One Kid Is Fine, Thanks
By Sarah Foster
PHOTO © vm/Getty Images
Jun 21, 2017
No one tells you about the most-asked question you get after having a baby: "When is baby number two coming?"
Even if you politely explain that you’re just having the one, people don’t let it go. “But he’ll get so lonely! He’ll need someone to play with!” they say.
People will say to me, 'Oh, you weren’t even going to have one, and then you changed your mind. Just give it some time!'
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I never wanted kids at all.
As my father tells it, I first proclaimed my desire to remain childless when I was three because it would “ruin my figure.” And for the next 30 years of my life, I remained steadfast in my decision not to procreate.
When something changed and I suddenly wanted a kid, my husband and I got pregnant pretty fast, and we lost the pregnancy almost just as fast. At first, we had decided not to try again. What if we lost another pregnancy? I wasn't sure I could handle that emotionally. When we finally decided to try again, we once again were lucky and welcomed our son nine months later.
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While we don’t regret deciding to have a kid, both my husband and I recognized right away that one child was enough for us. For me, it was almost as soon as we walked in the house for the first time with the baby. Suddenly, I realized how permanent having a child actually is. I know it sounds flippant, but I don’t think you truly comprehend the commitment until you actually have one. As the months drew on, I began having postpartum complications thanks to some pregnancy products left behind during delivery. This in turn sent me into a bout of postpartum depression. I knew I couldn’t do this again.
I don't think I’m depriving my son if he doesn't have a younger sister or brother to torture as he grows older.
People will say to me, “Oh, you weren’t even going to have one, and then you changed your mind. Just give it some time!”
But we don't need time. My husband and I are already so committed to our decision that we have each looked into our options for permanent birth control. I even went so far as to book a surgery to have my tubes removed, but decided to postpone it until I could manage the recovery.
I grew up with two siblings (plus a baby half-sister who was born when I was 19), so I know what it’s like to have those kinds of friendships and rivalries. I don't think I’m depriving my son if he doesn't have a younger sister or brother to torture as he grows older.
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Finances are another factor. Many people in my generation say they cannot afford to have even one child, and I also want to be able to provide for my son. I want to travel as a family and give my son the chance to see the world in a way I didn’t when I was young. Having just one child means we’ll be able to do that.
Planning a family is a deeply personal decision. So the next time someone says they’re just having one kid, accept that they know what’s best for their family. Don’t question it. Don't dismiss it.
Remember the old adage: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.