Many of us don’t know it’s considered bad manners to ask a couple about their family planning business. It’s can offend the couple in question, even if you are close to them. It gets more astonishing when a mere acquaintance pops up and asks, “When are you having your second child? This little one needs a sibling to play with.”
It’s always important to consider the feelings of parents with only one child. Certain questions (no matter how innocent) make it seem like having only one child is wrong. Sometimes, the couple may just want one, and only one.
There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. Other times, they could be going through reproductive, medical, financial or psychological issues, all sensitive subjects they may not want to talk about.
A fierce struggle with PPD
Jen Schwartz, a member of the Motherhood Understood community on Instagram, shared her motherhood experience on Hello My Tribe. Jen opens up on how upsetting it was for her struggling with Post-Partum Depression (PPD). Worse than that was having to deal with nosey people asking about an upcoming child.
PPD is a mood disorder that most commonly affects women after childbirth, but even Men can suffer from PPD. It’s characterized by mood swings, severe depression, insomnia, and irritability. PPD is not permanent, but it may take a while to overcome it with proper medical treatment, therapy, and self-care.
“If you were to ask me when I knew I was done having kids, I would tell you, ‘I knew I was done the day after I brought my son home from the hospital.’ The day when PPD hit me like a category 1 hurricane,” Jen wrote. PPD is enough to make a couple decide not to have more kids, and they don’t have to explain themselves to anyone.
Single-kid parents don’t deserve to be judged or guilt-tripped
A year after the birth of her baby, Jen met a woman who inspired her at the salon. At first, she felt the woman wanted to judge her. Turns out, the woman also had just one kid of her own.
One year after I became a mom, I was getting a mani-pedi next to a woman who asked if I had children. I told her I had a 1-year old boy. She then asked the dreaded question most people follow up with. “When are you having your next one?” I told her I wasn’t–that my husband and I decided one was enough and the right decision for our family. Our family felt complete.”
Jen bristled afterward and wondered why she had to explain herself to anyone. “I don’t even know why I felt like I had to justify my decision to a complete stranger. I guess I didn’t want my response to be met with the usual, ‘You will change your mind,’ or ‘What do your parents think? Don’t they want lots of grandchildren?’ ‘Don’t you think he should have a sibling to play with?’ But she surprised me. She replied that she only had one son and that sometimes when you create a masterpiece, it doesn’t make any sense to paint another.”
Jen became re-assured at that point that her one was her all. She never had to feel obliged to explain this major decision she made with her husband to anyone. To them, they had already created a perfect child, and she had to be strong for him. She didn’t need anyone’s approval or consent.
A healthy mom is more important
Jen knew if she had another child, she might spiral into PPD again. The first year after the birth of her son had been very hard on her. She found it extremely difficult to cope. If it meant not having another child to be healthy, then she’d give that up for her son. She believes it’s better for her boy to have a happy mommy who’s always there for him than a sibling. She’d already lost so much time during his first year, she wasn’t going to lose anymore.
“When Mason turned 1, I finally felt confident and happy as his mommy. I felt like I had come so far. I went through so much in that first year and I just knew I couldn’t go backward. No more pregnancies, no more infant stage, no more sleep training or bottles of formula. I just wanted to keep going forward, growing as my son’s mommy, as he continued to grow into a little person.”
Mason is Jen’s dream come true. Five years down the line, she and her husband don’t have an ounce of regret. Their son is everything and more, and they are focused on giving him all the love their hearts can muster.
“My baby has grown into an independent, brave, strong, compassionate, opinionated, social, amazing 5-year old. He is my masterpiece. I’m proud of both of us. And on a more superficial level, an airplane row fits us perfectly.”
Jen wants every single-kid couple out there to never feel ashamed of their choice. They never have to explain anything to anyone. It’s totally their decision to make, and it’s just as normal as any other. Five kids, ten kids, one kid; what matters is that you love, support and care for them.
Everyone should endeavor to be more sensitive to the feelings of such parents. It makes it a whole lot easier for them and their kid.
- Motherhood Understood. Instagram. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/motherhoodunderstood/
- Hello My Tribe. Instagram. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/hellomytribe/
- WebMD. No date available. Post-partum depression. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/postpartum-depression#1
- WebMD. No date available. Understanding Postpartum Depression — Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/postpartum-depression/understanding-postpartum-depression-treatment#1
- Stephanie Grassullo. 2018, December 7. Stop shaming parents for not having a second kid. Retrieved from https://www.thebump.com/news/parent-shaming-one-kid
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