Some people want and plan to have just one child. Others are physically unable to have a second and make the decision not to adopt another. Other families who had planned to have more decide after having one child that their family feels complete.
I don’t fit into any of those categories. I’d always planned on having two or three kids. Then again, I’d always planned on having a partner to help. While it wasn’t easy to conceive, I was able to use a donor and IVF, and probably would be able to again. Financially, at this point, it wouldn’t be feasible or responsible for me to bring another child into our lives.
So, the fact is, I am probably a “one and done” mom. And while I love my little man more than I ever thought possible, I feel I have more love to share — maybe not right in the middle of his toddler and teething stages, but certainly down the road.
And frankly, that sucks. And it makes me sad.
I thought I’d gotten over the fact I hadn’t met someone to raise a family with well before little man arrived. What I haven’t gotten over is the limitations of being a single mother. Because I didn’t know until I had my son how amazing the experience of being pregnant would be, or what it felt like to fall in love with someone over and over again as they grew and changed almost daily, or how much I wanted to share all the things I love about life with someone else who is still wide-eyed at the world around him, or how cool it would be to see my nephew with his younger sister and cousin and wish my son could have the experience of being a big brother too. In short, I never knew just how much I was meant to be a mom.
Maybe I’m just feeling sad over my inability to afford a second child because my hormones are changing again as I (slowly) begin the weaning process. Or possibly I’m worried about raising an only child because I didn’t know any growing up, don’t know many now, and worry about that being yet another thing that will be different about our family. Or maybe my ovaries are aching because some of my friends and acquaintances, including a few other single mothers, are in the process of trying for more, and I’m a little nostalgic and a little, or a lot, jealous.
I know for sure it’s in part due to the fact that I’ve already begun to realize my little man and I are leaving behind certain stages, and while I love watching him grow and make new leaps, I’m sad to say goodbye to some of those infant things forever.
I know my son still has a lifetime of firsts ahead of him: First sentence. First bike ride. First time on the potty. First day of school. And I know if I had a second child, he or she would also grow through the stages more quickly than I would like, and I’d soon be saying goodbye to babyhood all over again. But I can’t help but think everyone who wants to should get to do this parenting thing at least twice, because maybe the second time I’d be more aware, more in the moment, more appreciative of all the little firsts — and lasts.
My chances of having a second are about the same as winning the lottery because that’s likely what would have to occur. And that does suck, and it does make me sad. But realizing it now while little man is still so small also provides an opportunity, a chance to cherish every amazing moment with my guy, and to comfort myself during those less-than-amazing moments. He may be my “one and done,” so I have no one to hold back for, no one for whom to say, “Next time…”
There is just this time. There is just us. And we will make the most of it.
But I will occasionally still play the Powerball. Just in case.