In blog land and real life, many people who had children around the same time our Curly was born are either trying for their second child, pregnant with their second, or already have their second (with some thinking about their third…or fourth, not to mention all the twins). This is obviously not a strange phenomenon. What seems to be strange is that we don’t feel that way At. All. We also know of some couples that have one child, and are torn apart by thinking about a second…do they go for it or not, or only one person in the couple wants the second and the other one doesn’t. We know how lucky we are that we don’t have to think about that or come to a resentful compromise. We’ve been told time and time again, “well you never know…Curly is still very young,” but we know, and have known for a long time. We both still love holding and looking at teeny tiny babies…and playing with gurgling happy 6 month olds, but neither of us longs for another. Ever. There is no right or wrong here, it just is. But it’s a strange feeling to feel so…alone in this.
We are very happy for the good news and good fortune of those who are welcoming a new pregnancy or baby (or babies), but apart from ‘congratulations!’, we’re a little bit at a loss for what to say. Our experiences and feelings are so very different. We both know that Curly is an amazing child, and overall a pretty “easy” one at that. After his newborn days, he’s always been a fantastic sleeper and a very good eater. He doesn’t have insane tantrums. He is happy and inquisitive and in good health. We are so lucky to have him. But even so, it’s been hard and we’ve both felt such a loss of freedom. We are honestly so happy to see him grow up and get past the more difficult stages. We can’t wait until he can go to the bathroom by himself, make himself a sandwich, and hold an actual conversation with us (we talk to each other now, but you know what I mean). There are things we definitely miss, but babyhood and childhood is fleeting regardless. We both know that for us, we want to move onwards and not repeat those difficult stages.
This is a tricky post to write. Perhaps there are some people out there thinking, well, if you want him to do everything by himself, why did you have a child in the first place? We wanted to experience parenthood and we love him…we love seeing his smile, hearing his words, feeling his hugs. We are learning so many things about him and about ourselves. It is amazing to see what kind of person he is becoming, and we’re just at the tip of the iceberg. We want to show him what the world has to offer. We want to teach him what we can, and have him teach us what he can. We wanted to add a wonderful person to the human race and know that we helped him come into being.
But this post is more about feeling like an anomaly while getting lapped by those around us (and happily so!). It’s strange to live in a society that expects a family (a nuclear one at that) of 2.3 kids, and looks at you askance when you say “No more for us.” Not to mention choosing to have none at all. It’s strange for so many hits on an internet search for “only child” to make mention of whether or not it’s “selfish.” Not sure how it’s selfish to be able to focus all our attention and resources on one child, while still being able to live the lives we want. It’s strange when people think that I, being a woman and a “feminine” one at that, never want to experience pregnancy/birth. And it’s strange that after decades of studies proving otherwise, people still hold on to the stereotypes that only children are spoiled, socially awkward and feel desperately alone.
But we just shrug our shoulders and move on, because we know it’s the right fit for us. So we will keep cheering you all on from the bleachers, “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” over your babies, and reading your family dynamics with interest. We just know our home and hearts are full with the 3 of us (plus our furry dog-kid of course).