I remember the day I had my daughter like it was yesterday. The simultaneous feeling of having been hit by a truck and the complete and utter joy was one I could never forget. That day, as well-wishing family members came to visit, there were lots of comments that included, “When you have your next one…” or “When she becomes a big sister…” My daughter was barely 12 hours old, and people were planning to schedule my next delivery!
Many people want large families, and while I applaud this (anyone who gives birth more than once is a hero in my book), I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having just one. Here are some things I considered before I decided to be “one and done.”
I am one of the few moms who aren’t forced to have a full-time job to live. Essentially, my husband can pay our bills without help from me. While becoming a stay-at-home mom forced me to realign priorities and give up a LOT of comforts (Lord, how I miss my NYC salon highlights), our life is pretty stable.
Having another child would tip the scale a little bit in the other direction. The added expense of formula, diapers, and possibly a whole new baby wardrobe would most certainly cause our belts to be uncomfortably tightened. With an even further reduction in our surplus, I wouldn’t be able to enroll my daughter in classes that I have the ability to enroll her in now. Costs would have to be cut, and things like swimming and gym classes would become a luxury. I like that I have the ability to offer her at least one class a semester, and it doesn’t put a financial strain on our household.
Some might consider me an “older mom,” as I had my daughter as I approached my 40th birthday. I might as well have had “Advanced Maternal Age” tattooed on my forehead once I found out I was pregnant, but I digress. In a perfect world, I would love the opportunity to have a child in another three to four years, when my daughter would be attending school full-time. It would give me the ability to shower the new baby with my undivided attention in the same way that I did with my daughter.
However, having a baby at 44 or 45 is not something I want to consider. While I don’t judge other moms for having babies over the age of 40, it just isn’t a risk that I am willing to take. Science has made a great deal of strides in the field of fertility, and I applaud those who have gone through the very difficult process of IVF and the like. Having the experience myself is just not one I would consider.
Okay, I can admit it; I’m kinda greedy when it comes to my family. I like the fact that I can spend lots of time with my daughter. We can sit together and just read book after book in the quiet of our living room, and I love it. Cramming another pregnancy in quickly after this one would force me to have two small children at home at the same time. That would also be contingent upon whether or not I would have the ability to stay at home full time.
With another baby on the scene, those times of reading would most likely be shortened or curtailed completely with the interruption of feedings, diaper changes, and even staggered nap schedules. Now I know there are moms out there with twins, multiple children, and probably many with two under two. While I don’t have any idea what having another child would truly be like, I’m not willing to experiment.
Being from a broken home had a serious impact on the way I grew up. Like most parents, I want to give my child all of the advantages that I didn’t have. To do that, I have to consider all of the future events I might want her to experience. Because I had parental responsibilities at a young age, I missed out on many experiences that virtually all of my close friends could have. I never had a Sweet 16 or high school graduation party, our family couldn’t afford to pay for my prom tickets, and I couldn’t afford the senior trip. In light of that, I need to offer these experiences to my daughter. Of course, she may want to experience different things, but I would like her to have an option. With the added demands of another child, I’m not sure I would be able to give her the things she might want later on.
Some might say that I am selfish, in the same way as I have heard many judging those who have chosen not to have any children. In fact, I believe that I am just the opposite. With finite time and resources, I really have to make careful decisions about what would be of most benefit to my child and any possible future children. To give my child the best life that I can give, I have to make important decisions about making that happen. We have a lovely little family of three, and that works just fine with me!