Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to Expect When You're NOT Expecting

“It isn’t the size of the family, it’s the interactions of the members inside." Michele Borba

A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook. It was of her daughter entering daycare for the last time. A big moment. A milestone. Certainly a bittersweet one. The end of one era with daycare and the beginning of another one with Kindergarten. The first person to comment in the thread underneath the picture said, "Time to have another baby."

Not knowing the relationship between this person and my friend, I resisted the urge to call him a tool for all the world to see in a corresponding comment. I did, however, want to reach through my computer screen and smack him.

Why do people feel the need to say these things? Of all of the comments you can make, THAT is the first one that comes to mind?

From Summer 2012
My Director and I have one child. For reasons both within and beyond our control, there is a strong probability we will not have a second child. We've left a small window open to the prospect of a second somewhere down the road. Maybe. For the most part, however, we have come to accept and embrace being a one-child family. Instead of fretting about whether to have a second, and when; instead of stressing over all of the emotional, financial, and psychological factors that enter into the baby-having equation, we've decided to stop and enjoy life. We are at peace with that decision, albeit a bit reluctantly.

Now only if everyone else were at peace with it too. Mainly, my mom. But others as well. People just can't help themselves. Why? Why do they need to question, assume, and prod? Someone actually thought it appropriate to tell Peanut that she will have a little brother or sister someday. How do they know? Can they predict the future?

Contrary to what others may believe or practice, we do not share the sordid details from the bedroom with our five year-old. And since she doesn't know what else to say - because she's FIVE - she responds to these inappropriate comments by agreeing. "Yeah they're taking a long time," she says. Or she'll just make up the fact that My Director IS in fact pregnant. Both have happened before. And that opens the door for assumptions. Assumptions about - what else - our sex life and our perceived fertility problems. Why are you so interested in whether we're procreating? That's creepy if you ask me.

People also look for any opportunity for us to have another baby. Even when there is none. Like when one of us changes jobs, gets a pay increase, or saves a ton of money by switching to Geico. Someone will inevitably and enthusiastically say, "Now you can have a second." Wait... what? How does one have anything to do with the other? That's not what we were thinking. Why is it what you were thinking? Why is it the FIRST THING you were thinking? Again, why is it any of your business?

Or if we're spending an evening alone, away from Peanut, we'll get, "Mark your calendar. You'll have a baby nine months from tonight. Wink. Wink." Uh... no we won't... head shake... eye roll... sigh. There are ways of preventing conception, FYI. Couples are known to do that... on purpose. Bizarre as that may seem. But thank you for your rude innuendo.

They just assume another child is inevitable. God forbid if my wife isn't drinking at a social event, or if she passed on the shrimp cocktail. Their immediate response is, "Are you pregnant?" No. Stop asking. You're annoying.

Gossip. Nosiness. Assumptions. That's what we get.

We also get pity. Because, for some reason, people think our family is incomplete. Family, friends, acquaintances. They're all guilty. We appreciate the concern. But I am being sincere when I say that we are the best judge of what we need. We have decided for now we are one-child people. Whatever our reasons are, they are our reasons.
Our Sweet Family, Halloween 2012
This just works for us. Take a good look our family. Don't we look happy? Content? Shouldn't that be enough for everyone? It is for us. That's all that matters.

This post originally appeared on Barista Kids in August. To read my original defense of the only child, where I compare Peanut to an Olympic champion, click here.


  1. Awesomesauce! You have much greater control than I ever could. I would have leaped down the throat of these people. Rant on, we're listening and rooting for you all.

  2. I would NEVER say that. Not that I'm complaining, but sibling rivalry SUCKS. Just sayin...

  3. Multiple kids leads to exponential work. And I know... Tony and I have three between us. Do I regret having two? Absolutely not. Would it have been easier with one? Hell YEAH!

    I had a friend who said, having only one made sure that he and his wife could focus solely on raising that child. Funneling all their efforts into them, and ensuring that they did a good job with the one they were blessed with.

    Turns out, their kid is awesome. Go figure. :)

  4. Just think... When you become a world renowned blogger you will have so much time for a second child.

  5. Studies show that only children are better.

  6. If you had two, they'd ask when you were having a third... and then when you have three, you get the "you know what's causing that, right?" comments or "you ever gonna stop?" Nobody is EVER gonna be happy with what you're doing with your genitals - they're always gonna comment. It's like.. okay world, what's the perfect number of kids to have? Cuz I think it's 2.5 -- 2 is not enough and 3 is too many. So I say do what you want and eff the rest of 'em.

  7. It goes the other way too. When I was pregnant with our 3rd daughter I kept getting "are you done now" "so this is the last right" people feel the need to tell you when you are ready and when you are done being a parent it seems

  8. We went through the same thing. Our boys are 5 years apart. Boy2 came along about a year after we resigned to having only 1. We started giving stuff away. We tried for 2 years, and said, well, that's that. We got sick of hearing it too. The bonus was, we really got to know our first one before the second one came along.

  9. Before my second child came along, we were very often put in the same position. Sadly, now that we have two, everyone still asks if we want another- but now its in a condescending 'you shouldn't be allowed to procreate' tone. Like because money is tight, our second should have never happened. Like I am in someway harming my children by having them and being broke. For a long time I was really comfortable with the idea of having only one child. My oldest is amazing, and alone would still probably be more joy and happiness than I could ever imagine. I never felt like our family was 'incomplete' without our second- as it never was. My family has always been- and will be- perfectly complete. I was never meant to have babies so close together- in fact when my oldest was two, we suffered a miscarriage- a six year age difference is probably all I could handle. Life tends to work out that way- you get what you can handle right?

    What I've found to be even more mind boggling than the "when are you going to try again" crap, is the belief that if your not "trying" then you must be "not trying". In fact it seemed to aggrivate my OBGYN to no end. They always asked me if I wanted birth control, and if I'm not comfortable with my old contraceptives, have I looked into other kinds. As if its wrong to just let things happen. Why do I have to have it one way or another? I'm not 15 years old- I'm a fully functioning adult who has the right to say no to unnecessary hormones raging through my body. I'm perfectly capable of deciding when and when not to use contraceptives on my own. That is a decision for me and my husband and no one else, and I'm responsible enough to deal with whatever my decisions bring. And I'm pretty sure my family is just the right size, but should I decide to work on a third, thats no one elses business either, whether we're broke or not. Are only wealthy people allowed to have more than one child?

  10. When I was pregnant with twins I often heard "I hope you have a boy and a girl, because then you done"! What! Thanks for filling me in on my life people;).

  11. Thank you for this. I live it every day; people have no idea the pain they cause with this type of thoughtless remark. The conversation I seem to have a lot of is:

    "How many children do you have?"
    "Why only one?"

    If I actually told them the reason "why only one", I'd be accused of TMI and being a downer. If I said, Back off, you're being overly personal, I imagine I'd be too sensitive.

    I finally settled on "It was not my choice," and anyone who doesn't back off at that point, well, I just walk away.

  12. I have never understood why others are so interested in the decisions other people make. I have 3 girls (10, 8, & 5) and I still get asked if we are going to "try for a boy." Even if there was some way to guarantee the 4th would be a boy, what is wrong with just having girls??? It really is nobody's business but our - and your family's decision is nobody's business but yours.


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