a mother and son happily play outside


I Have One Child, It’s Not My Husband’s And We’re Not Planning for Another — And That’s OK

Mar 11, 2019

From kids' birthday parties to work events, I’m often asked, “just the one?” in reference to my single child. It’s a question that should be as mundane as “do you wear shoes on your feet?” and yet it’s so incredibly loaded.

For whatever reason, I spend a lot of time defending and/or explaining my single child to others. When I was younger and a single mom, it was easy. Now in my thirties with a common-law partner and very different life circumstances, I find myself bombarded with questions about the goings-on of my uterus.

Relevant Reading: Are Only Children Lonely?

I’m torn between anger and sadness when presented with phrases like “oh, so you just have the one then?” as if having a single child makes me either an inconsiderate and selfish parent (‘but he needs a sibling!’) or someone to be pitied (‘oh, you only got to push a baby out once?’). There was a time when I was sure I’d have more kids, but now I’m not so sure — and that’s OK.

From time to time, someone decides to catapult over the line between nosy and completely inappropriate by asking if my partner wants “his own,” in the way you may suggest that each of us could have our own slice of pie instead of splitting our dessert.

'Now, we’re barrelling through our thirties, and our window is smaller and ever-shrinking.'

Having one child is as much a choice for us as it was an accident. Though I’d always sort of expected to have another, I’m looking at a ten-year age gap between my children if I get pregnant today. When my partner and I met three years ago, I was experiencing significant health problems which ultimately impacts my fertility and safety for future pregnancies. Now, we’re barrelling through our thirties, and our window is smaller and ever-shrinking.

Having one child means we can devote more of ourselves to him, but also to ourselves and each other. My son enjoys fun vacations, playing sports, regular outings to museums and other forms of entertainment that wouldn’t be possible if we had a baby in tow.

Relevant Reading: Parenting Truths About Raising An Only Child

As for “needing a sibling,” we regularly arrange play dates and other get-togethers to ensure he has kids in his life. He has his brothers and sisters through his hockey team and friend circle, plus oodles of cousins. Sure, it takes more work to make sure he has someone to play with (or it means we play with him, which we do, gladly), but do you know what’s great? NO SIBLING BICKERING. And my partner just so happens to love my son like his own.

Though it appears to offend others, our single-child family is not a problem for anyone in it. Like all things in life, we don’t know what lies ahead for our family, but we do know that right now our family is perfect. For us.

Article Author Ashley MacInnis
Ashley MacInnis

Read more from Ashley here.

Ashley MacInnis is the voice, the shoes and the mayhem behind imashleymi.com. A single mom and public relations professional, Ashley joined the blogging world in 2010 after Finn’s birth. The blog, which began as a cathartic endeavour, took on a life of its own as Ashley candidly shared the ups and downs of life, love and work. She’s since received the Canadian Online Publishing Award for Best Use of Social Media (2015) and shared the distinction of Best Blog or Column with YMC.ca. When she’s not writing, running, or building Lego empires, Ashley occasionally finds time to sleep.

She currently lives in Halifax, NS with her partner and son. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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