My baby isn’t really a baby anymore. She’s a full-blown walking and (almost) talking toddler with desires and opinions and an ability to get into mischief. She’s at that age where everyone who meets her is asking me the same question.
“So when are you having another one?”
I hate it when people ask me when I’m having another child. That’s a really personal question. My reproductive schedule is nobody’s business but mine. Why would anyone even want to know that? Perverts. Anyway, the answer is: I’m not. I love my child and all, but I’m not interested in having another. At all. My child is going to be an only child. That might sound selfish, and maybe it is, but my uterus is done.
I get very strong reactions from people when they find out I’m done breeding.
The first time I found myself giving the “I’m not having any more kids” answer to another mom, she gave me the card of the doctor who was giving her fertility treatments. She assumed that I just couldn’t have any more kids. She asked me how long I “tried” for my first one. We didn’t use birth control one day. So… I guess you could say we “tried” for one day. My husband still pats himself on the back because of the strength and determination of his…swimmers. I’m young and healthy and my pregnancy was relatively easy, and if I wanted to I could pop out 13 kids like my great-grandmother did.
I don’t want to.
This past 4th of July I was at a family BBQ in the Bronx. The mother of my tia’s husband’s cousin’s cousin (what’s that called?) asked me how many I wanted to have. I said one. She told me I should have at least two, but “if that’s what you want G-d bless you.” She has six kids. That’s the usual logic. You should have at least two, because only children are spoiled or socially stunted or somehow damaged by a lack of siblings (many studies have proven otherwise).
Of course the thing people say right after telling me to have at least two kids is “you’re young, you’ll change your mind.” Like my youth somehow means I owe it to the world to pop out more babies. Or that at my age (25 for those keeping score) my brain is incapable of making a reproductive decision.
Society pretty much teaches that every mom has to have more than one kid. If you decide to stop at one you’re a bad mom. The end.
I don’t accept that.
So why only one? A bunch of reasons. First, I am young. You’d think being young would mean I would want more children but for me it’s the opposite. When she enters kindergarten I’ll be 29. I’ll be 29 and able to jump into a career full-time again like it’s no big deal. When my daughter graduates college I’ll be 45. I’ll be 45 and already done with the hands-on part of parenting. For me, having “it all” is all in the timing. Secondly, I like my cleaning ladies. If I had a second baby I wouldn’t be able to afford having two women come over once a week to do all the stuff I don’t want to do. I know that I must come off as being horribly spoiled (even though I’m not an only child), but happy moms are better moms. Money is a huge factor. Kids are expensive. I like my lifestyle the way it is. I like traveling, I like sitting right behind home plate at Citi Field. I like that I can afford to share that with my daughter. If another baby comes, I can’t. And thirdly, I like my apartment. It’s a pretty big two bedroom right next to the park with an open kitchen and a walk in closet. In Manhattan. If I have a second baby and it’s a boy we would have to leave and get a three bedroom somewhere in the suburbs. I don’t want to live in the suburbs. Suburban Baby Blog doesn’t sound nearly as good as Urban Baby Blog… right?
If get pregnant with a second baby, it’s an accident.**
I’m happy with my decision to only have one child. My husband is happy with my decision to only have one child. Whether or not you or any one else is happy with my decision to only have one child is not my problem.
**Dear potential future accidental second child, if you’re looking back and reading this know that Mommy loves you and that you existing is waaay more fun than your older sister and I going on safari in Africa. Now get off the computer and do the dishes. We don’t have a maid.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.