only by choice- what are your reasons?

(97 Posts)
cherrycat Tue 13-Jul-10 21:02:44

Hi I am new to this board and have just enjoyed reading many previous posts.

My DD is 21 months and I am very happy with my choice to have one. I was wondering if you have an only by choice what your thoughts and reasons are behind having one child?

I have many reasons for wanting just one....
fiances, childcare, me time, work etc etc.....having a second holds no appeal to me as my life just seems about manageable with the one I have. I love my DD so much and really enjoy motherhood but I remember the dreadful all day sickness for half of the pregnancy... crash emergency c-section under GA after labouring so fast that DD had the cord around the neck...recovering from the bloody section...the exhaustion and long dark days and nights of a newborn in winter...colic....ewwwww!! Never again!

Interested to hear your reasons for having an only by choice.....

tigersmummy Wed 23-Mar-11 16:03:27

THANK GOD!!!! Thank you for starting and continuing such a brilliant thread.
We have a DS 3.1 yrs, always wanted a child but were never DESPERATE to the point that we would have tried anything. Delighted when we found we were pregnant after 5 months trying and easy pregnancy. However the labour and birth were horrendous (45 hrs, emergency C section, epidural, pethidine, the lot) even though breastfeeding was straight forward.

DS was an 'easy' baby, woke only once a night in the first few weeks then slept through from 2 months. He's had a difficult terrible 2 season from about 20 months to 32 months and at times we wondered how we could cope with him, let alone another.

We did start 'not being careful', to be speak, at the end of last year but nothing happened. Neither myself nor DH are 100% committed to another, we are not desperately broody for no. 2, therefore we are seriously considering not having another. I am an only, DH is eldest of 2 boys (who do not get on) and most of our friends with siblings have strained, non close or completely fractured relationships with their siblings. So choosing to have another is not high on our wish list.

I was extremely close with my mum and once asked her why she didn't have another (she was ill after me and I think was advised not to have another) - and she replied that with me she could afford to give me everything I needed - not necessarily financially, but emotionally, physically etc. We would like to send DS to private school after state primary, again because my parents did the same with me and I had a great education, and simply could not afford to do that with 2. Plus even though DS was a relatively easy baby, I cannot imagine going back to those early days, then getting up and having a full on day with a boisterous boy. No, not for me. The more I think about it, the more I am more comfortable with my choice. Plus having been quite lax with diet and fitness after DS, I am now slim again (horrah!), feel great about myself and my life, have spare time whilst he's at nursery and do work for my husband's business at home. Life is good, we can devote time to each other and our family. But yes, isn't it annoying to have to justify your decision, when I would never dream of asking someone why they chose to have more than one!

Great thread, thank you again!

MindySimmons Thu 24-Mar-11 15:10:08

tigersmummy - I have a dd 4.2 and just in the middle of a 'why am I the only mummy in rl that I know has chosen to stick with one?' and having a slight confidence crisis about it. You post has reminded me of all the reasons why one just 'feels' right and I love the observation your mum gave you. I'm one of 4, only close to the one that is 16 yrs older than me and only because she was essentially my mum because mine couldn't cope with us anyway! What your mother said is how I feel about my dd. The only reason I ever question it is because I am truly the only person I now in rl with one child! I live in a large village/almost small town where there is a large proportion of fairly affluent sSH mums where 3 appears to be the trend! I really do need to work (although I am not being a martyr, I do enjoy what I do and it's my own business but taking time out to have another and how we would cope afterwards would be extremely tough) and my dh has health issues that can result in hospital stays and very serious illness. See here we go, justifying myself! The reality is when I sit back and think about it, even without those practical considerations, in my heart, I would have another to conform, not out of desire. i adore my dd, she completes our family and is incredibly caring, generous and confident.

Like you, I think it's the justification that grates and on occasion makes me question myself. I would never think of asking the mums of 3 about middle child syndrome (mainly because I think all those stereotypes are clap trap!) but one child families are still questioned.

Thank you tigersmummy, your post was just what I need to read right now!

Species8472 Thu 24-Mar-11 15:46:07

Yes, thanks tigersmummy, I would second what you and Mindy just said.

I have a 20m DD, and many of the couples that DH and I know, who had babies the same year as us, are either expecting the second or have just had the second. I don't think we'll be having another, for many of the same reasons as you.

Every time there's been an announcement recently of a second pregnancy I've had a few wobbles, not because I really want another baby, but because I think I should want another (if that makes sense). All the local mums I know who had babies around the same time as me talk about when they have the next one, not if, and I'm worried I'll start to stand out as some sort of freak when another baby doesn't appear. I'm 41 so it's not like I have years to wait and change my mind, as people may presume I'll do.

MindySimmons Thu 24-Mar-11 15:51:20

Species - I'm really with you on the 'I think I should want another' but I think that is only because like you, I am in the minority (although the statistics apparently show otherwise).

Llanarth Thu 24-Mar-11 20:06:11

Yes, it's incredible how strong the desire to conform is. I'm non-conformist about many things in life, so why do I care what people think about me having one child? At my wibble moments, I sometimes feel as if I am fraudulent, only playing at families, and think that I'm not a real mum as I'm not suffering as much as those who have two lots of school runs, two lots of night awakenings, two lots of tantrums to deal with. Weird (especially since those are some of the actual positives of sticking with one!)

A big benefit for me of having only one child is that they are so much more portable. We eat out with our son (3.1 years), travel further to visit friends, and have him sleep under coats at parties, far more than we would if we had more than one. (It was my friend, who has two children, who explained to me why this was - anytime you go anywhere, you subconsciously calculate the odds of it all ending in tears (yours). With a 3-year-old, the chances of a trip going tits-up may be 20%. With a 1 year old, the chances may be 40%. Taking a 1 year old and 3 year old out together, the odds rise to 80%. Her maths might be flaky but she rarely goes out wink).

evianaddict Thu 24-Mar-11 21:58:51

Thanks to you all for this thread. I was always firmly in the 'we will have 2' camp, however life decided not to make it that easy for us.... After finally managing to conceive through our first IVF at age 40 we were blessed with our DS now 20 months. However another 2 attempts have been unsuccessful and I am finally having to come to terms with the fact that it is not to be (because of both age and finances). To read all your positive stories and attitudes has given me an amazing lift and I have realised that actually our DS is completely everything we could ever have dreamed of. And I'm certainly not going to waste his gorgeous years being miserable. I'm proud of my family!

tigersmummy Tue 29-Mar-11 15:40:45

That said, I have just put DS' travel system on ebay and got really upset as I remember how excited I was to get it and have him in it etc.!!! But crucially I feel sad for not having savoured every precious moment of his baby time, rather than a wish to do it again!

ladymystikal Wed 30-Mar-11 14:31:50

i know it sounds silly, but i wanted to have my children with the same dad. As that massively went wrong with my ex, im scared of getting involved with someone else in case im left as a single parent again.

cherrycat Thu 31-Mar-11 23:42:42

I started this thread last year and I am so happy to see it still going strong and popping up at the top of the board. I just want to add that my DD is now 2.5 yrs old and I'm still more than happy to have chosen an only. Ive just got back from holiday were DH amd I had the big talk about our situation. We are both on the same page and very happy with DD. Having another holds no appeal....I really do love my family of 3.

BlackSwan Mon 04-Apr-11 13:35:54

Found pregnancy a huge worry. The weight of responsibility of growing a child inside me made me seriously worry about anything that might affect the baby's health. But that's just one of the reasons. The newborn period was tough - much to be expected, but I ended up with a degree of PND and I don't want to tempt fate again.
DH wants me to commit to more kids, but I'm not keen. We discussed it on the w/e and it was a bit of a disaster. Had a distressing dream last night that I was pg again and I really didn't want to be. The feeling of being trapped has stuck with me all day.

Needtoseeclearly Tue 05-Apr-11 19:07:46

I too am pleased to see this thread. My husband and I had discussed for a long time having only one child and we are very much in love with our DD who is now 3 1/2. I also echo many of the sentiments on this thread, finances, logistics of childcare, the benefits of being able to focus attention and resources on one child etc. In fact, I was surprised to find that, for me, the hardest part of motherhood...especially during the infant and toddler stage....was never having time to myself to recharge the mental batteries. I am somewhat of an introverted personality and I found it really difficult to never have any "down time" between work life and home life. Things overall are easier now that my DD is a bit older.

Currently I am also undergoing a bit of a crisis of confidence because I had a pregnancy "scare" last week where my husband and I were required to seriously think about the implications of having another child. We were both surprised to realize that we were receptive to the idea. In fact, I was surprised by the brief moments of grief I felt when I realized I was not actually pregnant.

Now that we've come through the other side of that experience, I still feel that we would be better off as a family of three but I am struggling with the decision a little bit...and I am trying to get to the bottom of why I am feeling this way. If I were to be honest, if my husband and I had endless resources, support, time etc...perhaps we would have another child. But we are 40, have a small house, 2 busy but not high paying careers, no family support and we live in an urban centre where the general cost of living is not inconsequential.

When it all comes down to it, I want to make sure we are making the right decision for us and for our DD.

Thanks for "listening".

chobbler Mon 17-Oct-11 21:15:14

Initially I was very depressed about the whole only baby thing (multiple miscarriages, nearly lost premie, me very ill and left permanently disabled by labour) Being told you have a 50% chance of surviving another pregnancy will do that.

Now what I really love about my only child is how sociable she is. I know it probably sounds mad, but knowing we couldn't have another for medical reasons, and both myself and hubby coming from larger families (I have 4 siblings he has 5) has enabled us to focus on DD in a way that was impossible for our parents.

She goes to clubs like brownies and goes out with friends and has playdates and sleepovers with school friends. I have been known to stand in the playground and ask who will lend me their child for a day before the summer holidays... If we want a day out it isn't a logistical headache about who sits where and gets the middle seat etc. in the car. We take her chosen friend as a treat if kids go free. She enjoys the company of the other children, but the majority of times when we have dropped them home she says 'thank goodness now I get my toys back to myself'.

As long as you aren't shut away and just the family all the time and they still get to interact with children of a similar age I don't really think being an only child is a disadvantage.

ottawagirl Wed 02-Nov-11 14:37:13

As a mother of an 'only' and also having a confidence crisis about my decision, I decided to trawl Mumsnet for other people's views on it. What has come out loud and clear after LOTS of reading of posts about the subject is how guilty we all feel for our choice. People with 2 or more kids don't have to justify anything. It's the bigger families who, in this age of overpopulation and lack of resources, should be the ones to justify their choice! Well, not really as everyone has the right to have any kind of family they want - but hopefully you know what I mean. I wouldn't dream of asking someone with 2 kids why they don't have three or someone without children why they have 'decided' not to have any. Yet those of us with singletons are fair game.

There are some amazing comments on this thread too: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/one_child_families/1261636-Only-child-other-peoples-comments-judgements

I am thinking of writing something about this subject as there really does seem to be a taboo around 'only' having one. The comments I get are amazing. People do hint that there is a slight element of cruelty or malice on my part for not giving my child a sibling. Do other parents of one child feel this too?

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 02-Nov-11 14:43:28

I don't tbh but I'm not very sensitive to other people's opinions once I've made a decision. I'm certain I've done the right thing for DD and me by only having one. I love the bond we have and I would do nothing to jeopardise that.

Dinosaurhunter Wed 02-Nov-11 14:48:41

OttaWagirl - I agree with everything you have said, I also have chosen to only have one ( ds nearly 5) for a number of reasons but I do get quite shocked by people who have a opinion on my decision when I wouldn't dream of questioning friends who constantly moan about hard it is with 2 or more children . On the other hand I'm lucky as I have 2 good friends who have also chosen to stop at one.

ottawagirl Wed 02-Nov-11 16:45:35

Hello Dinohunter -- Yes, that is lucky you have like-minded friends around you. I do as well and when I am with my friends who have one child (we all seem to have single girls and they get along beautifully) I feel 'at home', as I don't need to justify my position.

But at the school gates it is another thing altogether. I feel I get treated not like a 'real' mum. Another post on here mentions something about not feeling like a 'real' mum because there is a LOT less slog with one child. Somehow that just adds to the guilt and to the fact that some people with more than one child feel they can comment. People with 2 or more children do like to drill home to the world just HOW tough it is. Those of us who have chosen a more manageable route should be happy we aren't complaining all the time and enjoy the balance we have struck.

Yet, I, like so many, find this almost impossible! Why, oh, why?

I think it is just drilled in to us that the norm is 2 children (or more if you are lucky/rich/uber-fertile). End of. Those of us who have chosen the non-norm are sometimes made to feel a little guilty, a little non-maternal, a little selfish...

We have one 4 year old DD. It was our plan before to have one and we haven't felt any differently afterwards. That was all my 'broodiness' used up. I only know one other mum in real life who has said she is not planning to have any more. All of my friends from ante-natal classes have already had a second. I think they all secretly think I will change my mind but I don't feel like I have doubts about our choice.

ottawagirl Thu 10-Nov-11 11:10:07

Hello AuntieBulgaria, do you mind my asking what your reasons were for sticking with one? I am having a wobble today and thought I would check out Mumsnet for some support. I am too old to have another child and have to accept that my daughter will be an only. It was what I wanted originally (I really only ever wanted one child and stuck to it for lots of reasons) but now that it is not a 'choice' any more but a reality, I want another. God, life is complicated!

Hi Ottawa girl, I understand what you mean I think. I haven't gone for sterilisation despite the fact that I find taking the pill a boring faff - there's a sense in which I'm choosing to leave our options open even though I don't think we will change our minds. I volunteered to be an egg donor and after a blood test they said my ovarian reserves were too low to make me a good candidate. Despite the fact that I still didn't want another child, the idea that I might not have a choice in the matter did bother me. And I wasn't expecting it to.

We only wanted one child because we didn't want more than one, if that doesn't sound facetious. Money, work, time, sanity - we are happy with the balance of all of these we get from one and there was nothing in the case from the 'more than one' camp that outweighed that for us.

As they say on the Internet 'your mileage may vary' I can totally understand that other people feel like they want more than one. Just the same as I can understand my friend who is adamant in the face of much pressure that she doesn't want any.

This next bit is totally irrelevant to your points btw.

It's not a negative thing; DD is absolutely smashing and the pregnancy and birth had some complications but weren't off putting as an experience, but as someone else up thread said, we've done it, there's not a desire to do it again. To the extent that, I'm 35 now, if something dreadful were to happen to DD in the next five or so years, from where I am now, I don't think we would try for another baby.

I can't have children and my DS didn't come through the 'normal' way. I feel so, so lucky to be raising him and count my blessings every day. If his birth mother had another in the future, there's a good chance I'd be asked to raise that one too (with having it's sibling). Part of me would like to take on another (I probably would should the need arise), yet another part of me is thinking DS is now 2, he'll be going to nursery in a year and I can then get back into work.

We had a tough time in the beginning. My relationship broke down after taking him on, I had to leave work as I was worried about whether he had attachment problems. He's a happy, confident, lively 2 year old now though and I think I've done a good job. I have decided to remain at home with him until he starts nursery or maybe even school but then quite looking forward to the 'normal' life of working etc again. Having another would put a stop to that.

NatashaBee Fri 11-Nov-11 14:40:26

I had fairly OK pregnancy and DS is a complete dream baby - sleeping through the night at 3 months and never cries unless he needs changing or is hungry. I have a stepdaughter too but DS will be the only baby I have. I would love another but don't think it would be as much fun second time round with a toddler to care for as well as a tiny baby.

We were so poor when I was growing up and I am a bit (OK, a lot) bitter about the opportunities that we never got. I would rather concentrate on giving DSD and DS the best of everything. DSD is incredibly smart, there's no question that she will go to uni, and I want her to be able to study wherever she wants and not have to be restricted by money. DS is only 3 months old but is already showing signs of super intelligence so I expect he will also go far grin

toptramp Mon 21-Nov-11 08:49:35

I don't think the reasons here are selfish at all; happy parents= happy children. Bettre to have happy parents with an only child than stressed and resentful parents with two or more.

I find motherhood so tough and I am just getting my life back. I feel I could not cope with any more and the financial side is very important and so not selfish. IMO it is more selfish to have lots of kids if the money isn't there. I don't like struggling myself.

treesy13 Thu 24-Nov-11 21:23:15

Ditto, but would just like to add that all I say is "our little family jogs along nicely, why complicate life".

LikeACandleButNotQuite Sun 27-Nov-11 19:10:41

Did any of you have to contend with a DH/DP that wanted more than one?

Im expecting our LO in Dec, and am almost certain I want it to be an only. I was an only until I was seven and my favourite bit about it was any time we did anything as a family, I got to take a friend along smile. All my school friends had to just do things with their bro/sis, no option for friends to tag along (due to expense, travel etc). There are other reasons too, many of which are mentioned on this thread.

DH is the middle of three, though the only boy, and he has intimated that he wants at least two DCs. He knows I want only one, but thinks it's just 'me saying it' and that it will change once our LO is here.

WIBU (hahaha, wrong topic!) to say to him, please lets put the discussion of more than one on hold until our current LO is about 3, then I would be happy to discuss it, and genuinely would be willing to consider not having an only? Would this make me a cow? I just want to be able to focus on one completely, and then make a decision later.

Carrie1983 Mon 05-Dec-11 13:04:28

We are at a cross-roads at the moment.

My husband was just diagnosed with a chronic illness that means he will need to start taking a low dose of a chemo drug, and if it works for him he will be on it for life or until they find something better/a cure! It is unknown what effects this drug can have on babies born to males taking it - any caution is merely theoretical, but the NHS advise against it. We probably wouldn't choose to risk it or go against their advice even though all the research I have done suggests it would be fine and we'd be heavily monitored. If I felt strongly enough about having another baby, I'd probably go ahead!

He won't start the medication until the new year at some time. At the start of October, when my daughter was 17 months old, I went back and had my mirena fitted. In a flux, at the end of October when he was diagnosed, I decided to have the coil removed (it was done 15th Nov) and my fertility returned straight away and we started trying.

Before all of this happened, we thought we'd wait til our daughter was about 3 to think about trying again (although until she was 6 months old I was intensely broody- hormones!). We had that luxury but now we don't, so under pressure we had to just decide now and it was a case of 'I don't exactly WANT a baby now, but I feel I probably will in the future because I always did see myself with more than one, so we HAVE to go for it now while we have the chance.' We got our heads down and got on with what we had to do.

However, now the anxiety and uncertainty has blown over (and I have done more research so know the option could still be there anyway), we have realised we probably don't even want another. In part, the thought we WOULD want another at some point, is driven by society - well everyone does, don't they?! It's the done thing, isn't it? 2.4 children is the norm, isn't it?! I had morning sickness and SPD in my pregnancy, but it was also a time when I felt incredibly special and I enjoyed it (although said I didn't at the time) - when it was over I grieved! I had a long, eventful labour but the birth was fine and I didn't need assistance and had no damage to myself - out walking the next day! BUT I breastfed for 16 months and would see that as the absolute minimum I'd want to do for any baby - I actually wanted to do it longer with my DD but she wasn't bothered and it was a good time to stop for both of us. She slept OK, with the odd blip here and there, but it was by no means ideal or conducive to a happy home to have a small baby waking every few hours and then every half hour from 4am onwards, often sharing my bed! All the devt milestones - physical ones, weaning etc... they just took so much energy for all of us and they were fun sure, but they were a chore! I couldn't really do much on my own while she was under about 8/9 months old and feeding a lot from me (and it didn't feel right leaving her); we left her for the first time overnight when she was 14 months old, and that was a wrench! I was at home with her til she was 1, then went back part time and now work from home, and I want to go back OUT to work at some point, which I wouldn't see myself doing while I have children under 3/4 at home. In the last 2 months I have started to spend days away on my own, do things with my husband without my daughter in tow - it's so easy to find very very willing babysitters in family, grandparents, friends etc when you only have one child, but my mother in law has already expressed that WHEN we have another she wouldn't be as keen, and why would she? It would be a nightmare for her! If I got pregnant again now, I wouldn't reach this point again for another couple of years, and then I'd have 2 children and doing anything on my own or as a couple, would just be a total nightmare to organise.

I am one of three - there is always a favourite as far as I've witnessed and experienced myself; one child always misses out on something. More than one brings higher costs, less time for each child, less time for the parents themselves, less resources to go round for each member of the household. Holidays become more of a logistical nightmare. Right now, our family is perfect - we have a beautiful, funny, sweet, loving 19 month old DD who is full of life, shrowded with love and spoilt rotten. Like some others, I've got the 'been there done that' feeling, and wonder what doing it all again would bring to my life apart from the strain of providing for another being to the same level as I provide for the DD I already have. I love the lifestyle we have, and we never know what's round the corner financially. We also keep horses and there's not a chance we'd be able to afford for two children to partake in that hobby with us - we'd either have to give it up completely or continue with horses and they are just spectators which will be no fun for them! I want the daughter I have to enjoy a range of hobbies and interests, restricted by nothing but the amount of days in the week to fit them all in!

BUT what if I change my mind and it's too late?!

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