Dr. Cara Gardenswartz: "Of course you'll have another child ...."
"You'd never do that to your son -- leave him without a sibling ...."
"You'll see: Once he gets a little older, you'll miss this age and want another one ...."
"Only children are spoiled ...."
"When are you having another ...?"
"He needs someone to play with ...."
"But won't he be alone in the world when you and your husband die ...?"
"I always feel so bad for only children -- are you sure you want to do that to your son ...?"
I used to actually attend to these intrusive questions and comments -- I thought I had to explain myself for this wrongdoing -- for only wanting one child. I used the difficult-pregnancy and horrific-labor excuses (both true). I said, "Maybe when he's older" to accommodate others. I would say "we" instead of "I" to take the burden off of me (also true, but not needed).
And then my husband said something so obvious, yet brilliant -- something I had to hear: "You don't have to explain. You don't have to give an answer." That's when the shift occurred: I became more at peace.
People like to tell you what is "right." Most people don't heed the maxim "live and let live;" instead, they pass judgment.
Years later, my husband and I are beyond content with being "one and done" with our 7-year-old. In fact, all three of us gleam with fun, silliness and love (that is, when we're not sleep-deprived or cranky).
I can't predict which decisions I make as a parent will most impact my son. I make choices on a day-to-day basis and hope for the best. I hope he will be confident and happy in the world. This will not be based on one decision. And I want the same for me -- confidence and happiness, which is how I feel today.
"When are you having the next one?" My quick, obviously-this-is-not-a-discussion-I'm-willing-to-have answer to my cousin-in-law's wife's question is simply, "I'm not." No explanations. Freedom.