So Stop Asking Me!
It never ends, does it? The questions. The scrutiny. From family, friends, strangers… As soon as you hit your 20s the first question comes. “Do you have a boyfriend?” At the time you don’t think much of it. But if by your late 20s you’re not in a relationship, the conversation changes to “Don’t you want to settle down?” You sit wondering, ‘If I was in a relationship would people would stop pestering me?’ I warn you now – they don’t.
“When are you going to get married?”
“Will you have children?”
“Now you have one, are you going to have a brother or sister for your wee one?”
Holy Lord. Back the hell off. Why should we have to constantly tell people what we are planning on doing with our lives? Why should we have to lay out our life plans to every Tom, Dick and Harry to scrutinise?
It never bothered me at first, not until recently.
I had two children with my fiancee before we decided to pay out the extortionate amount it cost for us to legalise our love with a piece of paper. We were nagged each and every month by nosey neighbours, family members and friends that just couldn’t understand why we were not married yet. Then we did it. We are now happily married. Yay us!
My husband has a son from a previous relationship and together we have two utterly beautiful healthy and happy daughters. Which means that my two girls have both a brother and a sister each.
In a relationship – Check
Married – Check
Baby – Check
Sibling for first child – Check
Brother and sister each – Check (fair enough I didn’t partake in that one, but it still counts!)
No more questions, right?
What the hell more do you want from me?
Ahhhhh MORE kids!
It was a mere 4 months after having my beautiful second daughter that someone dared to ask me the dreaded question… “When will you try for another?”
Honestly, with pregnancy hormones still coursing around my body, a c-section scar that had me doubled over in pain every time I sneezed and a baby that was born incredibly premature and very sick, I was about two hair widths away from smacking some sense into her and throwing her out into the cold Scottish rain.
I bit my tongue, held my breath and prayed that she wouldn’t go any further down this very dangerous line of questioning. Oh how wrong I was.
Apparently, according to the young woman that was sat in my living-room, it is my ‘duty‘ as a wife to give my husband “…as many babies as he requires.” She was actually telling me that my job as a wife is to procreate as much and as often as my husband ‘demands.’ (And yes, before you ask, those were indeed direct quotes.)
Now I am not sure about the rest of you, but if my husband ‘demands‘ anything of me, he sleeps on the couch!
We are a couple. A united team. We are equal. But my darling ladies, if he ever thought of demanding something of my body he would be quickly turned out on his ear.
The truth of the matter is that I am scared to have any more children. Petrified. Each and every month I pray for Aunty Flow to visit and each month I punch the air with delight when she arrives. I suffered debilitating hyperemesis during both my pregnancies and my youngest was born very early due to complications and mistakes made by my midwife at the time. Pregnancy was not fun – so the little monthly reminder that I have managed to get through another month not pregnant is a huge relief!
When you have been hooked up to machines from 20 weeks pregnant and prayed to God your baby survives, signed pieces of paper that say you ‘may not pull through the c-section’ or even had the baby arrive not breathing, there is no part of you that will ever want to go through the horror of pregnancy again. (I’m sorry ladies, it’s not all glowing skin and shiny hair for everyone!)
Part of me was utterly stunned that this woman thought she even had the right to judge. However, it brought up a conversation I didn’t expect.
Are we still living in a world where people believe they have the right to say to any woman “You have a responsibility to give your husband a child every year if that’s what he wants.” ? Check yourself in the mirror dear! What era are we living in?
Aren’t our bodies ours? Do we automatically hand possession of our wombs to our other halves the day we get into a committed relationship?
I believe that two children in my home is more than enough. I have a step son who I adore and my girls love with all their hearts. We are a stable family. We are financially secure. That would very quickly change if we had more children.
I want to be able to send all three kids to university as, when and if they want to go. I want to take them on amazing holidays to see the world. I want to give them everything in the world they need to achieve their dreams, and more! I want to give them equal parts of my love and attention. They deserve nothing less.
‘Giving‘ my husband a child every year for the foreseeable future would not only hinder my life and goals as a parent but would surely hinder the lives of the children I bring into the world.
Another question then arose in my mind, and in my hormonal state I let it slip past my gritted teeth and off my lips to the clearly affronted woman sat on my sofa. “What if your husband left you tomorrow? What if he cheated? Do you want this many children on your own?”
To be fair her, she was quick to admit that she herself was not bothered about having more children, but her husband ‘requires‘ it to give him the best chance at carrying on the family name. (I’m sorry, but in my world that is an archaic reason for bringing a child into the world). She then went on to explain that in her mind, as long as she is either pregnant or with a new born, he would never cheat.
Sorry darling – I hate to burst your bubble, but if your man is going to cheat on you, being with or without child will not matter.
What annoyed me most about the whole encounter, is that despite the fact that this conversation happened over 4 years ago, it still plays on my mind. Her attitude towards me taking the decision into my own hands was so negative that it made me question my own opinions. Was I being selfish?
I don’t want more kids. WE don’t need more children. Our house is happy and full and more importantly it is full of love. What bothers me is that each and every birthday, Christmas or festive event, I am continually asked “Will you have any more?”
Can I please just tattoo the God damn answer on my forehead and be done with it?
No I won’t be. No I don’t Want More Kids and quite frankly it’s none of your business anyway.
If anyone else out there is feeling similar pressure, please remember one thing. Your body is just that – yours. If you want more and feel that your family is incomplete, then have as many as your heart desires. But if you don’t want more… don’t feel pressured, by society, family or friends.