Confessions Of A One-And-Done Mom.

One-and-done mom. Mom and Dad holding daughter on a dock, looking away from camera at the lake.

Why I’m choosing to have only one child.

If you had told me three years ago that I would have only one child, I wouldn’t have believed you. I always thought I’d have two children, maybe three. I grew up with a brother and never considered what life would’ve been like not having a sibling. But soon after Mia was born, that all changed.

mom and dad with newborn baby - one-and-done

The first year was hard. Much harder than I’d anticipated it would be. From reflux to the point of a bottle aversion, to dealing with a highly sensitive temperament, and the never-ending sleepless nights, the thought of having another baby slipped further and further from my mind. And as months passed, I made a profound realization – I didn’t want to have another baby.

But with that profound realization came mom-guilt. Intrusive thoughts of my daughter never waking up on Christmas morning and excitedly running into her sibling’s room. Her not having anyone to cover for her when she gets into trouble. No one to collude with to try and get my husband and I to buy her that toy or let her stay out past curfew.

siblings in front of christmas tree in the 90's

My brother and me – Christmas 1993

I often wondered, am I being selfish? Is it cruel to not want to give my daughter a sibling? Someone who would be a live-in playmate and a best friend for life. Because you miss out on that one-of-a-kind relationship if you don’t have a sibling… right?

Or so I thought.

The decision to be one-and-done wasn’t taken lightly, and I spent the majority of Mia’s first year of life weighing the pros and cons of not having another baby. It took time for me to set aside my own preconceived beliefs and shake the feeling that wanting only one child was wrong. But now that my daughter is 3, I can say with certainty that she won’t have a sibling.

And here are the seven, unfiltered reasons why.

Trigger warning: the following content contains mildly graphic descriptions of labor and recovery.

1. I don’t want to be pregnant again.

The doctor referred to my pregnancy as uncomplicated. I passed the glucose tolerance test. Never dealt with high blood pressure. The dopplers/ultrasounds were normal. And my weight gain stayed within the healthy parameters given to me. Still, I don’t want to do it again.

maternity photo - one-and-done

You could never tell from the picture, but I didn’t like being pregnant. It was uncomfortable. I had reflux, worsening chronic eczema, persistent rib and upper back pain, and annoying insomnia (which little did I know at the time was just the beginning of my sleepless nights).

Would solely not wanting to be pregnant again have stopped me from having another child? Probably not, but it is a contributor to my final decision.

2. I don’t want to go through labor again.

As much as I mentally blocked out my labor experience, I’d rather not go through it again, either. The birth plan I printed (and considered laminating before bringing to the hospital), was rendered useless almost immediately as I did the opposite of what I’d written and requested an epidural upon arrival.

The next few hours passed quickly, and when the nurse told me I was 10cm dilated, I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m almost done.” But nothing could’ve prepared me for how difficult pushing was going to be.

3.5 hours of pushing went by and my body was spent. When I asked the doctor how much longer she thought it would take, she told me I still had about an hour of pushing left. And so, I once again derailed from my own birth plan by requesting the dreaded vacuum.

3. Recovery was brutal.

I don’t know how many stitches it took to close the second degree tear I sustained, but I remember continuing to have intense pain even at the postpartum appointment 8 weeks later. Varying severities of pain lingered for months after.

4. The first two years were extremely difficult.

During the first year, we went through more types of formula than I can recall, none of which ever seemed to help Mia’s reflux. She ended up developing a bottle aversion and would only eat while asleep. Mia was colicky, temperamental, and I lived in fear of following her sleep schedule or suffering the consequences of her being overtired.

I was not a laid-back mom (I’m still not), and she was not a laid-back baby. I didn’t understand how other babies would just “fall asleep”. Mia needed a dark room (specifically her room), her sound machine, and to be rocked back and forth in the glider (by me or Jordan, on occasion my mom did have success).

Once I accepted the fact that Mia wouldn’t fall asleep without being held, she strictly contact-napped until she was 20 months old. Transferring her to any kind of bed during naptime without her waking up was impossible.

On top of mentally draining naps and not sleeping through the night until she was 22 months old, she had EXTREME stranger danger that made it difficult to take her anywhere.

I remember walking into Thanksgiving when Mia was 1.5 and having to leave shortly after because she wouldn’t stop crying. Once she calmed down, we drove back and ate dinner separately from the rest of the family so she wouldn’t get upset again.

thanksgiving - one-and-done

The one photo we got that Thanksgiving.

She’s mostly outgrown the life-constraining stranger danger, but I’m exhausted just reminiscing about it all.

5. Finances.

I want our money to go towards our family of three. A house that fits the three of us. Vacations and recreational activities for the three of us. I don’t want all the added expenses that come with having a second child.

6. I don’t want to split my time between Mia and another baby.

THIS is a big one, and pretty self-explanatory.

Now that Mia is older, she wants to explore and visit new places constantly. I want to be present (mentally and physically) for all of it, and I want to give her every experience possible without being tied down to another baby.

I want HER to call the shots, I want to follow HER lead, and I don’t want to have to divide my attention between her and a sibling.

peppa pig - mom and toddler - one-and-done

Being Mom to only Mia is what allows me to be the best mom that I can be.

7. I want more time for myself.

This is a selfish one, and it’s something I think all moms struggle with whether they have one child or five – Wanting more of that highly coveted, elusive thing we never seem to get enough of – ME time.

Time to be something other than Mom. More time for date nights and outings with my husband and friends. Ample time moving forward where a baby or toddler isn’t clinging to me like a barnacle.

I want time to navigate what comes next for me when being a stay-at-home-mom during the younger years concludes.

I know moms with multiple children CAN juggle it all and do so every day. But the keyword here is WANT. I don’t want to juggle being a mother, wife, and having a career – all while raising more than one child.

What solidified the decision to be one-and-done.

In addition to these seven reasons, there’s still one specific moment that really solidified being one-and-done for me, and that was when I found out two very close family members had also chosen to have only one child. Hearing their decision was like a weight lifted off my chest and made it feel okay and perfectly normal to not want another baby.

I know this family will be around for all life’s milestones and will be our forever vacation buddies. When our families are together, I know our kids will collude to try and get us to do whatever they want, and I’m sure they’ll cover for each other just as easily as they get into trouble. Their son will grow up alongside Mia and give her a semblance of what it would’ve been like to have a brother.

With this decision to be one-and-done, will Mia have a sibling to excitedly wake on Christmas morning? No. But will she get double the presents? Yes.

She may not have all the same experiences I did while growing up with a brother, but she will have a different set of wonderful experiences that are tailored to her in every way.

Christmas lights - mom and toddler

And the truth about siblings is there’s no guarantee if Mia did have a brother or sister, that person would be her best friend for life. There’s no guarantee what kind of relationship they would end up having. When she’s old enough, she’ll choose for herself the friends who will turn into family.

So there you have it…

I didn’t have complications that resulted in an emergency C-section or me almost dying in labor. No postpartum depression. I don’t have any known fertility or health issues that could prevent me from getting pregnant again. And my age has nothing to do with it.

Yet, these rationales that may seem insignificant to some are vital in my choosing to have only one child. And thankfully, my husband feels the same way.

I know this is the right decision for our family, and Mia will thrive because of it. Just as every parent who chooses to be one-and-done, for whatever reason(s), knows what’s best for their family.

And that is all that matters.

mother and father swinging toddler above the leaves

Thank you so much for reading this incredibly personal post. For relatable, focused content about parenting an only child from someone who has also chosen to be one-and-done, I highly recommend following @oneanddonepareting on Instagram.

If you are a one-and-done parent, what factored into that decision for you? And if you’ve chosen to have more than one child, what are the reasons you hold close to your heart? The beauty of reflecting on these questions is there’s not one right answer. Everyone’s perspective is perfectly unique, as it should be.

Tell me in the comments below!

Featured photo and last photo: Creative by Colleen

Maternity photo and newborn family photo: Abigail Joyce Photography

Hi! I'm Kim.

A Registered Nurse turned stay-at-home mom to one lively little girl. I created this blog to share all things motherhood with an emphasis on the dynamic of parenting a single child. As this blog grows, you’ll find the occasional heart-tugging post but much more regarding fun things to do with a toddler in the Chicagoland area, tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler, my favorite products for babies and toddlers – especially those that I’ve found to be petite friendly. And last but not least, all the best places to grab a delicious margarita during mommy downtime.

More About Me

2 responses to “Confessions Of A One-And-Done Mom.”

  1. I am with you!! I too have only one, and I am also an only child. My girl is 23 now and I don’t regret it. We are super close and I love the tight relationship we have. I am also super close to my parents, which I attribute to being the only one. We have a tiny but mighty family. I commend you for this honest and needed post. It will hopefully take the guilt out of choosing to be a mom to only one.

    1. Oh I love that! I hope that Mia and I always have as tight of a relationship as we have right now. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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