January 21, 2014

When to procreate is nobody's business

The single most annoying question I am ever asked is “When are you going to have another baby?”

I know some of you understand. You’ve heard that. Before that the question was “When are you going to have a baby?” and before that it was “When are you going to get married?”

The question is often asked innocently, but I wonder if people realize what they’re really asking about. I’m a pretty open book, but I’d rather not reveal certain intimate details of my life.

Besides that, I know many couples who have struggled with infertility. A question so personal could sting. It could be that for the last two or three, or even five to ten years, they have been asking themselves that same question.

I’m baffled at why it’s anyone’s business when I choose to procreate, yet I’m asked that question again and again.

People started asking us when we’d have another child by the time Sophie was six months old.

“I haven’t forgotten what pregnancy was like yet,” I replied. I hated pregnancy. Labor and delivery? Not so bad, the most painful 10 consecutive hours of my life, but nothing compared to the ongoing struggles I had throughout the 41 weeks of my pregnancy.

That’s still my go-to snarky retort when people put their nose so far into my business. But it’s not the entire answer.

Since it’s asked again and again, let me tell you why we’re not ready to even discuss having another baby.

Guess what? Babies are expensive. Even though I have breastfed her since she was born (Sophie has never had formula) and we started using cloth diapers when she was about eight months old, you still have to figure out a way to clothe them. They need a new wardrobe every few months in the first year.

At some point, you’re going to feel the urge to buy them some toys in hopes they’ll get out of your hair for five minutes so you can fix dinner. (They won’t. They’ll play with the remote, your glasses and your phone while saying “mamamamamamama look!” Also, sorry to everyone Sophie has randomly called.)

They need things like car seats and a place to sleep.

Did you know, they need to be fed every day? Sophie is a bottomless pit. While some parents are struggling with how to make a toddler eat, I’m wondering if she’s ever going to slow down.

Then there are doctor bills. Since Sophie was in the neonatal intensive care unit for a while, we had unexpected bills associated with having a baby.

They get sick, too. And the first time your baby sniffs or sneezes, you feel an urge to run it to the doctor for a full exam.

“What do you mean she just had something tickling her nose? It sounded like the flu!”

There’s the fact that we need a bigger house and at least one bigger vehicle if our family is going to continue growing. (Yes, it’s a need. Three of us live in a 900-and-something-square-foot two-bedroom home with too few closets and one bathroom. I love my house, but when I bought it I didn’t expect to still be living in it if we ever decided to have a child.)

The only two vehicles we have are my two-door Ford Focus and Chris’ pickup truck. We’ve made it work. I’m not complaining. Those aren’t exactly family friendly vehicles, though. I’m not sure if Chris would fit in the cab of his truck with two car seats in there with him.

There are future expenses to consider: school supplies, a car, graduation fees, yearbooks, dances, tuition and the list goes on.

Also, I have no desire to tandem breastfeed a newborn and a toddler either. Some moms talk about the joys of tandem nursing, how special it is to share that experience in that way. Maybe so, but newborns are soft and snuggly to breastfeed. Toddlers like to do things like stick their toes up your nose, press their feet against your chin and neck and pinch loose skin, all while performing a backbend.

Plus I don’t want to buy a second set of cloth diapers.

So Sophie has to be weaned and potty trained before I’ll even consider another baby.

A little more disposable money would be nice, too.

Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and reporter for The Daily Citizen. You can contact her at mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com; facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN; or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.

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