One and Done

Some people want and plan to have just one child. Others are physically unable to have a second and make the decision not to adopt another. Other families who had planned to have more decide after having one child that their family feels complete.

I don’t fit into any of those categories. I’d always planned on having two or three kids. Then again, I’d always planned on having a partner to help. While it wasn’t easy to conceive, I was able to and probably would be able to again. And while I love my little man more than I ever thought possible, I feel I have more love to share—maybe not right in the middle of his toddler and teething stages, but certainly down the road.

But the fact is, I am probably a ‘one and done’ mom. Financially at this point, it wouldn’t be feasible or responsible for me to bring another child into our lives.

And frankly, that sucks. And it makes me sad.

I thought I’d gotten over the fact I hadn’t met someone to raise a family with well before little man arrived. What I haven’t gotten over is the limitations of being a single mother. Because I didn’t know until I had my son how amazing the experience of being pregnant would be, or what it felt like to fall in love with someone over and over again as they grew and changed almost daily, or how much I wanted to share all the things I love about life with someone else who is still wide-eyed at the world around him, or how cool it would be to see my nephew with his younger sister and cousin and wish my son could have the experience of being a big brother too. In short, I never knew just how much I was meant to be a mom.

Maybe I’m just feeling sad over my inability to afford a second child because my hormones are changing again as I (slowly) begin the weaning process. Or possibly I’m worried about raising an only child, because I didn’t know any growing up, don’t know many now, and worry about that being yet another thing that will be different about our family. Or maybe my ovaries are aching because some of my friends and acquaintances, including a few other single mothers, are in the process of trying for more, and I’m a little nostalgic and a little, or a lot, jealous.

I know for sure it’s in part due to the fact that I’ve already begun to realize my little man and I are leaving behind certain stages, and while I love watching him grow and make new leaps, I’m sad to say goodbye to some of those infant things forever.

I know my son still has a lifetime of firsts ahead of him. First sentence. First bike ride. First time on the potty. First day of school. And I know if I had a second child, he or she would also grow through the stages more quickly than I would like, and I’d soon be saying goodbye to babyhood all over again. But I can’t help but think everyone who wants to should get to do this parenting thing at least twice, because maybe the second time I’d be more aware, more in the moment, more appreciative of all the little firsts—and lasts.

My chances of having a second are about the same as winning the lottery, because that’s likely what would have to occur. And that does suck, and it does make me sad. But realizing it now while little man is still so small also provides an opportunity, a chance to cherish every amazing moment with my guy—and to comfort myself during those less-than-amazing moments. He may be my “one and done,” so I have no one to hold back for, no one for whom to say, “next time…” There is just this time. There is just us. And we will make the most of it.

But I will occasionally still play the Powerball. Just in case.


Photo credit: Christine Passler


12 thoughts on “One and Done”

  1. I struggle with the same thing, even though I’m still at the Thinking stage. I always wanted a large family. Plus, I grew up as an only child and I don’t want my kid(s) to experience that kind of pressure. I’ve long accepted being alone and doing it all myself, but the idea of having to accept having only one, maybe two kids is devastating.

    1. It’s a difficult subject for so many of us. We not only have a section on our private SMC Forum about thinking about becoming an SMC, but also have a section about having a second (or third or fourth) child. Join SMC and take part in the Forum discussion!

  2. I too have that same problem. My daughters only four and a half months old, and I’m already wishing that I could have another one at some point. However, financially, because of daycare, having another baby would be irresponsible. I also ended up with postnatal preeclampsia when she was 3 days old, which was very scary and made me realize that I would not want to risk my health for another baby because that could leave my daughter without any parent if something were to happen to me.

    With all that though, I still sometimes wish that I could go through another pregnancy and another baby stage with a little sister for my little one (2 bedroom condo, so that’s another reason why having another baby would be difficult unless I used the expensive family balancing option from my fertility clinic)

  3. I was scrolling through FB and saw this post. I really needed it too. I just came home from a family reunion where a family member was trying to convince me to go ahead and have “one more.” My daughter is 5yo, starting kindergarten this fall, I’m 39 yo and am not financially able to affir another child. My life’s biggest regret was not starting to have my family 3-4 yrs earlier. I try to appreciate every moment I have with my daughter. I try to tell myself to not be greedy, I had a perfect wonderful pregnancy, labor and delivery. My daughter’s only fault is she’s a little too stubborn sometimes, otherwise she’s perfectly healthy. I tell myself quality over quantity, it’s more important to spend time with the one daughter I have as opposed to the number of children I have. My daughter is an only child but we live w/ my sister and her family, so she always has 3 kids around-they treat her more like a sibling than a cousin. For the most part I do okay and manage my feelings of having another child; however, some days it’s harder and being at the family reunion didn’t help. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one…

  4. My daughter is 15 now and I still have those thoughts about a one and done. I’m not sure if I only believe in having one child, there’s so much to share and learn with a sibling. It is no guarantee that they will get along as adults but at least there is that opportunity. I often worry, when I’m gone, who she will have comfort her in my absence. I was unable to get pregnant and I adopted her. Thank you for taking the time and articulating the words into this article.

  5. I can relate to so many things in your post. My little guy is 5 though so we’ve left the toddler era a while ago, and my reasons for ”one and done” are not financial but due to the fact I have diabetes type 1, and the pregnancy gave me complications with the fundus. Pretty common, I had to have surgery, and it’s ok, but having a second pregnancy could risk my eye sight. Not worth riskong that.

    But not getting to make the choice of no siblings, is what saddens me. Along with the reasons you mention. And, I can tell my son would love to have a sibling – he would also make a great big brother. Now, he has cousins, and I try to comfort myself with that. But I also feel a vulnerablility in only being the two of us. When I’m gone one day, he is alone. (Not really, having the before mentioned cousins, his oncle, my mom and dad and their extended families but still). This is also what I hear from my single mom friends that has gotten two children – they feel more like a family beeing three. Though it also appear to be more tiresome etc having two small kids.

    There is a good and bad side to everything. My miracle child and I have a very tight bond and I love being his parent. Even thought to me it is a sorrow not being able to make that decision of a sibling, I’m profoundly grateful being able to have one child. I reckon I will necer come to terms with this, but within time I will learn to live with it without effecting everyday life too much.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed you will win the lottery. 🙂

  6. Oh my goodness this is exactly me right now! I so want another but financially it will not happen unless I win the lottery 🙂

    1. Exactly how I feel. Adding to the desire is that I had my daughter at 45 and I am 50 with a 4 1/2 year old. It is very tough knowing she won’t have me at my age, and could potentially be alone. She has a cousin close to her age, and older ones, but not the same as having a sibling. I say all the time, that it can only Happen if I meet a really wealthy nice guy, very soon, or win the lottery. I have 14 frozen embryos and I can’t get myself to stop paying for the hugely expensive storage fee. This is definitely an issue that people having kids the traditional way, at a younger age, don’t truly “get”. 🙁

      1. I just had to make this decision today – I am 48 with an almost 3 year old
        It is hard
        I decided to donate the embryos to research
        But it is still hard
        It wasn’t because of money
        But mainly because it is so exhausting abs I did t think I could handle 2 on my own

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