If you only have one child (out of choice), do you ever regret not having more?

(41 Posts)
CyrilSneers Wed 02-Oct-13 10:32:51

My ds is 18 months and although he's obviously the love of my life etc etc, I've found being a 'mum' bloody hard work, to the extent that I don't think I can face doing it all over again! He was unplanned, I'm in my 30s and have never been overly maternal or anything, but when he was a tiny baby I thought it was a breeze and planned to have a couple more. Then it started to get harder and although I love my child, I don't enjoy being a mum if that makes sense.

I'm at the stage where I really need to make a decision about whether to have another, and my head is telling me not to, but I'm really worried I'll regret it. How did you know it was the right decision not to have another? When I tell people I don't think I'll have any more, they laugh and think I'm joking and add that it's unfair on ds not to have a brother or sister, especially as we live in a rural area. DP is in two minds and says he'd maybe rather get a dog.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Wed 02-Oct-13 10:41:37

I only have one DC and it is great most of the time. I never felt the urge to have any more children and now I am 100% certain that I don't want another child.

I love the time I spend with DS and, as he goes to groups and pre-school, he definitely socialises with other children (this was a worry of mine).

Seriously, you make the decision that suits you. I've had the odd look or two when I've told people that I'm not having anymore but sod them, it's my life.

No, no regrets!

CyrilSneers Wed 02-Oct-13 12:58:47

Thanks ItsOkay. The thing is I do have the urge to have another baby, I just don't think I'm cut out for everything that comes with it: the washing, the endless sleepless nights, the struggles around the supermarket etc. It sounds selfish I'm sure, but I give everything I possibly can for my ds and look forward to the time when I start to feel like me again (hoping that does actually happen?!) I just find parenting so all consuming I can't imagine how I'd cope with two.

moldingsunbeams Wed 02-Oct-13 13:02:43

I only have one although I have spent some time caring for another child. There are times I would love another child but I am not cut out for it at all. When I have two children in the house for long periods of time the squabbling and noise wears me out.

I have one DD and (probably) won't have any more.

I love having an only. DD is almost 5 and she is the smartest, kindest and funniest kid I know. She goes to school without any problems, eats everything, spends her free time reading and goes to bed when she's told. Why would I add a shrieking newborn to that bliss??

Our family life is just so easy. The three of us have amazing adventures and DP and I also have free time to pursue our own interests.

When I read threads on here about people struggling to cope with daily life or see other harassed looking mums with 2+ kids on the school run or at the supermarket I just think, no thanks!

If you get it perfect first time why bother doing it again?! wink

JohFlow Wed 02-Oct-13 13:23:22

It's a difficult one isn't it?

It's o.k. not to have another child; there are no rules. I have one myself and (similarly to yourself ) realise that I am getting to the top of my capacity for parenting right now. It is better to be a totally dedicated parent of one than to feel over-pressed with two. It's right to be satisfied with what you have now. Your D.P. doesn't sound in a rush either. I also think most people that have had one unplanned want to make a better considered decision second time round.

There seems to be a myth out there that some mothers find it easier to be 'maternal' than others. My view is that parenting is a challenge for everyone and indeed it is a mixture of natural instincts metered with wrestling to find what is the 'right' thing to do for your child.

I think we need to mark our parenting on the compassionate acts we achieve rather than what we don't do. It matters not to our children if we are 'naturally maternal' or not if we are still covering all their needs in a loving way.

And yes, I have had the comments too. e.g. My uncle told me recently 'oh I thought you would have three kids by now'. I told him that actually I was happy with one. Your question comes up often on this site.... Is there a stigma to just having one I wonder?

Hope this helps.

LordElpuss Wed 02-Oct-13 13:30:53

Only by choice, no regrets smile Have several siblings myself ... nuff said!

moldingsunbeams Wed 02-Oct-13 13:36:54

I find it interesting people who are shocked you only have one child, they seem shocked as to who your child will play with or socialise as though having an only means they never get to play with anyone else.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Wed 02-Oct-13 15:04:28

Our DS is only 5 weeks old and my DH and I have already said he will probably be our only child, partly because of DH's age but also because, like you OP, I really don't think I am cut out for it.

We've already had people talking about when have the next one and DS has only been on the planet for 5 weeks!! God knows what they'll be like in a few months!

gourd Wed 02-Oct-13 15:30:14

We decided we cant have another - it's too expensive - childcare the main issue, not just loss of salary/pension. Could wait till DD in school to ease burden of childcare cost, but I will be nearly 40 by then, so not really much of an option. Partner would also be in his late 50s by that point and in terms of energy and sheer hard physical work involved in pregnancy and then the actual childcare, we feel it's a young persons game!

OnceUponAThyme Wed 02-Oct-13 16:01:38

myself and my husband are young enough to have another, and dd is 4 so still fairly young. but we're not having anymore. While dd is my greatest joy, I don't want anymore. my husband feels the same, so dd shall remain an only child.
I don't listen to what other people say about it, you make the choice for you and your family and screw everyone else smile

MorrisZapp Wed 02-Oct-13 16:04:47

Nope, never want another. One is great. I also feel strongly that nobody should have any baby they don't really, really want.

So in cases of ambivalence, there's your answer. You don't want one, so don't have one.

MorrisZapp Wed 02-Oct-13 16:05:57

People who say when are you having another are just making conversation, like talking about the weather. They don't care how many kids you have.

GemmaTeller Wed 02-Oct-13 16:12:17

I've only got the one, never really got round to having another and can't say either of us have missed out.

Notsoyummymummy1 Wed 02-Oct-13 16:21:52

God OP I could have written that post!!! I'm in my late thirties and have an 18 month old ds and I feel this obligation to "give" her a sibling, mainly because of other people's expectations, which of course is never the right reason but the pressure is immense. I'm not even sure DD would even welcome the idea of someone to compete with!

I adore my dd, she is the most beautiful, bright little girl and I've been so lucky but like you, I have to guiltily admit that motherhood has been a real struggle for me. It's a hard thing to admit because everyone else I know seems to thrive on it!!! It's massively affected my relationship with DH - we hardly get any time alone together and are always bickering when we never used to fight ever. I feel exhausted, fat and overwhelmed all the time and often miss being at work and talking about other things to grown-ups and feeling useful and valued. I often feel isolated as a stay at home mum and sometimes mums groups make me feel even more lonely. DD can be quite a handful like most children her age, always throwing tantrums and I find it stressful when she's screaming her head off when she can't get what she wants or when I'm trying to stop her injuring herself every five minutes as she dive bombs around!! DD is up very early and I find the days are long and I'm constantly tired and trying to amuse her with activities and days out. I am always talking about her and exhausting myself trying to make everything perfect in her little world!

The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that it will get easier and that someday I will be able to enjoy a meal, have a conversation on the phone, drink coffee while it's still warm, read a book, clean the house, watch a film all the way through without being interrupted or falling asleep, have a teensy lie in now and then, not have to watch every penny and have a family day out or holiday that doesn't leave me with a headache.

The thought of having a newborn baby and going through it all again actually makes me feel nauseous and panicky. There is such a stigma attached to one-child families even though they apparantly make up half the families in this country and it's a shame because there's no logical reason why an only child would be doomed to be lonely. All the "only" children I know are very bright and confident so as far as I can see it's a load of rubbish. I have a brother who is three years younger and we just lived parallel lives growing up, we didn't hang out together.

We need to stop clinging onto this cutesy idea of motherhood - the reality is that it's bloody hard work and involves tremendous sacrifice and not something to be entered into lightly. I think you absolutely have to do what's right for you - having two would be such a different ball game to having one and if your gut feeling is that you wouldn't cope or be happy then it's better off for you and your child if you just concentrate on enjoying them. We shouldn't have to feel shame in just wanting one - we are all individuals and have our individual limits and if you feel you've reached yours that's perfectly ok.

JRmumma Wed 02-Oct-13 16:35:06

I have an 8 week old son who is my first. At the moment i don't think ill have another. Not because in not loving it, even though its exhausting and all consuming, but because i know that our quality of life will be much better if we only have as many children as we can afford, it will be easier for me to still have my own life and for dh and i to get a baby sitter etc to still be a couple. My son will have cousins and lots of my friends have similar aged kids etc so they will never feel lonely, ill have time to devote to him and still be me. That's important to me and i wouldn't want to risk resenting a second child if i lost this.

FlapJackOLantern Wed 02-Oct-13 17:29:13

Told him I would have the first one.......and he could have the rest. My only child is fine grin

CyrilSneers Wed 02-Oct-13 18:30:08

Thanks for your replies. I think Facebook and baby groups are to blame for my feeling like a selfish child-hating freak for not enjoying every poo that comes out of ds's bum or cherishing every tantrum. I wouldn't be without him and he has improved our lives in so many ways, but so good to hear that others feel the same way about doing it all over again.

I'm completely with you molding and on the noise. I love peace and quiet so much that I try to stay awake at night once DP is asleep just so I can remember what it feels like, before being woken up by shrieking at 2am. (From Ds,not dp I mean...)

CyrilSneers Wed 02-Oct-13 18:41:41

Joh you've articulated exactly how I feel when you say you're at the top of your capacity for parenting at the moment. I'm trying to make a really good job of it and it's exhausting frankly.

The only thing that is worrying me is that I'm putting the positive practicalities such as people have mentioned here above the joy that does come with a child. I had a good pregnancy which I enjoyed, loved having a tiny little baby to snuggle and I feel that I haven't 'made the most' of ds being tiny and need another go at it. Plus, what the hell am I going to do with all the baby clothes etc I've amassed?! Also I worry that my family will be really disappointed if I don't have another not that they've been any help with this one

JohFlow Wed 02-Oct-13 21:37:46

Motherhood is meant to be exhausting from time to time OP.

So your head/common sense is saying 'no' and your heart is still a little broody? Sounds very difficult to make a clear decision in this mid-state.

Without influencing your decision - what would happen if a second child had more needs than your first or had a more challenging character? How would you and your partner work together to deal with that? What have you learnt from the first?

What you say about your family is an interesting one - how do you think they would react if you can to the decision not to have another? Could anything they say influence your decision?

Notsoyummymummy1 Wed 02-Oct-13 21:38:14

Yes of course you would get a lot of joy from a child, it's not all bad but please do it for the right reasons - because you want one. Please don't think you need to have another go, you'll have even less time alone with the second baby and none of us make the most of it ever, we just try to get through those early days with our baby and sanity both intact. We never reach perfection no matter how many children we produce! Secondly there are plenty of auction websites and Facebook groups where you can sell baby clothes. Thirdly -please don't rob yourself of one if the great pleasures in life - pissing off family members. Fourthly - childbirth - enough said. Sorry to be a bit tongue in cheek but it was just to highlight that your reasons for having a child are a little bit questionable! If in your heart of hearts you would feel incomplete without a second child and you think you could cope with it then of course go for it! There will always be arguments for and against but only you know how you would really feel if you found out tomorrow you were pregnant.

JohFlow Wed 02-Oct-13 21:39:08

oops! came to a decision (I mean)

SuperDuperTrooper Wed 02-Oct-13 22:00:38

I'm in the same boat as you OP. My DS is 21 months and I'm in my late 30's. I've never been particularly maternal or broody although I did find myself enjoying being pregnant.

The last 21 months have been a struggle. Lots of good times but lots of difficult times too. I find myself in the thick of it thinking "never again". However, other mums I know with kids the same age as DS are starting to become pregnant or have already had another. It makes me feel I should and maybe even want to. Then I have another bad day, these are quite frequent, and I say "never again". I too feel like if I need another go with a newborn as, quite frankly, I made a dogs dinner out of my first go - but I realise this is not a good reason. I feel guilty for my DS as I think he'd love to have a sibling, a partner in crime, but that's not a good enough reason either. If I can't cope, and am unhappy, then the family home will not be a wam, happy and secure environment for DS. That's not good either.

I'm so torn. My head tells me no but my heart tells me yes. I can't help but feel the sensible thing would be for the head to win this particular battle.

joanofarchitrave Wed 02-Oct-13 22:12:21

I did. A lot of regrets, all on ds's account. He would have been a pretty good brother. I feel very guilty that he is alone so much (and he has ++ friends, I have worked pretty hard to make sure of that). No feelings of regret on my account.

hulahoopsilove Wed 02-Oct-13 22:41:49

I felt same as you time went by I went back to work PT, not much help around me. Wind on 8 years I regret it everyday.

I'm.too old now and dh has had the snip but if I could go back I should of had another

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