The one question you need to stop asking me …

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It seems innocent enough. Glowing parents welcome a beautiful new bundle at the hospital, they go home and cuddle and coo for a few weeks of solitude and then suddenly the questions pour in.. so I plead with you, the next time you want to ask? Please don’t.

The one question you need to stop asking me ….

“When are you having another?”

Stab. Cringe. Eyes down.

“Don’t you want her to have a sibling to play with?”

Guilt. Pain. Reminders.

“She’ll be lonely you know!”

Yes, I know. I know she will be lonely. I know that she won’t have the fun brother/sister or sister/sister bond with someone. I know she’ll only have mom and dad and extended family growing up. I know she won’t have a sibling to talk through problems with. I know.

Now, let’s chat a bit about what you don’t know.

That parent you are quizzing? May not be able to have more children. That mom and dad may have struggled tirelessly with infertility. This may be their one and only rainbow baby. And you are inflicting your societal norms on them and making them feel guilty. This is not okay. 1 in 4 families have grieved through an infant loss – the pain is very real, very raw, and challenges us each and every day.

Everyday people at my office ask me how my daughter is doing, they genuinely care and have watched her grow up from belly to babe, to the little ball of energy she is now. I know they mean well, but I also know inevitably the question is coming. My heart tightens and I look down. I want to tell you the truth, but who wants to hear it?

Photo credit: Vairdy Photography
Photo credit: Vairdy Photography

I’d love to have more children. I’d love to fill my house with laughter and sibling spats. It just isn’t in the cards for me.

I tried for 8 years to get pregnant, I knew I wanted nothing more than to be a mom. It put stress on my relationships, my health and my mental sanity. I suffered 4 miscarriages and was told that I would never be able to carry a pregnancy to term without medical intervention – if I was lucky. This meant a barrage of tests, pills, doctor visits…  it meant living in constant fear.

When I became pregnant with bug that fear intensified. Every time I went to the washroom I would look down to make sure there was no blood. I would constantly wonder if that pain I was feeling was normal. I would panic and message friends at all hours of the night – should I be worried?

The fact is, my pregnancy wasn’t fun. It wasn’t full of joy or planning. It was full of a barrage of doctors appointments to make sure this precious little bug made it to term. I went through acupuncture, medication, cut out every possible “risk” in the book – all to make sure this one made it. We were lucky. Bug was born, healthy, happy and brings an immense amount of joy into our lives.

Photo Credit: Sara Paley Photography
Photo Credit: Sara Paley Photography

So, I made the very painful decision to not continue trying after bug was born. It took some soul searching, I knew my next pregnancy would still be high risk, I would still live in fear, and I could very well suffer another loss. It didn’t seem fair to my family, or myself to go through this again. So I choose not to.

So the next time you want to ask me when the next one is coming – don’t. Please. Don’t. I am grateful for the blessing I have, she is perfect, she is my miracle, my rainbow and she is ENOUGH. My life is not lacking without another child, and neither is hers. She is loved, she is appreciated and we are eternally grateful she is here and healthy. Please don’t overshadow that for us.

The next time you want to ask another parent when the next one is coming… Don’t. We know you mean well, we know it is meant to be an innocent question, but it still hurts – a lot.

Whether they have 1 kid, 12 kids or no kids. It isn’t the right time to ask.

26 Comments


  1. This was a good read. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a good reminder that some questions are very personal and probably shouldn’t be asked.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I have had friends in similar situations and it really is no ones business how may you have.

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  3. Well written. I have felt the pain of 4 miscarriages as well. I’d have loved to have more kids but the pain was too great. My daughter’s pregnancy was fraught with fear and hospital stays but she is a healthy 16 year old now. Long ago but I still remember the feelings while waiting to see if she’d make it. I don’t think people intend to be insensitive when they ask – perhaps it is more of an automatic thing. Especially when they see how happy your child makes you. Hugs.
    Carin Harris recently posted…Having a Blast!My Profile

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  4. I totally agree with this post whole-heartedly. I have done my best to never, ever ask anyone about their plans for reproduction, except my own husband (of course!). It’s just not my business at all! I expect the same from others, but unfortunately not everyone understands what a personal, private and even painful conversation it can be. Thank you for being transparent and letting people know.
    Megan Elford recently posted…10 Surefire Ways To Put A Little One To SleepMy Profile

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  5. I know people don’t mean any harm when they ask these questions, but seriously, people should be smarter about what they say. It’s your business and your business only unless YOU decide to open up about your decisions.

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  6. Great post, Good reminder. Although I am sure most don’t mean it to be rude..but i can see how someone could take that. Enjoy your baby
    Audrey recently posted…Refurbishments 2015 WDWMy Profile

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  7. You have a precious daughter and I hope you soak up every moment with her!

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  8. I’m pretty sure I’ve never asked someone this question, so I can’t get into the head of ppl that do. Their innocence is ignorance, like stepping on someone’s foot and not realizing it hurts that person. By speaking up, you help ppl understand it hurts. I have no children, and ppl assume I never wanted any, they say things how I must have wanted a selfish life to do as I please, etc. They have NO idea how much it hurts the pain of not having any children, and not having a situation you could afford to adopt, and then on top it, to assume you wanted a footloose “carefree” life!!

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  9. Thank you for sharing your story.People can be pests.

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  10. She’s a beautiful blessing and the love you share will always be enough. Let’s focus on what we do have, not what we don’t. Xo

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  11. I am so with you! Having some health concerns and procedures, I always wondered if I’d be able to carry a child. Then I suffered a miscarriage, and dealt with that blow for years. Now that I have my little one, I am so content with our family as it is, even though everyone always points out the cons.
    I made this list of (some of the) pros to raising an only child for myself and any others wondering “is it okay to stop at one?”.

    Recently I overheard a couple respond to badgering by another couple why they shouldn’t have just one. The father replied “Well, i think we’ll be just fine, and I’ll be waving at you from Italy.”

    A family’s a family, no matter how small.
    Hannah recently posted…How to Make Life Easier with a Toddler – 5 StrategiesMy Profile

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  12. I got this question a lot.

    Also, my boy was 15 when my baby girl was born so the question I always get asked now is “why such an age gap?” As if I have to explain myself. Hubby and I didn’t plan the gap, it just happened and we’re quite content. .

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  13. As someone who has struggled with infertility herself I can relate all too well to what you are saying. I know they mean well but it is a punch in the gut when people ask. As if you need one more reminder about your reality. As if you don’t think about it enough already. If you ever want to connect email me at lisaran13@Gmail.Com
    I too have started telling my infertility story on my blog. I hope writing about it helps you with the healing process xoxo

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  14. When will we learn to look behind the questions we ask? This is a beautiful look behind to the person behind what may be thought of as an innocent question. Thank you for the perspective and lovely insight. She is enough.

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  15. One of the strangest things about being a parent is that you are suddenly public property. People ask the most invasive questions without a hint of embarrassment or shame. We have two kids, three years apart. I got quizzed on the “lonely” issue, on the age gap (too large for some people, too small for others), and on countless other parenting decisions that are nobody’s business. We should all print out your post as a flyer to hand out to nosy acquaintances!

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  16. As a mama who watched close friends and siblings go through this time after time, I appreciate your honesty and candour. Thanks for sharing your post with the #GoodFriendsFriday linky party – our next one will be posted shortly!
    Heather recently posted…Back to School with NetflixMy Profile

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  17. This is a wonderful, meaningful post. What you’ve said here is important, I cringe every time someone I know delves into a new parent’s personal life. Just another reminder that we can never know the struggles of others and we should always approach each other with kindness and support.
    Merisa recently posted…6 Things You Need to Know About Queen Elizabeth IIMy Profile

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  18. Hugs to you. And thanks for sharing this. I have several friends who’ve also suffered miscarriages. And I agree with you the questions like that about how many kids we are going to have shouldn’t be asked. It’s none of their business. I get others questions because I just had my fourth – so the questions are only annoying, not painful, but I hear you. Blessings on your family. You’re a brave mom. 🙂
    Bonnie Way recently posted…Top 10 Posts of 2015My Profile

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  19. it’s amazing how so many people don’t realize how their questions can affect others – and really good to know this sort of thing. I rarely ask questions because I try to be sensitive to circumstances – but there may be times when I’m not really thinking…Thank you for bravely sharing this story. Your message is well written eye opening and valid. I will be far more sensitive around this.

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  20. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am so sick and tired of people asking me if I’m having any more kids. I have one healthy almost 7 year old boy. We are so blessed and happy. I don’t understand why people feel the need to tell me that 1 isn’t enough, that I must have 2. Here’s the thing people, I don’t have to have 2 and like in your article people have no idea what went on when I had my son, nor is it any of their business. My son is a perfectly healthy, well adjusted little boy who is polite and very well socialized. People need to mind their own business and the last thing that I want to add is that I’m not just the mother of 1 child. A mother is a mother, no matter if you have 1 child or a litter!!!!!!!

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  21. Thank you for sharing your story.people ask question’s i think because they they just want to say something

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  22. My mother went through the same thing, she had many miscarriages and was lucky to have me, and yes she to felt guilty for only having just one, so she even tired to adopt so I could have a brother and a sister, but things back then were a lot harder and different, they had plane tickets to get the little boy and girl to adopt and the other party backed down, so that left me alone, but I grew up with a very close friend that I considered my sister, and it wasn’t lonely at all, and I didn’t have to worry about fighting over anything, and yes of course I also got spoiled, so being an only child has lots of benefits as well!!

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