Lesson #14 – We may only have one child (and that’s okay)

13683_10153545599351002_2608422519911536691_nA few years ago, my friend Hannah gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Isla. Hannah had what I can only think to describe as a traumatic birth. To tell you the truth, when she recounted her experiences to me shortly after, I was quite traumatised hearing about them.

Shortly before Miss Isla’s first birthday, I was chatting to Hannah about her life as a mumma. I can’t remember whether I asked when she and Dan would be having another baby or how many they were planning to have. She responded by telling me that they were not having any more children. Isla was going to be an only child.

Yes, I was THAT person. I can report that a wee while after Ollie was born I did get in touch with Hannah and apologise for that conversation. She as always, was gracious and kind in her response. Hannah told me not to worry about it and that there was nothing to forgive.


A couple of weeks ago, I had my own experience with a conversation of this nature. Oliver and I were out grocery shopping and I ran into an old friend, let’s call her Rebecca. We chatted for a few minutes before she asked casually, “So, how long until you have the next one?” I wish that she had been asking about my next jar of Nutella, but alas, not.

10171021_10154032803616002_8273803132961575464_nBeing asked this question, is certainly not a new thing for me. In fact, it’s not even an unreasonable question. In the past, when people have asked me this question, I have responded with a joke. On the odd occasion where I’ve been truthful and said, “I don’t know if we will have another child”. I have usually been met by responses very similar to what I said to Hannah. However, on this occasion the conversation went slightly differently.

I was truthful in my response to Rebecca, and told her that we would likely be having one child. Her response was like mine, but with a little more persistance thrown in. She told me that I COULDN’T just have one? That we NEEDED to have more. Didn’t I think that it was SELFISH to have only one child? Who would Ollie play with? The questions went on and on. I started to answer the questions and then I stopped. I took a deep breath and started to tell her the truth. I told her that I didn’t know if I could have another baby…


Rebecca immediately assumed that we must physically be unable to have another baby. Suddenly it became acceptable to her that Ollie would or may be an only child. That HE would be okay. She went on and on….. and on. She kept trying to assure me that it was okay for us since I couldn’t have another baby. Okay seemed to be the word of the day. I managed to summon up a smile, we exchanged farewell pleasantries and we parted ways.

11716_10153969520338868_4529849834492326417_nThe truth is this, to the best of my knowledge, there is no physical reason that would stop us from having another baby. My ‘issue’ if you will, is mental. I don’t know if I can have another baby because I don’t know that I could cope. There it is.

I know that I could handle another pregnancy. Here’s the parts that I’m unclear about, I don’t know if I could handle the anxiety leading up to birth. I don’t know that I could endure another birth or the first few months of having a new baby. I don’t know if I could cope having two children and a husband that is constantly away for work.

On the question of whether we are being selfish by having only only child, my answer is a resounding NO. To me, it is selfish to have another baby because we feel obligated to do so. How about the concept of having another baby because that baby is wanted?

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Aaron and I have discussed this topic on many occasions. We have also discussed the comments that have been made to us both by a number of people. If we have no other children, Oliver is enough for us. We are grateful every single day that we are his parents and he is our son.

We have by no means made a hard and fast decision to have one child and to never budge from that. That is definitely a conversation that we will revisit in the future as time passes and our lives evolve. We will make a decision that is right for our family. Maybe that decision will be that Ollie will be an only child and maybe it won’t. I’m just grateful that it is up to us to choose to have more children, since I know that not everyone has that option.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda McDonald says:

    I’ve been guilty of the “you can’t have just one child” brigade, but since becoming a mother I’ve changed. There is no such thing as an average family with the mum, dad and 2.4 children. If you will be the best mum ever to Ollie and he is an only child than that’s all that needs be. Don’t feel you have to explain yourself to anyone and if they disagree walk away, you don’t need that negativity

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bec says:

    Hey Carla, as you may or may not remember I’m an only child (also not the Rebecca in your story haha) and I would like to say on be half of most only children out there I had an amazing childhood. Yes I did at some stages I wanted a sibling to play with but I had two parents highly involved in my life and who supported me in what I did and did not wish to do. The only time is ever wished I had a sibling has been watching my friends get married and listening to what their siblings have to say about them, but you know what one day when I get married my close friends, family and parents will be able to recall those stories instead and I will feel just as special as my friends did on their wedding day. My parents choose to only have me and I don’t begrudge them this decision. They did what was best for them and our family and I am completely grateful for the way I grew up, the relationship I have with my parents and the close bonds I have formed with my friends and their families as a result.
    Do not feel guilty, do what is best for your family…Ollie will be happy and grateful no matter what xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A lovely response. As a parent of one child, I’m always interested to hear the views of folk who grew up without siblings. The term ‘only’ does my head in. It seems that they are as diverse a group as any other.

      Ramblesofmummy, our one’s childminder used to torment me with the line that “the cruellest thing to do to a child is not to give them siblings”. I eventually went to another childminder. Life’s too short, and complicated, to exhaust yourself with politely shutting down access to the intimacies of your life and marriage. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosemary says:

    Too funny! I WISH I only wanted one child! It would make it so much easier to just be in your complete family and move on with your lives together, but I just know there’s another for me. I too am nervous about all the fears you present. I think most mothers of a ‘not to plan’ birth or pregnancy or first few months are. Perspective is a wonderful thing 🙂 Nice post! And you go girl! One child is SO much cheaper, I imagine you’d have so much more energy, only one child to take to swimming, music, soccer etc, only 3 lunches and dinners to make, the list goes on. Kids make friends at these events, as well as school, and the neighbours, cousins and so on. Geez, then there’s facebook. Do children still play with their siblings anyway?? OK! I’ll now stop boring your entire reading group!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am the guilty party too, and I think I am guilty of doing it to myself as well. We are after all always our own worst enemies! I have always just assumed I would have more but it does scare me the thought of going through it all again and with a toddler. I admire you so much for making that decision. x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The crazy stork lady says:

    Brave post. Hats off to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. James says:

    One or two is fine and trust me it’s tough having the second one even though you have a better idea of what you’re doing especially when they are 3 years apart although Mia does help a lot with Jacob which is good. I’m an only child as you know and while I wouldn’t have minded a sibling I’m perfectly happy that I got 100% of the attention and hey I turned out OK 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @Lolly_Mommy says:

    Wow, I’m sorry you have to deal with those awkward conversations! And how rude to say it’s selfish to just have one kid! I think it’s very brave and admirable to be honest enough and know yourself and family well enough to know if you should have one child. Families get messy when people have children or more children just because their parents want to be grandparents, you’re “supposed” to have at least 2 kids, etc. You and your husband know what’s best for your family. Ollie will be loved and have a fun life whether it’s with siblings, parents or lots of friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jill Colley says:

    Always follow your 💓 l have one son & our journey has been wonderful,he has many friends, who are like family,l am an older age group, so l give you my take on it if l may. Single children get to bring their school mates home for dinner & sleep over. It works.You are gorgeous parents,&Ollie is a happy gorgeous Bub, xxx. 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you beautiful Jill for your wise words and perspective. Much love x


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