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only by choice- what are your reasons?

(118 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.....

Winedine69me Fri 17-Sep-10 21:23:17

*and will hopefully be more social

Orissiah Tue 21-Sep-10 13:57:25

My reasons for having just one (adorable) child by choice:

- Personal experience (I was a happy "only")
- One on one time with DD
- 100% deliriously happy with DD (no need for another to satisfy all my maternal urges - she's perfect)
- Don't want to go through another C-section (cannot give birth the other way)
- Finances (we can afford another but I like not having to count the pennies)
- Lifestyle still similar to pre-child
- Quiet (-ish)

Orissiah Tue 21-Sep-10 14:05:30

Forgot to add:

- I like my "me time" too much (and with one child, I get a good dose of me time each day).

lola5791 Wed 22-Sep-10 13:27:39

Love this thread - have just joined MN so that I can post a reply! I am so happy to read that other people feel the same way as me. I did have a difficult pregnancy, suffered from SPD quite badly, but that's not the reason behind only having one. I just don't feel any gap in my family - DD is just perfect and I love being able to give her all my attention. Originally DH did want another, but he's now perfectly happy with us stopping at one.
I do find the attitude of others to be baffling - I would never ask someone why they had two, so why ask me about my decision? My mum was even telling me the other day that she tells her friends I can't risk having another one because of my SPD. As if it was some sort of guilty secret!
Anyway, sure I'm rambling now, but just wanted to say thanks for reminding me that it's a perfectly valid choice to stop at one.

StarExpat Sun 24-Oct-10 16:01:19

I love this thread, too. I have just now seen it as I've just re-discovered this section.

Lola I totally hear you - I always feel very annoyed when people ask me why I only want one, as if it's so unusual. What difference does/should it make to anyone else?

I agree with the reasons already posted by others. Financial is a big one, too. We wouldn't be able to afford childcare for 2 nor would we be able to afford to lose an income completely. We also wouldn't be able to do nearly as many fun things as a family as we do now. And future opportunities for DS would be much more limited. Many would tell me this is a horrible reason (and many have!). But there are so many more that go along with it. Even if we won the lottery, I'd still stick with one. So the finances is just a small practicality that I do think about.

Kekke Fri 29-Oct-10 20:45:38

I've only just found this section which is great as this morning I was thinking I would post a message about having one child - and now I've found a section dedicated to the subject!

Our DD is 6 months old and is a delight. We are pretty sure we won't go on to have anymore and are both happy with that decision. I really didn't enjoy being pregnant, was sick, hated how my body felt etc so have no desire to do it again.

But, why oh why do people feel they can comment negatively when they ask you if you plan to have more children and you say no? She'll be lonely, she needs a playmate blah blah. I would never comment negatively if someone announced they were pregnant with their third, fourth child. Their life, their choice. But it seems that choosing to have only one child is wrong and unfair to the child.

Now when people ask me our plans I just smile and say 'who knows, we have our hands full at the moment', but it does make me sad that I can't just be honest to most people.

Orissiah Tue 02-Nov-10 10:55:34

If people ask when I'm going to have a second child I state very clearly that we have no plans on having a second. My confident, clear, emphatic response quickly cuts of further questioning I've found. If it doesn't then a swift "Well I am an only child and had a fantastic childhood!" works very well.

TBH, it doesn't bother me at all if people ask when the second child is planned. I give my response and then smile and shrug if they persist. I'm so happy with one, why should I care about their beliefs about the subject?

MrsTumbles Fri 12-Nov-10 16:36:02

Haha, I'm someone else who has just discovered this part of Mumsnet! I'm so glad I'm not the only person who feels that one is enough.
My DH and I both said we would have 2. I had an easy pregnancy, however my labour and post-natal care were shocking, but thats not the reason why we have decided to stick at one. People seem to think its almost cruel to have 'just' one child and I come up with so many excuses as to why we are not going to have anymore, but the real reason is we feel 'complete'. We have this perfect little family unit going on and we have all the time in the world for our DD.
Thank you other 'Mums of one' for making me feel normal

ClapTrap Mon 29-Nov-10 22:48:31

I've only just discovered this thread and I love it. It is so lovely to hear that there are like-minded people.

My DD is 2.7 and wonderful. The main reason I can not have another is PND. It was a truly truly awful time and it can not be underestimated how very difficult it was to come through (if indeed I am truly through it.) I am nostalgic about my daughter's baby days, to the point that I managed to convince my DH that we should try for #2, not least so that I could do it right this time.
However, once I actually thought there was a real chance that I might be pregnant I was terrified. I realised I really really didn't want to go through all of that again and I didn't want my PFB to have to share me with anyone else.
We're sticking at one now with the hope that we might be able to have a chance of affording a good education for her (we have very poor schools locally) and help her through those uni fees. I do worry about her being lonely as I am so close to my sister. However, I am sure I will find some support and reassurance in this little corner of Mumsnet!!

Species8472 Wed 01-Dec-10 16:09:42

We were told by a cousin of DH's (with 2 DCs of course) that we shouldn't stick at one because an adult singleton friend of theirs had no-one else to help him with a parent's funeral. There are reasons to have another child - that IMVHO opinion is not one of them. They mentioned load of times while we were visiting them with our 16m DD how often their 2 fight and argue. Sounds wonderful.

SleepingLion Wed 01-Dec-10 16:17:14

MrsTumbles - I have been told outright that I am cruel for my decision. It is so sad that people feel it's fine to comment on what is none of their business.

lola5791 Thu 02-Dec-10 13:50:17

Seriously?? Species, that's the most ridiculous reason I've ever heard. My father and his sibling has a massive fall out at their dad's funeral, so that was hardly helpful. And SleepingLion, I find it incredible that someone would say that. Words fail me about how inappropriate that comment is!
In this age of acceptance of 'alternative' families, how can anyone pass judgement on a choice of having one child?? It just baffles me.

Species8472 Thu 02-Dec-10 16:02:23

Well, I don't think it was the only reason, but they did seriously say that while we were there. They seemed to be saying that it was a pain having two kids who argue all the time, but hey, they won't be alone when we die.....I would hope that by the time DH and I cark it that DD will have a partner, or at least will have made some good friends. Who just depends on a sibling for everything in adult life? I know some people are very close to their adult siblings, and that's lovely, but it doesn't mean a life of endless loneliness and despair if you haven't got one.

GenevieveHawkings Thu 02-Dec-10 21:16:59

You're dead right Species8472, for the vast majority of adults, their support networks go far beyond their siblings.

In fact, it's quite startling to discover just how many adults have grown apart from their siblings (both geographically and emotionally) as they've grown up.

froginabasket Sat 04-Dec-10 20:58:12

I'm so glad to have found this section and this thread. I always wanted two children but pregnancy was horrendous and I spent a large proportion of it in hospital. I was really adamant for a while that I was prepared to do it all again, but as DD develops, I realise that she is perfect, our family is complete and jeopardising my health for another baby would be stupid - I don't want to leave DD without a mum. People keep telling me that I'll change my mind and that pregnancy might be different next time, but I don't think my DP would let me do it again even if I did change my mind!

Endeavour Fri 10-Dec-10 08:15:36

What an amazing thread! Everyone has such strong and lovely opinons and arent scared to voice them
I have one child, he is 5 now and we will not be having anymore.
The reasons are too numerous to list. Mostly I would say its because of the cost of living nowdays, I know this probably sounds badly wrong, but I would love to be able to give the best education and best start in life to one than divide it up between 2 or more. We travel alot and take our boy with us, with 2 or 3 that would be difficult. So selfish as that sounds I want my son to see the world with us and hopefully grow into an adult that understands there is a world outside his country. Also working full time is demanding and with one I have the energy left to give him all my attention after work. REading this it all sounds so selfish blush I admire people who manage more than one, it unfortuantly is just not for me

JufusMum Fri 10-Dec-10 15:38:47

Hi I am also new to Mumsnet, I have a DD age 8, and she is my only.

I am an only myself and never wanted a sibling, and neither does DD, she has cousins (blood related and not), and friends, and a VERY hectic out of school activity schedule. I simply couldn't a) afford and b) commit the time to another, sometimes my DH's family say I should have another but neither me, nor my DH or my DD want that - so I say if it's not broke, don't fix it!

Em3978 Fri 10-Dec-10 22:56:52

Hi everyone, finally, a place where our decision for an only child is not questioned or belittled!

I have a nearly 3yr old angel/terror/happy monster (delete as appropriate), he'll always be an only, there's no chance I can/should have another.

I don't tend to get the 'its cruel' reaction so much, more the 'oh you'll change your mind, I KNOW you will...' like my decision is based on something silly, that I'll grow up (I'm 32 FGS!) and forget the HELL that the last several years has been. Patronising *s!!!

I was never sure I wanted children in the first place, DH desperately wanted about 3, so we compromised by trying it once, 'to see if it agreed with me' wink

So after 3 lots of surgery for Endo, I dropped lucky with my son. At 10 weeks I developed antenatal depression, a few weeks later SPD kicked in. By 24 weeks I was on crutches full time, til 43(!) weeks. The SPD still hasn't completely gone.
The A.N.D. developed into PND, and 3 years later I'm only just coming out of that hole of hell sad

I had the birth I really didn't want, after labour tried and failed 3 times I had an elective CS at 43 weeks (they forgot to put me on the list for 42 weeksand then insisted they should induce before performing a CS, like I wasn't in enough pain!), was v poorly cared for, I have a medical special-diet that wasn't catered for in hosp, had terrible BF advice and no effective help (though it turned out that because of the stress and trauma of everything my milk failed to come in anyway!!!)

and much much more...

and people think I'll 'forget' the bad bits and do it again...

or that it'll 'be better next time'...

I think I can confidently conclude



that got that off my chest

minervaitalica Thu 16-Dec-10 14:27:49

I am quite glad I found this thread, partly becasue I am a bit ambivalent about this.

My pregnancy was OK but I got ante-natal depression too. Dd born prem - things were a bit hairy at the beginning but we were lucky that she pulled through with no apparent problems. However, I have a disability which I may have passed on to her (50-50 chance), adn this will only become apparent when she is a bit older.

Before I was sure I wanted two, now I do not know. My rational head says that we have been really lucky all in all so we do not want to risk it again. But I am VERY afraid that few years down the line I will regret it, and it will be too late...

brownbug78 Thu 16-Dec-10 21:26:55

DS is 3yo now, and before he was born I was certain I'd want 2DC (I'm one of two). However, had hideous pregnancy (no morning sickness, thans God, but unable to walk from 20wks due to trapped nerve, excess water, pregnancy rash from 34weeks) and shocking birth (44hr labour culminating in ventouse delivery - so violent my son's head was actually cut open and bleeding - and 3rd degree tear).

Needless to say, hospital hindsight of "oh, yeah, we probably should've given you a CS after 27hrs labour when you were only contracting every 60-90 secs but were only 1cm dilated" only served to fuel my anger about childbirth, so it was a really long time before I could even think about a second with any kind of rationality, as opposed to just and emotive reaction (I actually used to see PG women in the street and feel physically nauseous).

When I did think about it, I realised that I had no real desire for another. I love my DS to pieces, but everything just works really well with him alone. I know we'll have to be really good at fostering his friendships if he has no siblings, but I'm genuinely of the opinion that one shouldn't breed just to provide a plaything for an existing child (that's what Toys 'R' Us is for!). It also means that, financially, we'll be able to do the best we can for him - I don't mean spoil him (we're just not like that!), but just keep our options open for helping him if/when he needs it.

Happy with our decision, just wish others were too! Can't tell you how many relative strangers have told me how selfish and cruel I'm being!

OneTwoBaubleMySanta Tue 21-Dec-10 08:31:40

Great to see everyone's reasons on this thread, especially after the thread on AIBU hmm

lola5791 Wed 22-Dec-10 22:35:18

Jeez, have just read that AIBU thread - good grief people seem to have got in a right state about it! It does seem amazing to me that anyone thinks they have a right to comment on someone else's choices when it comes to their family. I wouldn't dream of commenting that someone shouldn't have 4 children, but clearly people feel very strongly that I shouldn't have one.
We shouldn't have to justify our choices, I'm sure we are all doing our best to raise happy, healthy children.

kelway Tue 28-Dec-10 20:12:20

i wish i had had a choice...i am too old for another....i would dearly love another even though it would i know be a nightmare ie money, space and i would lose my independance, go figure (grin)

Giselle99 Sun 20-Mar-11 18:11:17

Good to read a positive thread on here! Was beginning to lose to will to live read...

I had a crap childhood and adolescence; I am one of 5. I am close to only one sibling and was never close to my father as I think he was overwhelmed by having so many of us, which did not combine well with him being an abusive twat anyway even pre-children. He died last year and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Only one of us siblings was involved in organising his funeral (not me!) and the youngest didn't even bother attending! Large families and siblings aren't always all they are cracked up to be, and the aforementioned youngest has cut herself from the family and has even changed her name and surname via deed poll.

When I was younger I used to dream of having 2 children but as I got older I realised that for my own sanity one was just right, and even one would need a lot of work after my fucked up upbringing thanks to parents who didn't know when to stop having children they couldn't invest in emotionally.

All that aside, as I plan to educate my child privately (state schools in my area are dire) financially I can only afford one. Also 2 will mean moving house and out of this area as anything one room bigger is £200K more expensive, and moving out of area means I cannot work as flexibly as I work now as I have to be able to get to work quickly in an emergency (I live 2 miles away from work and for this reason am allowed to do certain parts of my job from home). If I moved away then my entire childcare arrangements would have to change, as would my work/life balance etc. In a nutshell, too many adjustments to be made for something I really don't want.

The other reasons have been explained by others - it just feels right, the way having 2 feels right for others. Several of my female doctor colleagues have stopped at one and it seems to be a combination of having children relatively late, wanting to continue their career and finances. A handful remain childless into their 40s (i.e. married colleagues) and spend all their disposable income on expensive holidays, collecting fine wines and hosting regular dinner parties. I never hear anyone wondering aloud why they have chosen this path, yet people seem to almost automatically ask mothers with onlies why they have stopped at one confused

Alunsmuma Wed 23-Mar-11 11:32:46

My DS is 16 months old nearly 17 months and i may have another in years to come DP is keen, but i really want an education and a real career (i was waitress before i got pregnant). I love the freedom of an only child, only one to get ready and lot's of quality time with him. One is affordable and managable.

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