Even though the vast, vast majority of people I encounter are really excited when they hear I’m carrying twins, nearly every interaction includes the following statement:
“A boy and a girl!? Perfect! One and done!”
I expected this a little bit, because most people prefer to have two children, but I didn’t expect it to be such a resounding sentiment used so frequently. I had no idea people were so unanimous about two kids being the absolute limit, but now I’m totally convinced it’s society’s standard.
Most times I just smile and agree, because I don’t feel the need to tell the grocery store clerk my family plan of having three or four kids, but sometimes I want to dispel the myth that everyone is only having two kids. So sometimes I speak up and say that we’re hoping for more. They usually look at me like I just confessed to being a member of the Duggar family.
Or maybe it’s not two kids, maybe it’s just that everyone thinks that every family needs one of each gender. I would love to know what women carrying twins of the same sex encounter. I bet most people say, “Oh two girls? You’ll have to go for one more to get that boy!”
I realize this is mostly just people filling the space with something to say, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of them end up saying the same thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with two-children families, or with wanting one of each gender, it’s just bizarre to me that people forcefully assume that we shouldn’t want any more.
I’ve talked to friends who have three or four kids, and they all mostly say the same thing: people are extremely excited for you for the first two, mildly happy for your third, and then deeply confused/concerned for your fourth. I’m taking this in and preparing my future replies to people who question our sanity, maybe something sassy, like, “It’s not like I’m asking you to raise them!”
I also find it totally absurd when people cry overpopulation, because it’s just not true in this country. We’ve been below replacement-level fertility as a nation since 1972 (2.1 children per woman is the amount needed to replace the current population). Our birth rate as of 2009 is 13.5 births for every 1,000 people.
I’m not advocating for everyone to have ten children; I’m just realizing more and more how off-hand comments to strangers really add up. My advice to people everywhere: when a woman tells you (or you can’t help but notice) that she’s pregnant, just be happy for her, whether it’s her first or her fifth. If you loathe the idea of people having gaggles of kids, remind yourself that one day those kids will be paying into your social security, and then go on your merry way.