The Brown Mommy Who Only Wants One Child

Like myself, I know a few Beautifully Brown mothers out there have faced the monthly (or sometimes daily) and exhausting question: “Where’s baby number two?” While some people have definite answers on when they’ll be working on their next little one, others– like myself, have the other politically incorrect, yet super honest answer: I don’t want any more kids.

“We’re content with the one we have”, I’ll normally say. I’m totally okay with that. But you wouldn’t believe how many people are surprised and, sometimes, appalled by this response.

For many years now, I’ve seen the trend that many women of color go through or are expected to adhere to when it comes to having children, married or unmarried. More specifically, Black mothers are all but new to the pressures having multiple children. My mother is one of six children; my maternal grandmother was one of six children as well. I’ve known many women of color in the past 10 years between the ages of 19-27 that all have more than one child or speak of the never-ending concerns and complaints from their parents or in-laws, or the neighborhood matriarchs, that they “need to have more kids”.

But, why?

It is possible to be fulfilled with one child, if that’s what you want. Having a second baby isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not nearly as fulfilling when you procreate because that’s the cultural or societal norm. I only want one child. Why can’t people accept this?

Every family is different. I’ve heard all the reasons why we should add an additional bundle of joy to our family. But, what really baffles me is how so many people refuse to respect the reasons why we shouldn’t have more kids, and essentially will not.

As a young black woman, I understand that within our culture, many of us have large families that are full of life and are always there when no one else is. But who is to say that if you’re child is brother and sister less, they won’t have tons of love to look forward to? All parents have to do what feels right for their family dynamic and lifestyle. If your heart isn’t in it, then don’t do it. But if people don’t understand or don’t like your “one-child-only” decision, you have to make a decision to understand that this is not your problem.

I finally hit my threshold of listening to what people thought I should want in regard to my family and our growth and I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned.

First of all, don’t give into the pressure.

You should only have children if you really want to, not if someone else wants you to. This is your body, your relationship, and your life. Those people putting the pressure on you to have another baby will never have to take care of that child. Only you will.

Always go with your gut.

If you are considering having a second child and you’re becoming surer that this is what you and your partner want to do, then that’s amazing. However, if your gut instinct isn’t supporting your thoughts of having a second child, start evaluating the decision. Start by asking yourself (and your significant other) the questions below:

 Will your finances accommodate another child?

Will a second baby fit into your lifestyle?

How will your only child respond and react?

Do you both really want another child, or do you feel bad that only have one?

Do you really want to be pregnant again?

These are just a few questions to begin with. But, the goal is to be honest and ask those uncomfortable questions that you know you have to face.

Finally, remember, you don’t have to explain yourself.

Not to be impolite or anything, but it is true. Your business is your business. If you and your significant other aren’t ready for more children or just choose not to have any more then it really doesn’t concern anyone else. You can always politely decline the conversation with a simple, “I’d rather not discuss it, but thanks for asking.”

The bottom line to keep in mind is this: it’s your life, you do what you want.