I get this question a lot — I’m sure many of you do, too. Mainly by strangers, but sometimes by acquaintances who don’t know me well enough. “Do you have other children?”
I normally respond with, “No, he’s my only one.” Which is usually followed by the inquisitor to frown or give me some other sympathetic look, or even better, a comment like, “Aw, that’s too bad,” or “You should give him a sibling.” I normally bite my tongue and just dismiss the subject because there isn’t a good way to say what I am really thinking: If you must know, we have tried to get pregnant for three years now. I miscarried two years ago, and have been unsuccessful since — probably because my eggs are old now that I’m over 40. In vitro fertilization hasn’t worked for us either, and so we are running out of time and options. Oh, and by the way, how is the number of children I have any of your freaking business?!
Wow, that felt good. All that pent-up anger each time I am asked really bothers me more than I thought. Maybe I should try that response sometime and see the reaction I get.
The truth is, we want to have another child. But why is this anyone’s business? Why do I need to defend my only child? Why do people feel bad for me because I only have one? If another child isn’t in our future, I know I am even more fortunate to have an amazing and healthy son who is my everything.
I get excited when I know someone else has only one child. I feel sort of relieved to know that there are other families of three out there who are happy and content knowing one is enough. I am often curious myself if they have similar pregnancy challenges or if they opted to have “just one.” I know a lot of couples who got married later in life, and so one is plenty for them at that stage in their life — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I know I won’t regret anything later in life because we’ve tried our hardest to get pregnant, and it may just not be meant to be. Will I be sad that I couldn’t create another miracle? Yes, of course. But, I find more joy in my only son than I could have ever imagined. And he has so many friends and cousins close in age that he will never be alone and will always be surrounded by love. It doesn’t need to come in the form of a sister or brother, right?
So, the next time someone asks me how many children I have, or if I have any other children besides my son, I plan to say: “I have one amazing, healthy, beautiful son — thank you for asking.”