Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… What do you do when your family and friends keep hounding you to have another baby? How do you tell them to f*ck off, because you’re perfectly content with one child? Have your own questions? Email [email protected]
Dear Scary Mommy,
My husband and I have a brilliant, beautiful five-year-old girl. She’s happy, healthy, and we feel so lucky to be her parents. But she’s the only child we want to have — we’ve never felt the desire to have another since we became parents. I had severe PPD/PPA after giving birth and our finances are a rollercoaster, plus we’re really loving the independence that comes with a five-year-old with a full, vibrant personality and ability to entertain herself when needed. But literally ever since she was born, we’ve been burdened with “When are you guys having another?” and “She needs a sibling” kind of questions and commentary from all of our family members and friends. How can we politely tell them to fuck off, because we’re happy and it’s none of their business?
Congratulations on knowing what you want and being content, because that’s a true gift. Methinks your friends and family might not be, or know how to achieve that kind of mindset, which is why they’re offering this bewildered reaction to life choices that have nothing to do with them.
Less kids = less crap. Toys, clothes, diapers, high chairs, carriers, jumpers, baby baths, endless wipes — all the material objects that go with having another baby/toddler. It also means less crap in terms of health worries (having a baby is full of the unknown and that’s an extremely scary thing for anyone), sleepless nights, stubborn toddlers, meltdowns, issues with other kids, etc. You’ve found what works best for you and your family and now you get to just sit back and revel in the joy of it. That is an amazing thing.
Siblings are great! But having them isn’t a guarantee they’ll get along and be lifelong friends. For lots of siblings, it means the exact opposite. I was an only child until I was almost seven, and while I’m an introvert by nature, I am fully functional at socializing and never felt lonely. Your daughter will be perfectly fine.
You can tell people whatever you like — don’t feel like you owe anyone your postpartum story or your bank statement. You don’t. But if you want to share those things, go for it. We don’t talk about how expensive and mentally taxing it is to have children often enough with the people closest to us. They can always use a reminder that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Babies are cute as hell, but they are HARD WORK. I personally wish I could have given birth to two 9-month-olds myself — anything earlier is a blur, and honestly, tiny babies are also somehow difficult and boring AF.
One version of this can look something like this: “Well, Aunt Mildred, we aren’t having any more children. (Daughter) is all we could have ever hoped for, and we have her. May I suggest a rescue animal if you’re looking for more emotional support from a living creature?”
There are almost four years between my own two kids, and I used to haaaaate it when people would be like, “Oh, it’s just her?” in reference to my oldest. First of all, she’s not anyone’s “just” anything. Secondly, I struggled with infertility issues and had a miscarriage. Sometimes I would reveal that bit in an attempt for an authentic conversation, sometimes I’d just smile tartly and say “Yep. It’s her. And it might always be that way. Isn’t she wonderful?”
Disclose however much you wish to, and don’t feel bad about shutting the whole conversation down if you need to. They certainly didn’t feel bad bringing a guilt trip to your pot luck, now did they?