A Reddit thread makes an important point: We need to stop trying to convince parents of only children to have more kids—because it's no one else's business.

By Zara Hanawalt
June 09, 2021
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There's one thing you learn when you have your first child: People seem to have an opinion on nearly every thing you do in regards to parenting. Whether or not you breastfeed, or return to work, or sleep train-all those choices face judgment and commentary from the outside world. And, as one Reddit user points out, the number of children you have is also something people love to comment on (or, in some cases, even try to change your mind about), which is just completely out of line.

An image of a mom hugging her daughter.
Credit: Getty Images.

A mom just started a Reddit thread to discuss this very issue. "If you ask someone if they're having any more kids, [and that person] gives you valid reasons why [they've chosen not to], don't then take that as an invite to try to convince them otherwise! A kid isn't a make of a phone or a new dress or something that I need you to try and convince me I need another one," she writes.

And she's spot-on here: Why do we as a society feel the need to question every decision a parent makes? Of course, it doesn't end there: Because as the mom points out, people don't just question why she has one child, they also try to convince her give her daughter siblings. Yes, really.

According to the mom, people tend to make assumptions (like that she'd had difficult or dangerous pregnancies and has chosen not to go through childbirth again for that reason) and pull arguments like "she'll be lonely" to sway her toward giving her daughter a sibling. And while the mom is clearly happy and comfortable with her single-child family, that doesn't stop others from arguing about the benefits of adding to her brood.

She even shares that others use this absolutely absurd argument. "'What if she dies? Then what? You'll have no children left'," the mom writes. "I'm not royalty, I don't need an heir and a spare and I can assure you if god forbid something happened to my kid I wouldn't be long for this earth. [They say] 'Yeah but if you had another one you'd have something to live for.'"

"So word of advice if you ask someone if they want more kids and they say no, accept the no and move on with your life," the mom concludes. "Because no one needs a 'helpful' push to have more kids when they clearly don't want them and let's face it, it doesn't affect your life at all whether they have another or not." Bingo.

We're right there with her on this-and fellow Reddit users are as well. "I once had someone tell me 'you can't just have ONE kid.' Sure I can, watch me," another user comments.

Another replies specifically to the original poster's comment on the whole 'what if she dies?' argument by sharing her own experience with that (ridiculous and flat-out cruel) question. "This is what my OB-GYN said to me," the commenter writes. "At my six-week postpartum visit after I had told her I would want more permanent birth control and that my husband was having a vasectomy. A terrible thing to here [sic] from a doctor during the newborn stage!"

That anyone-particularly a professional-would say this to a parent at any stage, but especially the postpartum period where both parent and baby are so incredibly fragile and vulnerable, is just mind blowing.

Fellow users are also pointing out that parents of only children aren't the only ones who get judged and criticized for the number of kids they have. "I really don't understand this fixation on other people's lives. I have 6 kids. The comments range from 'OMG that's too much! You are destroying the planet!' to 'You are such a great mother and your kids are so happy, you should have even more,'" another user posts. "I am not sure at which number of kids the complaining and judging stops, but someone else will have to continue the research, because I am getting my tubes tied, I'm done. By my own choice."

Moral of the story? Let other parents live. You never know what factors are at work-financial worries, fertility challenges, a history of dangerous pregnancies, marital issues, unplanned pregnancies...all these things can affect how many kids a person has. And of course, sometimes it just comes down to choice. And choosing to have no kids, or one kid or a whole bunch of kids? Those are all perfectly valid choices. So let's treat them as such.