Holding Forth

Published on September 25th, 2015 | by Richard Black


Why I’ve Only Got One Child (and F*ck You Very Much for Asking)


If you feel compelled to touch this then you’re the sort of person I’m writing about.

Over the years some incredibly observant folks have had the perspicacity to notice that my wife and I only have one child. A few bold souls,mostly strangers who have no idea what they’re in for, have even had the misfortune of asking me if we plan to have any more.

If I’m in a good mood I usually respond by asking “Sure are you selling any of yours?” or “Yeah but I can never find exactly what I want on ebay.”

Usually I’m not in a good mood and my responses tend to go downhill from there.

For some reason when you’ve only got one child people feel comfortable asking questions one would never ask in any other circumstance that didn’t involve a lot of tequila or, perhaps, a latex suit and a lot of tequilla. People shy away from discussing politics unless you’ve known them for a few decades but if you’ve only got one kid then out comes the stupid. These are the sorts of people who feel compelled to touch pregnant women’s bellies in public or comment on the contents of one’s grocery cart in the checkout lane.

“Are you buying fourteen grapefruits?”

“Nope just leasing them. Now move along Rain Main.”

It usually starts with the observation “So you’ve only got the one…” the underlying implication being that there should be a good reason why I don’t have more (children that is not grapefruits, keep up). Instead of approaching the manner in a more mature fashion befitting a man of my advanced years I immediately jump to outright passive aggression.

“Yep my dick stopped working after Vietnam but I’d still go back though if they asked me. It’s hard to get real Vietnamese food around here.”

“My wife and I decided that the world already has too many white people but we didn’t want to adopt. All the good Asian babies have been taken.”

“I had to hire a hobo to bang my wife to get her knocked up with this one. Twice. We couldn’t afford to give him any more money. If anyone tells you they’ll do it for a sandwich they are lying. “

I’m sure that, more often than not, these questions aren’t intended to be insensitive but that’s not how I interpret them. The fact is that my wife and I would love to have another child, even two, but our age, our finances, and preexisting medical conditions preclude the possibility.


I sacrificed a couple of these in the backyard in the hopes it would help me conceive a child. Jobu, however, was not impressed.

It took us quite a long time to conceive our daughter and I can say that I’m not all that excited about going through the process again. We took basal body temperatures, timed my wife’s cycle and even sacrificed a few chickens (i.e. buried a bucket of KFC’s twelve piece special) in our backyard during a full moon at midnight on more than one occasion. It made for a lot of mediocre sex but not many children.

To complicate matters it turns out that the penis is a…remarkably neurotic organ that does not necessarily perform well when its owner is under duress. One minute it’s stiff enough to be the kickstand on a Harley and the next its like trying to jam a marshmallow through a coin slot.*

As a heads up ladies the worst thing you can do at this moment is to start a conversation.

“Is everything all right?”

“Yeah, yeah, everything’s great. I always get flaccid before I finish. It would be really awesome if you could fake an orgasm right now.”

My wife had her problems as well but for proprieties’s sake I won’t go into them in much detail.  Suffice it to say that The Rube Goldberg Machine that is the female reproductive system is much like an aging Buick and tends to have…issues the older it gets.

Eventually we sought the help of experts and endured multiple rounds of IVF. The full telling of that story is too long for this venue but I will note that if anyone tells you that jabbing your wife with a couple needles every night brings you closer together they are lying. After four years and a like number of doctors we ended up with six “viable” embryos. Through a screw up the surgeon thawed four of them for our first implant instead of the two we’d requested. Neither took and the others didn’t make it through the process to put them back into cyrosleep or whatever it is that embryos do when subjected to sub zero temperatures.


My wife’s uterus is like Thunderdome. Two embryos enter. One leaves (after ten months of course).

Our daughter, Darcy, was the result of the last implantation. Like Thunderdome two embryos went in and only one came out…albeit an appropriate amount of time later. We were convinced that neither embryo took and prepared ourselves for the inevitable disappointment. When the doctor called she requested that Laura and I both be on the line and we steeled ourselves for bad news.

“Laura is pregnant,” we both heard over the phone. Neither of us believed what we’d just heard and demanded that the nurse repeat herself.

“Your wife is pregnant.”

Even after the confirmation neither of us quite believed that Laura was, in fact, pregnant. Regardless of our predispositions our daughter was born ten months later.

Laura and I have discussed having another child. We no longer take precautionary measures during the few times a month we’re not so completely exhausted to have sex. Even then our odds of conceiving a child are equal to those of Polish Calvary against an onslaught of Nazi Panzers circa the beginning of WWII. For those of you who aren’t history buffs those aren’t good odds.

We’ve considered adoption but ruled it out. I like to think that I’m a patient and understanding man but I’m really not. My fear with adoption is that I would resent the child if he, or she, became a problem and the ensuing fallout would effect my daughter. Given the fact that most children have issues from time to time I’ve determined that adoption is a no win scenario for all involved parties. It’s not the most enlightened viewpoint and one that is, quite frankly, selfish but if I’ve learned anything over the past forty years it’s that accepting my limitations is far easier than dealing with their complications at a later date.

Adoption is out and, likewise, IVF is also off the table. The process is too involved, too expensive and honestly too exhausting for a man of my aforementioned advanced years and limited patience. IVF is not pleasant. In addition to the shots and the hormones there’s a lot of other poking, prodding, hoping and wishing. It took us quite a while to have our daughter and IVF has no guarantees.

We’ve considered our prospects many times but, after much discussion, Laura and I have concluded that we have a little girl to raise. Rather than devoting hours of time, concern, and money to the crapshoot of IVF we’d rather focus our energy on rearing the child we have instead of worrying over the one that we might or might not.

*I thought that I’d invented this phrase but, after a Google or two, I discovered that the comic genius Al Jackson beat me to the punch. Crap.

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