Choosing to have an only child is a deeply personal choice, but that doesn’t stop others from weighing in. Here’s why it’s okay to let yourself off the hook for not having more kids!
As soon as I had my son, people started asking me when we would start trying to have another baby. Honestly, being as sleep deprived as I was that first year, I couldn’t even imagine cooking a roast chicken, let alone finding the time to be intimate with my husband… and then to think about adding another child to the equation? Um… how about no? Choosing to only have one child is exactly that: a choice. And no one’s judgment is superior to my own when it comes to my family.
Having an only child: it’s your choice!
There is so much pressure from family, friends and society as a whole when it comes to child rearing and producing (what a ridiculous statement!). As an example: I have been told by people who are no more than mere acquaintances that it was selfish to only have one child. Aunts have rubbed my stomach one year postpartum and told me it was time to start trying for another child. I was told by friends that I would “see” after enough time had passed, and I would be ready to start trying to have another baby.
I think that a lot of the pressure that I felt about having a second child also came from within. From the expectations that I had of myself as a mother:
- I was supposed to want to have another child, right?
- It wasn’t supposed to be so difficult only having only one.
- I should have been able to just shake off my postpartum depression and put my child’s need for a sibling before my own need to keep my sanity.
- Maybe my son would be a weird only child, and it just wasn’t fair that I was denying him a sibling to keep him company.
- I should probably just ignore my age and try to get pregnant again and hope for the best for both my health and the baby’s.
- I should put my depression on the back burner and forget about my four year old’s need for a mentally stable mother, and have another child.
- Let’s just cross our fingers and hope it works out when the baby’s born.
Right. Because all of these thoughts make sense, right? Of course they don’t!!!! But all of these thoughts play into my own ideas of what society expects of me as a woman, and I played right into them.
There are all kinds of reasons for choosing to only have one child. And that’s what a lot of people don’t seem to understand: it’s a choice. Whatever the reasons, everybody has their own ideas of what a perfect family means to them. It’s a deeply personal decision, and frankly is nobody’s business but yours. The reasons I have for having an only child are my own very personal reasons. And how can that be wrong?
In the end, deciding to have one child is right for our family. I choose to place the importance of my family’s well-being and my health as my number one priority, instead of on having another child because someone else says I should.