One and Only

Photo Credit: Olivia Kristin Photography

Raise your hand if you’re content as a mom of one (most times, my hand will be the first in the air). Ever since giving birth three years ago, I no longer have a desire to have more children. Believe me, I love the sweet smell of a newborn babe and will take any opportunity to admire a sleeping infant, but that inherent craving for more children, no longer exists.  

This was recently confirmed during the holidays when I was hosting dinner for my large Jamaican family.  As with all family dinners, this gathering was filled with laughter, libations, and lively discussions.  While I was attempting to feed my 11 month-old nephew who was more content just playing with his food my mother took this opportunity to ask yet again:

“When are you going to have another baby?”

“Mom, I’m not having any more kids” I countered.

“But your baby is three, she’ll be starting pre-school next year, it’s the perfect time to have another.”

“Mom I swear, I really don’t want any more kids,” I replied.

“I’m sure you’ll change your mind.”

I quickly changed the subject. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had similar conversations with well-meaning family and friends over the past 3 years. I’ve been cautioned that my decision to only have one child is something that I’ll regret forever. I think I’ve heard it all:

“Your daughter’s going to grow up to be selfish.”

“Having just one child is considered abuse.” 

And my favorite:

“Your baby is going to grow up socially inept.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love children and have fond memories of my own childhood. Sharing secrets with my sister and squabbling with my younger brother. But, do I feel like my daughter is doomed to a lifetime of loneliness because she has no siblings? Not at all.  Listen, I’m not saying the one-child scenario is perfect for everyone but it works for me. Let me tell why I decided that I’m one-and-done:

Kids Cost Money

I’m preaching to the choir, but the fact remains that it’s pretty darn expensive to raise a child.  A 2017 report from the Department of Agriculture noted that the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is now a whopping $233,610! The average day care cost alone can range from $ 8,600 to $8,700 a year. Let’s not forget to factor in the cost of diapers, food, clothing and future expenses such as music lessons, summer camps, braces and college, Whew!  It was a little rough financially for my husband and I when my daughter was born.  We lived more than 2 hours away from family and even though my mom came to help for a few weeks (thanks, mom), once she left we didn’t have the luxury of calling on family when a back-up babysitter was needed. (Have you ever taken a baby on a date night? Yeah, not a good idea). Also for a short period of time, my husband wasn’t working a full-time job so we definitely felt the strain of living on a single consistent income.

I Didn’t Like the Infant Stage

Don’t judge me, but I didn’t enjoy motherhood for the first few months. The sleepless nights, engorged breasts, projectile vomit and diaper blow outs, had me questioning if I had made the right decision. I also wasn’t blessed with an easy baby. She cried. A lot. I felt helpless and overwhelmed as most first-time mothers do. I finally feel like I’ve found my mommy hood groove and I now can carve out some “me time” to take up some of the hobbies I once enjoyed.

We love to travel

During the early years of our marriage, my husband and I took at least one international trip each year. We loved exploring new countries and immersing ourselves in the culture. I credit my Canadian upbringing and immigrant parents who would book a flight or hit the road with their three kids in tow at a moment’s notice.  It was decided early in our marriage that we would continue to travel even after we started our family. While many of my friends would argue that it’s easy to master the art of traveling with multiple kids, for me traveling as a family of three means less luggage, smaller car rentals and we can all fit in one hotel room. Also, only having to entertain and keep track of one child just seems a lot less stressful. 

Advanced Maternal Age

I’m old y’all. Not old enough to get an AARP card, but old enough to need a nap before for a night on the town. Don’t let this well-moisturized face fool you, this gal is knocking on *Ahem *, 40.  I spent my twenties in school gathering degrees and I didn’t meet my “prince charming” until I was almost 30. We dated for a couple of years before settling down and dedicated the first few years of our marriage to travel, exquisite dinners and career building. By the time we decided to start our family, by medical standards; I was already an aged mom. Now, I try to keep myself in good health by being active more days than not and eating well. But, between you and me, there are days that I’m tiyad and she’s only 3!  I’m going to be in my late 50’s by the time she graduates high school and I know I don’t have the stamina to do it all again. Kudos to you moms who do!

Some women can handle a lot of children. I’m not that woman. Has the thought of having more children crossed my mind? Of course! But, after two years of chaos, I’m finally starting to feel like my old self again.  As I watch my daughter grow into a smart and independent little girl, my heart overflows with love and gratitude.  I’m at total peace with my decision to live as a family of three.

So tell me, how did you make the decision to have more children or not?

 Guest Author

Janelle is Registered Nurse, freelance writer, and the mom to a spirited 3 year- old. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she now calls Lilburn home. When not educating her patients, or spending time with her husband of 8 years, you can find her working out, running or taking a much needed 5-minute nap. 

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3 Responses to One and Only

  1. Leah March 29, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    I really appreciate this post! The infant stage was so hard for me and I’ve thought multiple times about just having one child. (My husband wants at least one more) but I do really appreciate your honesty. It’s totally ok to only have one child and it’s frustrating when people are always asking you when you’re having another.

  2. Jen March 29, 2018 at 10:20 am #

    I met my husband when I was 29, got married at 34, and had kids at 35 and 37. I do feel an emotional pull to have a third, but for all the reasons you cited I know it’s just not practical. Plus I do not like being pregnant. I’ve got one girl and one boy. I’m good, despite people saying we should have more.

  3. Wendy March 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks for saying this out loud!