A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook last week. It was of her daughter, who starts Kindergarten next month, entering daycare for the last time. A big moment. A milestone. Certainly a bittersweet one. The first person to comment 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?
My wife 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 have come to accept this. 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.
Now only if everyone else were too.
But people can’t help themselves. Why? Why do they need to question, assume, and prod? What possesses someone to tell my child 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 telling people that my wife is in fact pregnant. Or she’ll say we’re taking a long time. 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 our daughter, we’ll get, “Mark your calendar. You’ll have a baby nine months from tonight. Wink. Wink.” There are ways of preventing conception, just so ya know. 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 coming eventually. 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.
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.
Justin is a husband, dad, and writer who also blogs about the adventures of parenting his one child at Daddy Knows Less.