One aspect to parenthood that is always so amusing is the question of whether or not my husband and I will have another child. It seems as though these type of questions began even before we decided to plan for our baby. First, is was a heartfelt congratulations about getting married then all of a sudden friends, family, and even strangers began asking the question about when we wanted to start a family. But then something changed…
Now that we have Greyson, who turned three back in March, the question has become whether or not we would have another baby. Almost spoken with an assumption that we would even want another baby. What’s unique about this question is that there is a slight opinion that is disguised within it. When we share that Greyson most likely will be our only child (the good ‘ole, one and done), there’s an immediate reaction and a judgement that follows. It’s almost the same kind of judgement that friends I know receive when they say they don’t want children at all. Gasp! The horror!
Over the years, and having this conversation many times, we’ve come to the conclusion about a few things as parents. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
It’s actually pretty intrusive to ask.
Although everyone who has naturally asked us about our family planning has done so with love and good intent, it’s a question that is awfully intrusive to ask. I have to stop myself at times about filling the conversation space with small talk and asking the same thing when meeting new couples. The point is: it’s a private matter and couples will share when they’re ready or want to talk about it.
You never know the silent struggle couples are going through to conceive.
Another thing to keep in mind, and to be sensitive to, is considering that you have friends, family, or will meet complete strangers out there who are trying but silently struggling to have children…or more children! Never assume that just because they have a baby already that pregnancy comes easily to them. Asking questions about having children or more children can be a source of pain without even knowing.
Children are expensive.
I adore my son to death, but that kind of love doesn’t pay the bills. Or his bills for that matter.
Between the doctors visits during pregnancy, buying all the baby stuff, giving birth and affording the hospital stay, the pediatrician appointments, vaccines, and later on paying for childcare, babysitters, and schooling…nevermind still being responsible for everyday things like food, clothing, and shelter. That shit’s expensive. So unless you’re willing to regularly donate to my GoFundMyBaby, please don’t assume we have the means to have more kids. This is especially true for couples going through IVF or surrogacy – that shit’s even more expensive.
Assume we feel complete as a family.
This was the best way I could explain to people who have asked about us having another child. We just feel complete. I feel complete as a mother. Sure, I often go back and forth about what it would be like to do this all again and to give Greyson a sibling, but for right now our family is perfectly imperfect as a household of three. By making this assumption in the first place will curb any inclination to ask about more kids.
Not all ‘only children’ need siblings.
This has been the biggest response we’ve gotten over the years about the subject of having more kids. “Don’t you want to give Greyson a friend to play with and grow up with?” Honestly? No. We don’t feel the need to have another child for the purpose of giving Grey a friend.
Instead, we’re focusing on ways to socialize and guide him knowing the challenges that face only children. There are plenty of successful people who grew up without siblings and we are confident Greyson will also be perfectly fine.
Whatever your opinion, it doesn’t really matter.
Everyone’s family is going to be different so it’s important to respect their choices no matter what they are. Whether it’s to have no children, one child, or seventeen, all parents should be given the respect they deserve knowing they’re building their families the way they want to.