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.

CyrilSneers Fri 04-Oct-13 18:49:18

Thank you for all your replies. So many interesting perspectives that are really helping me sort through my feelings towards having another (though I'm probably mega over-analysing this now!) I think the main reasons I feel I would regret not having another are guilt that ds won't have a sibling and sadness that I won't have a tiny baby to coo over. However, I think it's more important that as Tokla says perfectly, I don't feel I will be as good a parent to two. As many of you have pointed out, there are so many advantages to having just one and DP and I just aren't cut out for the busy life of a larger family. However, I was an only child until I was a teenager and whenever I tell people I used to play Hungry Hippos and Swingball by myself (and always won, naturally) the look of pity they give me makes me question it all over again!

LordElpuss Thu 03-Oct-13 20:30:54

Just because I chose to have just one child doesn't mean I'm not maternal, just as women who have several children aren't necessarily earth mothers.

NoWayNoHow Thu 03-Oct-13 20:15:27

Not everyone is a born, natural mum. I'm certainly not, and like you I love my DS but don't enjoy being a mum very much. If you don't want more, don't have any more.

LordElpuss Thu 03-Oct-13 20:13:25

This thread began in July 05 and is worth a read for a positive view of having one child smile

cantthinkofagoodone Thu 03-Oct-13 15:19:26

I only want one. I'm not maternal or very good at being Mum but I'm better with only one to focus my attention on. I look forward to him growing all the time as I feel that for a long time they only get easier (until teens!).

DH isn't so sure. Maybe I'll get him a dog?!

oohdaddypig Thu 03-Oct-13 15:08:31

This is really interesting.

I have more than one child and wouldn't change that. BUT I think my first child would have been perfectly happy as an only child.

All the only children I know - adult and child - are content and happy and self contained.

It has made me question the "large happy family" notion as ultimately children seem only to want our time.

Sorry for these rambling musings!

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Oct-13 14:59:53

I have an only - she's 14 now and I've never regretted not having another - we're great as we are. I never had any pressure from anyone else even hinting I should have more - there are several other onlies hereabouts, and lots of her primary classmates too.

I asked DD when she was about 6 if she would have liked a sibling - she was on the same page as your DH, Cyril - rather have a dog grin - we had one already, stick at one at a time with those too!

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Thu 03-Oct-13 14:45:39

I felt like you when DD was a toddler. Toddlers are exhausting! Definitely the worse stage of parenting for me so far - although I've not had a teenager yet so things could change!)

But now she's 6 she's easy peasy - does everything for herself and is generally well behaved and lovely to be around.

I'm now pregnant with DC2. A massive age gap, but I'm pretty sure it will be easier for me than having 2 very little ones. DD is very excited about the new baby and keen to help out (haha we'll see how that pans out!).

That said, I'm finding this pregnancy a lot harder than my first, possibly because I'm 38 and knackered. I also needed fertility treatment to conceive. So it's not all a bed of roses by any stretch.

If you think you want another child, but aren't sure could put off the decision for a bit and have a bigger age gap?

Choos123 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:11:58

people say lots of daft things about kids - every situation is unique. if you don't have an instinctual drive to have another one, that says something.
i'm still on the fence and DD is 3, in fact i do have a gut feeling i want another one but feel also that we wouldn't cope (both work long hours, no family support, previous fertility issues etc).

Tailtwister Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:32

I think Toklastennis is right, people who have 2 children regret not having more and so on, it's not limited to people who have one.

I have 2, but my SIL has one as was always her intention. They are a lovely family and he's a great child, not lonely at all and plays really well with other children. They feel they can give him everything they want to and don't have to compromise. I feel the same way about stopping at 2, although if our resources were unlimited (and I was younger!) I would have loved 3 or even 4!

What I'm trying to say is that there are lots of very positive reasons to have one child and I don't think it impacts negatively on them at all.

Yorkieaddict Thu 03-Oct-13 09:31:08

I have an only, not entirely by choice. We tried for a second and it didn't happen. We decided against going for any sort of treatment.

I am finding now DS is 6, I am often glad it worked out this way. Life is fun, and not usually stressful. DS is happy. He has two cousins that live nearby, so he has other children to play and bicker/fight with.

I have plenty of time to spend, with DS doing what he wants to do, and on my own hobbies. I am sure it would have been fine with two, but money would have been tighter, and I know I would have been a lot more stressed. I do have the odd little pang when I see tiny babies, but no major regrets as yet.

badguider Thu 03-Oct-13 09:23:09

Our first/only is only five weeks but its important to us to introduce him to the life we love which includes hiking, camping, biking, travelling etc. we can only really manage one baby at a time and by the time ds is enjoying these things as a toddler a newborn would seriously limit all our activities.
We might consider a second but only if we really felt it wouldn't constrain / limit ds's early years. Right now I'd rather have an only and go playing in the woods than give him a sibling and be stuck in while I deal with a baby (I'm not good enough to do both at once).

Toklastennis Thu 03-Oct-13 05:56:29

My son is too young for this to be an issue now, but I identify with a lot if the mixed feelings on here. But I do think there are two big assumptions people make about having 2+ kids : 1. That if you have more than one, you won't still regret not having more/ feel broody. Lots of friends with 2 kids want 3. My mother recently told me get biggest regret was not having 4 children (she had 2). I don't think the regret over not having more kids is unique to parents of only children, so I try yo recognise it as a symptom of parenthood in general, and not something that's happening because i only have one.

2. That siblings get along. Often they do (I adore my brother) but often they don't. It's not a magical recipe for contentment.

My personal take on it is to do with parenting. I think I can be a good parent to one ds. But I don't think I could be a good parent to two. It's just too hard. Surely that is what is important for the child?

ConfusedandDazed24 Wed 02-Oct-13 23:50:49

I've read all the replies here with interest. I have a 13 week old DD and like others have said already people are joking about the next one. I've been quite open that this is it for me, and I always get a kind of 'oh just wait for a bit you'll change your mind'. And when I said I won't people look either really shocked, or give me a really patronising response like I don't know my own mind! My reasons are that I have always had a strained relationship with my DSis, and for various reasons my parents have to give her a lot more attention than me (medical but don't wish to divulge further, I hope you all understand). Whilst I love her to bits, a lot of the time when I was younger I felt sidelined and second best and I genuinely cannot put my DD through that. I adore her, she is the centre of my universe, and the thought of maybe her feeling the same way would devastate me. I know that there is a very strong chance that this wouldn't happen to her but I just don't want to take the risk. When I factor in cost etc it's a no brainer for me but still people manage to make me feel bad about it. I think what I'm trying to say in a really waffly way is that I think that it's ok to just have the one, and that it wouldn't make you a bad person. I think like one of the PP's said, if you're ambivalent about it, that's your answer. Either way, please don't feel bad about your decision OP. Best of luck.

Ixia Wed 02-Oct-13 23:31:37

One, sort of by choice. I'm an only and intended having more, but we struggled to conceive Dd, had a brief period of trying for a second, I got diagnosed with PND, moved house and before we realised 7 yrs had passed and I am still on ADs and feel too old for a second.

I do regret not trying harder for another child. DD is desperate for a sibling, she's not really made to be an only child, whereas as a child I never bothered about having a sibling. That's the problem, you don't know how they are going to turn out. I'm an only because my Mum had a hellish time growing up with a sister. There's no way of predicting the future, you just have to do what you feel is right for your family.

lovetoski Wed 02-Oct-13 22:53:57

Only have one now nearly 13. Would say 90% no regrets at only having one, he has never complained about lack of siblings. Things are so much easier cost wise, housework wise etc only ever regretted if we were away on the beach or on holiday and saw brothers playing together. Now we take someone with us and any friends are welcome in our house so long as no bother. There is no right or wrong

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

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.

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.

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

oops! came to a decision (I mean)

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 21:37:46

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?

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

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...)

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

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