Kids Motherhood

Yes, I only want one child. Why does my choice offend you?

Written by Sarah Bowen

We all know the story well. Boy meets girl, they fall in love and get married. They have a baby and live happily ever after. But apparently I’ve missed a step….

When our son turned two the pressure really started. I noticed that everyone; friends, family and even complete strangers starting making the comment “time to start trying for the next one.”  When I would turn to them and say “oh no, that’s it for us, we’re not planning on having any more,” then it would really start, the lectures. “But you can’t only have one because…” your son will be a spoiled only child, he will be lonely without siblings, it’s so much easier the second time around and the reasons go on. One time, I even had someone tell me that they were concerned that I wasn’t going to have any more children because what if my son died? Then I’d be left with no children. Yep, really.

I find myself trying to justify our decision; well no, he won’t be spoiled because that’s all about how you raise a child not how many you have and no he won’t be lonely because he has lots of cousins and friends his age, and yeah you’re right I should have another kid for spare parts?! And I find myself arguing against the assumptions that they aren’t saying but I know they are thinking. Yes of course I love being a mum, my son is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. No, I didn’t have some kind of horrific birthing experience or horrible sibling that puts me off going there. We are just happy with our family of three and it really is as simple as that.

One friend suggested I should just starting telling people that I can’t have any more children, then that would shut them up. But I can’t, because fortunately for us that’s not the truth. The truth is that this is a decision we have chosen to make. And I could give you many reasons why we aren’t planning on having any more children, they are both logical and emotional, but at the end of the day I’m not here to try and convince you or justify my decisions, that’s not my point. My point is simply this; the decision to have one child, no children or lots of them is a very personal, individual choice. We shouldn’t have to justify it. We shouldn’t have to be judged because of it. I would never dare to sit there and tell someone why they should stop at one child (could you imagine?!) In fact I think people who choose to have more than one child are amazing, I admire them, they are flat out superheroes. So I just really don’t understand why it’s OK for others to lecture me on my choices?

I wonder what it is about our choice to only have one child that seems to offend people so much. Is it because it’s different? Are we as a society still stuck in the mindset that a family has to be made up of a Dad, a Mum and 2.5 children? People tell me I’m missing out on something wonderful, but you know what? My life is pretty wonderful right now. We are happy and content and that’s what matters. People also tell me that we will change our minds, and maybe they’re right, maybe we will and that would be OK. But if we don’t then that should be OK too, shouldn’t it?

Feature Image Source – jamesAnn Photography

About the author

Sarah Bowen

Sarah is a serial worrier and self confessed perfectionist. Mother to a 4-year-old boy and slightly overweight golden retriever. Wife to a man she’s known since they were 10. Day dreamer, chocolate fiend, routine and organization lover.

Sarah lives outer suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria. Her days are busy, she works part-time in the early childhood field, studies part-time and is a full time Mum. She blogs at http://theroutinequeen.net/ where she shares her many tips and tricks that help to make everyday family life fun and easy with a few personal stories thrown in along the way!

8 Comments

  • You shouldn’t feel isolated. The TFR for children among native born American women is 1 child, so what you’re doing is the norm, not in any way the anomaly. I think people express a bunch of reasons when really what they are thinking is “I feel sorry for your kid” because people typically enjoy having siblings, or regret not having them (typically-not always). I think parents with multiple kids get lots of odd questions as well, considering what they are doing is actually abnormal in the age. Most importantly for any parent-who cares what someone else thinks about how many kids you have.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. It seems to be the case in life that anything outside of the ‘norm’ is to be frowned upon. Having a sibling for our son is probably the only reason we’ve every considered having more, I have a sister that I’m super close with and couldn’t imagine not having her…that being said a lot of siblings don’t get along ha!

  • Oh dear! I don’t know why people can’t mind their own business. It really is no-one else’s business but your own where these things are concerned. I remember going through that with my children. After each one -when are you having your next? When I’m good and ready or never. Whatever! None of your business really. Geez!

  • Great post. Of cause you should be able to make your own decisions and do what is right for you family. But that won’t stop everyone having and opinion – unfortunatly. (Perhaps the rest of us are just jealous!!)

  • Oh boy, people really do love commenting on other people’s lives, hey? That really frustrates me on your behalf, Sarah! Why can’t people just be okay with everyone living their lives as they choose? So long as it’s not hurting anyone, I don’t really see the problem with it? Argh! People!