I’ve been thinking about how to write this article for a while now. I wasn’t sure how to start or exactly what to say – this can be a touchy subject sometimes. I wanted this to be helpful and supportive to other parents in the same situation, but I am really making it all up as I go along so how can I be helpful or supportive? So, let’s just get to it. I’m one and done and proud of it!
Wait, hold on…one and done?? Doesn’t that mean that, gasp, you are only having one child??? But won’t she be lonely? Who will help her take care of you when you are elderly? Won’t she have to deal with your death all alone? What if something happens to her then you won’t have any kids?!
These are all the things I am sick of hearing. Why is it that it’s ok to judge how many kids I am having if the number is less than 2? While those are all things I have thought about, they aren’t good reasons to have another child. You should have another child because you want one, not because you are worried about how the future might unfold.
Why I Am One And Done
There are are many different reasons that lead to how many children you choose to have. And sometimes, you aren’t in control of it. We are kind of in between. I had some pretty rough years dealing with all sorts of infertility (that’s a conversation for another day), but was finally able to deliver a healthy baby girl. I had a scheduled c-section due to my daughter’s breech position and during the surgery my doctor discovered I had what in layman’s terms amounts to half a uterus. It’s a rare condition with a very poor live birth rate. Even if I wanted to have another child, I am not sure I could.
2. Mental Health
I have dealt with bouts of depression my whole life (yet another conversation for a different day) and was worried I would experience some postpartum depression. The funny thing is I was so whacked out that I didn’t even realize I was experiencing it! I was convinced I was having all of these feelings because I was a bad mom. I was so overwhelmed with motherhood I didn’t even realize I was drowning! Oh, and anxiety. I experienced anxiety for the first time too which didn’t help. I honestly didn’t feel 100% back to normal till my daughter was about 3! It was a crazy ride and one that I don’t really want to take again.
3. My Life
Guys, here’s a secret…there are certain crazy things that I love to do. I like sleeping through the night, going to the bathroom by myself and not having sticky hand prints on my doors (and fridge, floors, walls, etc…) Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom – I haven’t worked harder to achieve anything else in my life – but I also enjoy just being me sometimes…not always “mom”. I love traveling and whether we bring my daughter or leave her home with grandma, it’s easier with just one.
The Only Child Stigma
You would be shocked at how many times I have heard that I should have another child so my daughter won’t be an “only lonely”! (Seriously, people have told me I should have a second child in the grocery store check out line!) Can we all agree to lose the only child stigma and just focus on being good parents to however many children we choose to have?
You always read things about how sad only children must be and how anti-social and awkward they probably are. You can also read how they excel in school, have an easy time talking to adults and are more well behaved. I’m sure all of those things are true – and none of them are. There are so many other factors at play in any child’s development. I don’t think ‘number of siblings’ will make or break you.
Of course, I worry about my child’s happiness and well being…but any parent will do that regardless of the number of siblings that child has. I have spoken to many adults who are only children and they are all fine – no one has broken down crying wishing they had a brother. As for me, I know a little of both worlds. I grew up as an only child, but I do have a sibling. My brother wasn’t born till I was 13 so most of my childhood years were spent as an only. But, I do have a full sibling and I love having him in my life.
How Do You Decide?
There’s no right or wrong way to decide how many kids to have. If you are one and done like me or have a whole house full of kids, the decision isn’t necessarily easy. And, if you are like me, you probably have moments where you second guess yourself. Whenever one of my friends has a new baby I get a little glimmer of wishing I could have another one. But then the baby cries and I can give it back to mama and go enjoy the rest of my day! (hehe)
I don’t think there is a magical right number of children to have. It will vary for every family. Some women are wired to just want to have more. I am not one of those women. But I am finally realizing that doesn’t make me less of a mom. Only having one child doesn’t make me an inferior mom, and having 6 children doesn’t make you a mom extraordinaire. They are all just different ways to be a mom. And let’s face it, there are a million and one different ways to be a mom…because no one has it all figured out yet!
What are your thoughts? Are you one and done or do you love having a full house? How did you know what the right number was for your family?