As a woman, it’s always expected that you will want to procreate. That your one mission in life, eventually is to be a mother. I remember in high school my friends talking about the names they had picked out for their eventual babies. I didn’t feel the same and while I didn’t have a life plan, kids didn’t really feature in the image I saw of myself.
You would think that once you are ‘with child’ that they pressure would stop. That society would think, ‘ok she’s made her contribution, we’ll stop hassling her now’, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The minute you have one child, everyone is wondering when you are going to be giving them a brother or sister. Labeling you as ‘cruel’ if you tell them that your child will be an only child. In fact one of the cards I received when Devil Spawn was born had the sentiment ‘he’s gorgeous, can’t wait until you have another one’. I had pushed this baby out a mere week earlier and the pressure had started.
Let’s talk about what is cruel shall we, about the reality of being pregnant and unmedicated. Hormones already do strange things to normally rational women. Add to that a Mental Illness that can’t be medicated while pregnant and you have a recipe for disaster. I was, for lack of a better term, bat shit crazy while pregnant. I would go from crying, to screaming in a matter of minutes. Poor Devil Papa didn’t know what to expect or how to handle it. I could not bring myself to knowingly put Devil Spawn through that.
I use what little motivation I have most days on Devil Spawn. I don’t think that I could spread it over 2 or more children. Am I still being cruel for being happy to stop at one child? It is cruel to realise my weakness and work with what I have? No it’s not. I know my limitations and Devil Spawn will always come first. I know that if it did happen, I would somehow make it work but I would never knowingly try for another child because society has this notion that it’s ‘cruel’ for a child to grow up alone.
I say it’s cruel to bring a child into an environment that can’t cope with it. It’s cruel to have a child not because you want one but because it’s the norm. It’s cruel to bring another child into a family that is already struggling. It is not cruel to realise that you have reached your limits and that you know you can give everything you have to one child, but will struggle with two. It is not cruel if having one child means that they will have a better life, will get what little their mama can offer them at this time. A little spread over 2 is even less. I love Devil Spawn more than I thought it was even possible to love another human being and if I had my time again I’d do it all the same.
How many children do you have? Do you still feel the pressure to keep popping those bubbas out?
Are you childless by choice and feel the pressure to procreate?
Are you childless by choice and feel the pressure to procreate?
I don’t know why I decided five would be a good number. I’ve never regretted having so many but there are a lot of disadvantages and huge costs. I try never to stick my nose in other’s business about how many kids they have though. It’s such a personal thing I agree.
This is where we’re at right now too Pinky, I love our girls and I love the family dynamic and I’d have ten more if pregnancy didn’t (literally) try to kill me every time, but man, feeding them is expensive! And educating them is expensive. And clothing them is expensive. If I’m totally honest I have to admit that I do get a tiny bit jealous when I see friends with one or two kids heading off to Fiji for a holiday. Even so, I wouldn’t change anything – well, I might have married a millionaire instead of a truckie 😉
Three under three here and while those first years were honestly tough, especially with the youngest ten week’s premmie I believe it was much easier on me as they grew together as friends and play mates. While I was (still am for the most part) a hands on mother, I found I had more time for myself and my hubby with three than I ever did with my first.
Parenting/mothering isn’t for everyone, but it is and should be a personal choice, one that isn’t questioned by well meaning relatives and friends.
Here’s an interesting observation for you. My son, in High School, has become friends with a number of only children. As a result, he seems to have a much more active social life than some of his other friends, as his friends are constantly organising group activities (gaming, movies, sleep overs). Now I don’t know for sure, if it’s because they’re only children that they’re organising it, or if they’re just incredibly social people, but I suspect it’s a huge positive of being an only child. So none of this sitting on the xbox all weekend by yourself stuff, that other teens are doing…I don’t think it’s cruel. I’m seeing very lovely, well rounded, chatty teens…
I have one child, not by choice as you know. I’d have at least 2 if not 3 if it were up to me. But sometimes life gives us what we need not what we want. There will always be a hole in my heart that never got filled by that second child. Most people who know me know this and it isn’t a topic of conversation. Strangers who tell me I’m selfish for only having 1 really irk me. By irk I mean bug the everlovingshit out of me. The older the kid gets, the less you have to hear about having another one though it seems. No one really questions me any more. And there are quite a few “only children” (I hate that term personally) at his school.
I can’t believe somebody wrote that on your card FFS. Even though I’ve had three children because they’re all boys occasionally someone will insist that I HAVE TO have a girl. Excuse me? Is somebody coming to arrest me if I don’t? I never thought I’d have 3 to be honest and it has been challenging, for example I personally couldn’t work outside the home and cope with 3 children the way some women do. I have to keep telling myself that my mental health is more important than what others think of me. It’s my mantra.
Oh and that meme cracked me up!
I agree with both Ness & Aroha, there will always be stigma and judgement regardless of the number of children you have. I am actually glad you have decided to take note of your limitations in parenting and mental health. I see so many woman at work (maternity hospital) who are really struggling with mental health issues yet keep having children, which adds more and more pressure to their health and wellbeing and their children’s. Just tell everyone you are sterile or donated your uterus to science-that will shut them up haha.
I think you are right, it’s cruel to bring a child into this world if it’s not really wanted, or parents are unable or don’t want to care for it. We should be able to choose how many kids we have, sadly some of us can only have one , some NONE. I’m grateful for my lot, most days, even though at times I struggle to cope, I’m sure I’m meant to have 3 kids, cos we only get what we can cope with I believe x
There are expectations placed on you at every stage of life. When I had Gilbert and then Matilda I can’t remember the number of comments on “pigeon pairs” I received – apparently I had a boy and a girl and that should be enough. Don’t get me started on the opinions of others on me deciding to have another when i already had kids with special needs…that’s a whole post in itself…
I totally agree with what you have said in that last paragraph Tegan! As a teacher I see and hear so many sad stories about kids who aren’t wanted by their parents, whose parents don’t want them and it breaks my heart. Especially when that joy has not been bestowed upon me and I know so many people who have struggled to have a baby…that’s cruel as welll!!
My sis could only have 1 child, and hated the pressure to have more – as a very private person, she didn’t like having to tell random people that actually she was very lucky to even have 1, as the doctors said she could never have a baby!
We had just the 2 children, mostly because I knew what I could cope with – we didn’t have family or support systems when the kids were small, so I knew the hubster and I were pretty much on our own.
I totally agree with you! It is not cruel to only have one child! I hate all the judgement that goes with anything that people see as not being the norm! I think I’ve been single for so long people have finally given up asking!!
I think Dave and I get, on average, about once a week a comment about having #3. A lot of it comes from having two girls, so everyone thinks you should be trying for a boy, but honestly, even if we did want to have one more, I wouldn’t care if it was a boy or girl, and honestly, I’d almost hope for a girl because I have no idea what to do with a boy and we already have everything for girls anyway, lol! Having same-gendered children makes it so much easier in so many ways, especially financially, which no-one ever seems to think about!
I have three children and yet almost daily I get asked if I will have another, or try for a girl! I realise they are making conversation, but it’s frankly none of anyone’s business!