No regrets having one child

Representative image/Pixabay

"You should have at least two kids,” commented an elderly woman in our locality, her expression was eerily deadpan. She had come to congratulate my wife after we had our first kid— a daughter. The elderly lady, fixed in her ways, perhaps chose the occasion to drive home this point. This came despite the fact that the lady clearly knew what we went through before the birth of our daughter. I could sense my wife’s emotions, even if she tried to keep her face impassive.

Our daughter was born four years after my marriage. In between, we lost two kids. The first baby was stillborn. Then, my wife suffered a miscarriage when she was six-months’ pregnant. Losing two babies in quick succession within two years proved emotionally devastating for my wife. As the carapace of our mental strength was cracking, there materialised comforters in hordes, who, while purporting to give sympathy, ended up adding to our distress. They would have us believe that we should put that traumatic episode behind, and focus on completing the family with two children.

Now that we had a daughter, a boy would be an icing on the cake, they reasoned. Not only that, some matronly women rubbed it in by saying that the only child grows into a selfish person who gets spoiled by parents’ undivided attention. The Parthian shot so delivered disconcerted her to no end. Surprisingly, no one thought it prudent to advise my wife that she should do what she felt was in her best interest. People treated my wife like an android, programmed to behave mechanically as if she didn’t have a mind of her own. It gnawed away at her self-esteem. Our society, in order to foist its chauvinistic perception on women, wants them to blend into the background with no sense of individualism.

For both of us, battling social prejudice and negative stereotyping in this scientific age was a real challenge. Insensitive people are habitually inclined to lecture others because they cannot empathise with the ordeals human beings go through at some point in their lives. These ‘sympathisers’ who suggested two kids, never realised how distressing it might have been for my spouse to bear the loss of two babies. At one point, I even suggested to her that we adopt a baby because concerns about my wife’s health took priority in my mind. 

My wife and I are happy now because we don’t regret not having a second baby. We think the world of our only daughter – she is smart and wants to take up a challenging career. Wayne Dyer, the famous motivational speaker, once said, “Your joy is divine and so is your suffering. There’s so much to be learned from both,” and this resonates with us. 

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