by Elizabeth Hess
Most of my friends have two or three children, and it is incredible to watch these amazing, little people change, learn and develop. And when those children grow up, they will have each other to play with, fight with, and love. There are MANY reasons to have more then one child. So I understand why it is it hard for some people to grasp that I have – and only want – ONE child.
From the moment I got married, family and friends would ask “when are you going to start a family?” When I finally gave birth, after six years of marriage, I started getting some of the most innappropriate questions: “Did you have fertility issues” (Seriously, someone actually asked me that!) or, another favorite, “don’t you think it’s selfish to only have one?” and “if you have another one, they can play with each other, and you aren’t always your son’s primary source of entertainment” (my almost 5-year-old is the funniest person I know – HE is MY primary source of entertainment!)
I used to laugh it off and give polite answers, but occasionally, when it’s a stranger, or when I am caught on a cranky day, I give a snippy answer: “I only have one because I only want/can handle one.” One woman actually came back with “what if your husband wants
more?” I bit my tongue, and had to walk away before reminding her which one of us has the equipment to give birth.
The year my son, Eli, was born, was the hardest year of my life. Aside from several major personal losses that year, I found the first nine months of parenting to be the most exhausting, and, dare I say it, depressing times.
People always say “you forget the exhaustion,” but I never will. For nine months, I had a son who didn’t sleep more then 2 1/2 hours at a time. I was scarred for life because of that.
My husband, Sanford, and my “one-child” lifestyle works for us. He and I are very respectful of each other’s need for “down time.” We each get to work out occasionally, I nap every weekend, and we take turns going out with friends – or even alone.
My son and I have a routine: Every day, when my husband, Sanford gets home from work or the movie theater he runs, Eli and I fling open the door to the garage and jump up and down while Sanford pulls into the garage. Eli and I have a contest to see who can hug him first. Those three minutes, when we’re all embracing, are my favorite time of day. While there are only three of us standing there in the front hallway, the entire house
Elizabeth Hess has worked in radio for the past 11 years, and currently hosts a daily talk show on WDWS in Champaign. She lives in southwest Champaign with her husband, Sanford, son, Eli, and cat, Abbey.