10 Responses I Give When Someone Tells Me I Should Have More Than One Child

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To be honest, I’m pretty fed up with the looks I get when I say that I think my son will be an only child.

It’s as though it’s an insult to womanhood not to want more.

Furthermore, as if the looks aren’t enough, the "know- it- all" comments that ensue from relative strangers are equally deplorable.

There’s the “You’ll change your mind,” and the “Maybe when number one goes to school?” Or even worse, “But don’t you think he (my son) needs a sibling?“

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Mummy circles, I’m staring at your right now. So, listen up strangers and friends alike — I’m tired of citing "personal reasons” as a justification for what is (let’s face it) a very personal decision.

This conundrum has implored me to compile a list of ten responses to what is an inherently inappropriate line of questioning.

1. "Yeah, nah, my fanny still hurts."

You won’t believe this but my body, and down there, are still well in recovery mode. The imagery and pain associated with childbirth are still well, fairly raw. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago I pushed something the size of a watermelon out of my girly bits and that’s not the most comfortable experience you’ll ever have.

2. "I suffered postpartum psychosis the first time ‘round and thought I was the Virgin Mary."

Ok, so the latter part of that sentence is based on fiction but catch what I’m throwing people. Are you going to be there to hold my hand and care for my baby when I’m in a home dribbling on myself, sans mind, like I’ve had a full bucket of shit poured over my life?

3. "Show me the money!"

To be honest, child-rearing is kind of expensive and the financials that I’m all up and over don’t show that I can't reasonably provide for a handful of little mouths, not to mention private school educations and skiing trips or rowing hobbies. Oh, and a house extension?

4. "Sex is SO three years ago."

Why do people even presume that is, like, an optional thing for any mother or woman? I mean, what if they are partnerless, or simply have no sex life? Unless you’ve got CCTV set up in their bedroom, you really don’t know the literal "ins and outs" of other people’s affairs (or lack thereof).

5. "My nappy-changing days are numbered." 

Having a baby is surely a precious gift for most mothers, but hello folks, not everyone has the stamina for multiples and all that goes with them. Not everyone’s up for round five or even two for that matter.

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6. "I’m too busy being fabulous."

To be honest, I’m not great at multi-tasking when it comes to parenting. Realistically I’ve only just found the time to brush my hair each day again, let alone go to the gym. Do I want to jeopardize that right away?

Oh, and by the way, I have ambitions outside the home like finishing my Post-Graduate degree and starting a small business. Oh, and a social life outside kids' birthdays, wouldn’t that be just dandy?

7. "Because I’m happy ..."

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof! Believe it or not, I like family on the small side. I like things just the way they are. Watching my youngster grow up gives me immense joy and dividing my attention between a tribe in my mind, seems like a kind of selfish option.

*Lip pout and hair flick* Like, no offense…

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8. "I don’t want to drive a mini-van."

This is a quasi-legitimate concern, I’m a terrible ‘big car’ driver. And the expression ‘packed to the rafters’ scares the absolute bejesus out of me. Having eight on board with a few friends as tag-a-longs on the way to soccer training is so not me. I mean still, I get a say in this right?

9. "My son told me he wants to be an only child."

OK, this isn’t strictly true either. Being under the age of two he doesn’t really understand the whole ‘sibling’ thing yet. But how, oh-please-tell-me-how, do you know he wants or needs a sibling in his life? He sure seems to enjoy his own company if you ask me.

10. "Pregnancy made me physically ill (all nine months of it)."

It’s true. I spent a good portion of my life with my head in a porcelain bowl. Those anti-nausea tablets aren’t worth their packaging if you’re one of the less fortunate ones. Who says I have the backbone to deal with that kind of physical illness again?

Some days you have to buck the grain and remind yourself and others, that hell yeah it's OK. Whatever conclusion you’ve reached about your own personal affairs and family life is acceptable. So, herein lies a slightly refrained “get back in your box”. Oh, and hands-off mine!

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Naomi Fryers is a freelance parenting writer who has written for a number of celebrated publications both in Australia and the United States.