I think I’d been pregnant with Seth for all of three months when people started asking when we were going to have the next one.
We’d kept quiet for a long time, just in case and all that and when we told people we were expecting congratulations, well wishes, somewhat weird advice. I was not expecting the constant inquiries about future pregnancies. Hell, I was barely into this pregnancy!
We’ve always been pretty candid so I would say, honestly, that we weren’t. This almost invariably resulted in aghast stares. I didn’t mind the stares so much, though. It was the lectures that followed which I found exhausting.
“You can’t have only one!”
“Only children are spoiled!”
“That is so selfish of you!”
And those were the nice comments.
Never mind any medical issues that I might have, or plans for the future, or financial challenges. People were militant. After he was born a coworker with whom I’d spent less than four hours, ever, literally screamed in my face during her passionate lecture on the dangers of an only child. She railed about everything ranging from him being spoiled and unable to share all the way how it could “make him gay or think he’s a girl”. If I tried to politely change the subject she would get more worked up until I finally asked her if she’d bothered to consider that maybe I couldn’t have another child. I’ll admit to enjoying the look of all the blood draining out of her face.
For the record, I am not unable to have more children. My doctor just isn’t hugely in favor of it. As it turns out, hemorrhaging during delivery isn’t a good thing. Nor was it my intention to make light of any woman’s experiences with infertility. It is my hope that in the future she’ll reflect back on our conversation before going off on another aggressive rant with someone who might legitimately have that struggle.
That said, even if I could have more with no risk, we wouldn’t.
I guess I am selfish, because for me he’s enough. He’s my sunshine, the perfect third to our small team, and never once since I met him have I felt like we needed to add anyone else. I come from a large family (aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters EVERYWHERE) and I loved it. But I have no desire to go that route and neither does my kind, loving, compassionate, generous only child of a husband.
Two things: 1) I am absolutely not in any way belittling anyone who decides to have more than one child, or a dozen children. It’s all about what makes your family feel whole, and mine feels whole just as we are. 2) My husband has two sisters but we were 17 when the first one arrived and 21 for the second so… only child.
At one point we wanted four. Then it was two. For a long time we didn’t want any. One is perfect for us. We will never have to divide time or resources. We will never have to split up because one kid has a play and the other has a game. We will be able to put him through college.
Now onto the crazier things I’ve been asked:
Aren’t you worried he’ll be lonely?
Nope, if he’s anything like his dad he’ll attract friends like a free ice cream truck. If he’s like me… we’ll put him in a lot of after school stuff. There’s always a weirdo or two looking for a buddy.
What if he gets into drugs/alcohol/the devil’s music?
Oh, well in that case we’ll sell him to gypsies and have a replacement.
What if he dies?
Um… That would be absolutely awful? How would having another kid make losing my child hurt less? Because I had a backup plan? How about we don’t EVER talk like that again because that is a terrifying and cruel thing to say to anyone no matter what the circumstance.
What if you change your mind and it’s too late?
Well, I don’t see us changing our minds but did you know it’s almost never too late to adopt a child? Thousands of kids in the system need forever homes and should we ever decide we have the resources and energy to take on another kid or two, you can bet we’ll be bringing home someone who needs us.
Concerned citizens ranged from close family members to total strangers and sometimes I couldn’t tell you which was more upsetting. More than one person was told that if Seth wasn’t enough for them they were welcome to stay out of his life. Thankfully the ones who care about me have mostly accepted our decision. We still get a snarky, “Oh you say that NOOOOOWWWW but you’ll change your mind” every once in a while but we expected that. I just say what we’ve said all along. He’s enough.