It’s something that almost every woman of child-bearing age has experienced at least once in their lives: the awkward insistence that you must be pregnant/looking to be pregnant/clucky. Not a curious questioning about whether it is in your future plans but an insistence that it should be. A friend on Twitter recently even got this from the medical professional that was dealing with her contraceptive requirements… not okay.
With CJ passing the eighteen month mark, we’re getting the “So, when’s the next one?” comments all the time. Correction – I am. For some reason it isn’t a thing that guys tend to get harassed about. With friends dealing with both unexplained or secondary infertility, the assumption that “the next one” is something that you can predict with perfect timing is unfair. And the biggest assumption? That I actually want a next one.
For a whole bunch of reasons, I’m about 98% sure that we are one-and-done. I used to think that I HAD to have another kid to give CJ a sibling, someone to grow up with. What a horrible feeling… to feel like you have to do something, rather than actually want to do it. A completely different feeling than when I was trying to get pregnant the first time; when having a child was the biggest desire of my heart. I’m not so much of a fool to say that I will never have a change of heart but at this stage I think it’s unlikely.
I’ll admit to feeling the tiniest amount of guilt in not giving CJ a brother or sister but I also think about all the things we can give him – both tangible and intangible – as an only child. We’ll have the space to open our home to his friends in need, the finances to give him childhood experiences that were beyond my parents’ own reach… but most of all, a happy mother – one who has made the choices because they were right for her. The nuclear family was something I always thought I wanted… until I didn’t. And it’s totally okay to reassess.
Families come in all different shapes and sizes – that’s definitely something I’ve learned in my teaching career. I’m always careful to use the more inclusive Maori word whanau because not every kid lives with a biological parent. Whether you’re a solo parent, whether you have a whole tribe of kids or none at all, whether your dogs are your “kids” or whether you are raising other people’s children. A life without siblings doesn’t mean that CJ will grow up alone – I’ll be the mum that’s happy to host your kid for sleepovers, leaving you one less of yours to deal with.
So consider this a post on the state of my uterus… currently unoccupied and likely to remain that way for the forseeable future. I’m so lucky to have a son that fills my heart with so much joy that I don’t think it feels like I’m missing out on anything. I’m at peace with my decision, as is my husband. And in the end, that’s all that really matters.