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.
9 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Have to Explain Your Choice to Have an Only Child”
I have 2 boys but I understand because my oldest was a year family and friends started asking when we were going to have more. It is a your choice and you do what’s right for you and your family. Now all i hear are you trying for a girl.
There was a 9 year age gap between my two kids, and no one ever asked me if I was having another! Lots of my friends who chose to have just one though got asked why over and over again
The amount of children you have, or even having any children is a personal choice. I have 1 child who is now almost 22. What people don’t know is that I was told I’d never have children so my one child is a miracle. I was a single mother and that still didn’t stop people from asking me all the time when I was going to give her a playmate.
I have 3 kids, but my oldest always says she misses being an only child (there’s a large age gap between her and my younger 2 kids). You have to do what’s best for you and your family, and it sounds like you are.
I was an only child for 9 years and hated it, i felt lonely with no cousins either and wanted different for my kids as it happens my first was an only child for 15 years, different people have different circumstances, experience and above all our own choises, i didn’t realise there was so much pressure from people, especially as its none of their business.
It is a personal choice I agree. It was hard for me when I lost my daughter to trisomy 18 when people would ask me. BUT I wanted more because I could not burden my son as being a only child. Plus, if god forbid anything happen to him in his lifetime where he would leave this earth before me and I was past child bearing age I would not be able to cope. At least with another child you have the strength to live for them (these thoughts are based on working in mental health)
As a mother to four I get the question as to why I chose to have so many. You’re right, it’s a very personal choice be it one or twenty!
It’s never anyone’s job to plan your life for you. Having one child happens all the time and they turn out great! Forget the haters and controllers.
Thank you for this post! I am pretty sure I am one and done, but every one seems to keep asking about another one when my daughter is only 5 months old! Heck we got comments a few weeks after she was born, like um, I just had a baby, I am not even thinking about another! It would be so nice if people would just mind their own business.