Yes, I only have one child
I remember the first time someone asked me when I was having another child. Brielle was about a year old, and I was pushing her on the baby swing at a nearby park in Brooklyn. A woman looked at me and asked, “So, when are you having another child? She needs a sibling.” I was completely taken aback at this stranger’s question. I politely said that I didn’t know if/when I was having another. She then started telling me that she had four children, worked, and that it was my obligation to have more kids. I felt my face turn red as I felt a combination of anger and shame. What right did this person have to meddle into my life and tell me what was best for my family?
I wish I could say that was the one and only time I was asked to justify my choice of only having one child. Honestly, I always imagined I would have two children. It never occurred to me that life would have other plans for me.
I love my daughter with every ounce of my being. From the moment she was born, I have had my hands full. Taking care of my child is my number one priority, and my husband’s inability to help due to his addiction resulted in me having to take care of her by myself for many years. It wasn’t until she was four that he got clean, and by then we already saw the warning signs of behavioral and learning issues.
enough with shaming parents for their choices
I think about the women who didn’t think they could have any kids, and were blessed with one child, and how they must feel to be interrogated about it. I certainly don’t think I should have to explain my husband’s addiction or my daughter’s special needs to people; yet everywhere I go, it seems to be a question that people think they have the right to ask.
One time that stands out to me was was at the airport. The TSA agent looked at the three of us and our passports and asked, “Where’s your other child?” to which I replied, “There is no other child.” The look of confusion and bewilderment on his face made me feel like I wanted to crawl under the covers and hide.
When did it become okay to tell people how many children they should have? When did it become appropriate to question people’s life choices? What if I was having difficulty conceiving another child? Why is it ok to judge and dictate what women do with their own bodies?
Not only have I received questions about why I don’t have any more kids, but I’ve also been told that at this point it would be detrimental to Brielle to have a sibling because of the age difference. Say what?! I’ve also had gynecologists tell me that I better try to conceive now because the clock is ticking (I’m 37).
I would understand if I asked someone’s opinion, but why is it open game for anyone and everyone to tell me what is best for my family? I have had strangers ask, parents ask, doctors ask, as well as friends and family. It seems like it is a hot topic for everyone.
to the mom of an only child, you are not a lesser mom
For those of you that have no children or only one child, for whatever personal reason, I want you to know that you shouldn’t have to justify yourself to anyone. If any of you have a clever retort to the endless questions about having children, please send them my way.
I wish I could say that I’m used to people inquiring about my procreation. Unfortunately, that would be a lie. My latest response is, “If and when that happens, you’ll be the first to know.”
The truth is, I don’t know what life will bring, and I hate to use the word never. Maybe I will have another child. Maybe I won’t. I do know that whatever happens, it is a decision that will be made because it is the right choice for us, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Until someone has walked in my shoes, other opinions are simply white noise.
“Ignore the noise and follow your own choice.”- Anonymous
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