel there is sometimes a negative side to the comments.
"It's no-one else's business whether I have boys, girls or aliens - or how many of them I have. We support our children and we do everything for them and it's our business."