We need to stop asking parents with one child when the next baby is due.
I feel like our society puts so much pressure on mums to re-conceive. If it’s not tick-tock your biological clock, it’s the outdated assumption that one baby does not complete a family. To quote a former Federal Treasurer, “have one child for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country”. All well and good for somone on an exhabindent government pension and possibly little understanding of contemporary women’s issues.
You never know the struggle some parents may have gone through to have just one child. The miscarriages, the infertility, the IVF, the countless negative pregnancy tests, a traumatic birth or postnatal depression. And what if… just what if… one child is enough? Crazy right? But for some of us Gen Y’s, we don’t feel an urgency to repopulate the country, nor can most of us afford to.
We are told “don’t just have one, they will be spoilt and lonely”. “Have them young, you don’t want to be 50 and still doing school drop offs”. But on the other hand “have them later on in life, get a career, travel, live your life first!” And of course there is the age old advice of “have them close together, so you get them out the way”. But no, “have at least 5 years between them, so the eldest is at school when baby number 2 comes along”.
STOP! Just stop. As parents, we are given unsolicited advice on just about everything, starting right from pregnancy. We have no right to presume young families need advice on how many kids they require to be happy, or when they should have them. Each family unit is unique.
The concept of the average Australian family no longer exists. The stereotypical stay-at-home mum, the absent dad, the 3 free range kids, a cattle dog, a Kingswood, a clothesline out the back, verandah out the front, and an old rocking chair. It doesn’t exist anymore. Today we have blended families with step-children. We have same-sex parents who choose surrogacy or adoption. We have stay-at-home Dads and mum bosses who are taking over the world. It’s the new look, modern Australian family unit, and I for one love it.
As a 31 year old mum of one, who has experienced misscarriage, who has an amazing husband and is completely in love with her beautiful son, I feel ok with “just one”. I don’t know if this will change later on, and I won’t feel pressured by any biological clock. I won’t feel guilty if my son is an only child, or if I conceive later on in life and become an “old mum”. This is the path my family has chosen, and we are happy.
Weather a couple has no children, 1 child or 6; what is important is it is their choice or it’s their personal circumstance. So before you ask a young mum & dad when baby number 2 is due, perhaps take a moment to appreciate that they might be happy, just the way they are.