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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
Catherine July 17, 2008, 3:21 AM

I agree with Brandie: the audacity of people constantly amazes me as well. How many children you have, and when you have them, is absolutely nobody’s business but yours. Anything people say to you about it says far more about them than it does about you. Don’t ever feel that you need to justify or explain the decisions you make about having your child or children. The child you already have is obviously much loved and well cared for and will thrive because of that. This idea that parents of only children are “selfish” and that only children grow up to be self-absorbed is a load of crap. Both of my kids have friends who are only children, and every one of them is well-mannered, good at sharing and a pleasure to have in our home. Chelsea Clinton is a prime example of an only child who can hardly be said to be self-absorbed and obnoxious.

I myself have the two children I just mentioned, and have a third child on the way. I have had one friend tell me I should terminate this third pregnancy because I ” won’t possibly be able to cope with a third child”. Well, most of the time I cope pretty well with a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, a professional career (albeit part time)and a husband who works long hours. I know full well that my friend is the one who won’t cope, because she knows I won’t have quite as much time to spend with her once the baby is here. Last week, I informed everybody at work that I would be having another baby in January. One colleague replied, “Don’t you think you have enough children already?” All I could think of to say in response was, “Well, we’ve decided to keep going till we get one we like”. That shut him up.

Jami July 17, 2008, 2:01 PM

I have three children, and have heard all comments from strangers. It is between you and your husband how many children you should have, and no one else. I don’t mind people asking if we are planning to have more children or not. It is when they feel like they need to tell me that I am making the wrong decision and why. Curiosity is one thing judging me is another.
It is not better to have one child or eight. This is not a subject to which mother is right or wrong. It is a subject of doing what you believe is right for you and your husband, and letting others do the same without judging them.

Darcy July 18, 2008, 9:16 PM

I am a mother of three gorgeous children, ages fourteen, seven, and two. After I had my eldest, everyone thought that I should have more. I had decided not to, and I was steadfast in my refusal. But once she turned six, I realized that I wanted another. Everyone acted like I had converted my religion-my mother-in-law, who thought I should’ve had at least seven, acted like I had finally gotten a brain-and my sister thought I was crazy. I understand that you only want one-but keep an open mind about more later down the line.

nicole July 20, 2008, 2:45 PM

Have as many kids as you can afford emotionally and financially. Don’t have a large brood just so you can pick up a few more $$ from the government. And if you can’t afford kids keep your damn legs shut! July 22, 2008, 12:43 PM

Hum, how many is too many? That seems to be the question, I think what ever you may conceive is fine, regarding an understanding of financial responsibilities and being mentally and emotionally fit to handle the added stresses that children bring.If the mom who has one is done, that is her understanding, she is a mature individual who is not run by her emotions, but is making responsible choices. For the other mom with all the babies, there are many accounts of what makes women want to become mothers, over again and have either a planed family say 3 children, or the ooops pregancy that catches women off guard. The reasons people continue to find them selves pregnant is not at all a surprise, as compared to the sense of physical love that is embodied the new baby. It also wrecks havoc with womens physical and emotional and mental health to bring these babies into the world, care for them, themselves, raise them, not only through the cute stages, but through the seeking independence stages, 8-13 then on through their teen years, thats where the fun really begins.It takes tremendous energy to raise children, especially in this day and age, thinking about it can definitely be a plus, rather than believing that everything will be all right, especially when you listen to some of the morning shows, where young girls do not know who the father of their children are. This is not a black and white topic.

WooWoo July 25, 2008, 12:06 AM

I am an only child. My mom got her body back (that was really important to her)and I really didn’t seem to cramp my parents lifestyle. They both worked, I got babysitters and when they were home I got everything I wanted. When I had their attention it was overwhelming. They got caught up in who I was and the reflection I made on them. There was no one else to carry this burden just me. I spent a long while feeling sorry for myself,(ever tried playing a board game by yourself?) It wasn’t all as bad as I’m making it out to be. But, I really feel like I missed out by not having any siblings. It’s all I ever wanted and ever asked for( begged them really). When I was 11 I asked my parents to adopt a child and not to worry because I would take care of it.
Now I’m grown with three children. They laugh, play and fight with one another. But at night our 3yr old will creep into her older sister’s bed and snuggle in beside her. In that instant I know I made the right choice in having more than one child.

I believe the number of children you have is strictly your own choice.
But growing up without brothers or sisters made me realize how special having siblings is. And how much I missed. Sorry If my post offends, but that’s my history in a nutshell

Bridget  July 27, 2008, 2:56 AM

It’s your choice, but think about this:
I’m an only child and I have 1 son so far. I plan to have more children because it is true, I am spoiled and lonely, the loneliness is worse than the spoiling. I wish I had someone who was similar to me and who I would have to spend time with in my later years. Plus thinking about caring for my family plus my aging parents is a little overwhelming. There are a lot of positives to being an only child, but there is a downside too. If I were you I’d really think long and hard before deciding either way.

Laura August 5, 2008, 9:49 PM

I am a single mom of an only child- my son is 20 months old- by adoption. I have had so many people make personal comments that were probably made without really thinking,usually in front of my son. My method is to say (firmly but kindly,like a kindergarden teacher) I’m sorry, but our family policy is to not discuss very personal matters with strangers, especially in front of my son.He deserves to grow old enough to understand his adoption (family type/size/anything else)before it becomes public.Thank you for your understanding. Honestly, the most common reaction I get is shame for being so thoughtless & an apology. I hope that those people are careful to not let it happen again, and maybe even pass along the respect. It lets me feel like I didn’t stoop to their level or reward the prying with information.

Amber August 8, 2008, 2:09 AM

I think everyone feels like they have to make comments whether a person has one or ten kids. My one cousin has six, and people wonder how she does it. My other cousin has one, and people wonder why she doesn’t have more. The one who has six wanted that many and loved being pregnant. The one who has one couldn’t get pregnant, and when she did, thought it was the flu! So, to each their own, and if you want only one, then that is your choice.

Barron's Mom August 12, 2008, 2:31 PM

I only have one and that’s all I will ever have. Since when did it become okay to tell people how many to have, or not to have. I thought it was no one’s business but the parents.

Anna September 27, 2008, 9:03 PM

parents should be able to chose how many kids they want, by how much they can handle. I know at least one person who did fine with just one but was pushed two far when another kid came into the picture. It was none of that womans buisness how many kids that you have, nor vise versa. I believe that if all parents know their limit and stick to it, it almost definatly would reduce child abuse such as neglect and physical abuse. Not to say that parents are right to do these things, but anything can happen when someone is pushed over the edge.

Sarah December 30, 2008, 5:58 PM

I’m an only child myself, and just like having siblings, there are pros and cons with all possible family scenarios. I do not think selfishness is problem unique to only children, though- it has to do with what a child learns and then later chooses. I am pregnant for the first time myself, and I don’t want to have any more children after this pregnancy because I think that’s what would be best for our family. It doesn’t matter if others agree or not. Just do what’s best for your family, and you’re doing the right thing. I had a wonderful childhood as an only child. I think I’ll never have quite the same relationship with someone else as siblings have with one another, but people with siblings didn’t have the only child experience I had with my parents, either, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. There are a lot of things in life we don’t get to choose- such as whether we have siblings or not- but the point is to make the best of whatever situation you’re in. If you have siblings, make the most of it. If you don’t, make the most of it. We all get lonely sometimes, and we all rely on others sometimes- whether it’s a sibling or someone else. Best wishes to you and your family.

Erin October 5, 2009, 11:30 AM

I can’t believe that she would say that to you! How rude, thoughtless, and arrogant! Would she rather you have more kids than you can handle (a la the highly irresponsible Octomom) and not be able to give them the time and attention they deserve? What a self-satisfied snob!

bmb February 9, 2010, 10:29 AM

I have only one daughter and she has her mom and dad. I think its your choice wether you want one. People think its not right but I think its your choice. I give my daughter everything she needs and I don’t think if I have another child I would be able to do that.

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