It’s about time — time for people to start asking me the age old question: “So, when are you having another one?” I usually interpret this one of two ways: They think my current child is so adorable I should want another. Or the spacing is about the “norm” for a second child. The part of me that gets really annoyed with this dig into my family style preferences gets calmed with the part of me knowing someone is probably just making friendly conversation. It’s not that I take offense; it’s that there are some people who, when I tell them my thoughts, look at me as if I said there’s no Santa Claus. Then there’s the other half of the population that respects my decision of maybe one is enough.
I love having a sister, but I don’t feel my sole purpose in life is to expand my family if I don’t think it’s what I want to do. Who says you have to have more than one child? Who says you have to have any at all? Yes, I remember what I was taught in Sunday school about the gift of procreation, but for me, I am content with the dynamics of my current family. I see so many of my friends announcing their pregnancies via Facebook with ultrasound pictures or of their current child in cutesy “I’m gonna be a big sis” outfits that I’m reminded I don’t share the same sentiment. No, it’s not the end of the world if we happen to have another child, but it’s not in my plans for now.
When Stella was a little over a year old, I bought into the idea I needed to decide on the spot if I was ready to have another baby. I mean, two years is good spacing, right? They could both go to the same school and could be friends and have sleepovers together with their friends and we could make craft projects together and go to the zoo and eat ice cream and laugh and play in puddles. Or I can do that with just Stella. This fictitious baby caused me great stress and anxiety. How would we pay for another birth? Could I have another healthy pregnancy? How would we pay for two in childcare? Could I continue to work? Would I still have an identity or silently become “just a mom?”
By this point, I’m sure I have offended many. This is not my goal. I think we see ourselves and families similarly to our backgrounds. I was an only child for nine years — I know what it’s like to be on both sides of the argument. I spent a lot of time having fun with just my mom and dad and also remember when my sister was born. For many years, my sister and I did not get along because of our age difference, but now that we are both adults we spend more time together. But still, she has her own interests and I have mine — there is no guarantee that your children will be BFFs, but they will be there for each other when times get tough.
I have friends who are only children, and they have created special bonds with aunts, cousins, childhood friends — because family is not just the people you are born with or married into. Relationship bonds are something you create. I’m creating a bond with my Stella and I hope we grow to be friends and not just the lady who takes her to ridiculous kids’ concerts or Disney on Ice.
In comparison, I know people from large families and I admire their passion — it’s just different from mine and that’s OK. I don’t question why Michelle Duggar has 19 kids; I know it’s her prerogative and while she receives much criticism for a huge family, that’s what is in her heart. The message is this: Do what makes you happy with your family and not what society says is right. I no longer feel pressure that I must have another baby and do it now. Who is telling me that? Maybe it’s Facebook, but I’ve owned up to myself and the passive peer pressure. So, my answer to the question is this — right now, my family suits our needs just fine.
Lifestyle Writer Kari Walker has a 2-year-old daughter, Stella. When she’s not photographing her food or twerking, she loves CrossFit, running, travel and hashtags.