I’m struggling with something lately that I wouldn’t be struggling with if every single person I run into didn’t ask me/tell me the same things. I’m struggling with our decision to have only one child. I’m not struggling with it because I necessarily think I want more children, I’m struggling with it because everyone ELSE is struggling with it.
It goes something like this:
Stranger: “Oh, your baby is adorable”
Me: “Thank you!”
Stranger: “Is it a boy?”
Me: “No, girl, but yeah, it’s hard to tell at this age” (cringe, she IS wearing pink and has a bow in her hair, but I’m glad people don’t assume…)
Stranger: “Oh, look at those legs! Somebody is hungry” (or, “someone eats well” or “somebody likes to eat”)
Me: “Yeah, she doesn’t go hungry, that’s for sure!”
Stranger: “Is she your first?”
Me: “Yeah, she is, we are so in love with her!”
Stranger: “When are you going to have another?”
Me: (In my head: WTF?); Out loud: “Oh, we probably aren’t” or “Oh, I think she’s our one and only.”
Stranger: “Oh, you HAVE to have another one…”
Ok. Listen. I get how great siblings are. I do. I have two amazing siblings – now that we are older they are my best friends. I adore them. Growing up, I pretty much adored them too – I mean, when I didn’t want to kill them. But, we had a great childhood. Loads of wonderful, warm, fun memories. Simply wonderful. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
But, we are having one kid. I’m pretty sure we are just having this one kiddo. I mean, for Pete’s Sake, for the longest time we weren’t even going to have one! Then some things happened, we grew up, we remembered we were in total love with one another and that we actually both wanted to have a child. Our child. Actually, I had a moment where I’d hoped we’d have twins – but that was a fleeting moment. With all the late nights, early mornings, diapers and breastfeeding and bottles, thinking about two at a time now makes my head spin!
I know that there are all sorts of things that can happen and that “surprise silbings” sometimes happen. And I know there are folks who really are happy having three, four, seven and ten children. But can’t we be happy with just one? Can everyone be happy for us for just our one? Why is it that once you have one kid, everyone is in such a big hurry to make sure you have another one. We have thought long and hard about this; we can afford one child. We can afford to travel to and from our families in other states with one child. We can afford vacations with our one child. We can afford splurges on fun things with our one child. We can afford to plan for college for our one child. I’m not so sure that we could do that with more than one child. I recognize that having siblings is a great thing and if our lives were different in a few ways (we lived in a place that costs a bit less to live, we had jobs that paid a bit more, we were just a wee bit younger) then perhaps, perhaps, I might even be thinking about this differently. And I admit, I do already miss the smooshy-ness of my newborn and am already scared that she’s growing up too quickly and am already dreading the times when she doesn’t want to cuddle — and will that make me want to have another baby? When all those moments finally pass? Maybe. Maybe I’ll find a friend who has a newborn and babysit to get my fix. Maybe.
I just want to be happy with our one, beautiful, perfect, amazing little daughter and enjoy all the moments we have with her. I think people with one child have a whole lot to offer that one child and much like I believe that people who choose not to have children are not “missing” anything, that their lives are not incomplete because they don’t have kids, I feel like our decision to have one child in our life – one perfect little human – doesn’t mean we OR SHE – will miss out either. Her parents love her, more than we can even put into words. She is our everything. One may be the loneliest number to some people, but there are three of us in our little family…and that, I hope, means none of us will be lonely at all!