One and done? Deciding if only one child is the right thing to do

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Maybe it is because we are fast approaching little B's first birthday?  Maybe it is because there has been a gush of pregnancy announcements (most of them 2nd or 3rd) in the past few weeks?  Maybe it is because the farther away I get from my whole infertility, terrible pregnancy, unplanned c-section experience, the less bad it seems?

Regardless of the reasons, it's happening.  Baby fever?  Not exactly.  I am torn.  Completely undecided on the idea of having another child.  Every time I make a decision in my head and think that it is the one that makes the most sense, I think of something to refute that decision and I'm back to square one.  What gives?

My husband is just as much on the fence as me.  He went from not wanting any kids, to wanting one child, to wanting for children, and now he isn't sure if he wants any more.  He really likes CrossFit (did you know???), knows that it takes lots of his time, and knows it already makes me resentful sometimes.  Why would he want to introduce another needy individual into the mix when we already struggle to keep everything together right now?

Google, "Should I have a second child?" and the results that you get won't really surprise you.  There are articles to support both decisions, although it seemed that there were definitely more articles that I found that supported the idea of "one and done".  I think that if you are looking to be convinced on the side that you are leaning towards, you will find what you want.  If you are completely undecided, like me, then the articles won't really help.

Why shouldn't you have more than one child?  Well first off, you'll be more wealthy than if you had more than one child.  Your child will be able to go to good schools, will be able to go to expensive summer camps, and you'll be able to take that family trip to Europe.  You'll have a nicer car and a nicer house.    

Another reason to only have one child?  You'll be happier, apparently.  There are several articles that I found, such as this one, that suggest that mother's of only children are the happiest.  Maybe this is because they ultimately have more time to devote to themselves and don't have to give *everything* up.  I would assume that this would ring even more true for mothers, like myself, who work full-time, exercise regularly, and have some semblance of a social life.  Life is already hard enough balancing the needs and wants of one high-maintenance child, that juggling all that with two children seems downright impossible to me.

Oh and you'll sleep more, that's for sure (unless you have my child).  Once you have successfully sleep trained one child (they say this happens eventually, but I am not convinced) then along comes the second and poof you are at square one again.  This is especially true since you'll be living in a smaller house and your kids will be sharing a room so when one of them wakes up, they both wake up.  Hugs for everyone!!  Please put on another pot of coffee!

Internet searches aside, I have seen my friends go from one child to two and for most of them, it hasn't been an easy transition.  They have less than no time to do anything that they have to do let along time to do things they want to do.  One of the children is always sick and then once one of the recovers, the other one gets it.  Someone is always crying.  The house is always messy with kids toys everywhere.  They have no time or energy to exercise.  I have even had several friends confide in me that if they could go back and do it again, they would not have had a second child.  I am not sure if there are lots of parents out there that feel this way or if I am just randomly lucky enough to know a few of them.

You would think that this knowledge, alone, might be enough to scare me away from the idea of a second child.  Just when I am making sense to myself regarding the idea of one child, this thought hits my head, "What happens if my husband and I die?  He will be all alone in the world.  How sad."  Those thoughts are accompanied by thoughts of, "He'll be a spoiled brat" and "He'll have imaginary friends", along with "I'll have to entertain him until he is 10 years old."

I knew only children growing up, in fact, one of my best friends from high school was an only child.  She is a very smart and incredibly nice person, but she definitely had an only child "diva" side that I saw on more than one occasion (albeit many, many, years ago).

The truth is that I don't know a ton of only children, but I do know of the stereotype.  Bratty, spoiled, entitled, lonely, bored, and overprotected.  I have also heard that only children are usually smarter and have lots of friends (probably because they have to or they will get bored!), though so it obviously mus not be all bad.

What I do have a ton of experience with is multiple child households, since I came from one and most of my friends came from households with more than one child.  There was always someone to play with, but also always someone to fight with (haha).  Now that I am grown up, I appreciate my siblings a lot.  They, especially the my 3 next youngest sisters, are my best friends.  We share tons of memories and inside jokes.  We have built in support systems when we need it.  We always have someone who we can cry to and who understands the full story because we really, really, know each other.  

Our neighbor has warned me over and over again, "Have your second (and third, and forth...) child before the other one is out of diapers because it will be hard in the beginning, but then much easier later on in life."  They have two girls that are about 20 months apart.  I feel like I can understand this logic.  You wouldn't want to wait too long in-between children because you want to be able to reuse your baby stuff and of course the art of diaper changing is easily forgotten!  ;-)

So what is the decision going to be?  I guess it just isn't as straight forward and will require more time.  Who knows, maybe we wouldn't even be able to have another child.  I guess that would solve the issue for us.  Or would it?  Would I become a jealous, second-baby-craving, mommy?  Would I revisit my RE and get put on meds again?  Would I become obsessed like last time?  Would I have more miscarriages?  Would I need more D&Cs?  What if I have another boy?  Would I want a girl instead?  After having two, would that be all or would I go for a third?  I am also heading into my mid-30s and we all know what happens to every woman's fertility at the age of 35.  Ahhhh sometimes I wish I could just shut off this side of my brain and let what will be, be.

 Happy 11 months to my baby boy!  The light of my life!  I can't believe that he will be a year old in just one month.  Where has the time gone, baby boy??

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9 Responses to “One and done? Deciding if only one child is the right thing to do”

  1. I can't believe he is almost a year old! Time goes so fast, doesn't it? Making the decision to have another child and go through it all again is a huge decision, but let me say this: I am an only child, but I don't fit the stereotype. I *was* spoiled growing up -- in that, I got basically everything I wanted and took lots of fancy vacations -- BUT I have never acted spoiled or entitled. I try to be selfless and thoughtful every day of my life. I think I owe this to my mom, who has always acted the same way, and to a bit of luck and genetics. I just feel like that's who I am.

    That being said, I do feel like being an only child can be very lonely and isolating. I had lots of friends as a kid, but I actually enjoyed being with adults more because that's what I was used to. And I felt very different from my friends because everyone else had brothers and sisters and I couldn't even fathom what that was like. I learned how to play on my own and entertain myself very well, and had a vivid imagination, but I always wished that I had someone to play with. I am so grateful for all that I had as a child, but as I get older and so do my parents, I am wishing that I had someone to share all the big decisions with. It has not escaped me that, once my parents are gone, I will be all that's left and will be responsible for sorting through their things, managing their will, etc.

    Those are just a few things to think about. For me, it was an easy decision to have a second child (and will be an easy decision to have more as well) and the transition has gone much smoother than I expected. However, most of my friends also agree that going from one kid to two is not for the faint of heart. But also worth it, once you get past the baby days.

    Good luck in making the right decision for YOU. Just remember...there probably are no easy answers. There may be some regret and some reward in whatever decision you make. Hugs to you! xo

  2. My OB told me not to think about getting pregnant for at least 18 months, but preferably two years, after my C-section. That's my stock reply when anyone (including the inside of my own head) asks me about a second. "Can't even consider it until she's at least 18 months old."

  3. Such a big boy!!
    I'm on the fence too. Obviously as I'm going to be a gestational carrier I'm not done with the whole pregnancy thing. ;) Part of my screening included a psych assessment and the social worker asked about our future family plans. Both A and I are open to the possibility of a second, though feel so completely content with LB being an only too. The decision we came to (for now at least) is that after the surrogacy if we get lucky great and if there is no pregnancy before LB is five A will get a vasectomy and that will be that. We know that we prefer not to have kids spaced more than five years apart so that helped shape our decision.

  4. I love having two children. Yes, it was very rough in the beginning, but I love seeing them together. It is the best. Good luck deciding!!!

  5. I had a post like this not too long ago. I'm pretty sure we have decided on having more but not in the immediate future. It is a tough call and one we have gone back and forth over. We do know that we will not go into debt trying to have another.

  6. Each month since my cycle returned in January I toy with this. I start the month wanting a second and being all gun-ho to try and conceive...then when I think it is about the time I will ovulate...I get cold feet. My daughter has been really sick this winter (so have I) and I can't imagine having another little one. But I'm really unhappy at my job and would love to go on mat leave again. Part of my desire to have another is to have a do-over with my birth and nursing relationship at the start. I pray that we wont have a baby wisked to the NICU right away so I can hold my baby right away. Also, now that I have a breastfeeding support network and know what 'normal' is...I hope I can start a breastfeeding relationship with future children a little less stressed and anxious than I did with H. But are those reasons to have another? Right now we are just playing 'Russian Roulette' and just letting things happen as they may. I'm obviously not a 'fertile mertle' as others its not like I'll get pregnant right away or with ease...then there is the risk of another m/ ya....

  7. I think about this a lot, especially with pressure from the grandparents to have another. My husband also wants another, but I'm just not sure. Not sure that I can go through the possibility that we could lose another...or even if we don't, having to go thru the emotional and physical trials involved in another pregnancy. Horrible post partum depression last time around scares the crap out of me. But I know once the LO is here, I'd be so happy to have 2.

  8. mhm, so tempting to click ahead to find out what happened since.... I hope you can follow your heart, rather than stories from the internet... And I guess I'm lucky feeling fulfilled with the one that made it, even though before I was convinced one was not enough. (And yes, I still miss the ones that didn't make it)

  9. here from the creme del a creme. It's a bit early for us to be thinking about a second child, although to be honest it has crossed my mind since I was pregnant and it was therefore possible (but not guaranteed by any means) that we could have a second, or even more. I think sub-fertility complicates the situation for me a bit because I'm almost afraid to want a second, for fear it won't/can't happen. Saying we're happy with one or that we'll leave it to chance or luck (yeah, as if I could do that) seems like the "easy" way out. But it really isn't because even if there's just a tiny possibility we still have to take it seriously....