I love my pediatrician. She is a smart French lady with an air of classy kindness, and once, before I had insurance, she let me pay her in hugs. Well, she billed me later, but she handled my embarrassed tears with kindness at the time. I love her so much that even though I moved out of the city years ago, I still make the hellish drive to see her twice a year. Still, she does this thing that annoys the crap out of me where at the end of each visit, she asks me in desperate Franglish when I’ll be giving my daughter a sibling, because kids need siblings.
To be fair, she’s not the only one. There is a time in every woman’s life, I’ve learned, between the ages of twentysomething and thirtysomething when everyone is overly concerned with said woman’s lady parts, and as soon as you pop out one, you’ll be getting a million personal questions. Everyone from the grocery checkout lady to your fourth cousin twice removed wants to know what’s going on down there, so you might as well submit to a pelvic exam in Randall’s and Skype in all of the interested parties.
Since I’ve already had a baby, and later married the man I was living in sin with, the question du jour seems to be along the lines of when I will be adding more little tax deductions to our family. The answer is never. Never ever, and I’m thinking of tattooing the reasons why onto my face so that I can stop fielding this question.
1. I like my sleep. This is my number one hugest reason why I’m not anxious to purchase Palmer’s cocoa butter and those weird breast pad things. I like sleeping. I love it so much; I would marry it, have one baby with it, and then constantly deflect questions about having more babies with it. I feel like at seven, my kid has just started sleeping consistently through the night, and that’s when she’s not sick or having nightmares. The very idea of starting from day one with a screaming baby gives me a case of the vapors so bad that only wine will calm the anxiety. A lot of wine. Thankfully, I can sleep it off.
2. I hate my siblings. Okay, this isn’t entirely fair, or even true. I am estranged from one sibling, one rarely has a phone hooked up, and I am in fact quite close to my third sibling. I don’t actually hate any of them. Still, people constantly remind me that because they loved their siblings so much, every person in the world should have a few. Here’s the thing: you may be lying to yourself and it’s possible you’re viewing the past through rose colored specs. My brother and I only became close as adults. That guy was a total douche as a kid, and I bet he would say the same about me. There’s a little truth to the clichéd bumper sticker wisdom that says that your family isn’t necessarily the people you’re related to; right now I’ve only netted relationships with 1/3 of my siblings. That’s not a good average.
3. I love my money. Kids practically eat money. I knew that when I signed up for kid one, but I didn’t fully understand it until I realized she’d be hanging around until she was at least 18. Diapers are expensive. So are soccer lessons, dance classes, and Girl Scouts. Later: iPhones and the clothes you buy in that one store at the mall that smells like a desperate middle school dance. Much later: college. I swore when I graduated with an auto loan’s worth of debt that my daughter would not have to. To make that happen, I need to not keep multiplying. One kid can go to Harvard. Two can go to UT. Three have to stick to Austin Community College. Any more than that and they need to learn a trade.
4. I hate pregnancy. So, so much. I already touched on this in my article about Baby Amnesia, but to reiterate: I would rather perform my own pelvic exam in Randall’s than ever be pregnant again. I would rather watch Rush Limbaugh and Governor Perry do a variation of vaginal knitting for 8 hours against the entire Nickelback discography than ever be pregnant again.
5. I am a terrible person. I am positive that I would play favorites and/or resent a new baby. Of course, people assure me that this isn’t true, because they don’t know my life. We moronically got a puppy a few years ago and I still secretly resent him for being a little needs vacuum. Obviously, I know a dog is not a baby. That’s the point. A baby is a dog magnified by a kerjillion. One of my friends has three kids, and I know that she is being sincere and honest when she tells me she does not play favorites. She is a good person. I am not. I am a terrible person.
6. My kid is a terrible person. Obviously, I don’t really think my kid is entirely terrible. I think that she is perfectly happy to grow up solo, and won’t sugarcoat that fact. I have another friend who drops off her kid from time to time. He is on the cusp of toddlerhood, and needs a lot of undivided attention as he doesn’t yet know that he can choke on/electrocute himself on/garrote himself on everything I own. This usually leads to my little one heading up to her room for the duration to write the kind of “I’m all alone and no one loves me” poetry that would make Sylvia Plath proud. People ask her all the time if she wants a little sister or brother. She side eyes those people. Hard. Do I let my kid dictate my life choices? No. Do I understand what a living hell it would be if I had a little thing that couldn’t even hold its head up and vomited on everything my existing child holds dear? Yes.
7. I don’t need an heir, but thanks for your unsolicited concern. The first time that someone asked me if I was disappointed that I didn’t have a son to carry the family name, I stared at them for a long time, unsure if I could control my throat-punching reflex. My daughter carries my genes; it isn’t something only boys can do, like pee their name into the snow. If my daughter takes a new last name later, I’m pretty sure that “Edwards” isn’t in danger of going extinct.
8. Because I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to, okay? I love big families, I do. I don’t pretend to think I know better than other people or their families. I understand how the chaos of a big family can morph into a kind of noisy comfort. Hell, I grew up with 11 other kids. I do, in fact, get it. Still, this is what works for me and mine. Maybe I’m traumatizing my own daughter—plenty of people seem to think so—but I prefer to imagine that a family nowadays can look like anything: a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, two kids, a Duggar’s worth of kids, or yeah, just one kid.
Besides, if I had another kid now, they wouldn’t even be out of training pants before someone wanted to know when I was adding a third.
This post first appeared on Mommyish.