I am the mother of one child.
Yes, I think about it and feel sad sometimes. Other times I thank my lucky stars that I stopped at one.
People ask me all the time why I would choose to have an only child. As if it’s really any of their business anyway. It’s sort of strange how people think they can criticize or question your reproductive decisions.
Some act as if I am acting against God, or even harming my child.
Having only one child was and is the best decision for me, my husband, and our son.
Here are six solid reasons:
Why I’m Only Having One Child
Fear Loathing and my uterus
Have you noticed that we start to become paranoid even before our children are born? We obsess over what we eat during the pregnancy. We obsess over every prenatal appointment and every ultrasound. We are tested out the whazoo for genetic issues, blood sugar issues and fetal abnormalities.
For me the irrational fear started as soon as I saw the little blue line on the home pregnancy test. I had such a hard time getting and staying pregnant that I was willing to do just about anything to keep my little cluster of cells multiplying.
I am prone to anxiety. I know you are shocked by that! <insert sarcasm.>
I found pregnancy much more stressful than I had anticipated. There is a constant barrage of often conflicting information about what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant.
“Take a prenatal vitamin.”
“Drink milk.” – “Don’t drink milk because there might be hormones or antibiotics in it.”
“Eat peanut butter.” “No don’t do that either, your kid might have an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts after birth.”
“Eat adequate protein, but not from deli meats; if you choose to eat deli meats heat them up until they are steaming.”
“No sushi. Not too much tuna or other fish with high mercury levels.” But make sure you get enough omega fatty acids.
At one point I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was forced to see a dietician, who was very nice, but basically told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to be type 2 within 10 years.
I felt like a fat, disgusting pig that was mistreating her unborn baby.
Within 3 weeks I was told to stop poking myself and taking my blood sugar because my numbers were indicating I was not really diabetic. I realized later that my numbers had been borderline to begin with. My local health system jumped the gun a bit.
But that experience was not a positive one. It made me even more paranoid about everything I put in my mouth for the rest of the pregnancy. And afterward.
negative birth experience
When my water broke the first physician I spoke to from my practice immediately asked me about gestational diabetes. I politely explained that we had stopped checking my sugars. She sounded disapproving on the phone but told me I could come in when I started to feel more pain.
I did just that at 3 a.m.
I realize the hour was a contributing factor, but the nurse that admitted me was not in a great mood. She was pretty rough checking my cervix, and finally declared, “I can’t feel anything.”
Eventually the doctor checked and said my cervix was 4 cm dilated and totally normal. They started the IV and wrapped that monitor thing around my belly. They told me I could walk around if I wanted to.
When the doctors from my practice changed over, the new doctor wanted my labor to move faster so he started me on Pitocin. By this point I was at 6 cm but I had avoided the epidural.
My nurse told me that if I didn’t ask for it then they would likely tell me I waited too long. So I asked for the epidural. I had already read all of the conflicting information and stories expounding upon the virtues of a natural childbirth.
It took 2 tries to get the epidural. The first catheter leaked all over my bed and they said I had to wait ½ hour to prove it wasn’t working. Meanwhile I was gripping the side rail of my bed because the contractions had really picked up.
Don’t you love that the drug of choice to speed up labor is Pitocin? You go from rational to psycho in a 15-minute period of time.
The epidural eventually started to work, but then they said my baby’s heart rate was slowing down too much. At this point I wasn’t allowed to walk around anymore because they wanted to monitor his heart.
Are we seeing the ongoing trend of confusion/contradictions here?
I don’t even want to go into my c-section experience. It was the opposite of good. I was left in pain and quite confused about where my baby was and how I was supposed to start nursing him because they took him away for like 3 hours after he was born.
I was totally out of it due to the megadose of whatever they gave me when my epidural wore off during the surgery.
Long story short I spent 5 days in the hospital with a screaming, sensory defensive baby.
They came in and pressed on my uterus all the time, and peeled some of my skin off of my incision due to an allergic reaction to the tape. That was super fun. Oh, then I got a hospital infection. It was not the sort of beautiful bonding time I envisioned.
I’m gonna put this out there….I HATE being pregnant. I know I might get slammed for that. But I want to be honest on here.
I struggled to get pregnant, but once I did I realized I didn’t like it very much. Neither did my body, apparently. Although I did get a new sense of respect for my physical being. My body did produce a healthy, fully-formed human being and I am forever grateful for that.
You never realize how powerful and strong you really are until you give birth. I take care of myself now.
My real life friends know that my husband is nearly 12 years older than I. The only thing that gives him away are the grays in his facial hair. If I had another baby right now, as in today, my husband would be 66 when that child graduated from high school.
Yes, that is a reasonable age to retire, but to sit at a high school graduation? If you don’t have to pay for college and support a wife like me, then you might be able to retire at age 65. I have already admitted to my lack of career on this blog.
Along the same lines as wanting to retire – having another baby now would mean at least another 6 years of child care. My son actually has some advantages as an only child in the sense that he has the opportunity to experience activities and educational opportunities that cost money. If we had another child I doubt I could pay for things like private swim lessons.
I know I couldn’t pay for two kids to go to his current preschool either. I would have to stay home because the childcare costs would negate my income.
I wrote an article for Huffington Post about my epic failure as a stay-at-home mother. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-lewis/i-hated-being-a-stay-at-home-mom_b_8683406.html
The first few weeks of having an infant are rough. If you disagree then you must have had easy babies.
My son screamed incessantly and nursed around the clock. I was sleep deprived. Lack of sleep makes me even crazier than normal. Really, you have no idea how crazy I was when my son first came home. Hormones, sore boobs, lack of sleep… the whole sitch was not pretty.
Speaking of nursing, it is hard. Waaay harder than they made it sound at the class I took before he was born. He nursed every two hours, then he might sleep for like 20 minutes on top of me, and then he would eat again.
There is no peace when you are nursing on demand. Your boobs are no longer your own. No wonder they look like deflated balloons 5 years later. The last one is the big one for me. Bigger than anything else I wrote above.
I know my limits
As I have mentioned my son has Aspergers along with ADHD. Everyday situations are so much harder than they should be. Little things like scraping a knee can completely set him off into a screaming meltdown that goes on for an hour.
In quieter moments he sometimes tells me he wants a baby brother. In fact he said this again just this morning. For a fleeting second I felt sad. Then I remember that the issues he is having occupy 100% of my mental and emotional space.
I spend my time reading books about ADHD and sensory processing. Yes I am hyperfocusing, as I am prone to do. But as I have stated before, whether we like it or not, people do judge us for our children’s behavior and personality traits.
[bctt tweet=”I cannot mentally or emotionally handle another child. That’s the truth. ” username=”HealthyADHD”]
I love my son. If something happened to him I have no idea if I could survive it, but having another child doesn’t take away the fear of losing him.
I certainly feel sad when I think about how fast the last 6 years have gone. Sometimes I feel sad that I didn’t enjoy his infancy more. Sometimes I feel like I was cheated out of that by his sensory defensiveness, which was evident almost immediately after birth.
I have even thought about the fact that he will likely grow up and leave me for college or (gasp!) a woman.
I decided when I started this blog that I didn’t want to live in fear anymore. ADHD can make you paranoid and fearful about life. Instead I am looking forward to life as a family of three. I can deal with the occasional pang of sadness as I enter this new chapter.
Wish me luck as my uterus retires.
Having only one child was the best choice for me, my husband and our son.
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How did you know when your family was complete?
Do you think I will regret only having one child?