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One and Done: No More Womb

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I think it's my business if I only want to have one child, but not everyone agrees.


Momlogic's Momstrosity: The conversation started innocently enough while waiting in line at Target with my 2-year-old. The woman behind me had an infant in a Bjorn, a toddler in a cart and a 4-year-old clinging to her leg--I'll call her FertileMom.

FertileMom: (re: my daughter) Your first?
Me: Yes.
FertileMom: Are you going to have any more?
Me: No. We just want one.
FertileMom: (shaking head with disapproval) Tsk. What a shame.

OK, why is it OK to tell me how many kids I should have?!

Imagine if the conversation had been reversed:

Me: How many kids do you have?
FertileMom: Three
Me: Wow, that's plenty. Are you having more?
FertileMom: I hope so.
Me: God, I hope not. You should give it a rest, I think you've got enough.

But there was no time to ask Fertile Mom any questions, because she launched into how sad it will be for my daughter as a "lonely only," and how the best gift we could ever give her was a playmate. "You know what they say about only children--they're spoiled," she added emphatically. It all made me feel pretty bad and guilty for making the choice to only have one child. But the truth is, I love having a "singleton" and can't picture my life with more children. My life is perfect, just as it is with my husband and daughter. Just the three of us. One and done.

I've heard all the arguments for more children: Two is more than twice as hard as one but three is easier than two and 16 is way easier than 28. But hey, I'm no mathematician. I just know what I can handle, and I can handle one. Scratch that. I can handle 1/2. My husband, bless his heart, splits duties with me pretty much down the middle. The best part is, we can give our daughter everything she needs: abundant attention, college education, piano lessons, camp, vacations. Yes, I realize you can do all of these things with larger families, but from what I understand it's much, much harder. If I added another kid into the mix, I'd have a nervous breakdown. But hey, if a total stranger in line at Target thinks I should have more, maybe she's right?

How about you? Do YOU think I should have another kid?"

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54 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michele January 27, 2008, 11:28 AM

YOU should have as many children and you and your spouse feel comfortable with! No more and no less. You just need to come up with a witty, scathing remark for those who feel the need to butt into your personal family planning.

My first child wasn’t even 6 months old before people started badgering me to have another. I didn’t want another — love the one I have, thank you very much. Hated (I mean it: HATED) being pregnant. But even my husband joined in the badgering and our second is due in March. Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure I’ll adore this next one as much as the first, but dammit, it felt like my body was under the control of everyone else.

Stick to your guns and do what’s best for you!

Lynne January 27, 2008, 12:12 PM

I have only one child. I’ve heard all the crap from people too about how I have to have another, she’s going to be spoiled, etc. They can all kiss my butt!

Lela January 27, 2008, 12:28 PM

Fewer kids is better for the planet. Tell that woman she’s overpopulating the earth.

Jennifer W January 27, 2008, 1:05 PM

I only have one and I had my tubes tied so there WON’T be any more. I’ve heard all the same nonsense too. How rude is it to assume everyone can just pop out a bunch of kids without any problems? How hurtful of ‘fertile mom’ to say those things. What if it was someone who might have struggled to get the one beautiful child they have!

Honestly, if someone was as blatantly rude as ‘fertile mom’ I might even lie and say I was infertile to teach her a lesson. Then again, saying how your child gets ALL your love and attention without interruption might do the trick too.

Bob Rudis January 27, 2008, 1:14 PM

OK, so I’m obviously not a “mom” but I think it’s far more than reasonable to make the choice to have only one child, especially after seeing what my wife had to go through (birth-wise) and the amount of effort it takes to raise multiple kids (properly).

The “fertile moms” you speak of have partners who agree with them and I get to hear the “We’re having 7/8/9 kids!” from them (not so much since I moved to Seattle, but plenty back east).

Don’t feel bad and enjoy the one-on-one time with your “singleton”.

Christina @ Wonder Years Radio January 27, 2008, 2:33 PM

It’s beyond me how complete strangers feel it’s OK to hand out advice. They should mind their own business. Kudos to YOU for knowing how many children you are capable of handling!

Jennifer January 27, 2008, 5:10 PM

I have two and I don’t blame you for not wanting another one. It’s twice as much work. One was a lot easier, cheaper, and losing weight wasn’t as hard the first time around. Tell parents like her that she should mind her own business. People should do whatever they feel is best for them and their family without feeling judged.

anonymous January 27, 2008, 5:48 PM

I, too, have only one biological child. Before I remarried, I wanted more, but now that I have my 3-year-old daughter, a 14-year-old step-son and an 18-year-old step-daughter, I do not want any more children. I have the benefit of having alone time with my daughter while the other kids are in school and I love the attention that I am able to give her. She deserves to have my patience, my tenderness and my adoration, which when her siblings are all home, she has to fight desperately to just be heard.

Am I spoiling her? No way. You cannot spoil a child by loving them too much.

Am I neglecting my step-children? Sometimes I feel like I do not know how to be a good parent to them. They do not want me, but they are stuck with me. They lost their mother 7 years ago, and they are very bitter about my presence.

Battle lines are drawn, and I cannot dare bring another child into these turbulant waters.

So to the woman who wants to tell me to have another child - I would look at her and say - Back Off and Butt Out.

Anonymous January 27, 2008, 7:41 PM

I think strangers should mind their own business. I’m pregnant with #2 and I’ve had looks and comments when I’m out with my 2 year old - things like “oh, you’re having ANOTHER one?!” Really, give me a break. It’s everyone’s individual decision and that should be respected no matter what the decision may be.

nokomis January 27, 2008, 8:31 PM

I am an only child and I have to say it’s selfish to only have one. Yes “you” want and maybe can only handle one but in the long run it’s cruel. Better to have none. There was no one to sit in the waiting room with me when my mother had breast cancer at an early age. I was young, in my early twenties. Going through treatments, the thought of planning nursing homes, funerals, etc is so emotionally devastating not to mention financially.

I can only hope I don’t leave my son without a blood relative to go through life with him. You make friends but it’s not the same without a sibling!

RK January 27, 2008, 9:14 PM

Nobody except YOU knows what’s right for you! What right does she have to question that? Does she actually think that her kids are going to turn out better than yours just because they have siblings?? Control freaks like that usually are very unhappy with their own lives…
By the way, I’m an only child and I don’t feel like I missed out on life because of it. And I certainly was never a “spoiled brat”. Children are only spoiled brats if their parents allow that to happen - and I’ve met plenty of them who are NOT “onlies”!

mlmegret January 28, 2008, 4:17 AM

First of all to Nokomis! Putting your mother in a nursing home is cruel!!! Now I had severe HG in my pregnancy and the next time it will be worse and I can die!! So I even if i wanted to have another child (which I don’t) I can’t!!!

Becki January 28, 2008, 7:22 AM

Sure, I think you should have another kid. I also think you should have sex with your husband twice a week, and that you should use ACME brand cleaning products, and vote for John Edwards, and not eat veal, and buy only American-made products, and, and, and…ALL of those things are none of my business. Or anyone else’s. For some families, ten kids is great. For others, one or none. I don’t think any of us should have to defend that choice.

MJ January 28, 2008, 8:40 AM

I’ve never looked at the “stranger who knows how many kids I should have” thing from this perspective. As a young Catholic mom who plans to have a large brood, I’ve heard tons of stories from friends about people who tell them they have too many. Thanks for making me realize it’s no more acceptable to make comments the other way - how many children you have has nothing to do with me! So if you don’t make nasty comments to me about my large family, I won’t say a word about your small one!

Lesley January 28, 2008, 9:17 AM

It’s not just the “fertile moms” that speak up, believe me I know. I had our 4 children within 5 years and many a stranger asked me things like:
* Are they all yours?
* Are you going to have more?
* Why would anyone want that many children?
* ‘I’ could NEVER have that many children! (along with a look of disdain)
* ect…..

The funny thing is, I don’t think 4 children is that many!! :0) I would of loved to have more at least 6!! :0) So from this, “fertile mom”, I do not judge you for having one child. It really is none of my business at all. It is between you and your husband and no one else. In the end you are the ones responsible for your child.

EG January 28, 2008, 12:05 PM

Just say “I can’t” and go back to your child. Honestly, maybe that’ll teach people to not make judgements and assumptions.

Kari January 28, 2008, 11:35 PM

Of course no one should tell you how many children you should have. It is just sad to think that your child will grow up without siblings. You can give her all the love and attention, but in the end, you are still “mom” and she needs someone to be her co-conspiritor, her friend and playmate. She needs a someone closer to her own age to bounce things off of, she needs someone whose room she can hang out in when she needs to get away from mom and dad for a while. Sure, not all siblings get along all the time, but they do most of the time and it is also good learn how to deal with all the things that siblings go through. Friends just aren’t the same. I have three siblings and three kids and it is amazing how close we all are. Of course your child may not ever know what she is missing, but my son has a friend who is an only child and he spends more time at our house than his own. He says he likes being part of a big family. Just be sure your child gets to spend time with friends and cousins.

crunchy carpets February 3, 2008, 2:39 PM

A bit confused about how being an only has anything to do with putting a mom in a nursing home or arranging funerals. Unless you are talking about sharing the burden…and unless you are close with your doesn’t really help.

I have helped my dh deal with the illness and death of his father and his mother and all the discussions with his brother about it all …and fights and guilt trips. And great grandma was put in a nursing home and we all look after her.

I am an only. I don’t think I am spoiled.
I have a close relationship with my mom.

I will be very sad to deal with her old age and so on…but have a husband and friends to help me out.

Family doesn’t have to be blood. Family should include those who love you.

I had and have lots of close friends, including my dh who has a brother and they are not close. They don’t get along…they are totally different.

We have two…our choice and we do want more (I just lost one)….but it is what ever works for you and your partner and what makes you all happy.

An only February 10, 2008, 9:06 PM

I am an only child and hated it.

I was a single mom with one for several years and loved it.

So what do I think? I think had I had more interactive parents that I would have been fine being an only child. It’s the personal interaction that children crave. Onlys learn to form networks of family that extend beyond bloodlines.

So by all means enjoy your only. I loved having one and now love having two (remarried with a baby 5 years younger). Each situation has it’s ups and downs…it’s absolutely an individual choice with no wrong answer!

Ambar February 12, 2008, 2:23 PM

I don’t get why strangers feel the need to throw their opinions out there. I agree with someone above that said you should have told her you were infertile to teach her a lesson. I’ve been on the opposite end. I have three kids. My eldest are 9 and 7. When people would hear we were pregnant with a third they always would say, wow but you have it so perfect 1 boy 1 girl. OR but your other two have such a great age spread. OR the best was you are going to have to have another one to give the baby company. So I think everyone gets the “open mouth insert foot” people. Just shake it off. Have as many or as few kids as you like :)

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