One and done

I wish I had a hundred dollars for every time I’ve heard any of these, or variations thereof.

  • “Kelan susundan yan?” (When are you having another one?)
  • “O, girl naman!” (How about a girl next?”)
  • “Di ba humihingi ng kapatid si Lucas?” (Doesn’t Lucas ask for a brother or sister?)
  • “Kawawa naman si Lucas, walang kalaro!” (Poor Lucas, he doesn’t have anyone to play with!)

Far too many people have asked, suggested, joked, teased, that we should have another child. The answer is always a resounding no. Absolutely, completely, definitely no. I do not want another child. I do not want another pregnancy. The thought makes me sick, makes me cringe, makes me anxious. I have many friends who have chosen to have a second, even a third child, and I am very happy for them. But me? No. Absolutely no.

I shouldn’t have to explain this choice to anybody: not to relatives, not to friends, not to complete strangers. Absolutely nobody–not even my husband!–should have a say in what I choose to do with my body, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not to have more children, or any children at all. Absolutely nobody.

And yet so many people insist on offering their opinions on this. When I tell people that I endured 24 hours of labor to bring Lucas into this world, they tell me I’ll forget about the pain, as if they were the ones who had to undergo emergency c-section. When I tell people that having a child is costly, that vaccines and diapers and all of those things add up, they say that we’ll figure it out, as if it were their bank accounts that were affected. “God will provide,” they say. When I tell people that Lucas is a handful and we really do not have the energy–or desire, really–for another child, they laugh and say that we’ll find room in our hearts.

No. Absolutely no.

I shouldn’t have to explain this, and I shouldn’t have to reply to these insistent people. I do not want any other children. If you have love and money and space, if your body is ready for the distress, if you want children, by all means go ahead and have children. Ten, if you want. But for God’s sake stop telling me–and other people, for that matter–how many children they should have.

In fact, stop telling women what to do with their bodies.

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