It’s Selfish to Have Only One Child

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That’s the feeling I get after seeing the look on people’s faces when I tell them we are still thinking about whether or not we want to have more children. I admit, I may be fully imagining this skeptical reaction and completely inventing the judgment in their eyes but somehow it feels so real. Then again, maybe I’m just projecting my own inner outrage.

I mean, the words sound as strange to me as if someone took over my body and spoke for me. It’s a strange thing – to know that you want something but when faced with the reality of it your throat constricts and you begin hyperventilating. Is this sort of self-betrayal normal? I don’t know…

I don’t know why the topic of having additional kids comes up so frequently but when it does I inevitably end up having this discussion with myself later that day:

“So when ARE we having more?”

“More? More seems like a lot doesn’t it? I thought less was more? One sounds good.”

“You don’t want Weston to be an only child, do you? That would be terrible.”

“Why would that be terrible? Genocide is terrible. Cancer is terrible. Having one child is just having one child.”

“No. Don’t you get it? Then he will have that only child complex where he thinks he is the center of the Universe and turn out to be a spoiled, lazy, selfish brat. Anyway, you don’t want to be that family.”

“What family would that be?”

You know. That family. Plus siblings are important for our growth and development! You don’t want him to be all alone, do you?

“He won’t be all alone. There are plenty of people that love and care for him.”

“I heard only children make up imaginary friends because their lonely and anti-social.”

“Really?”

Plus don’t you want more kids?”

Sure I want more kids…in a perfect world. In a glorious world where time doesn’t exist and money has no value and bills have no bearing; in an unblemished world where disease has been abolished and happiness rains from the skies and all mommies receive personal chefs and nannies and trainers upon the birth of their first child; a world where babysitters grow in your backyard and poop smells like lemon verbena. Yeah – I want more kids in that world.

The good news is that I have so many friends and family members to lean on for advice:

“Having two is SO much harder.” “It’s not double the trouble it’s quadruple the trouble.”

“Wait until one stops napping then you’re really fucked.”

“Just get it over with, you’re getting older and it only gets harder…oh and you don’t want them too far apart.”

“Wait until Wes is older. It’s better when they’re farther apart.”

Great. Thanks, guys. That’s all really helpful advice.

In all sincerity, I’m scared shitless of having another baby. And as far as being selfish about waiting to have more or not wanting to have any more at all, here’s what I have to say about that:

Yep – I selfishly want to enjoy more quality time with Weston before I’m constantly yelling at him to be quiet so he doesn’t wake the sleeping baby that now occupies my every. last. waking and sleeping. moment.

I greedily want to prolong the period of time where I don’t have to speak to Wes in half sentences with a quarter of my attention and hope to catch every 3rd word of his conversations with me all while trying to race across the living room to keep the baby from killing himself on the edge of the coffee table. Don’t forget about the burning chicken in the oven…

Call me crazy for not wanting to put further strain on my already dwindling sense of intimacy and personal time with my husband. Date night at the grocery store again tonight, honey? Sure…sounds great. Meet you in the canned goods isle for a little game of franks and beans.

Forgive me for not wanting to gain another 70 pounds during pregnancy and endure 7 months of vomiting and 72 hours of labor, the 6 months of C-section recovery, the acne, the nipple tormenting breast feeding and the swollen ankles. Did I mention almost dying after birth? Yeah, that was fun.

Sue me for wanting to maintain the respect I just barely (18 months later) gained back at work after leaving my post for an extended period of time only to return sleep deprived and with half witted “mommy brain.” Let’s not even bother getting into the debate about the social pressures of being a working mother or what’s fair and not fair. Let’s just leave it at this…everyone suffers.

Clearly I’m off my rocker for not wanting to indulge in sleepless nights again. Doesn’t everyone live and breathe to walk around perpetually exhausted?

I must be the queen of selfishness for thinking that not one iota of this sounds appealing. Is it so wrong to feel like everything is perfect just the way it is? In fact, I have no idea how to convince myself that starting all over again sounds like heaven on earth. And yet, I have no clue how it’s become my duty to save my son from some kind of scarred existence as an outcast only child. Don’t mind the fact that he lives in a home with loving parents who respect each other, where morals are upheld and hard work is valued. Shit maybe we are even that family that values the concept of imaginary friends! Gasp. Say it isn’t so.

 Honestly. I have no idea when or if we will be ready to bring life into this world again. All I know is that it’s a big responsibility and I want to make sure that if and when we do make that decision, it’s for the right reasons. Sometimes being selfish isn’t such a bad thing.

Somehow, I think we will all thrive regardless of our decision.

– The Confessioness

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9 comments

  1. Julie S. · · Reply

    Love you for sharing this!

  2. Lauren · · Reply

    The first thing I really discovered when becoming a parent is that every decision has it’s benefits and consequences and you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you aren’t sure – 101% sure, don’t mess with people’s lives or your emotional and physical health. I’ve never felt selfish stopping at one. What’s so selfish about giving as much as you can to the joyful, deserving being you brought forth? How can they be lonely on a planet with billions of others? What kind of nut job would say that to make you feel guilty about your choice? Misery loves company doesn’t it?

    1. And this, my dear, is why I value your friendship so much. You have never been anything less than authentic and it shows in the gorgeous being you created. And it’s so true – you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s about knowing what’s right for you and your family. In the end, can’t we all appreciate the fact that there is more than one way to approach the journey? Love you.

  3. andrea · · Reply

    I pray that my son will be my only child and that my birth control works 100% of the time until I hit menopause. Having one is more than I can handle. I have exactly no time for anything anymore and I am so glad you wrote this article because it’s exactly what I needed to hear from another mom.

    1. I’m with ya sista

  4. Just found your blog and loved it! We have daughters five years apart. We were equally as happy with one kid as we are with two.

    Or should I say the we have the same net total of happiness. I sometimes miss the peacefulness of one child. Having two is a lot more work- but, truthfully, your standards relax. It all gets done and two becomes the new normal.

    But ultimately the best feeling for me has not been that we finally have two children but that we are now done trying to decide how many kids we want to have. Uncertainty sucks.

    1. Mai – thanks for visiting! I really love what you said about having the same net total of happiness – I always wondered how I could love any more than I already do but everyone tells me your heart expands and just makes more room for love. And as far as the uncertainty, I couldn’t agree more! That’s the hardest part! Hope to see you here again soon.

  5. […] Wes was ever that little and as I left, I felt my heartstrings tug a little at the thought of having another. I think I’m finally ready to add to our brood, but that’s for another […]

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