Yes, I know I only have one child.
Yes, I see a bunch of absolutely beautiful families around me every day that have two, three, four or more kids!
Yes, I can see bigger families and am happy for them, but I can also be happy with my small, wonderful little family of three (four, if you count our stage-five clinger dog who truly believes he is human like us).
Yes, I understand that something about having one kid does not quite seem right to some; like one is not enough or truly complete.
But for me, one child IS enough, at least for now. And if I can be content with it, why can’t others? I should not have to explain or defend why we “ONLY” have one kid.
My son is my heart; he is my everything. My husband and I are so lucky to have the child we have, and whether we decide to have another baby is really nobody else’s business but our own.
I’ve lost count of how many times I have been asked, “When are you going to give him a brother or a sister?” or “When are you guys going to start trying again?”
Usually when I say that we are happy for now with one child, it elicits some kind of look of confusion, disappointment…or worse: Judgy eyes. Or a statement like, “Oh, I see…interesting.”
He has plenty of friends and cousins and play dates and opportunities for social interaction; I do not want anybody to be worried if somehow I am scarring his life by potentially not having another baby. Our “just one” is completely happy, taken care of and whole-heartedly, unabashedly loved to pieces.
I will always remember when my son was just three months old, how I was surprised to be asked SO often when we were going to start trying again. Co-workers, strangers, acquaintances…I became prepared to be asked by really anybody and everybody I encountered.
I mean, how is this line of questioning even a thing? Certainly this is not just my life; others must be enduring this kind of crazy questioning, right? Can someone, anyone, please come flick these people in the forehead (not once or twice, but thrice)!
Anyway, when my son was so young, I am pretty sure every time I was asked about plans to expand our family, my facial expression must have transformed into a mix of an ugly face, a pained face, an open-mouthed, blank stare and an “I’m sorry for the face I am making when you are talking” look.
Dear goodness people, I thought. My vagina just shot out a nearly 10-pound baby with a bulbous head weeks ago; can I please heal and revel in all the beauty and craziness of newfound parenthood, which includes a total lack of sleep and an attempt to get acclimated to my post-partum body?
(On a side note, he really did almost slip out of the doctor’s hands when he was first born. But, I digress.)
I’m not saying that there is necessarily malicious judgment about only having one kid nowadays, but judgment definitely exists. And it can be ignorant.
Social media has undoubtedly transformed our society into a more sharing society; we are often frittered with a lot of TMI, countless selfies, opinions galore, food pictures and check-ins (because we have to know where everyone is at any given moment, right?). We know way more than we need to know, way more than we want to know and way more than we should know about the people in our life: Family, former friends, current friends, former classmates and co-workers, current friends and co-workers, acquaintances, Zumba friends, coffee buddies, etc. It’s like we see certain statuses about financial problems, relationship struggles, personal matters and more…even digestion issues…and we can’t help but cringe, yet not look away. We can’t unsee some of the things we have read or the pictures we have viewed. We are directly or indirectly brought into the good, the bad and the ugly of certain people’s lives; we know so much because it was offered so easily to the world.
In a way, we have all been desensitized and molded to perhaps feel entitled to ask others invasive questions, whether we perceive those questions to be invasive or not.
But the truth is we are not entitled; we should not feel we maintain a license to inquire unconditionally and without restraint.
Yet, it is done ALL the time…and it makes me sad.
I recently ran into a former co-worker, and this individual, within literally TWO minutes, asked me, “So what’s the status of you guys having another baby?
Um, the status? Huh?
The status is stfu because I never promised you a status, I thought.
I, of, course went the polite route and said we are happy with our amazing little boy and small family right now.
“Are you sure?” she asked with buggy eyes.
Um, what I’m sure of is that this is absolutely none of your business, I wanted to say.
But instead, I just nodded and smiled, examining the specimen standing before me, illuminating a total and utter lack of social etiquette.
Whether questions such as about family planning are asked tactfully or abrasively, regardless, it can put people in a difficult spot. It can create awkwardness. It can stir up hard feelings. It can hurt someone or cast a lingering shadow on their day.
I am still often asked if we are going to give our toddler a brother or a sister; are we “trying?”
“Trying” always elicits thoughts of people asking me about my sex life, because essentially, that’s what “trying” is: Fornicating or “getting it on” or any other way you want to describe it.
Is there nothing else you can talk to me about? Seriously. Ewwww.
You don’t know if we want another baby, or if we don’t. You don’t know if we have tried; if we have suffered loss and heartache. You don’t know these things, and you don’t need to know these things. I’m not trying to sound mean or harsh, but it’s somewhat of a blow every time someone asks me if I’m going to have another baby. I was raised to always be polite, so I have to take a deep breath and fake a smile sometimes.
We don’t know everyone’s dreams, wishes, background, journey or struggles (unless they shared it all on social media, which is always a possibility for some). And, it’s not our business to always know all of those things, despite how we have been influenced by social media and the changing times of blind acceptance and accessibility.
When asking about “trying,” people sometimes do not realize the question might sting. You don’t know if they have had a miscarriage. Or if they suffer from infertility. Or if they have their hands full with the child they are blessed to have, and do not feel the urge to expand the family. Or if they are currently (and desperately) undergoing any and every measure to try to get pregnant.
Or just don’t want to have a conversation alluding to their sex lives.
I am not saying that people who accidentally or intentionally slip out of social graces and etiquette by asking about family planning or intentions are full-blown a-holes, or that they are in any way monsters or “bad people.” Yet, I am saying that they are wrong to ask; they are impolite to inquire about such things.
I know it is old school advice, but it is so true: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And if you don’t truly know a person, or even if you do or think you do, avoid asking loaded questions. Talk about the weather, traffic, food, the hideous outfit you saw at the mall or the ZILLION other things you can talk about; stay out of potentially sticky situations.
One thing I know for sure is that if someone wants to share with you, they will. If someone feels comfortable sharing with you, they will. If someone needs to share or discuss, they will.
Just take one scroll of your Facebook feed and you will see: There are all sorts of people wanting to share (and that is totally ok). Yet, there are still some of us out there who don’t want to just spill out everything from our personal vault or dreams or plans. That is ok, too; just like my little family of three.