Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just The One, Then?

It's the way of our society...

New boyfriend?    Lovely.    When are you getting engaged, then?
Engaged?    How gorgeous.    When are you tying the knot, then?
Newylweds?    So romantic.    Babies soon, then?
One child?    Cute.    When's number two, then?
Two children?    Sweet.    When are you going for the third, then?

Heck, I subscribed to this very script myself.

I know it's not personal, but people seem a little preoccupied with my single child situation.
Preoccupied as in sometimes downright obsessed with bullying me about little brothers and sisters, cluckiness and pregnancy detecting.
People as in friends, Hubby's family, playgroup, work colleagues, school parents, the local chemist, our lovely friend at the local IGA, the sweet lady in line at the bank, the guy next to me on the rower at the gym, the Mums at the park, neighbours....

Walking back from the local shops with Magoo the other day, I found myself chanting :
Everywhere we go-o,
Everywhere we go-o.
The people want to kno-ow,
The people want to kno-ow.
How we a-are,
How we a-are.
And where is the ba-by?
Where is the ba-by?

What baby?

(Here's a tip for free- if I thought for a second I was hosting another gorgeous little person in this bod, I would not be pushing it to it's limits for a marathon, would I?)

I absolutely love kids. Always have.
I'm not opposed to having more children.
I certainly don't rally against those who have two, three, seven children.
But why do people feel the need to cheerlead me into another pregnancy?

It doesn't hurt (or enrage) me as those folks who made smart comments and questioned "what are you waiting for?" did -  while I was undergoing fertility treatment before being blessed with Magoo. But it does get me a little defensive at times.

I guess, super sensitive Shar feels that they're insinuating there's something wrong with my family just the way it is. I agree wholeheartedly in the beauty of siblings and am well aware of the drawbacks to being an only child. I am one of three (living) children and love my sister and brother aplenty. I know the statistics regarding maternal age too. But I also know my family.

Sometimes I feel the need to remind people that Magoo is all of two years old, not twelve, and that I have just turned thirty (for a couple of years in a row now - hee hee) and am not quite in my golden years either.

At other times, I'm the one almost apologising for having this one 'easy' child right now. I often feel inadequate as a Mum and that I am so, so inferior to women with more children. I love caring for other people's kids and helping out where I can - but I also feel that it's my duty because "I've only got the one."

I know I can be too hard on Magoo when it comes to my expectations of his social behaviour - and it comes from hearing people discuss 'spoilt only children'. Around other Mums, I even feel guilty that at this time in our life I can enjoy my time/outings with Magoo and that I'm not forever complaining about "my bloody kids" or spending my day yelling.

Hubby (The Unflappable Man)- he takes great pleasure in responding to people's enquiries with a simple, smiling "we don't want more kids." I just about radiate embarassment as their faces register this social faux pas of his and try to work out whether to laugh along, be disgusted, give him the 'joy of kids' lecture or just walk away.

I have many friends trying desperately to expand their families but, unfortunately, Mother Nature is being a little difficult or even downright cruel. Some people I love are unable to have even "just the one" yet. Why do people feel okay about remarking on such a personal choice and issue without having a clue what the reality may be?

Yes, we have probably been a little scarred by Magoo's illnesses, allergies, little birth defects, surgeries and hospitalisations. Yes, we are probably held back by finances and me having no family in this country. Yes, I remember too well how my obstetrician was engaged in some extensive needlework following Magoo's arrival. Yes, we are more than possibly sitting in a comfort zone right now - enjoying our now healthy, happy little man. And yes, there are also people who have lived through far, far, far worse and have huge families.

Who knows what's in store for our little family?
But I do know that if it is meant to be "just the one, then?" that's okay wth me too.
(Apparently not with the people though.)

Does your family fail to meet the expectations of 'the people'?

Shar :-)
Yes, Mum of Only One


Tara @ Mum-ments said...

I have had those questions too
So you're engaged when the date? why why do we have to set a date!
I hadnt even given birth before i had people asking me if we would have another! I was like let me enjoy the rest of my pregnancy then birth yeah! Sheesh lol

I think doing whats right for you is the best comeback to any of those questions

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh Shar! People need to back off you, seriously. Your little man is only 2! My goodness! The number of families I know with gaps of 3 years or more between their first and second children, is huge.
At the end of the day, it is everyone's personal choice. I loved when it was just hubby, one bub and I. We had a good thing going on. Of course I adore my second also, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to take on another pregnancy and baby.
I do understand the pressure though, I have received it in a manner of ways... for me now it's "oh but you have to try for a girl!" aaarrrggghhh, will it ever stop?? Probably not.
Just go on enjoying what you have, you're doing great :o) xo

Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

I agree with Julie, he's only two! And you've had a bumpy road, no wonder your not ready to dive in again yet.

I wouldn't have had my number 2 as soon as I did if she hadn't arrived unexpetedly. People are funny though, I'm already being asked when I'll have number 4!! Geez isn't 3 enough for these people!

And it's nobody else's business if you decide to have just one. I hope you can let their comments just wash over you. x

Romina Garcia said...

Nodding through this whole post!!
I can totally relate!!
Sometimes I believe it stems from people having nothing to say and simply making up conversation. Pity it's an annoying avenue to go down!

MultipleMum said...

Totally agree. Your family. Your choice. It works both ways tho'. O have four kids close together and ppl always feel the need to find out if I am finished,if I have worked it all out yet, if we are rabbits etc. When you are ready m on the r, if you are ready! X

Megan Blandford said...

Well said! I want to print this out and show it to everyone who hassles me! x

Cheryl said...

Thanks for directing me to this post Shar... I was honestly starting to think I was the only one! Everyone I know is either having their second or had their second/third and I feel I can't discuss my issues parenting with them cos 'I've only got the one'.

I feel quite guilty and a bit selfish for only wanting Bubble just now but then, she is only 17 months!

Thanks Shar :o)

Teresa said...

Shar, this is a great post! Amelie is approaching 3 and I am starting to feel the pressure and 'one child guilts'...and the questioning...I even had one person rub my belly 'to check' - what the?!

Just found this post via your comment on Cheryl's blog.

Melissa Jane said...

People never stop asking. Yet, they don't tend to ask "so do you think you'll get a divorce". People need to do things at their own pace.

MultipleMum said...

I loved re-reading this. I hope it all sits better with you a few months later? People are funny creatures aren't we? Thanks for Rewinding x

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Ignore them. Most of the time they're just making conversation.

Visiting via the Rewind!