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An Open Letter To Everyone Who Thinks It Is Okay For Them To Decide How Many Kids I Should Have

Dear society,

If you think it is okay for you to decide if my husband and I should start ‘trying’ because we’ve been married a certain amount of time, or that it is okay for you to tell us our only kid needs a brother or sister, here’s the deal. It isn’t.

Choosing to become a parent (or not) is a personal decision. A huge one. I never slip the topic in any conversation and I go about my life expecting the same degree of consideration and respect from you, for such a weighty private matter. Evidently, that’s not happening.

mother in law_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Your cavalier suggestions about my biological clock ticking or denying my only child the bliss of knowing the love of a sibling, are not welcome. You have not any idea of the wrangling behind closed doors where these personal decisions are taken. Heck, you probably do not even know that procreation is a bedroom topic and is best, kept that way. When your puzzled eyes peer into my personal life, I am not just seething with indignation but mentally convulsing from the injustice of the interrogation…

When are you giving us the good news?”

“Your li’l boy needs a sister. When is she coming?”

“Why don’t you start trying now?”

“Have you started thinking about another child?”

Suggested read: Who is a woman, really

…and so many more questions that have not a clue about whether we have tried for years to get pregnant again or consciously decided to not have children at all, whether we have grappled with the stress, the self-doubts, the medical treatments and failures or simply, lost our will in between heated arguments about the ugly truth of childcare expense, whether we have had myriad discussions about adoption or surrogacy or other unconventional methods to have kids or simply, resigned to years fading away in the blink of an eye and accepting ‘this is our reality now.’

You do NOT know.

You will never know.

mother and child1

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Because no matter the battles we fight, no matter the wounds we endure, you are fixated on just the one thing- the flag of victory hoisted after the fighting’s done. You are interested in just the one outcome- the sweet sound of a baby’s crying resounding through our home, the innocent questions of kids searching through every nook and cranny of the household for answers that can turn into more questions for dinnertime.

You do not care if that isn’t the idea of life for a couple who has set ‘conventional life’ ablaze in their bedroom fireplace or newlyweds who haven’t even begun to consider the idea. You do not care if there are couples who are working hard to become successful in their careers so that when they finally turn to parenthood, they can commit to giving it the best they can. You do not care if there are others who are trying to learn of ways they can manage the twin challenges of parenthood and jobs- both real, hard work. You do not care if someone’s medical conditions have sealed the decision of (non)parenthood for them or if someone simply does not want to have kids or more kids, not now, not ever.

You are just smug and complacent about being the know-it-all who knows exactly when’s the right time for beginning to entertain ideas about conception, when’d be the ‘perfect timing’ to start trying or just why it is okay for someone’s hoo-haa to prep for popping out kids, because having gone through the rigors once has left an only child susceptible to being spoilt, selfish or even lonely!

mother with her son

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Do you ever pause to consider the insanity of it all? Have you ever stopped to understand the unjust judgments you heap on parents/couples you presume you can seize the choice from? Have you, even once, considered that the decisions you feel confident about may not be the ‘right ones’ for them? Or that they may hurt them, scrape old wounds or fill them with inescapable guilt and sadness?

I have only one question for all of you who feel no qualm in flinging such questions at couples- WHY?

Why’d you do this? Why’d you presume you can dole out advice when the agency rests, truly and completely, with the couple and the couple only?

Suggested read: Why I doff my hat to the women who choose not to have kids

Why’d you, even for a moment, assume it is ‘right’ to intercept and interfere in such a private part of someone’s life?


Why’d you add to the weight of their personal choices by heaping on your own tired judgment, like our world weren’t burdened with enough biases already!

It is distressing to see you flashing a pretentious smile at a mother of five, and then, spewing condescension at the ‘comically large’ family because ‘who does that?’ It is troubling to see you look with disdain at parents of a lone child, because you know the ‘poor’ thing needs a ‘brother/sister,’ lest she turn out ‘spoilt and selfish!’ Not to mention the judgment you heap on the former set of parents for being irresponsible and the latter for ‘having it easy!’

Let me tell you- nobody has it easy! No parent has it easy!

mother with her daughter

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Whether it’s a couple who has just been shaken by the tremors of a miscarriage or the one who has aborted a child, whether it’s a couple who has decided to go without kids or is a couple who has had many, whether it’s a couple who has given birth to just the one (who isn’t lonely or selfish or spoilt, fyi) or is one on their way- nobody has it easy! And you can definitely try to not make it harder than it already is.


Help out in creating a world that does not pry into people’s personal lives and certainly, does not assume a ‘right’ to get a say. Because, here’s something I want to tell you, on behalf of all women you’ve pestered with your needless, incessant and not to mention, unfair and disturbing volley of questions- if you ever as much as pop those questions again, be sure to count yourself dropped as quickly as a bowling ball balanced on a feather. It is enough that we deal with the challenges of being a ‘woman’ in a world that isn’t exactly ‘pally’ with us- we do NOT want to have ‘friends and well-wishers’ who are worse than enemies.


Featured Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
An Open Letter To Those Who Think It's Okay For Them To Decide How Many Kids I Should Have
How many kids should I have? Who decides that? Having a dozen kids or an only or none is MY choice- why do you think you get a say?
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."