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HEALTH

Tired Of Being Shamed For Wanting Just One Kid?

Join the choir sis...

BY Naledi K

Sep 09, 2021, 11:07 AM

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The world has evolved and developed in many respects. However, for all its progress, the woman’s womb remains one of the most policed human organs on the planet. By both men and women, formal and informally, people constantly and consistently give unsolicited advice to women to have babies or not have babies, to keep pregnancies or not keep pregnancies and my latest pet peeve - people think it’s okay to make suggestions of how many kids a woman should have and how soon that should be. Women all over the world are shamed for choosing not to have babies and while others are pressured into making second babies.

Not even hours after I gave birth to my first child, the elderly Black woman that was on shift at the hospital told me to “hurry up and make my daughter a sibling” so that they could grow up together. Like the good African child I am, I nodded with a tired smile and assured her that it will happen soon. I lied, I have no plans of giving my daughter a sibling. The sad thing is, I know for a fact that this situation is not unique to me.
“The conversation comes up quite often on my timeline. Women who wonder to themselves if any other mother is being made to feel guilty for having one child.” 
The older women - like the nurse who didn’t know me from a bar of soap but had a comment about my womb’s capabilities - don’t beat around the bush. They tell you straight out to pop out another kid or ask you frankly what the hell you are waiting for because your firstborn is heading to pre-school.

I think they are stuck in the era where women had the time, energy, support and will to have big families. Most women in their generation went as far as five kids while their mothers had ten. The matter of whether they wanted to mother so many children or were forced by pressure, society, situation is debatable. 

The younger generation of women are not so direct in their ”shaming”, they ask politely when you are going to try again for a sibling or if you aren’t scared that raising an only child is robbing them of the “life-defining” experience of having a younger sister or brother. But, no matter what material it comes wrapped in - a joke, a side comment, comparison etc. - it still counts as shaming.
“I would be lying if I told you that I knew where the obsession with asking women to have other kids come from.”
It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that anyone -  who is not me - would ever have the audacity to tell me to have unprotected sex, fall pregnant, spend nine months baking a baby and going through all the motions that come with that, go through the excruciating pain of birthing a whole human being and then be responsible for that human being for the rest of its life! 

Funny enough, these people who offer unsolicited advice on the “right number” of kids that is acceptable, never care to ask if you have what it takes to bring up more than one child. 
“Notwithstanding how emotionally and mentally taxing it is to be a mother, it is also ridiculously expensive to bring a child up in this day and age.”
Forget about the child supposedly not knowing how to share because they never had a sibling to help drive the point home… What happens when I have two or three or four children that I - as their mother - never truly wanted or couldn’t actually give them love, care and the necessary support to raise them into kind, responsible human beings that contribute positively to the community and the world at large?

Is anybody going to ask me, why I didn’t just stick with not giving birth or having one child like I initially planned? Probably yes. But I bet nobody will remember the pressure and guilt trips and pure manipulation they put me through to bring me to that point.

If you are one of the people guilty of making mother’s with one kid feel like they have done an incomplete job, please stop it. If you are on the receiving end, please know that whatever number of kids (it can be zero, one or seven) you want to have is perfectly fine, as long as you are the one that makes that decision. I

I know it takes two to make a baby, but even that guy (or his mother… or the aunts that will tell you to give a nation of kids at your wedding reception) do not have a proxy in this matter. The choice is yours and yours alone.