Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeFashionIn defense of having a child — and only one

In defense of having a child — and only one

No one told me that motherhood makes you say clichés. Since having my daughter last summer, I’ve often found myself receiving comments and questions from friends, relatives, random acquaintances, and even medical professionals about my follow-up plan. These range from casual curiosity (“Would you like more?”) to boldly self-righteous (“You’ll find the next one hurts less!”). “Oh, we won’t have another one,” I quipped. “We don’t need to! We’ve created a perfect child.” As cliché as it is, I also have nothing to say without embarrassing things, and I’m very, very tired. I won’t have any more kids and I don’t want to explain why. Despite my best efforts to deflect the subject, my questioner tended to press on. “Aren’t you worried she’s going to be alone?” they’d ask, or easily insist that I’d “change my mind soon.” I find this infuriating.

I share the frustration of poet Holly McNeish who recently released a poem from her forthcoming collection of poems The Lobster online. In it, she complains about those who urged her to have more offspring, lest her “poor and lonely only child” grow up to be “a spoiled selfish bastard”. It’s absurd that people still think it’s acceptable to make such judgments about other people’s reproductive choices, but I think it’s a legacy of centuries of treating women’s bodies as public property. In fact, there are many practical reasons why a parent might choose to stop raising a child. We’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and little feet don’t come cheap. Also consider the opportunity cost of multiple maternity leaves (or any number of them) on a mother’s career. But at the end of the day, no one should explain themselves in this way, and it would be rude and insensitive to ask them to—especially if you’re not familiar with their fertility journey.

The process of pregnancy, gestation and childbirth is fraught with potential trauma. Many people have a hard time getting pregnant in the first place (I hate the word “pregnancy” with its sinful and accident-prone connotations): For same-sex couples, those with endometriosis or PCOS For people with endometriosis or PCOS, unfortunately, pregnancy is often achieved after years of heartbreaking disappointment, sometimes requiring expensive, painful and invasive in vitro Fertilization treatment. The thought of restarting the process — even if it’s the eventual plan — can be stressful, while the reminder that more children are longed for may never come is unsettling. It is also important to remember that the first birth is not necessarily the first conception , for suffering For parents struggling with loss, questions about “brother or sister” can cause difficult emotions.

Pregnancy itself is no picnic. I spent most of my first trimester lying in a quiet, dark room, unable to read, talk or eat anything other than cucumber sticks and kalibos. Then there was the issue of birth: among my friends, there were emergency C-sections, premature rupture of membranes, forceps, episiotomies, and inductions, and that was only the beginning of it. After that, there’s jaundice, mastitis, stitches, anemia, sleepless nights, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, hair loss, and the impossibly surreal that the survival of a human being depends entirely on you, and everything is literally a dog shit. That’s a lot, which is why I find it completely baffling that in the midst of all this, someone would decide to comment on having another one; as if what you’ve done so far – and you’re still doing – Not good enough. Seems like you don’t have enough to deal with.



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