Choice, Personal Development

The Pressure to Grow a Family

Right after you have a new baby, it feels like seconds later, well-meaning people want to know… “So, when are you have your next baby?” I really couldn’t believe it. I was still in stitches (not the good kind) and hearing some interesting verbiage regarding our new little family, assuming it would thus continue to grow. And I know — no one means anything wrong by this, and we are becoming increasingly more “touchy” as a society. But it does deserve a pause and to understand why the question gets asked.

I myself, before having had my first child, figured I’d have more than one — it just seemed like the American thing to do. White picket fence, one dog, two kids, and a husband, right? Well, that was before I actually was a mom. I didn’t know what was involved in being a parent, the work, the sacrifice and the dedication. It’s more involved than just “looking the part” or posing for a family Christmas card, so everyone can see, how perfect you are. No. It’s the tiredness, the late nights working, and the drives to work with a less than happy passenger.

I’ve heard people say to just have all your kids close together so that you “get it out of the way”. I’ve also heard it said that you should space them out so that you aren’t paying for two daycares at once. But I think here’s a problem with motherhood. If you’re just having more kids because someone else wants you to, or you think it’s just the next thing to “cross off your list”, that’s not fair to you or your family.

Having more children is personal and individualized. If you know in your heart, you want a growing career and one child is enough to fill your heart, I think that should be allowed. And if you are the mom who delights in the idea and the happy mayhem of many children, you should also have no retribution from others. You are both right. What’s right for one person, may not be right for another — and that should be okay.

I used to feel pressure to have a bigger family, because it was the right thing to do, “be fruitful and multiply”, all that jazz. But I don’t want to do something because of the pressure of others ideas or because I’m trying to get something “done”? A family, and life, it’s not a to-do list, it’s not a rush. It’s a cup of tea, to be enjoyed, and to be lived. I enjoy my little buddy, every day. I sniff his hair, cuddle him close, and enjoy his life and that he’s ours.

Live the life you designed, and don’t feel guilt or shame of the decisions you make for your family. They are yours alone to make.

 

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