Good for you! I totally get this, Tanya. For medical reasons (and a few of my own), I was planning to have one child. I had complications during my pregnancy which led to my daughter’s early birth and her six-week stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was 2 1/2 pounds due to my gestational (turns out it was lifetime) hypertension. But to make a very long story as short as possible, I was told by my doctor to have only one child.

When Amy was four, I accidentally became pregnant. When I visited with my ob/gyn, he strongly suggested I terminate this pregnancy. He was afraid that the same problems would arise again (premature labor beginning at twenty-two weeks and hypertension) and was fearful not only could I lose the baby but “Amy could lose her mother.” However, I went in for genetic counseling because, even though I was pretty sure I was going to follow the doctor’s advice, I felt that I should seek other opinions.

I was beginning to show very early, which created an atmosphere for talk among neighbors and friends, and I heard the exact same words you have heard about the risks of an only child. I’m so glad you haven’t listened to any of these people and happy for you that you are strong in yourself. I am also pleased you wrote this essay, and I hope it gets circulated far and wide.

And one last thing. I eventually had another baby six years after my first. But it wasn’t easy. Just as the doctor predicted, everything happened again exactly as it did the first time, and my daughter was born early and stayed in the NICU. And guess what? The women talked again. This time it was all about how three children make for the perfect family, that having only two is selfish, and…….

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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