One question I always face is, “When do you two plan on having another?” or some variation on this theme. Not the most appropriate question, but I believe the intent is usually good, so I answer.
“I wish we could afford another, but it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards for us.”
PapaMakes and I always knew that we would have as many children as we could properly support. We’re not the most ambitious people, so for our family it turns out that we can properly support one child.
My favorite response (/sarcasm) was a member of PapaMakes’ family, slightly soused at his brother’s wedding. We gave our stock answer, and the family member replied, “Just go for it! God will provide!” This line has provided PapaMakes and I with many many laughs over the intervening years.
However, if we won the lottery tomorrow, I don’t know if I would want to have another baby. Pregnancy is magical, yes. But it’s also very hard on the mother’s body. Labor is just plain dangerous, and that’s in the very best of circumstances. Then the real work begins. Nursing every 2 hours, round the clock. 2-3 years of diaper duty, feeding, swaddling, holding, comforting. It’s exhausting, really. I’m very happy with my almost-not-quite self-sufficient brainiac child.
She asked me the question not too long ago. “Mama, how come you didn’t have another baby?” Knife right to the heart. I answered her honestly, that we didn’t want to struggle to support our family, and we really couldn’t afford to have another kid in our family. I don’t want to cut her childhood short by being so frank with her about ‘adult’ matters, but I also want to plant seeds now about the realities of money, the choices we don’t get to make because of money, and how we don’t always get what we (think we) want.
But if you try sometimes, you’ll find, you get what you need.