When I meet another mum at school pickup or on the side of a rugby field, I inevitably ask how many children they have.
I'm typically looking for advice on my latest parenting drama and hoping they can help.
I never realised that mums of one groan on the inside when asked, 'How many kids do you have?' Not because they aren't impossibly proud of their child, but because they are used to the strong opinions and inappropriate questions that follow soon after.
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So, here are the four things people always say to mums of one child, according to four mums who have heard it all.
When are you having the next one?
'I always wanted to say "lay off lady" (because only other mums asked). We had so many rounds of IVF, and it just didn’t happen for us.'
It seems that for the first five years after having number one, all mums are fair game for being asked when they will have number two.
Not if. When.
We assume, wrongly, that every parent will have at least two kids. Many of us don't stop to consider why some parents might stop at one. It may be the financial cost, the impact on careers, or the stress on parents' mental and physical health. It could be because there is no support network close by to help.
Or perhaps, as crazy as this sounds, one child is the correct number for their family.
For parents who hope for more than one, but it doesn't happen, being asked constantly when number two is coming can be draining and hurtful. It makes some mums feel like they aren't 'normal'. Others feel guilty that they can't give their child a sibling or complete their family.