I recently saw an interview with actress Amy Adams about how she doesn't want any more children. She has one daughter and that's all she intends on having. She said in response to being asked about having more babies,
"People really give you a look. They're like, 'When are you having another?' And you're like, 'I'm not.' And then you feel like a bad person. They're like, 'Don't you want to give her a sibling?' But I had so many siblings that I'm like, 'God, no!'" (Chelsea Lately).
This got me thinking, why are women made to feel bad for only wanting to have one child or, God forbid, not wanting to have any at all? Is this just another topic to add to the never ending list of mommy shaming trends?
And what about those of us who want more than the standard two children? I remember when I announced I was pregnant with my third and someone looked at me like I was crazy, like I had decided to run off and join the circus. I had people tell me that since I had a boy and a girl, I didn't need any more children. They'd say, "But you've been so lucky to get two healthy children, why do you need any more?" I was dumbfounded by responses like this. It never occurred to me that if you have two healthy children you shouldn't want to have any more. In the same way women who choose not to have children -- for whatever reason -- or families who choose to have only one child shouldn't feel bad for their decision, those of us who have or want more than two babies shouldn't be made to feel like fools when we move forward with our plans. I make no apologies for wanting more than two children.
I've seen it happen with friends where they have two children of the same gender. A close friend of mine has two girls and is always being asked when she's going to 'try' for a boy. She laughs and says she's finished with that chapter in her life, but still gets asked -- by the same people no less -- when she will get pregnant. These are also the same people who think that if you have two of the opposite gender you shouldn't have any more kids. What happens when someone ends up with four or five of the same gender? They just get looks of pity and people assume they just kept 'trying for that boy', which is a complete insult in my opinion. I wasn't aware that there was a quota on how many babies one could have based on the gender of the children they already birthed.
The choice to have children, for many couples, is a major decision and not taken lightly. Many couples also have some kind of idea of how many little ones they want to have, however, that number can change over time. And I've come to realize that there is no right position to be in when it comes to this topic... if you decide to forgo having children, you're selfish; if you have a boy and a girl but want more, you're crazy; if you have two of the same gender and don't try for a third of the opposite gender, you're lazy; and if you straight up have a household of kids, you're questioned. None of those scenarios are rightly justified.
So the next time you have the urge to ask a pregnant woman how she could possibly want to have another baby, or your childless friend if she's come around and decided to get pregnant, remember that unless she's asked for your opinion, you probably shouldn't share yours.