No One Is Obligated To Have A Second Baby

baby crib in empty roomMy husband and I are in our early 30s, so our friends are at various stages of parenthood, many with their first child. Some, like us, are battling through the first six months of sleep deprivation, teething and daycare sickness. Some are shooting around their house on roller skates to keep up with their newly mobile toddler, and some are wrestling with a strong-willed 2-year old that tells them where to go and how to get there. We all have different priorities, different values and will have different approaches to parenting. Some of us want a second child. Some of us don’t.

“Want,” I think, is the key word in that sentence. My husband and I WANT a second child. It’s not something we feel we have to do, and it’s not something we feel we have to do RIGHT NOW. It’s something we want to do when we’re ready.

I’m often irritated when I hear parents talk about having a second child like its an obligation. What irritates me more is when parents rationalize having a second child before their financially or emotionally ready because “Little Johnny wants a sibling.” It’s a cop out. It’s an excuse to do something you don’t have the discipline to wait/prepare for, while putting the onus on a child that wouldn’t know a baby brother or sister if it jumped up and bit them in the diapered behind.

There may be a day when Little Johnny toddles up to you, puts his head in your lap and says “Mommy ahwanna brudder.” But let’s be honest. There’s a lot of things little Johnny wants…like a puppy or pony or swim party in December, or to suck on the Windex bottle because it’s so pretty and blue. Will you entertain those requests? No. Because little Johnny is a freakin’ kid!

Sure, I have friends who grew up as only children and now say “I wish I had a sibling.” But I also have friends who say “Hey, you know what? My sister’s a real asshole.”

Johnny won’t be emotionally scarred by having all of your attention for a few more months, years, or even for the rest of his life; by never having to share mom or dad’s kisses and hugs with a brother or sister; or by having the sun rise and set on his little tushy until he has kids of his own, thereby rendering him chopped liver.

I am betting, however, that he will remember mom and dad never having enough time for him, never going on family vacations, or not having the same opportunities as other kids because his family couldn’t afford it. I’m not saying money is everything…far from it. But lack of planning results in a lack of money and time, which causes stress. Stress causes arguments and arguments create distracted, frazzled, unhappy parents, resulting in kids that feel shitty about themselves.

After having my first child, I have a newfound respect for parents who decide to stop at one kid because having two wouldn’t allow them to [live, work, travel, provide] the way they want to. In other words, they couldn’t give their child the life they want to give them, and be the parents they want to be.

I admire someone that says, “I don’t really give a rat’s ass what everyone expects me to do. I’m going to have one child and spoil the crap out of them, rather than divide my attention, money, love, etc. among two or more kids.” It takes confidence, resolve and a mutual understanding of your goals as a couple to reject the world’s expectations for you, and worry only about your expectations of each other, and your obligation to give your child the best possible life you can.

If you want a big family, YOU want a big family. If you’re having a second child, it’s because YOU want your child to have a sibling…and that’s fine. Whatever the choice may be, it’s just that — your choice.

(photo: hkeita / Shutterstock)

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  • Justme

    I understand what you’re saying – own up to your choices about your life, but I feel there is a bit of defensiveness in your writing?

    • Andrea

      I was a little offended by the implication that having to “share” mom and dad leads to a lifetime of resentment.

    • Justme

      It was these two paragraphs that did it for me…

      “Johnny won’t be emotionally scarred by having all of your attention for a few more months, years, or even for the rest of his life; by never having to share mom or dad’s kisses and hugs with a brother or sister; or by having the sun rise and set on his little tushy until he has kids of his own, thereby rendering him chopped liver.

      I am betting, however, that he will remember mom and dad never having enough time for him, never going on family vacations, or not having the same opportunities as other kids because his family couldn’t afford it. I’m not saying money is everything…far from it. But lack of planning results in a lack of money and time, which causes stress. Stress causes arguments and arguments create distracted, frazzled, unhappy parents, resulting in kids that feel shitty about themselves.”

      At this point in time, I really have no desire for a second child, but if I did have more children than just my daughter…I would be offended as well.

    • Andrea

      Yeah that right there. Kinda pissed me off.

    • Brittany Erickson

      It might be a little offensive, but it is true. Money is not everything,but the lack of it does cause stress and as the author wrote stress can lead to arguments which leads to an unhappy homelife not just for the parents, but for children as well. I know a lot of parents who are just popping out kids cuz they want them, but they are not financially ready for more kids and they are so stressed and have no idea how they are going to pay bills and take care of 3 kids while trying to work and go to school, etc. I have 1 child, money has been tight for us as well but my husband and I have actually sat down and planned and discussed future family additions whereas most people don’t really do that. I also think you may have taken the author’s words the wrong way. I do not think they were meant to offend, but to show everyone the mindset of the mass population when it comes to having more than one child. I know with only having one child I am able to spend time with her and do things with her that I probably couldn’t do if we did have a second child because there would be less resources to spend just on her and yes there would be less time spent. Even if it is only 30 minutes less of my time spent with her, those 30 minutes do mean everything to young children. So it does have a profound effect on a child that most people do not really see or realize.

    • Justme

      Regardless of the “truth” in the article, it was written in a way that came across…a little defensive and definitely rude. There are better ways to discuss the topic of choice in a family size.

    • Brittany Erickson

      I agree. I think some people are not quite getting the message the author had intended to get across. I can see where some people might find some wording offensive, but I get what she is trying to say here.

    • Justme

      But the article in and of itself is not written in a manner that is easily understood. I’m not quite sure what point she is trying to make – and then add on top the choice of words and tone she used…

    • chickadee

      If the article is easily misunderstood by the readers, then there is some degree of author fail. In this case, I think she made too many statements that came off as generalizations about others rather than as issues specifically related to her own situation. Additionally, she seemed pretty defensive, as you noted, which makes it sound like we as readers prompted this diatribe.

    • Brittany Erickson

      Oh I agree. I think there may have bee a little too much of her own emotion thrown into there, which is why some people are maybe finding it offensive because they feel they are being attacked when they aren’t. You need to look past that in order to see what she is saying which is basically if all you want is one child, fine and dandy and don’t let others tell you that by only having one child you are depriving that child from having a sibling and the article is telling us to think for ourselves and to not let society dictate how many kids we need to have.

    • Andrea

      Having one child could very well be what works for you, and that is fine and you don’t have to defend your decision to anyone.

      I have two children and I can assure you no one is suffering from lack of attention, resources, or love. And I know many families with three or more and those children are happy and loved and do not suffer in any way.

      What pissed me off about this article is the way she went about defending her decision. I couldn’t care less how many children anyone has. But it was written throughout the entire piece that she seems to think that my children do without because there is more than one. And your assumption that my children are being deprived of 30 mins of love an attention is quite offensive as well.

    • Brittany Erickson

      I am sorry you are reading so much into it because my intention was not to offend anyone, but simply to offer another perspective on the matter. Did I say your children go 30 minutes without love, care or attention? No I did not, not once did I mention you, it was a general reference but you are reading so much into this that you took it that way. All I was merely trying to state is that yes some families who do have more than one child regardless if it is 2 children or 5 or 20, not all of the children get the same amount of time with the parents. I have seen it happen, I work with preschool children and it tends to happen mostly when a new baby is born. Some kids do take to that better than others, but the ones that have the hard time with it, do generally suffer because their parents aren’t including them in taking care of the new baby or they just are not getting enough time with the parents because their attention is all focused on the new baby. It is not done intentionally, but it happens. I think that is what the author was trying to establish, that something like that could very well possibly happen. It doesn’t happen with every family, but it does happen.

    • Andrea

      I’m sorry, I really don’t think there is a way to make you are saying sound anything but presumptuous and offensive.

    • Psych Student

      It would be nice if no one felt like they had to defend their choices to others. Unfortunately, people get defensive of their choices because their choices (on either side of the fence) get attacked (not by you, maybe not by anyone reading this blog, but by outsiders). The to breast feed or not to breast feed, co sleep or not, attachment parenting or not. It would be ideal if everyone could have the calm, rational perspective of “what works for me works for me, but it may not and doesn’t have to work for others and I support people doing what works for them provided it is as safe and healthy as possible.” However, even with other aspects of life, hearing that what your choices are are a problem can result in getting defensive. I am a kinky bisexual atheist in an open relationship with another woman. I am pleased and proud to live my life that way but hearing others (particularly the extreme religious right (which is to say a small group of religious people, not all of them or even most of them)), I can get a little frustrated and defensive. And that’s just about me and my wife, it has nothing to do with parenting, which I imagine makes emotions run even higher. When people attack the choice you make around family, it feels like a personal attack, even if it isn’t.
      If you felt offended and like she was attacking your choices, then that’s not good. Just as others (again, not you!) shouldn’t attack her choices, she shouldn’t attack the choices of others, but to feel defensive is understandable and comes from a justified place.

    • Blueathena623

      Im not sure how exactly you’ve figured that “most people” don’t sit down and plan and discuss before having more children. Are there statistics behind that, or just your experience? Because everyone I know took having kids very seriously, so I guess its an anecdote vs anecdote battle at this point.
      2nd, I think you’re sidestepping the fact that having siblings brings about a different type of “time spent”. If you don’t want more kids because you don’t want to spend even 30 minutes less with your child, awesome, but then you generalize to all children, with all having a profound effect of 30 minutes less time with parents. What about the profound effect of 30 minutes with a sibling?

    • Brittany Erickson

      Well yea the most people would be from my experiences in life. Most of the people that I know (family and friends) did not think about having more kids when they had more kids…they just had them. Some family and friends did plan out how many kids they would like to have, what they want to do with their lives, etc but most of them didn’t. That is most likely due to socioeconomic status and growing up in poverty. I am one of the few in my family to have my first child over the age of 20. I’m one of the few who practiced safe sex until I was ready for a child. My husband and I did discuss children before getting married and talking about what we wanted out of life and what we wanted to do with our lives, but not all people do that and the reasons behind that can be wide as well. Yes I did leave out that siblings can do things together and they do stuff together as a whole family and I agree 30 minutes with a sibling can have a profound effect on a child too, good or bad that depends on the kids themselves! haha. I know for me there were times where I did not want to be around my sister because she bugged me, but other times I wanted to play with her. It can go either way in both scenarios. Lets be honest, there are even kids out there who are an only child and yet they still don’t get time or attention from their parents so to say that this only happens to families with 2 or more kids is wrong, but to deny that it happens is wrong too because it does happen, it doesn’t happen in every family, but it does happen. I guess what I am trying to get at here is that just because you or I give our kids all the time in the world no matter how many kids we have, doesn’t mean other parents will too.

    • CW

      There is a BIG difference between being concerned about providing the basic necessities (shelter, food, medical care, adequate clothing & shoes, etc.) to another child and worrying about being able to pay for luxuries. The author has bought into the materialistic attitude so prevalent in modern U.S. society, one that views babies as burdens rather than blessings. I’d gladly give up a luxurious lifestyle if it means I can be blessed with a larger family.

    • kitten

      yeah, i found that part pretty darn offensive, I have three. I can see how this article made people with 1 feel good, but it made me feel like crap.

  • LiteBrite

    My five-year-old son wants a little sister. He also wants a turtle, a rat, a kitten, a two-wheel scooter (instead of the three-wheel one he currently has), a giant bouncy house in the backyard, and to go to Hawaii every Saturday. (I can get behind the last one, actually.)

    I agree the number of children you and your partner’s choice, but I also don’t see the need to get defensive about it. If someone asks me if I plan to have more kids, I just say “Nope.” If they question why, I just shrug and say, “We’re done.” I’ve only had one person really judge the hell out of just wanting one kid – my ex-boss – and he was kind of a jackass anyways.

    • Brittany Erickson

      I think people get defensive when it is asked of them all the time. I know for my husband and I it gets asked of us all the time and it does bother me because I am tired of telling people no. I am tired of having to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to, not to family, friends or strangers. I mean I don’t walk around asking people who have more than 2 or 3 kids if they plan on stopping. Since it is a personal choice as well, that could be why people do get defensive, they may see it as nobody else’s business (because it’s not.)

    • LiteBrite

      Oh trust me, I get asked this question all the time too But I’m wondering why do you feel the need to explain yourself? I’m not asking to be snarky; I’m asking in all honesty because as you said, you shouldn’t have to do that.

      I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about having one kid, so I’m honest with those I’m close to. For those who I’m not close to, my reproductive decisions are on a need-to-know basis.

    • Brittany Erickson

      Oh sure with those I am close to, they know the reasons why my husband and I only want one child. I guess I feel I need to explain myself so they leave me alone, otherwise some people never let up. Every time I see them it gets brought up in some form one way or another. Maybe those people are too nosy for their own good, I don’t know, but you are right I shouldn’t have to explain myself and like my husband says I don’t have to explain if I don’t want to, I just don’t want to keep getting asked over and over again by these same people. Most of them are just friends of the family. Some of them think they are being cute or funny when they ask “so when are you 2 having another one?” but they are really being more annoying than anything else.

    • Lashatumbai

      The only time it’s upsetting is when my grandma, who I happen to like a lot and respect her opinion on most things, tells me it’s selfish to just have one. I start to believe her because my sister’d are much younger than me and I remember being a little lonely.

  • Blueathena623

    I don’t really understand this piece. Somehow I doubt that many people are having a second kid just because their first kid asks. My guess is that people use the “jr wants a sibling” tactic because they want another child and think that other people will judge them for not being emotionally, financially, etc. prepared. (I’m not saying these people are not prepared, just that they worry people will think they aren’t).

    I also find it kinda weird, and I’ll admit, a little offensive, that it appears you are equating having more than one child with kids not having enough time with their parents, not going on family vacations, not having opportunities, etc.

    Finally, I’m confused by your last paragraph. You say you are irritated about parents talking about a second child like its an obligation. Are they telling you that you have to have a second kid, or are they talking about themselves? If its about themselves, then it is their choice, and your last paragraph implies that you believe people should make the choice.

    • Justme

      Yes to all of this. I feel there is a lot of projection from the viewpoint of the author as well as a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ kind of attitude. Like she’s telling people that they can only have a second child…if it’s for the right reasons?! I say that with a question mark because, like you, I am wholly confused by the purpose or point of view of this article.

    • Brittany Erickson

      Yea I kind of got that feel too a little bit, that to have a second child it has to be for the right reasons. Of course if you have a second child it should be because you want a second child and while being financially ready is a good thing, not everybody will meet that criteria when they have a second child. Like somebody else said if someone waits too long to be financially ready, they miss out on the opportunity for another child all together, so it is kind of tricky, but I also think that is why she mentioned planning. At least that way you can get wheels in motion so that way when you do have a second kid even if you are not at your financial goal, you may be on your way to it. Also with planning you can decide if you want a second child or not. I get the point she is trying to make, but think she could have made it in a clearer way.

    • Brittany Erickson

      I think the obligation thing is meant as how society views families or “women’s roles”, because I know I have experienced this within my own family as well as community. It has pretty much been indoctrinated into our culture that having big families is what you have to do. I’ve been told by some of my more religious nutjob family members that I am slacking on my womanly duties because I only have 1 child and society can project that through various means and we do not always realize it.

    • Blueathena623

      See, again, I think this is an anecdote vs. anecdote thing, because I don’t think it has been indoctrined into our culture to have big families. If anything, the falling birth rate shows this.

    • Brittany Erickson

      Do you have any childless friends or relatives? Ask them how many times people bombard them with the “when are you going to have kids” bit and ask them the kinds of reactions they get from people when they say no they are not having any kids, then you will see what society has programmed people to think what a “family” is or needs to be. It is there but most people do not see it because they have been indoctrinated into it. It is projected through religion, media and sadly even in my own field of work. Some of the teachers I work with think in order to be working in the early childhood education field or to be a good teacher you must be a parent otherwise you just can’t understand children and that is not true.

    • Blueathena623

      But now you are arguing two different points. Unless you equate “big family” with “having any children, period” we are discussing two different points. society’s views on big families (in the terms of multiple children) is not comparable to discussing society’s view of childless/childfree couples. I very much agree that people are, if not pushed, at least expected to have kids, but that’s not what you were originally discussing.

    • CW

      Maybe there is some social pressure to have a 2nd child, but there is a LOT of pressure to stop after having 2 (particularly if the parents have both a boy and a girl). To even consider having a 4th is seen as totally irresponsible (even if the family can afford the marginal cost of adding one more kid to the mix).

    • JD

      Oh, yes! I cannot tell you how many strangers or aquaintances have seen that I have a boy and a girl and said something along the lines of, “Oh, one of each. You’re done!”
      And now that I am pregnant with my third, “But you have one of each already…”

  • Jules

    Nicole, are you Romanian? Just asking because Vasile is a fairly common Romanian name.

  • Jen

    I agree with having children (first or 5th) only if it’s a “right” fit for your family. Gonna have to disagree on the financial end. No I don’t think it’s financially responsible to have 5 kids if you need assistance to support the 4 you have. BUT I also think for most couples if they wait until they are “ok” financially, most couples would be waiting decades (thank you student loans). Again all bets are off if you gotta live at home with YOUR parents to care for more than one child etc.

    • Justme

      I think it was the assumption that children are going to be neglected or miss out on experiences due to having more than one child in a family. I also think there is a great financial difference between having two children and having five.

    • Brittany Erickson

      That is very true! I know for our family a second child would put a lot of strain on us financially and we could not support a family of 4, but for others that is not the case. The ladies who found this article offensive in that area I think misinterpreted what was written. I think that they think that the author meant all people who have 2 or more kids those kids will be neglected and so forth, but that is not true and does not always happen. Just because one family can have 6 kids and all kids are taken care of and have their parents time and attention does not mean it is the same for another family with 6 kids. A lot of variables come into play to determine those kinds of things. I know working with preschool kids, ones who have new babies in the house some of them may feel that way at times, but not all do. 2 friends of mine both had their second kids this past year. My one friend her son adores his baby sister. He loves to help take care of her and my friend has had no trouble with her son and she includes him in everything with the new baby. My other friend her daughter has regressed since her son was born. Now while regression can be normal during this time, my friend and her hubby have not been giving the daughter as nearly ass much attention as before. Some of it can’t be helped because the husband not only does he go to school full time, but he works full time as well and he wasn’t working full time before their son arrived.So because of this they are having issues with their daughter. They are trying to work through them and are trying to give her more one on one time with each parent. So you are right, it definitely is different for each family.

  • workingMOM

    i haven’t even read halfway through the first page and i LOVE this article.
    i have a one year-old and am not planning on having any more. the best is when i say that to people, they’ll say “oh, just wait, you never know.” umm, actually, i do know.
    i should say that i’m not planning on it, but if it happens, then it happens.
    i went into a bakery chain about six months ago with my child and was told by the cashier that i HAD to have another one and how it wasn’t fair to my child to leave her an only child.
    i felt like saying “ok, i’ll give you my address so that you can send me a support cheque every month, or maybe you can bring it along when you come to babysit every day.”

    right now, my priority is work. “omg, what a selfish woman! she has a child who should be her priority”, is probably what people are saying. i want to work like a beast now so that i can afford to semi-retire when my kid is 6 and be there for her. this is another reason that i don’t plan on having more kids.
    at one year of age, neighbourhood kids and other influences aren’t whispering “let’s throw a rock through that window” or “let’s be mean to that kid”, but at six, i’d say it’s getting pretty close to that stage, and THAT is the time that i need to be there in full force.

    anyway, i’ll read the rest o the article now :)

  • hdonovan

    Well put. My mother was an “only” and in NO way emotionally spoiled and they didn’t have the money to spoil her with things if they had wanted to. I was one of two and my brother was not born until I was almost 5. When in my 30s mom told me that, in her youth she thought she’d have 3 or4; then I came along. I was a difficult baby (did NOT want to sleep, wasn’t too keen on eating, did not like to be held – fun huh?) and a “strong willed” toddler/child (or as we used to call it hellion). As mom put it, your dad and I finally decided that lightening couldn’t strike twice – they were right, little brother was as placid as I difficult.

    For those who find the writing defensive, based on your posts, I don’t think that you polite people are the target audience. It is for those parents of 2+ who tell parents of 1 that there child will be spoiled or weird or who ask “but who will your child have when you two are dead?” or who call parents of 1 selfish or imply that we (yes, I have one) don’t like children. If you really want to hear some outrageous comments, talk with couples who have chosen NOT to have kids. It is really annoying when a parents who is outraged when anyone says anything remotely anti-parent or kid, sees nothing wrong with being a judgmental jerk to people who choose a different family model. It is not so much defensive as just being fed up with the presumptuous, tactless a-holes.

    • Justme

      But I think there are a million articles that could be written in response to people’s rude comments. I get asked all the time about having a second child as well as being told to “just you wait” in regards to my daughter turning into an awful teenager. I just consider the source and know that sometimes people say unintentionally rude or annoying things and then move on with my life.

    • Brittany Erickson

      I actually get that a lot that because I have one child i must not like children when that is so far from the truth. I love children. I am an assistant preschool teacher and I think I have the best job in the world. I love watching children learn and grow. We just are not having more than one child for medical reasons mostly as well as some financial ones. I’m a type 1 diabetic, I’m already 28 years old my husband is 37 years old and my pregnancy with my daughter was not all that smooth and I had her when I was 22! The older I get the more risks I have to take during pregnancy and I do not want something bad to happen and leave my daughter behind motherless. Even though I am thinking abut my daughter when I think of what could happen to me if I were to get pregnant again people still call me selfish or my religious nutjob family members tell me I am not doing my womanly duties. It is a shame that society has indoctrinated this kind of thinking into people. You are right though, while my husband and I get remarks from people, those remarks are not nearly as bad as the ones my childless friends get. I personally do not care how many kids people have or choose not to have, like you I am just fed up with presumptuous people as well.

  • Carmen

    ” But lack of planning results in a lack of money and time, which causes stress. Stress causes arguments and arguments create distracted, frazzled, unhappy parents, resulting in kids that feel shitty about themselves.”

    Doesn’t every family have stress from one source or another? I’m not saying everyone should have 20 kids but obviously you can’t live your whole life stress-free. Some is even good of and kicks us into productivity. And there are amazing kids who have come out of truly stressful situations, like war zones, who have gone on to do amazing things. We can probably give our kids a little more credit for resilience? Most of us have grown as people by learning to share with a sibling.

  • Barb

    My PPD was so bad after my first child that I wonder why the human race hadn’t died out. Why would anyone ever want a 2nd child? I’d never been so depressed/hopeless in my life. This “have a baby” thing was the worst thing EVER. I’d ask myself “If someone took her, would I chase them?” to judge how I was bonding with her. (She was 10 months when I decide.. yes… probably, I would chase them.)
    Before the first kid, I’d wanted 4 or 5 kids (I come from 5. My husband from 7.) We had another one. THIS time I got medicated after he was born, but everyday, I asked myself, “Do I want to do this again?” Out of 365 days, I said yes only 5 times. Now, whenever I see a cute baby or one of my kids asks for more siblings, I have a measurable concrete answer to know that I do NOT want anymore kids.

  • Cassy

    Thank you!! As someone with a 16 month old who is open to anything but leaning toward keeping her an only, I am already catching grief for possibly not having more kids. I mean, that is SO not anybody else’s business. Also, I want to point out that just being an only child does not a lonely or overly spoiled child make. I firmly believe it’s all in the parenting, no matter the size of the family.

  • Sarah

    People have been asking me this since I was just pregnant with my first. I was asked this question when my baby was only a week old, and more since then. Turns out I like having a kid, but I think I have an “easy” baby, so I’m terrified of having a second one that’s a “difficult” baby. I don’t know if I’m offended, necessarily. Maybe if a stranger asked me, but the people asking are close friends and family, and I don’t think its an inappropriate question.

  • Samsam

    When people ask me if I want a second, I usually say yes, that I would love #1 to have a sibling. Both my husband and I have great relationships with our siblings, and would love for him to as well. However, that isn’t the ONLY reason. We would both love to have another child for many reasons. We shouldn’t have to justify our decision, because frankly, unless you are paying for it and supporting us, you don’t get any say in the matter. Also, I think that our culture has become too materialistic and “want” and “need” are often misconstrued, which makes having another child seemingly unaffordable.

  • AS

    I agree with the author. I have heard too many people say that they feel they have to have a second when I know they do not have the time or money for another. Some families can handle multiple children and be happy stress-free families and some can not and people really need to be realistic about what they can handle before having multiple children. I don’t believe there has to be a set amount of money or time, just whatever you can handle while maintaining happiness and not becoming permanently dependent on outside help.

  • Amanda Low

    Can I get an Aaaaamen? This is wonderful, Nicole, truly. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Even though we decided a year ago that we’d only have one child (for many of the reasons you mention above — money, her best interest, etc.), I’ve started noticing women with toddlers my daughter’s age who are very obviously pregnant and I’ve been a little envious. So much that the other day I whispered to my eighteen month-old daughter in the grocery store, “hey, honey, do you want a little brother or sister?” Talk about desperate attempt for validation.

    For the record, all I got was a blank stare.

  • Simone

    ‘before THEIR financially ready’ AAAARRRGGGHHHHHHH!
    It’s THEY’RE!

    My god, you’re writing professionally and this is something we were taught in primary school! GET IT RIGHT!

    • Zoe

      This site is getting worse about stuff like that. I find mistakes in nearly every article.

    • Simone

      It’s weird! It’s a profession based around the use of language but they don’t seem to have anyone who makes sure that the language is used correctly. It’s like no-one cares. I agree, there are mistakes in virtually every article and I don’t usually complain, but this one is something I would forgive from my nine-year-old. Not from an adult.

    • chickadee

      As a matter of fact, since you’ve brought it up, the heading of this article (appears at the top of my browser and in the url) is “I Don’t Want to Be Obligated Into Having a Second Baby.” You aren’t ‘obligated into’ anything. You can be ‘obligated to have a second baby,’ but not into it. Preposition abuse drives me nuts.

    • Eve Vawter

      It’s for SEO purposes, so it’s wonky like that, which is why sometimes my headlines will read junk like Kim-kardashian-baby-jealousy-beyonce-booty-has. bwahahaha.

    • Eve Vawter

      I know I mess up so often too but I also know I have nice readers who tell me, the world is my editor! :D

  • CW

    If someone chooses to stop at one child because that’s what they want, fine. But parents of multiple children should not be made to feel guilty because they cannot afford luxuries. Kids’ needs are pretty basic, and they do NOT include travel, expensive extracurriculars, etc. One of the advantages of having a larger family is that kids tend to be less materialistic and into “keeping up with the Jones” as a result. Of course, there are exceptions, but overall that’s been my observation.

  • meteor_echo

    Lol, I love how almost everybody harps on you with the “you’re being so defensive” thing. It’s exactly the same when you’re childfree – everyone and their dog think they have the right to ask you when you’re having a kid, and, whenever you answer that you’re going to exactly after hell freezes over, you’re apparently “being defensive”. I also looove all the mothers of two and more kids here, who, for some reason, are telling you that their kids are just fine and aren’t suffering from the lack of attention at all. It’s like they’re trying to convince you (or themselves) that their families are perfect.
    TL;DR – I understand what you mean, and I agree with you completely.

  • Samarasmith

    In every family woman and their husband want a second Baby for growth a Family.

  • HMTM

    I love this article. For those people who are commenting on the tone, it’s called sarcasm and snark and it’s meant to be fun, not mean. Defensive much, people? She’s expressing annoyance at people who disown their agency in this important area of decision-making. Personally, as someone going through this very debate, I think nothing is more important than owning your choice as yours, discussing it rationally, and asking the big questions like “can we afford it”?

  • allisonjayne

    I’m an only child and I never wanted or asked for siblings. I enjoyed our little family of 3. and now I get to provide the same for my kid. It’s a bit complicated because my wife would like one more.
    I was talking to my dad about it the other day. I know he was ‘snipped’ when I was a toddler. I asked him if they ever talked about having another. “Nope” was his response. Ha.

  • Jess J

    What the hell is this piece of crap even about? First the title suggests you have a ton of pressure (from who?) to have another baby, while saying you WANT one, but then you get mad at what you perceive to be the motivation of other families. You just sound like a bitter stuck up person with a chip on their shoulder.

  • Bhaskar Mazumdar


  • EF

    I’m a little surprised that this author is a new parent. Before I had a child, I thought I could “plan” when, where, how we would start our family. We waited to get married until we were sure, waited to buy a home until we were financially ready, everything just as planned … and then one day you wake up and you are approaching (or over) 35 and you realize that for the possibly first time in your life, you are not in control of your destiny. Even if you don’t wind up doing fertility treatments, you realize that getting pregnant is not as easy as you were led to believe in health class (or perhaps as easy as it would have been when you were 17, 22, etc.) and that some of it is left to chance.
    And then actually having and parenting a child is a daily reminder that you cannot plan every aspect of your life. You may “plan” to have a second child or plan not to, or plan when … and life may have other plans for you. Earlier, later, never … you just don’t get to decide. To argue that parents should or need to plan in this way is counter to the author’s entire thesis that we shouldn’t feel pressured to have a second kid. Let’s not feel pressured to plan out every single aspect of our lives!

  • A-nony-mous

    I would like to have a big family but it’s unlikely to happen at this point so I don’t feel strongly either way about shouting some allegiance to either the only-child side or big-family side. But I will say that I do find it annoying when people do the Johnny-wants-a-sibling thing, especially because Johnny seems to inevitably be under one which smacks to me of boredom with Johnny.

  • heather

    Thank you for this article. I have an only by choice and I have been on the receiving end of rude compliments more times than I can count. The worst was “you are not really a mother until you’ve had at least 2″. That one really vexed me! I had my son young, and by the time I was married and considering it, my son was already 7 and I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t want to start over with baby stuff, and my husband and I can afford to give him a lot of opportunities. We don’t buy a lot of “stuff” but we travel a lot! Plus we’re not worried about college, we can handle 1! For what it’s worth, my son has NEVER wanted a sibling.

  • DoctorMom

    This article is ridiculous and judgmental. Do you seriously think people only have a 2nd child to please someone else or for their older child? I think that’s just what they tell people to offset judgment from people like you who might judge people for not having enough “money” to properly spoil their kids…gag. As an educated woman and mother, it’s how you raise your children, not how many ipads or trips to disney world they had that will determine if they are successful or had a happy childhood

  • Sam N.

    I loved your article. Very true!! There was nothing wrong with anything you wrote.

  • Juliebean

    Give her a break on the spelling, guys! she’s a mom ;) we all know what “mommy brain” does to everything we do as adults. I think she’s doing an awesome job!

    Also, things would be a whole heck of a lot easier if families butted out of their kid’s/kids-in-law’s baby business and let them decide how many kids is enough for them. It actually causes me physical pain every time my mother/sisters/father/nana/uncle-who’s-wife-is-currently-pregnant-with-their-first-ever-baby-in-law look at me like I’m just plain wrong for expressing my doubts about having a second child.

    Having articles like this available to me help me to know I’m not nuts to want just one.

  • Lidia Mckinney