Why I Do Not Want a Second Child
When asked five years ago to create a vision for the future, it included several children, meaning I had an actual desire to have a second baby. But, at the time, I didn't know what that truly meant for myself and future expanding family.
Alas, things change, and the experience of being a parent was the only way of me knowing that doing it once is good enough. Getting peed and pooped on was only cute maybe once — twice if my child did it to someone other than me, yet it was always me. Not to mention the four-hour newborn photoshoot because my son would not stop crying and kept peeing on the set as if he were protesting the whole ordeal. Next was the stage of placing any and everything in his mouth while I attempted to unsqueeze his super-tight lockjaw to dig whatever out while simultaneously getting bit by hard gums.
Yikes! At this point, I truly have nothing to prove to anyone, so here are a few more reasons why having a second child is no longer for me.
I’m No Longer Naive
The naïveté of always verbalizing, in my adolescence, that I would have more than one child rivaled with my real experiences as a first-time mother. Three, was my magic number, and as a middle child with older and younger siblings, I believed that children needed to have other siblings around.
My parents both have multiple siblings, as well as their parents, so I thought it made sense to continue the trend.
I’m a Travel Mom
I have since retracted that notion. Firstly, we have a traveling family and live in a different country, almost every year. This was something I negated to have represented on my vision board. My husband’s job grants us the privilege of moving about, but the stressors of having to do that with one child has been enough to make me reconsider my lunch-table conversed, fantasy family.
Also, I never really took into account that sometimes — actually a lot of times — I’d have to travel with just my son and me. We are not monetarily wealthy, so as a result we must travel on a budget, which can require multiple stops, longer layovers and uncomfortable accommodations. My son has traveled since he was 7 weeks old, and having just turned 2 years old, the price of his international flights will increase substantially from only 10 percent of an adult ticket due to being required to have his own seat.
I’m Not a Gambler...
...but I have been lucky. My son has had amazing sleep patterns, so that I’ve never had to stay awake throughout the entire night. He has never caused me any extreme form of stress or anxiety during flights, in the airports or in the midst of our travels. Furthermore, he has such a great spirit, even if it’s extremely early or late, hot or cold, and has always been a light in some of the most tumultuous scenarios. But all of this is another reason I am bowing out of the race of second-time mommy.
I’m not a betting woman, and the most rational part of my brain tells me you don’t get that lucky a second time around. I’ve seen some horrible interactions between traveling children and their parents or innocent patrons, and it’s quite frightening. I’ve witnessed children that cry hysterically during a flight or kick people’s seats. I’ve also observed parents running after their kids in the airport or making every attempt to keep them occupied and quiet with no luck. I feel that if I roll that dice, Lady Luck would feel a lot more like a destined doom. I’d rather walk away with my winnings and solely invest that time and energy into my son, alone.
Not Every Pregnancy Is the Same
Yes, people have often given me the age-old speech about my son having a “playmate.” But they always gloss over the portion of the logic that is pregnancy. In this process with my son, I ended up with a viral infection that put me in the emergency room and inhaling through a breathing machine. I don’t miss the dehydrated headaches, nor the random cavities.
I would also like to pass on the nausea that leaves you feeling like you have to vomit but NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. Furthermore, there’s no standard that one pregnancy will be like the next. I had a fairly easier pregnancy once my second trimester came around, but who wants to wait that long? Not me!
Labor Is Not Fun
Yes, I had a beautiful home birth that was almost exactly what I imagined. The reality though, is that labor and contractions are not a walk in the park. After having a 22-hour labor with my son, I would like to pass on going through that again.
I’ve heard some women say they didn’t remember theirs or merely parts, but I do. Every jolt of pain. Every moment of wanting to choke my husband. I remember it all. Therefore, I’m gladly throwing up my flag and stopping that race before anyone gets hurt!
Postpartum Hit Me Hard
The beauty of having children is self-explanatory. It is a process that I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to go through. Unfortunately, with the birth of my son, came the dreaded postpartum blues. I didn’t have it as bad as some mothers and was still able to hold my son and feed him, but I felt inadequate.
I began to feel that my son got the bad pick of the mom draw. I couldn’t even conjure up where those feelings came from, but for almost 1.5 years, I could not shake them. It was such a very depressing time because no matter how bad I wanted to be OK, there was nothing that helped. I would rather not put myself through feeling like that ever again.
I Don’t Have a Lifetime Supply of Breastfeeding Patience
Another thing that I have to consider is the amount of time it takes for a newborn to reach toddler stage in which they can walk and play and do just about anything.
I have breastfed my son for nearly two years, and I want my body back. I’m still impartial to my husband even thinking about touching my breasts. I truly believe in breastfeeding as a personal bond for myself and my child, but I know that, by having another, I would run myself into the ground as a result of my body constantly being on-call. Therefore, I’m ending my contract as the milk factory and would rather not place the burden on myself to have to reopen because of new clientele.
I Want My Son to Have Whatever He Wants
As a person that grew up with many siblings, I was often told “no,” as a result of someone else having a need or want. I began working before I was legally “allowed” to have a work permit simply because I was tired of having to always hear that word. I got a job at 15 working at a snow cone stand in the neighborhood mall, which was awesome because I was paid under the table in cash.
I completely understand the difference between overly granting a child things they just don’t need; however, I did not become a parent to constantly tell my son “no.” I became a parent because I wanted to be a mother, have a child, and grant that child opportunities and a lifestyle I hadn’t been accustomed. The more children I have, the less that can be spread around, and that includes attention and time.
Childcare Costs a Lot
It’s hard enough living in a foreign country, but as an at-home working mom, I am the sole caregiver to my son. It’s difficult enough trying to get work done and making sure he’s entertained throughout the day, washed, fed, changed and given a nap so that I’m not driven crazy while my husband is at work.
I have often thought that, if another child were in the picture, I’d have to hire a nanny or find some sort of nursery to take my son to in order to have some semblance of sanity while getting personal work, house work and any other work accomplished. But that costs money, and right now, having an only child makes it so that I don't need a sitter.
My Husband Was Raised as an Only Child
I don’t know what it’s like to be raised in a house or play alone all the time. I grew up constantly surrounded by other people to do things with, whether I was forced by my parents or embraced the opportunity as a sibling bonding experience.
However, my husband (although having a half-brother) was raised as an only child. He assured me that having the ability to join activities outside the home where he could interact with other children was more than enough. He also believed that having lifelong friends-turned-family was also great for his upbringing.
Children Are an Investment
I’ve learned the finer points about investing through my husband. He’s all about stocks, mutual funds and other investments that give a return for our future. Similarly, I believe children are more than a valuable investment. But, just as any investment, the more you put in, the more you can get out.
I don’t want to put myself in a position in which I cannot fully give another child all that we have provided our son in his early stages of life. I truly believe that our son’s ability to adapt, converse and interact with the world is due to the constant reinforcements my husband and I place within him. I think the more children come in the picture, the less and less we are able to be as robust and effervescent in the seeds we plant within them.
We Have No Hand-Me-Downs
I think hand-me-downs are essential when growing a family. Firstly, it helps cut costs for bulkier items like a crib or car seat. Secondly, it can alleviate the want to buy everything new. But, we are minimalists due to traveling so much.
From the stroller to clothes and everything in between, we have given every bit of what our son had previously away. With a newborn, we would literally be purchasing everything all over again. In addition, most people are not as giving with a second or third child as they are with your first.
I Want My Husband Back
Having our son was great, but my husband and I only had a year with each other before he arrived. We never got a chance to really dig into just having time with each other. As our son gets older, I would like to have more flexibility to have “us time.”
I don’t think 100 percent of your partnership should be taken up by your children. I don’t want to forget about my spouse and sharing much-needed valuable time with each other. But I fear that we wouldn’t get much of that opportunity having another child in the mix.
I’m Finding Myself Again
Having had my son and battling with postpartum blues, I felt like I lost myself. I think a lot of moms go through a period where they don’t feel like themselves. Well, that was me for over a year.
I want to dress how I used to, go out with friends and enjoy my life outside of being a mom. I believe it’s perfectly healthy for mothers to have lives and interests outside of their children because being a mother is stressful. When I feel my best, I believe it trickles down to my son as well.
Ultimately, it was the actual experience of being a mother that made me realize there’s no need to do it multiple times because I will always be a parent — even if just once. I strongly believe that the best thing we can do for our children is examine the full scope of how we are able to parent, and I’d prefer not to disrupt the bit of sanity I’ve gathered and sustained at this juncture of the first-time mom journey.