There’s something about parenthood that brings out the nosiest and crazy in some people. From the moment you become pregnant, the personal questions begin that are full of judgment if you answer “incorrectly” according to the inquirer’s beliefs.
Will you deliver naturally? Or will you use an epidural? Will you bottle-feed or breast feed? Will you be staying home or a working mother?
And the questions do not cease once the wee one is born. Oh no, then it’s a whole new set of questions. The most frequent being, “Will you be having a second?”
I remember being asked this question when Sophie was only one month old. I was polite and laughed off the question. But what I really wanted to say was, “Are you crazy?! It’s all I can do convince myself that having one was good choice, and you’re already asking me about a second?!”
Once Sophie turned 2-years-old, the question continued with much more fervor. The few times I’ve answered this question honestly – we’re not sure if we want another child – I get looks of contempt and statements such as, “You HAVE to have at least two!” So I stick with my stock answer, “We’re just happy with Sophie right now and enjoying our time with her.”
Bryan and I both come from families with siblings. I’m the oldest of three sisters, and Bryan has one younger brother. So naturally, we always assumed we’d have at least two children. But I must say that now, the thought of a second child is not on our radar now and I’m really not sure if it will be in the future.
This is not, in any way, me saying we regret having a child. On the contrary, Sophie is the best thing we’ve ever done and I am fascinated every day by her and what she brings to our lives. I love her so much and enjoy nearly every moment with her.
And that’s precisely the point. I want to enjoy Sophie and not have to worry about splitting my time among two, three, four children.
It takes a lot in this day and age to raise a child and do it well. There are the financial responsibilities to consider. We’re not living in the same age as our parents or grandparents. Living expenses are higher and many of us have debt that our parents never incurred. To live in a decent house and a nice neighborhood, we have to pay a hefty mortgage (at least you do here in San Diego). And to do that, both Bryan and I must continue to work. (Not to mention the fact that I enjoy working – most of the time.) This means that we need to devote a portion of our income to childcare. That being said, I don’t think we could afford to have two kids in childcare at the same time.
And let’s talk about education. When we were growing up, public schools were the main option for schooling. But now, the state of public schools is not something to desire (in my opinion). Bryan and I have seen how much more well-rounded an education can be at a private school, and how the attitude toward learning is so different. We want that environment for Sophie. But with two kids, we’d probably have to kiss the dream of private school good-bye.
And then, of course, there’s time. As it stands now, I work very hard to live a balanced life. It’s often times a struggle to be sure I make time for work, my family, my dogs (who hardly ever get walked anymore), my house, and myself. For my own health and mental sanity, I don’t think I can – nor want – to add anything else to my already crammed lifestyle.
So what’s wrong with just having one child and being happy with that decision?
I’ve heard the arguments for having more kids: Children deserve siblings. With a sibling, kids learn to rely on each other, not always the parent. The daughter/son will have someone to lean on when the parent pass on. It’s lonely being an only child. Will they learn social development as an only child?
These are all great things to consider. And Bryan and I have talked about them at length. But it’s a personal decision and the bottom line is – right now – we don’t want another child. We’re perfectly happy with what we have and making this life work. And to us, the worst thing to do is bringing a human into this world that’s not really wanted. To us, all those reasons can’t justify having a child if we don’t really want it ourselves.
Maybe in time our attitude will change. Maybe we will want another one some day. And if that’s the case, I’m sure we’ll make it work. But for now, I’ll take my life the way it is –.one wonderful child, simple and complete!