One of the most important conversations my husband and I ever had before we committed to a long-term relationship and marriage was about children. I was in the area of not having any to having maybe one. My husband was in the area of one or two would be nice, but his relationship with me was more important and he would have been okay not having any children should that be the path we chose.
Three years after marriage, I was finally ready to have a child and so was he. Unlike others who got pregnant on the first or second try, after six months of zero success, I spoke to my doctor who mentioned that my irregular periods could be an issue back when I had my annual exam and told me to contact her if we had no luck after six months. She referred me to an OBGYN and it was then I was diagnosed with PCOS. As much as the diagnosis was upsetting, it explained many of the issues I have had since puberty: irregular and painful periods, hair in places that women normally do not have hair, hard to lose weight, etc. (Learn more about PCOS in my previous post.)
However, in spite of all that, after nine months of trying, I was finally pregnant without medical intervention. Now I had a pretty easy pregnancy, I only threw up once, my nausea was gone after a couple of weeks, and the only major issues I had were feet swelling and gaining more weight than I would have liked. Even the birth was not very traumatic, my labor was only six hours and the baby was out in three pushes, I did have a second-degree tear, but pain meds and ice packs were all I needed postpartum. (Read the full birth story in this post.)
Then we entered the newborn phase, and things went downhill. I could not produce enough milk to breastfeed. I hardly remember the first three months of my daughter's life and it was also the period I took the least amount of photos, probably due to my fatigue and anxious state. By the time our daughter turned one, I was sure I was done, but it was not until she was three and I had a pregnancy scare that I realized how much I truly did not want another baby (Luckily, my period was just extra late).
Our daughter is now four and my husband and I discussed that if by four we still were not feeling like having a second, we would be done as we did not want a huge age gap either. We are one and done by choice and here are five reasons why:
I had a younger sister growing up and we were not best friends. We actually pretty much stopped talking to each other around the third grade. This may be due to us being polar opposites. She was bubbly and outgoing, into sports and designer brands. I was quiet, introverted, and was more into music. It may also be due to how our parents raised us. We were pitted against each other a lot: "Why can't you be more like your sister?" or "You're oldest, you should know better." Being the oldest and being blamed for most fights, made me really resent my younger sister.
My sister was also on the swim team, which meant I was forced to tag along to most of her swim meets, losing my weekends. I never understand why one parent couldn't just stay home so I could do what I wanted to do. I remember once I had the opportunity to participate in a basketball free-throw contest, but it fell on the same weekend as my sister's swim meet. I didn't even bother to tell my parents because, at that point, I already believed they would choose her event over mine.
As a result, I did not like my sister for the majority of my childhood. It was not until I went to college that our relationship finally began to improve. We still are not best friends, but we talk every now and then and the resentment I had growing up is long gone.
Having this kind of experience with a sibling heavily influenced my decision to have only one child. I do not want my child to have to feel she has to compete for my attention and I don't want the burden of having to pick one event over another. Plus I do not want my child to have the burden of being the oldest, as I did not enjoy it. Besides, my child already complains about the dogs looking at her or being in her space, so in a way, the animals are her siblings.
There is also the issue of favoritism among siblings. Growing up, it was obvious in my family, that I was the "good child." I knew many families that had "golden children" too. Parents think they love all their children equally, but it just is not so and it's obvious to those watching. My child, on the other hand, is my favorite and I can say that confidently because she is my only child.
I previously mentioned I had an easy birth, but that does not mean it was not painful! I had an unmedicated birth, which was the original plan. I was so naive. I thought it can't be that bad as our bodies are designed to do this. I was so wrong. I caved and did ask for an epidural, but being Christmas Eve, there was low staff, and by the time they were ready, I was ready to push, so of course, at that point, I said no.
I will say this for those afraid of tearing, you will not feel it. Pushing the baby out was the biggest relief! My midwife stopped me because she knew I was going to tear, but I wanted that baby out because I knew the pain would end. Two more pushes and ten minutes later, the baby was born. I did still end up with a second-degree tear, but once the baby was out, all the pain was gone.
People kept saying: "Oh you won't remember" or "You'll forget," but four years later and I have not forgotten. That was the most painful thing I have ever experience and will not be putting my body through that hell again.
Our child is now four and we are just starting to finally get some of our lives back. She goes to bed by 8 PM and after that my husband and I will spend some time together or we will take that time to do some of our hobbies or self-care. She is also more self-sufficient and independent during the day that I can also get some chores and work done without constantly watching her, so our house has become less of a disaster zone.
We know that if we had a baby now, we would lose the free time we just started to get back and neither of us wants to do that as we know it would affect our mental health. We have lives outside our child and we don't want to lose that.
Having an only child means, for us, that we will have more money. Kids are expensive and costs start adding up when they are ready for school and having interests in hobbies or sports. We enrolled our daughter into a Chinese immersion preschool, something that we may not have been able to do had we had more children because it's a private school.
Having only one child will also make traveling more of an option and less expensive than it would be if we had more children. One of my dreams is to travel the world and I just don't see that happening if we had more than one kid due to cost.
After sharing five reasons that influence our decision to be one and done, I wanted to let others know that you don't need a reason! Having one child is a personal decision that only you get to decide. No one else gets or has the right to make that choice for you.