Am I a Selfish Mother If I Choose Not To Have a Second Child?

It’s impossible not to have regrets in parenting. I regret not taking away my son’s pacifier when he was much younger. (Now he’s two and loves his binky more than anything — possibly even me — on the planet.)  I regret the hours spent worrying that my son wasn’t walking, or talking, or crawling. I even regret my choice of car seat (the straps always tangle.).

Those are all little regrets. Tiny blips in the blur of everyday parenting. They don’t overwhelm me or cause me to stop in my tracks on a particular day when I think about them.

But the decision to have another child, to provide my son with a sibling, feels impossibly huge to me.  I don’t want to have huge regrets about this one.

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I do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to figuring out how big your family should be.  I also know that the long-held cultural stereotypes about only children — as lonely, selfish, and neurotic – are not true.  I don’t think that my son will be lonely or weird or an outcast if he’s an only child.  The deciding factor in whether he’s a productive and happy member of society, able to form meaningful connections and realize his dreams, will not be the presence — or absence — of siblings. As a teacher, I got to know (and adore) lots of delightful, smart, and well-adjusted kids who were only children.

After two years of sleepless nights, colic, and the chaos of infancy and early toddlerhood, I am starting to feel like myself again.  A new “mother self,” but still myself.  As an introvert, I finally get the time and space that I need to carve out professional and personal pursuits.  I love seeing my son turn into a little person and spending my days with him.  I don’t feel like our family is incomplete without more children.  I feel whole and satisfied with one child and don’t really want more, at least not at this time.  But I’ll be 39 this summer and my time for having a decision to make at all may slip away.

I also can’t help but feel that I’ve had personal experience that might trump my present gut feeling to stop at one kid.  My dad was 53 when he passed away from cancer.  I was turning 30.  My brother, sister, and I all lived in the Northeast, but my parents were in Florida, after two happy years of a sort of early retirement.

When I first learned that my dad was sick, five months before he died, it was my sister who told me.  We cried together on the phone and knew that our world had changed forever.

When I waited a few weeks before going to Florida to finish up the school year when he first got sick, I knew my brother was already there, mowing lawns and sitting with my dad on the porch.

When the doctors told us that there was no time left, all three of us flew back down to Florida, holding a sad and confused vigil for weeks.  And on the afternoon that my dad  died — a day whose sounds, sights and smells (the chocolate chip cookies that were inexplicably baked, the warm Florida October sun on the deck, the kind eyes of the hospice nurse) are seared into my memory, it is the touch of my brother’s hands on my head and shoulders, trying to comfort me as I cried, that I remember most vividly.

When a few days later at my father’s funeral, I simply couldn’t stand up in front of all those people and say anything — there were no words, for me, a writer — I felt at peace because I knew that my brother and sister would say all the words that needed to be said.

When my brother and I flew back up north, returning to our lives, we knew that my little sister had moved into my parents’ house when he got sick and would stay behind with our mother for as many weeks and months that it would take for her to find her way.

In short, I can’t imagine my life — everything that has happened between when my brother was born when I was three until these current years of negotiating early parenthood — without my siblings.

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So, for me, even though I’ve been trained in research methodology for my doctorate and believe in the power of data-driven decision-making, this choice is ultimately one of the heart.  For me, it feels almost as profound as life and death, love and loss.  I’m afraid of regrets, either way.  I feel comforted by the research evidence that only children are just as happy and healthy as anybody else, but it is only part of the story.

I also know that my present feelings as a mom, wife, and individual — my story — are just part of the equation; the life cycle of a family is long, holding many unforeseen challenges and triumphs.  I don’t want to deny my son the chance to experience those heartaches and joys without the company of siblings.

My rational mind can pore over the research, data, facts about kids’ development, and I can listen to other families’ experiences, but none of these facts and figures can make this decision.  My heart is confused and I’m waiting for its answer.

About the writer

Jessica is a freelance writer in Buffalo, NY and a mom to a very active toddler.  She has a doctorate in educational policy/development and blogs about parenting, education, and her favorite books at School of Smock and about female friendship at The HerStories Project. You can also find her on Twitter @SchoolofSmock and Facebook.


Veronica 3 months ago

I’m also up against the same timeline, late 30’s one baby with no interest in another one and a husband who desperately wants a second child. The thing of it is, I have to want this pregnancy. I won’t get pregnant just because that’s what he wants. He says we all have to make compromises in marriage, but this is a big ask. I left my career to take care of our child. Going back to work and having a life outside of child rearing is important to me. He tells me I’m selfish for not supporting his dream, but what about my dreams? I hate that this could potentially tear us apart. It’d be so much easier if I could convince myself to want a second child, but I have trouble lying to myself. Now my husband tells me he’s not sure he wants to do any of this anymore. This tact of a threat of divorce doesn’t help inspire in me the desire to conceive. Am I willing to break up my daughter’s home for my own personal choices – is my husband willing to do the same? These are big sacrifices and it doesn’t seem like there’s an easy or happy solution for anyone involved…. Have a kid you don’t want, lose out on your dream of having a second child, growing up in a broken home/divorce. Well it’s late. My husband was so mad at me, he wouldn’t say I love you back to me, instead I heard that I’m so selfish and he’s so mad at me that he just can’t talk to me – I guess we’ll see what the morning brings…

Oniononion 7 months ago

I’m glad you had a good relationship with your siblings. However, not all people do. I was one – I’m currently seeking therapy because both my brothers were physically and psychologically abusive towards me (and each other). Remember, a new baby is an entirely unknown personality you’re bringing into your house – you might end up with more fighting than bonding.

erika 8 months ago

Jessica, you explained my very dilemma perfectly. Right down to my father’s unexpected passing. At least someone somewhere gets it. Thank you.

Elizabeth 8 months ago

I’m in this position as well, turning 39 soon and trying to decide if I want a second baby. My husband and I are leaning towards having only one, but facing criticism when we verbalize that decision. Most often we are told our daughter will be a brat if she doesn’t have a sibling (but I know bratty children *with* siblings, too), that we will be devastated if she dies and we don’t have a backup child (but I am pretty sure I would be devastated either way), and that when we age and die that burden will rest entirely on her (but I have several siblings, and when our parents died there was so much petty bickering and fighting that I ended up detaching from the drama and going through that time on my own, anyhow). I am not sure where our society came up with this notion of it being “selfish” to have only one children, when instead I am trying to make a financially, emotionally, medically responsible choice for me and my existing daughter, and trying to be ecologically considerate as well.

Jocylene 12 months ago

I searched this topic and found this article because I am feeling the exact same way. I too am a teacher who currently has 3 wonderfully social and brilliant students that are only children. I also lost my mom to cancer at age 30 and got through it with my brother. Everything you have written is exactly what I’m feeling and I feel like I flip flop daily on what I want. I wish the answer would just come to me.

A 25 year old one child! 12 months ago

Dear Madam,
Iam a 25 year old girl!
And I’m in an age that i should be thinking of having a baby myself!
But ….
I think i have to tell you more about how was my life growing up and how its now, and how they were connected, and then i will tell you if i were you, what would i do!
When i was a child i did feel so lonely, and i do feel now different from the ppl around me.
Back then, i used to be over kind and over sensitive about ppl’s emotions and over caring. And i still do. And when i think about it now i think it might be for one of these two reasons: one: it might be bcz i really wanted ppl to be around me. And second: it might be bcz i only recieved huge love n caring from my parents and i thought this is how it goes. And it might be both, i mean i give love n be nice all the time cz this is the onely way that i knew. I mean i never had to share the love of my parents with some else, or never had to share anything with any one else. That led me to never be able to stand out for my rights and being so nice and so caring. Which in ppl’s eye its weekness and being naive!
I think if all the world was a single child that wud b great, but its not! Or i might b different than other singles so them my whole theory is wrong!
The thing is, i do feel differnet, and solitude gave me alot, gave me deepness that no others hv. But it also gave so much from me, like being ubnormal in the society.
U might think im week, or im not aware of the devil in the world. But its not true, i do know everything about me but i just cant react to it but being nice. Which makes me lonlier and makes ppl to take advantage of me more!
Beside in this workd where friendship is alk about benifits, i think i will never hv the connection that silibings do.

What i think now, despite the fact that i cry when i think about motherhood and childhood, i think this world is full of evil, and i would be a criminal adding more ppl to it. If ppl keep taking advantage from ppl who r nice, and ppl keep hurting the nice ppl then i think its really bad world. Despite the fight and hatered around the world. So i think it would be selfish of me to hv a baby, although its a human right.
Therefore i decided to adopt children, this way ill b a mother and i wont be adding more victims, and i would teach my children to love properly.

In your case, if i already have a child of my own( which i probably will :) dont listen to the above) i would diffenetly consider it a crime not to have a second baby, a crime even bigger than adding an other person to this world.
I would wait until my son get emotionally full, like 6yrs or 7. Then i would have a second baby for him.

I would stongly reclmand u to adopt. And he can choose his brother or sister. But plz dont leave him play alone, now if he is under 6 he wont get it but later her will blame u for not getting him a sibling.

Ps. We r all differnt, ur child might be differnt than me, so plz at at of 5 or 6, simpley ask him. And see what he feels and what he want. For me i think it ledt a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

Ps2s i asked many ppl why would they have a baby, and all the answers were selfish like cz they r cute, or not to feel lonely or to have a meaning to our lives. So plz try to make it about them so u can contribute to this world. I also asked pll why wont they adopt, and the answer was also selfish: cz its more expensivecthan having our own, or cz it feels different!

Ur child might be unque and successful and extremely nice and everything. But he will always feel different and lonely’

Or maybe not, maybe ur child experienxe be different than mine.

Ps3: i might be all wrong, so please dont take my experience and my opinion as a rigid true!

There is so much goodness in the world but we are too afraid to show it, and too afraid to trust, thats my opinion about losing love and compasion in this world!
So plz raise childern that can feel more than any other thing

Best of luck with ur decision

Stephanie Langis 12 months ago

Thank you so much for this honest post, you have made me feel less alone as I too struggle to decide whether to have a second child.

Johana 12 months ago

I did however marry young. No kids just one in the oven . I’ve been married 7 years now..and I’m expecting my first baby. You get what you deserve in this life. If you’re an will marry an asshole. If you’re mellow. You’ll marry someone that’s down to earth. We all kinda make our own beds..if you know what I mean. Will I have another baby? I’m not sure. I don’t like being pregnant and to be completely honest i probably wouldn’t have considered having a baby if it wasn’t for my husband who so badly wants to be a father. I’m a teacher as well. So I think, my next kid will be adopted if my husband wants another one. Being pregnant is no joke. And I’m not sure I want to do that again.

Johana 12 months ago

I’m an only child. My mom couldn’t have anymore and my dad didn’t make anymore when they got divorced. I am outgoing, charismatic and very open minded. However I don’t give my parents credit for that. I became that way because I had to survive. My mom had a shitty boyfriend and my dad was in another country. I moved around a lot with my mom and her loser boyfriend cause he couldn’t keep a steady job. I didn’t have anyone to go through that with and yes, it sucked. But my skin is a lot thicker now thanks to their lack of parenting. I survived. I could’ve become a drug addict, a prostitute or a complete drunken-slut. But I didn’t. I had no supervision. I did get myself into some shenanigans but nothing that reflects on my record..I’m squeaky clean. Smoked a little pot to cope with the ignorance that sorrounded me and my friends became my siblings. I don’t think being an only child is a bad thing.. I know of siblings that don’t even talk to each other and of others whom are very close. It depends on the person and their life also depends on how intelligent they are and how street smart they become.

Emma 1 year ago

Hello, it’s so comforting to read all your posts and know that it’s not just me! I have a 2 year old boy who I love more than anyone and we are now a perfect little family of 3. I never imagined how hard these 2 years could be and now that I am getting my career and social life back on track I am really happy. However turning 39 next month is making me feel under pressure for a second. I am completely torn… I want my son to have a sibling and the wonderful relationship I have with mine but I also don’t know if I can do it in terms of energy and also financially things would be tight. Do I stick with no more and give him a more secure life with a less tired Mummy or do we just go for it and be frazzled for the next 3 years?! Good luck everyone xx

starpallas 1 year ago

imagine how lonely it is to be an Only child, do that research please, iv 6 children an could tell u a few stories and reasons why, but believe me the more the merrier all the way around

Steph 1 year ago

I enjoy reading all of these posts, but now I am more confused than ever…. We always wanted another child , but my son will be 6 inapril and I willbe 39.. I’m so afraid of the risks involved and to mess up our happy little family, but I just don’t want him to be alone and would love to have another one, but as someone posted earlier, I don’t know if I just miss him being a baby.. In my heart.. I think I will always regret not having another, but in my head,, speaking financially, where we are finally at professional, and biologically,,, I think we should just move on and not go for another. I wish someone could make the decision for me.. Or show me the future where I know he is ok being an only child.

    Emma 1 year ago

    Aww I feel exactly the same as you.. completely torn…. I can’t see how I’m ever going to make a decision… I had a miscarriage last month and was excited about the prospect of another but also just as much as a decision had been made… now I am back to same quandry. I had put a time limit on it… so we try until a certain date and then I go back on the pill. Take care x

    Johana 12 months ago

    Get a deck of oracle cards

nanaknows 1 year ago

Well, every couple must make that decision on their own. There is nothing selfish about choosing to have only one. My husband and I were not at all sure that we wanted more than one. We enjoyed our first child so much, but infancy is exhausting. We decided to wait and see if he seemed to really want a sibling. Some kids are very happy being the center of attention and don’t seem to be interested in the idea of a sibling. Our child was not one of those kids. He very much desired a sibling and he was willing to share anything he had(even my lap)with any child that came along. We decided another child would be a good idea. It turned out to be a great idea! At the age of four he welcomed his baby sister with open arms. Four years later and they are the best of friends. He loves to cater and she loves to be catered to. He has told me more than once that he is so glad to have her. I was told, before having our second, that it is easier to have two than it is to have one. I have found that to be true. Rather than demanding my attention all the time, they tend to entertain each other. They tell on each other when one is doing something dangerous and they comfort each other when they see that the other needs it. I even hear them giving each other advice. I was afraid that I might not be able to love another child as much as my first but it was a groundless fear. Playing favorites has not been an issue, they are so different and wonderful that I couldn’t possibly love one more than the other. Every situation is different and your feelings matter. Some of the nicest most well adjusted people I have known were from a one child family. Whose to say that if you had another child that they would even be close to each other in later years?

Monyka 1 year ago

I’m in the same boat. I have a gorgeous 10 month old and my husband and I made the decision before his birth he would be our only. My decision is more out of fear though. My first pregnancy ended at 10 weeks, a year later I got pregnant with My son. The pregnancy was hard and we almost lost him. When he was 2 months I got pregnant with an IUD in place and lost the third baby when it was removed. I have two brothers one younger one older and I love them dearly and I don’t want my son to miss anything but we are a close family (husband son and I) and do everything together. I’m stuck wondering if its enough or do we bring in another child? If we decide to how will that go? Will the pregnancy end like the others or will it be healthy? I just don’t know

Emma 2 years ago

I have one girl. I only wanted one. I’m honestly tired of people telling me I’ll change my mind one day. I don’t want more kids and I’m not sorry. She’ll be fine and just like I was fine growing up an only child.

Susan Maccarelli 2 years ago

Gorgeously written! It only reinforces why I am taking your writing class! I think either decision is the right one and I am so happy for you that #2 is on the way!

Lillian Connelly 2 years ago

I am going through this right now. Trying to make a decision. I’m 39. I keep going back and forth…do we have a second or not? It’s a tough spot to be in.

Patrick Carter 2 years ago

I am an only child, as well as an only grandchild on my dads side, and I can honestly tell you I think it has hindered me hugely. I was treated as some sort of mini messiah (from Uncles as well as grandparents), growing up in the country with two working parents, which has left me with so many bad social tendencies and inadjustments. You don’t develop an understanding of how to wait for your turn and contend to be heard in social situations when everyone hangs on to your every word, and I regularly felt incredibly isolated. I used to visit cousins on my mums side and be so envious of their large families, able to argue and fight with each other. While there are obviously benefits – better at being alone, financially better of etc – they are so outweighed by the costs. Having a lifelong companion in the same boat as you or that extra holiday to Kenya is not a difficult choice. 2 years ago

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Codigas 2 years ago

After reading these comments I probably have to think about having another one. I have gone back and forth and I would probably be fine sticking with one, but I do worry that she would be lonely and feel like she missed out on something when she grew up. I am close with my sister and brother and I always pictured my family to be at least 2 kids. My baby is such a great baby too! She wasn’t difficult and was a great sleeper, so what is the problem? I am a CPA and work full time and around 60 -65 hours during tax season. I was able to manage with my daughter since my in laws are amazing and live only about 45 min away and I had an incredible nanny. Even then we barely made it. My husband works insane hours year round and is on call once or twice a week which is hard to plan around. I just want my daughter to get the most time possible with me since I am away too much already. I don’t want to have to split that attention with another one and then they both feel robbed. My daughter is 13 months old so I have some time to think about this, but it has been nice to get my life back a little and finally start to get “out” again doing things. It is a tough decision and everyone feels differently. I get a TON of grief from my family for saying I only want one, but ultimately it is you and your husband’s decision and NO ONE else’s since they are not raising the children, you are. I am just praying that I will follow my heart and hopefully something will work out to give me more time with my children.

Kelly 2 years ago

My son is 3 1/2 and I struggle daily with this. I always THOUGHT I wanted 2 kids. But after having one, I realize that with my husband’s and my personalities that one is just better for us. I enjoyed ALL of it. Being pregnant, the ultrasounds, finding out the sex, painting the nursery, announcing we were pregnant, even the delivery. But I think at the end of the day I want to experience HIM again, not come home with ANOTHER child at the end of the day. I just feel bad because my husband is an only child and my only brother passed away a few years ago and hadn’t had children yet. So my son has NO aunts and uncles and NO cousins. I was an only child for 9 years (my brother was 9 years younger than I) and now I am again. My mom is a young mom so I haven’t felt the “burden” of taking care of her by myself yet but I’m sure that’s coming. I’m 43 so if we want another the time is NOW. But I just don’t think I do. Having another child JUST to give your first child a sibling is NOT a good reason to have another. YOU have to want another kid at the end of the day and I’m just not sure I do. I’m a very one-on-one, focused person. He is my EVERYTHING and frankly, I don’t want HIM to have to share ME. I’m not good at spreading myself too thin. But I must say, I never understood the argument of “well if God forbid something happens to him, at least you’d have another”. WHAT? As if my other kid could fill the whole left from the first one not being here? That’s ridiculous! Only NOW do I understand what that really means. If something were to happen to one, the other one would GIVE ME A REASON TO KEEP GOING. Now THAT I get. My mom lives for me and my son now that my brother is gone. But she is strong and I’m sure would have kept going even if my brother had been her only. I just want this feeling of “undecidedness” and guilt to go away. I’ve made the decision that one is enough for me. Now my heart just needs to get that message.

emma 2 years ago

I stumbled on this post, happy I did. I’m an only child and I feel a huge weight of responsibility for my mom (father passed away long ago). I don’t have siblings to help, to pick up the pieces or for that comfort. My daughter is almost 2 and I love that I sleep more, can take her places and that I feel comfortable (not totally but better) in my role as a mom. I guess the clincher for me is that I would feel incomplete without another child or two in our family. It’s a family decision and no one can say what is right but for me, as I look into the far future, I think more than one looks best for us. This is a hard topic. Lots of emotion with it. You made it safe to discuss. Thanks!

KC 2 years ago

I have a daughter that will be 3 in less than a month and I am at the same cross road. We originally wanted 3 kids but the challenges of each stage are hard to adjust to. My husband no longer wants more but I do. I have 2 older siblings and we are not real close so I just suggest don’t let the gap between ages go to far apart. 6 and 10 year gaps don’t give the kids much time to grow up together because the older ones are off growing into adulthood while the youngest is left back at home alone. So if we don’t have another before my daughter turns 6 then I’m not sure if it we will extend our family. Good luck with your decision.

Maryann 2 years ago

Firstly thank you for writing this confessional and all the comments. I thought my husband and I were the only ones that had these fears and thoughts.
Our little girl is now 1 and the questions have been rolling in asking when we’d have another but whilst I liked being pregnant (besides getting gest diabetes) like so many of you the birth really rocked me to my once found ‘core’.
I didn’t expect the soreness or not being able to laugh without peeing for months after. No one told me how hard breast feeding would be and after three bouts of mastitis I gave up at 5 weeks (best decision ever) but also no one told me how much people would judge and how much it would affect me. It was so difficult.

But now we’re great, we’ve got confidence in what we’re doing.. Our little girl is awesome and we cannot imagine life before but we both cringe at the thought of another.

Above all those other issues is the biggest fear that my amazing wonderful husband and I wouldn’t be able to survive another.
We love each other dearly but we’ve had those moments when our relationship is teetering on being miserable, we’re tired, I’m pissed off I had to get up all night, he’s mad about something but were both too tired to care and that’s the biggest reason why we may not go again.
At the same time we both want our daughter to have a sibling so she has someone to share secrets and play with and I just hope all we need is time… And with time comes the courage to face all those incredibly scary fears again and maybe, just maybe we’ll be awesome from the get go…
Thank you again. Just writing the above and getting this off my chest has made me feel so much happier. Xx

Anonymous 2 years ago

I myself am an introvert also, and I’d rather regret not having a second child than regret having a second child. I honestly see no point in having more than one child, especially in 2014. I mean, gender doesn’t matter to me at all, and most people just seem to view the second child as a “spare tire/playmate” anyway, which I personally think is sickening because at the end of the day you’re not really having another baby… you’re having another future human adult. + It’s important to keep in mind that siblings don’t always get along… I mean, my twin cousins hate each other with a deep, passionate, “grown up” hate. Your experiences with your siblings are your own, and as much as you want to give your child what you had/have, it could backfire on you.

Stacey 2 years ago

I came looking for a post like this because I’m struggling with the same decision. We’ve always said we wanted 2 kids, but right after my daughter was born my husband started having trouble at work, ended up leaving and we were left in a very delicately balanced financial situation. Not poor, but making some serious cutbacks. I still wanted a second baby – I yearned for it, I dreamed about it, I obsessed over it – but we knew it would be irresponsible. Now, 3 years later, we’re content. We’re stable and we’ve got a pretty good system going. I have time to myself. I sleep through the night (most nights). We’re done with diapers! There’s part of me that still wants another baby, but I’m starting to realize that maybe what I really want is to be pregnant – my daughter was 8 weeks early and I’ve always felt a little cheated out of my pregnancy – and maybe I don’t really want another child. I’m only 36, but my husband is 45, so that’s a factor, too. In the end I’m 99% certain our family is complete, and I’m okay with that. I’m actually happy with that. But I may have to accept that 1% of pregnancy nostalgia…

yisel hdez 2 years ago

I’m going the same dilemma, ACTUALLY a little different. I have a 2 and a half baby boy, and altho i love him to dead (he drives me crazy sometimes) I always wan net a big family, but after having my first kid and really learning how hard was it to provide for another human been , i changed my mind. Now that he is almost 3 I’M going trough a a stage that i call BABY CHRUCH !!!!! Wish is the werdest thing ever , I DONT feel really AT ALL ( in any aspect) to have another baby, but at the same time my MIND it driving me crazy with the idea to have a 2nd child. I am an only child, and altho i don’t believe that being an only child its a horrible thing like many people think, I do agree with the fact that being the only child SUCKS!!! even having amazing friends — its never the same. And wrowing up , I always promese my self I will never do that to my kid,… Please can any body HELP ME !!!! I’m really confuse and will like some opinions!!! thank u

LP 2 years ago

What about the mother who does want a sibling for their child but also because they want one for themselves? What about the mother who tried for four straight years, fell pregnant 10 times and had 10 miscarriages and the only reason is the consequence of her choices for starting too late in life, for finding her husband too late. The gift was her only child. The plight is knowing that I won’t be there for her as long as my mom was for me because I had mine 7 years later than my mom did. I suffer with regret and trying to reconcile why? Why? I guess someone has to suffer – I was the one in four ten times! Yet I have never won the lottery. I only win at losing.

sophie 2 years ago

You should definately have a second child. As an only child it is riducoluous the amount of lonliness and feeling as if parents will never listen to you . WIth a seond child you are insuring an easier life when they are 10 to 16 and in their adult years you would hope they hape someone to look back to no matter what.. Eventhough it is hard it is worth it 100 percent

unsure 2 years ago

My only is turning 12 soon. I had her when i was not ready and she was completely unexpected. I was 20 years old and going to college full time and working. I was not living a responsible life, making bad choices for myself, as most college kids do… but soon snapped into gear to give her a better life than what I had. I married her father when she was 8mths and we have stayed together and worked through every obstacle that life could throw at us. Raising her took everything I had. I stayed home with her till she was in school. I happily went back into the business world and have worked my way up the latter in just a few short 5 years. My husband and daughter yearn for a child. I have asked my husband to talk about it with me but he just wants to do it… lol okay so maybe we have some communication problems. He just wants me to be in agreement. I have been against it all this time not wanting to “start over”. I have her halfway raised for goodness sake! all joking aside i have to say for the past year i have had this part of me opening up to having another. I just turned 32 and its like every time i see a little boy my heart yearns. I almost brought myself to talk to my husband about my feeling when i got in the car yesterday…. cranked it… thinking should I mention this?… I looked in the back seat and wondered if there should be a car seat back there. What is this?!? I have been terrified of having another now i feel like my 2nd is just waitng for me to decide all ready. I am very anylitcal and i know its my downfall. I never wanted to have kids because of a hard childhood. But God blessed me with my first and i cant imagine life without her.. is my second child in my future waiting for me? I am just scared… I feel like this article… fearful of regret. my husband is 37, i’m 32 and my daughter is about to turn 12…. my career is taking off but I think I feel a void…. like my future son is waiting but i’m too scared to take the leap.

    unsure 2 years ago

    worked my way up the ladder*

MeganMeag 2 years ago

I could have written this myself (except being an introvert – although maybe, the older I get). You wrote everything I’ve been feeling and believe. Thank you. It helps so much, especially when I look around at all of my friends with 2 or 3 and am asked when (not if) I’m having my next.

stunning seo guys 2 years ago

13moN0 A big thank you for your blog.Thanks Again.

Tracey Harriss 2 years ago

Maria Sh – hear hear. Elisa Brown-Barrile – what a hypocrite! "I don't want to judge you – but you are so short sighted" If that isn't being judgemental then I have had the meaning of the word in my head wrong all my 50 years.

Kay Aitkin 3 years ago

I only have one child. He made it very clear from an early age he did NOT want any brothers or sisters.

Aimée Lafrenière Turner 3 years ago

I agree with you, TaRaysha. I have one, because I know myself, and there would not be "enough of me" to go around if I had two. I often feel maxed out with one. I would not be a very good mother to two. But I think I'm a great mom to one.

Allison Stratton 3 years ago

Wow, I can totally relate to this article !!!! I am having an internal struggle with this at the moment. My son is turning 5 this week and cries and begs me for a sister. I don't really want another child as I struggled so much emotionally when he was a baby. I feel like I only just scraped though post natal depression. I am just enjoying him so much now and want to be able to provide a good life for him. Children are expensive and I could not afford the day care and school fees for two children. I constantly have people tell me I am mean to deny my son a sibling and an judged. On the other hand I want to give my son what he so desperately wants conducive the morbid thought of "what if I lost my son" then I would have no kids. My husband has just turned 40 and I feel like I am running out of time :-( what if I regret not having a second child and I am too old ? What if I do have another and can't cope financially and emotionally ? I am so torn and feel panicky as time runs out :'(

Lindsey Moraco 3 years ago

Vanessa Lockhart Who sends you children then? I hate when people act like God is not the one in control and blesses us with many blessings. That is pretty stupid to me.

Tori 3 years ago

My husband and I have decided that our not yet conceived child will be an only. My husband is an only child and he had several close friends and cousins. I am the youngest of three if that gives you any idea of how important siblings are. I was tormented constantly by my older, bossy, and quite frankly mean sister. My older brother doesn’t really contact us anymore. There are no guarantees in life. ESPECIALLY in families. The dilution of resources cuts out so many opportunities for your child(den) as well.
We are choosing an only based on the skyrocketing costs of raising a child from birth to 18 years. Not to mention college.
You should only have another child if you TRULY want one. Not because you want a “playmate” for your child or because you fear being labeled “selfish”.

Maggie 3 years ago

I had one child. I was totally happy (plus, I’m not good at multi-tasking; I knew my limitations). She had fun playing with friends in the neighborhood. I’m sure if you had two, you would be a good mother to both children. Not all siblings get along, as you know. I guess it’s mostly the parents’ fault. One moralistic friend with two said she felt her child deserved to have a sibling. The kids are totally different from and don’t like each other. I have read that many parents have a favorite child. They can deal with this sensitively or not. The future is unpredictable. You know what is good for you, and that is most likely best for your child.

Elma Sulek 3 years ago

I came from a large family, I'm child number 10 and have two younger siblings. I'm not close with ANY of my siblings. Blood ties mean NOTHING.

Todd Allen 3 years ago

Actually, those who have huge old broods are the selfish ones. We're not suffering from an UNDERpopulation problem, and we can't support an indefinite number.

By all means, please don't do that.

Kerensa ˚͜˚ B 3 years ago

There are PLENTY of people on the planet already. It and I commend your choice. I am a mother of one, and my one is a creative, mega social ray of fabulousness. I could not have wished for more.

TK 3 years ago

I’m somewhere on the fence on this one too. Reading your post and some of the comments here has given me a lot to think about!

Andrew Laderoute 3 years ago

Elisa Brown-Barrile your an idiot …oops I judged you…offended cause someone wants to give all they can to one child instead of having multiple children who they can't support..your brats are the reason we sit at the bar in the resturaunt I bet.

    Crimson Wife 3 years ago

    I’ve seen plenty of brats who are their parents’ “one and done”.

Crimson Wife 3 years ago

I’m sorry about your dad, cancer is such a horrible disease :-(

I personally am a MUCH better mom of 3 than I was mom of a single child. I look back on videos of me with my oldest when she was a baby and absolutely cringe at what a super-neurotic “helicopter” mom I was back then. With 3 kids, I am forced to be more laid-back about stuff because it’s impossible to hyper-analyze every single little detail of parenting like I did when I just had one child.

Anonymous 3 years ago

I am an only child. I can only tell you of my own experience. Now that I am 55 I realize just how alone I am. All I have in this world is my husband and children. No other shoulder to cry on; no one else to share personal victories with. You have to decide what's right for you. I decided to have two children so that at least they would have each other when their parents were gone.

    Angela 3 years ago

    Anonymous. I’m sorry about this. Thank-you for telling the truth and considering the future for your children.

Rocco Sauvage 3 years ago

Vanessa Lockhart good post. I have one kid (adopted) (cant have kids) and I dont want anymore kids. I am still paying off her adoption fees and she is 8 yrs old. Kids are expensive and not everyone wants to spend their money on daycare as adults. My kid daycamp in summer is $600 a month and was $1200 a month as a baby. We are not rich, just middle class…so not everyone can afford a bunch of kids.

Vanessa Lockhart 3 years ago

It really is possible to regret having a child. The first, the fifth, whatever. We don't want to admit that, but it can happen. The child could be the next Bad Seed. You'd regret that fa sho!

Vanessa Lockhart 3 years ago

Elisa Brown-Barrile Not having additional children is not short-sighted in the least. Nor is it selfish in any way. People like you are the problem, not her. You have no right to tell her she's wrong for enjoying her life and her single child. Your picture is next to the word "hypocrite." You say she can't make the choice of what is right for other people, but you just told her she was wrong for not wanting another child. You can't make that choice for her. I say you're short-sighted for not having 10 children and adopting 10 more. Can't you imagine the love you'd have for them? Wouldn't your family of 22 be just as awesome as your family of 5? Huh? Wouldn't it?

She doesn't have to imagine the possible love for another child. She is concentrating on the one she has. You are the know-it-all judgmental person, not her. Believe that.

Vanessa Lockhart 3 years ago

God didn't get you pregnant. I wish people wouldn't say stupid things like that.

Vanessa Lockhart 3 years ago

This is the second article I've read about parenting recently that mentioned having an additional child to provide a sibling for an existing child. Do people really do that? Have a child for that reason instead of because you want the child?

And societal pressures? From who exactly? I can see maybe family/friends asking "don't you want more?" or something, but society in large doesn't care how many children you want. I don't remotely understand how wanting one child, having one child and being done with it possibly makes anyone a bad mother. I don't remotely understand why that thought would cross anyone's mind.

    Angela 3 years ago

    Do you ever leave the house long enough to know what goes on in society? Those of us who have only children get pressure from random idiot strangers almost daily. Society makes it their business to judge us when we have an only child especially when they don’t know our story and some of our stories are really painful. Your ignorant comments are pretty typical of all the crap we have to put up with.

      Crimson Wife 3 years ago

      Women get judged no matter what decision they make about family size. You think you’re judged for having only a single child? Try having 3+, and your first two children being opposite genders so that you don’t have the “excuse” of trying for a boy/girl.

        Angela 3 years ago

        I’m not sure what that comment was except maybe you have been judged for having TOO many kids? I have seen that happen. Large families have been some of the closest I have ever known. No one should be judged for that and I think it is ridiculous and it happens all the time. However, so many only children, mine included are very lonely. I would gladly take the judgement if I could have a lot of children. We don’t have an only child by choice and it’s painful for us.

          Crimson Wife 3 years ago

          My point is, no matter how many children a woman has, she is going to face judgment for it. That said, with so many people today choosing to have 0 or 1 kids, I do think moms of 3+ face a greater amount of flack for their choice than moms of only kids.

          Angela 3 years ago

          I guess we are going to have to just disagree. I know it really hurts our daughter when she doesn’t have a sibling to turn to when people start in on us as an entire family about why she doesn’t have a brother or a sister. Try to imagine people yammering on and on about how wonderful it is and how great their children’s lives were growing up together. They get very specific. What the hell are my husband and I supposed to say? Mommy had 4 miscarriages and the last time Mommy had to carry a dead baby in her tummy until the doctor could schedule a D&C? She’s only 8! I’m not sure why I’m trying to reason with you because I’m beginning to get the feeling you didn’t even read my post when I was sympathetic with your plight. Typical.

Carla Peele 3 years ago

Honey, you don't have children because "you think you should". You have kids because you really, really WANT them. Like your body aches to have more. Otherwise, it's not fair to the child. So, no, you're NOT selfish. Having more when you don't really want to? THAT is selfish.

Anonymous 3 years ago

The funny thing is, my first was brilliant (still is) and I thought the same – didn't want one. Then birth control failed me AGAIN even though I used the pill and spermicide – and I had the funniest, quirkiest most loveable little boy…. and then a third, who was my best buddy and most understanding child. Oddly enough, I didn't have a favorite even though I thought my first was perfect.


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