I get asked this question at least twice a week and several times at every children’s birthday party I attend, so let’s say it’s close to 200 times a year.
This question is met with a well-established and rehearsed answer. I’ve honed it over the years for these inquisitive parents, family members and strangers who see (or know) that I have one child and assume I want more – because having only one child is weird, right?
Here’s a side note: I have given birth once. My son is six years old and I am stepmother to a 16-year-old son, so my family situation is of the blended variety. I recognise that 10 years between siblings is a long time and our teenager is certainly not attending children’s birthday parties, so on the surface, it could appear that my son is an only child.
When explaining my situation at birthday parties, I get nods of understanding, flavoured with “Who does he play with?”, or “Only children are spoilt,” or comments indicating people think I’m being selfish.
Watch: Things people never say at kids' parties. Post continues below.
The Project co-host Carrie Bickmore joined the debate about whether it’s appropriate to quiz women about their procreation plans, after Stellar magazine announced it would stop posing that question during interviews with women.
In a column for the magazine on October 27, 2019, Bickmore said she was “conflicted” about the move and “could see both sides of the dilemma”.
While I welcome Stellar’s decision, the magazine needs to go a step further. Singles and newlyweds have grown wearily accustomed to being interrogated on their plans to couple up and baby up. That’s bad enough. But what about the bleary-eyed mother of one who is quizzed on exiting the maternity ward on when baby number two will be en route?
We need to stop grilling women about these deeply personal decisions and choices, and stop judging women’s credibility as mothers by how many children they have.