“You guys having unprotected sex lately?”
“Are you ovulating, like, right now?”
Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the questions you may as well be asking me when you constantly poll me re: when we are going to “try” for more babies. Plural. Babies. More. Babies. When I give my answer – a great big smile and a shake of my head, “Nope, we are one and done,” and make some joke about when you hit perfection the first time around you don’t have to try again – I see your faces immediately fall.
“Oh,” you say, and I can almost hear the thoughts running around in your head while you try to sort through and pick one of the many completely inappropriate answers that are eventually going to fall out of your pie hole.
Because you really just can’t help it, I’ve decided. You feel the need to say something. And that something is never, ever, “Okay, cool.” Or, “Hey, that’s great.” Or anything else remotely supportive. Here is a sample of the more popular things you like to say and/or imply.
1. “You just have the one then? Plans for another? No? Oh. Oooohh. I am sooo sorry. I mean, lots of women go through this, maybe if you just, you know, relax.”
Well … no, I don’t have fertility issues that I am aware of, but really, that’s just none of your business. If I did, having a biological child isn’t the only solution there is to your chorus of “needing to have more babies” anyway. In fact, we have discussed that fact that if we ever did decide to have more children, we would probably adopt, with or without fertility issues. Thanks for the concern, I guess? But in the future? Maybe you shouldn’t pry into anyone’s fertility issues and talk about “relaxing” because that’s just not any kind of helpful. Also maybe just stay out of my uterus next time. That would be greeaaat.
2. “Oh, that first one must be a handful! Is he a difficult child?”
In fact, I have a wonderfully loving, quirky child who I wouldn’t trade for a million trillion unicorns that poop gold.
3. “I don’t know, I mean, I am just so … maternal. Motherhood is just a calling for me. I just such a mom, you know? I can’t imagine only have one. I guess you just … aren’t quite as maternal.”
Yes, it’s a medical fact that you are not actually a parent until at least two babies have exited your birth canal. It’s totally in medical books. Obviously, I completely lack maternal instinct and am a cold-hearted woman because I don’t fall to pieces at the thought of another baby and the smell of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (that sweet smelling carcinogen).
People, I fall apart looking at my child. Every. Day. He is the best thing that’s hit this earth for several thousand years as far as I’m concerned. I adore him – possibly too much. But I don’t covet your baby or my neighbor’s baby or some random baby at the grocery store. They are all beautiful, lovely creatures I am sure, but you can wave them and their sweet-smelling heads under my nose all you want – I will not be moved. I will hold them and love them and happily give them back to their mothers who wouldn’t trade them for a million trillion unicorns that poop gold.
4. “But what if something happens to him?”
Ooooh, I see. I should have a backup kid. It’s totally like having a spare tire in your trunk, I think. An heir and a spare. Um … no. There are so many things wrong with that argument I refuse to even pretend it exists.
5. “But who is going to take care of you when you get old?”
So we should have another (the spare) so the current (the heir) isn’t left alone to take care of us in our old age. Interesting. But guess what? I didn’t have child so I would have some sort of nursemaid/retirement plan/medical assistance in my old age. Did you? Probably not the best plan. I would maybe look into some investment and insurance options if I were you.
6. “I mean, I didn’t want another but I did it for little so and so. I just couldn’t do that to them. I feel like it’s cruel to have a child go through life alone like that. And you know how only children are.”
Yes, it is my dearest desire to raise a selfish prat because he thinks he is the center of the universe. I actually know a lot of only children and they are some of my favorite people. They turned out just fine. Really well, even, in spite of the fact that they didn’t have someone who pulled their hair or constantly tattled on them as a child. Also, I know a lot of people with multiple children and one or more of those children are already bigger jacklegs than my only child could ever dream of being, even if we spent literal years worshiping him and telling him the sun rises and sets with him, so your argument is invalid, sir.
7. “Oh, he had colic and reflux. No wonder you don’t want another!”
I admit, those first days and nights were tough. Reflux and colic (his) and self-doubt and pain (mine), do not make the memory of those first days fuzzy and warm. However, I do have enough perspective to know they didn’t last and I would go through it all again for my son without question if I had to. It was rough, but it ended. That wouldn’t actually stop me from having another baby.
8. “But you have to have a girl!”
Thank you for demonstrating your complete lack of knowledge about the reproductive process. Moving on.
9. “Well, I guess it would be nice to have so much time to myself and to have all of that extra money, but family is more important to me than that.”
Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head. We are over here rolling around in the piles of money we aren’t spending on diapers and sippy cups while we laugh at all of you people who were crazy enough to reproduce more than once. You must be looking through our windows.
If you really, really want to know why we aren’t having another child, here it is … Drum roll please, the ONE reason we are one and done is …
1- We are content.
We feel complete. And I just know some of you right now are thinking how selfish and horrible that is … but isn’t that what most people say when they decide to have as second or third or fourth? That they don’t feel like their family is complete?
Why is that feeling of completeness only a valid argument for more children, but not for those of us who choose to have just one? We are happy. We are complete. Our child is happy and loved. That’s good enough for us, and it should be for you, too.
And if we ever do decide to adopt our African baby – which is always what I said I would do if I had a second – I look forward to the barrage of inappropriate comments about Ebola and Angelina Jolie-Pitt that will inevitably come. And if we ever decide to have a third, I will look forward to your comments about “knowing what causes pregnancy – heh, heh,” and how we are irresponsible for bringing another child into the world to drink water and use resources and destroy the planet.