Growing up solo, I'd always imagined that whenever I became a parent, I’d have more than one child.
It wasn’t because I was particularly the maternal type who dreamed of having a large Walton-sized family. It was simply the chance to offer that idyllic sibling relationship I'd never experienced myself. The benefits of two who could grow up alongside each other, and be each other’s keeper.
Don’t get me wrong, I was never a lonely child — our house always had a warm, lively atmosphere with plenty of family and friends bustling in and out for dinner, impromptu parties, days out, and fun weekend sleepovers.
But whenever I watched my friends and their siblings together as unconditional "besties," I was always aware I was missing out on a special kind of relationship. Yes, they would bicker and compete, but they still had that unspoken connection. I had nobody trustworthy enough to keep all my secrets, and certainly nobody to cover for me during those rebellious, teenage years!
So when hubby and I had our son in 2010, the initial plan was to give him someone to play with shortly after, so that they could grow up close in age and share experiences. But roll on six years later, and that plan hasn’t exactly made it into reality. I kept telling myself "maybe next year," but as the years came and went, I was getting more content with just the three of us, our own "three musketeer" dynamic. For me, three quite literally was the magic number, and suddenly the prospect of an addition to our blissful triangle felt becoming redundant.
Don’t get me wrong. I've cooed and awed at my friend's newborns and have even felt that twinge in my ovaries.
Yet each time I recall the sleepless nights and teary, post-natal episodes, those feelings quickly pass. Truth is, I’ve moved on.
Now that my son’s older and motherhood is less overwhelming, I can easily balance my career around his school schedule. I love the fact that we can travel to different places and that I can dedicate my time to him (and only him). I love my sleep (too much!), and my freedom. For now, I simply love just being Corey’s mom.
While my hubby is always open to another child, he is well aware that the ultimate decision and time will be down to me.
It just seems the only ones who are really bothered by this are family and other people. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard "when are you having the next one?" or "your eggs are drying up," I’d easily be a millionaire. And whenever I don’t share the same enthusiasm, I’ll instantly see that look of disdain and pure judgment on their faces. How dare she be so self-absorbed?
"Selfish" or not, why should I feel pressured or bad about it?
Here are just some of the random things NOT to say to a mother with an only child:
"When is there going to be baby number two?"
I can assure you that when the time of conception is about to take place, you will be the last person on this planet I will inform. Please don’t keep asking unless I can confirm this with a basket-ball-sized tummy and feasting on gherkins and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!
"Your eggs are not as fresh as they once were."
Whatever is happening to my eggs right now is strictly between my gynecologist and me. I don’t need reminding that I’m not as young as I used to be — but that hasn’t stopped countless "geriatric" pregnancies in the past. Many women over 40 are leading healthier, more balanced lifestyles and taking care of themselves. So don’t guilt-trip me about being in my much-later 30s!
"Your child will grow up lonely."
Again, I grew up on my lonesome and wouldn’t exactly consider myself psychologically damaged by the whole thing. My son has cousins, friends, and schoolmates to play with, so technically he is not growing up on his own. Had he been living on a desolate island with a population of around 100 with no Wi-Fi, then yes, your argument would be valid.
"It will never be the ‘right’ time, so what are you waiting for?"
This is a flawed argument. Yes, I get that waiting for the "perfect" time would be non-existent. But let’s be real. Who will be doing 98% of the parenting once the child is born? Me. Who will need to be changing their entire lifestyle and routine? Me. Who will be up all night, breastfeeding and knee-deep in stinky diapers? Me. Who will be polishing off the red wine after putting the kids to bed? Yep, you’ve guessed it. So in other words, only I can judge the time when I will truly be ready mentally and emotionally.
Of course, things do happen unexpectedly, and I will still view it as a blessing — but I just prefer to be in a position to choose when the time is right… for me. Surely, that can’t be so unreasonable?
So before judging me for having one child, these are my reasons why some things should be left unsaid. Having said that, I love babies, I really do…just other peoples' for now!