I get asked this question at least once every week. At least, it feels like I do.
It seems that whenever an acquaintance runs into me while I’m out, or when we’re visiting extended family, the matter of when I’m going to give my little boy a new brother or sister has become a conversation piece.
It’s like the default question everyone asks me, perhaps when they can’t think of anything else to ask.
The pressure to have a second child has never been more real to me than it is now. I feel the power of suggestion from all sides.
For instance: I had one friend remark that having just one kid is “for slackers”; that was a bit of a jab! Another time, a relative made an “observant” remark that my scoliosis would only get worse with age, and that I should have another child before my bones totally max themselves out.
Still another relation exclaimed that I should have as many children as possible, so that in my old age, they could take care of me.
I totally understand where all the pressure comes from. Filipinos place a high value on having children, especially after marriage. I deal with this societal pressure every day, and in my own family, too: My grandmothers — both still incredibly full of life in their late 80s — have 11 and 8 children, respectively.
In my family, both my sisters-in-law are expecting their second child by the latter part of this year. I know of at least five of my online friends who are pregnant and giving birth before the summer is over. The message rings clear to me: When are YOU having your next baby, Martine?
Well, the answer is, folks: I don’t know. And I don’t seek to know when, either.
What I do know is that I’m not planning to have another baby any time soon, at least until I feel like I want to, or I am ready to.
For the record, I do want to have another child. I would like my son to experience the joy (read: squabbles, food fights, toy negotiations, etc.) that comes with having a brother or sister. My husband — who is an only child — would also love for our son to grow up with a younger sibling to watch out for, and be a “kuya” (Filipino for “older brother) to. I’ve even seen in dreams what it might be like to have a second child. We’re expectant, and we fully intend to bring another child into this world. Just not right now.
If it happens that I get pregnant, then I’ll be genuinely happy and expectant; really, I’ll be over the moon because I’ve got a Pinterest board of nursery ideas I’m just so ready to act on. But until a “happy accident” happens, or I intentionally plan to get pregnant (because I practice NFP, or natural family planning), then I’m content as the mom of one.
Are you dealing with pressures to have another child? Is the pressure the same in your country? How have you handled it?
This is an original World Moms Blog post by Martine de Luna in Manila, Philippines. Martine blogs over at Dainty Mom, and can be found daily on Twitter @Dainty_Mom, and on Facebook. Photo: Author’s own.