Don’t Guilt Me, I Really Am “One & Done”

Mom guilt is a real thing. Ask any mom you know whether they’ve experienced it and they will say yes. If they say no, what they really mean is not yet. Mom guilt is brought on by the most basic of things, like making time for yourself, working a full-time job to provide for your family, losing your temper because you’re human and you only asked six times in your nice, calm voice for them to do what you said…so on and so forth.

So, the last thing I need on top of the predisposed mom guilt that comes as a freebie when you have a baby, is anyone who is neither my husband nor I making me feel guilty about not wanting to have another child. 

There are worse pregnancies and birth experiences than mine. I am healthy and able. We could probably financially swing it. I never thought I would have “only one child” but I just don’t want to have another baby. People could throw hundreds of reasons at me as to why I should reconsider and I would feel every.single.one. I would take everything to heart and have internal battles as to whether I am making the right decision for my family. Read that again. I feel it all. So, every time you tell me that my child needs someone to play with or will be lonely, I feel it. Every time you tell me my husband needs a son, I feel it. Whenever you tell me my only child is so well behaved I should have another one, I feel it. When you tell me how amazing it is to experience your love grow with each child, I feel it. So, while I know most people are well meaning, I ask that you keep your comments to yourself. I’ve thought long and hard about every scenario you are going to bring up and I don’t want to have another baby.

Because the answer “no, we’re not having another child” seems to not be reason enough, here are a few more reasons why we are one and done: 

  • My sanity. 

  • We’re so busy and school hasn’t yet started for us. I often feel like I am not devoting enough time to my one child and personal life as it is.

  • My toddler is super clingy and obsessed with me; there is a good chance she would detest a sibling and that I may be duplicating her.

  • I hated being pregnant and I struggle with depression, the details of which need a separate blog post. 

  • We’re financially comfortable and can provide the wants and needs of our child with minimal stress.

  • Neither my husband nor I want to.

Really, the last one is most important: neither my husband nor I want to. 

I know there are women who would do anything to be able to carry a child of their own, but that doesn’t mean I should simply because I can. I know my daughter might get lonely sometimes or may be a little spoiled because she’s an only child. I know that my husband having a son is the only chance of us carrying on our last name — I am constantly concerned that he will resent me for not trying for a boy. As a mother, it is my job to help my daughter learn how to cope when she feels alone, rather than filling a hole with another person. It is my job to devote time to her so that she feels like she always has someone and knows that she is supported and loved. It is my responsibility as a parent to make sound decisions regarding my well being and the well being of my family. We have a huge family, on both sides, including cousins all the same age bracket as our daughter. I have a lifetime to instill into my only child how important it is to cultivate your own “village” — people who may or may not be blood. For all the reasons I should have another child, there is one lesson that can be taught to our only child. I realize at this point a lot of people think that parents who choose to have one child are selfish. I understand where you may be coming from, but I still have no intentions of having another baby.

It is not selfish.

Selfishness is not commuting and working 40+ hours a week to provide for your family. Selfishness is not using all the remaining time you have to devote to the bond between you and your only child. Selfishness is not choosing to have only one child so that you are mentally present with your family and minding your mental health. Selfishness is not considering that if there were a second child, money would be tighter and it would be harder for you to provide the life you want to give your child. It is not selfishness; it is reality. I know everything works itself out, I know that people make it work every single day, and I trust that one’s heart grows like the Grinch’s when you have more children…I truly do. But that is not the choice that I am making for my family. Choosing to have one child is not selfish. Not respecting a parent’s decision and trying to change their mind is selfish.

So, please stop guilting me and all the other parents of an only child. Hold your tongue, smile, and accept the life others are choosing for themselves. 

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2 Responses to Don’t Guilt Me, I Really Am “One & Done”

  1. Monica Schaberg December 10, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Beautifully written! I feel this in my soul!

  2. Hope January 14, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    Very well said and beautifully written Haley! You are doing a stellar job taking care of your little tribe. So proud, Go you! <3 Hope

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