Why I’m Probably Not Going to Have Another Child

I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother, but there was never a defining moment in my life where I consciously decided that motherhood was in my future.  I always just knew.  I didn’t hesitate to promise my mom, at the tender age of 13, to give her at least one grandchild (please know that my mom jokingly made the request).  Honestly, I didn’t think about motherhood at 13, I thought about how I should probably stop playing with Barbie dolls.

It wasn’t until I told the love of my life, “I do,” that the prospect of motherhood became a reality.  When that reality hit, though, it hit hard.  Operation Baby immediately commenced.

Thus Lucy entered our lives.

Time. Stood. Still.

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It really did.  The first time I looked into that beautiful, perfect face the life I knew ended.  Everything that happened in my past only happened to lead up to that moment.  Everything that would happen in my future would be a result of that moment.  I honestly believe that I will never love anyone as much as I love my little girl.  I don’t want to.

This is a reason why I am probably not going to have another child.

Of course, immediately after having your first child, everyone asks you when you are going to have another.  Watch out!  When Baby turns two, your reproductive system becomes an open topic of discussion.

It didn’t bother me at first.  I would laugh and make light of the comments.  I responded honestly: I didn’t believe that I would love a second child as much as I love my first.  Apparently, this was just ridiculous.  Comments ranged from, “Of course you will love your other children!” to “Just have another and you’ll see you can love them both the same.”

I also heard that Lucy has to have a brother or sister, and if she does not, “She will be so lonely when she is old without siblings.”  My personal favorite was, “It’s not fair that she will have to take care of you herself when you get old.”  It’s also not fair to bring a child into the world if I don’t want one.

This is a reason why I am probably not going to have another child.

I eventually began to respond with practical reasons: daycare is too expensive (it really is, though!), we are too busy, or too tired, or we don’t have enough room.  All are valid and relevant reasons not to have another child, and all seemed to be easier for people to stomach than my truth.

Lucy is now five years old.  She just started Kindergarten and the burden of childcare has lessened significantly.  We live in a larger home and have a little more money.  To be quite honest, I do occasionally fantasize about having another child.  I see photos of siblings and think about how cute Lucy would look in a similar photo.  I think about how much fun it would be to sew tiny baby clothes and decorate a nursery.  I have a list of names that I just love. Right now, though, none of my fantasy scenarios touch on the sleep-deprived reality of motherhood.  And none of them involve emotional connections and love.

This is a reason why I am probably not going to have another child.

I freely admit that before the birth of Lucy, I, too, was guilty of asking others’ what their reproductive intentions are.  It’s been a learning experience, and I’ve made my share of mistakes.  I have amazing friends who have helped me learn these lessons.  It is so difficult to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, but we need to remember that every woman is different, and vastly different circumstances may govern her life.  For instance:

  • A woman may not want to have any children. We should admire her decision to not have children when she knows she doesn’t want to.  Every child deserves to be wanted.
  • A woman may want to have many children but is not able to. We should never assume that because someone is without children it means they don’t want them.  Not all women are able to bear children.  Some women are only able to have children through expensive and invasive medical intervention.
  • A woman may have lost a child. She is still a mother.  Commenting on the childless state of a woman, especially without knowing the circumstances of her childlessness, can be emotionally traumatic.
  • A woman may have adopted children. Her reasons for adopting are likely very personal.  Yes, of course she loves them as much as she would love biological children.  Genetics and love are two completely unrelated things.

I truly believe I will never love anyone as much as I love my little girl.  I might wake up one day, feel differently, and begin Operation Baby, Part Two.  And if I do, that’s great!  But until that time, please understand that this little girl fills my heart to its absolute brim.

She is enough. She will always be enough.

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Photo by Photo Impressions by Randi, http://www.photoimpressionsbyrandi.com/

 

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Caroline is an Arizona native who moved to Iowa in 2007 ‘for love.’ She and her husband live in Coralville with their 8-year-old daughter. Caroline works full-time at the University of Iowa and recently earned her MA in Higher Education Administration. Caroline is a self-taught sewer, fabric hoarder, Starbucks lover, wannabe graphic designer, and avid reader. Her greatest aspirations are to raise a kind, strong, and fearless girl and have a clean house.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you! As someone who always wanted more children but was not able to, i appreciated your reminder to not make assumptions about those of us with “just one”…
    PS Lucy would fill my heart too–she’s a doll!

  2. I think you’re in my head! I have an almost three year old and he absolutely stole my heart. I get the questions about another child ALL THE TIME! Why can’t one be enough?!? Who decides what’s fair?!? It’s such a personal decision and I, like you, wish people would respect that. Time is of the essence and I dedicate any and all of my free time to my handsome little boy. I am also in a masters program, so I get how hard it is to balance life! Good for you for sticking to your guns!

  3. This is exactly how I and my husband feel!! One beautiful 3 year old daughter is enough for us. Why bring to the world a child that you do not really desire just to fullfill others desires??

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