Deciding to have only one child was not an easy choice for my husband and me. We weighed the pros and cons, considered our careers and work demands, examined our finances, mapped out future plans, took our ages into account, set goals for ourselves and our daughter and thought long and hard about the options before us. Really, we did.
Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that we could have one child and give her everything, make sure she has wonderful opportunities, take her on memorable trips and offer her advantages in life, or we could have a few children and just provide the basics — food, shelter, clothing, health care and a public-school education. The children would not be able to attend private school; they would need to pay for their own college educations; they wouldn’t get cars for their 16th birthdays; vacations would be far and few between; and my husband and I would have to make some pretty serious sacrifices ourselves.
Now, let me stress that there is nothing wrong with either of those options. It’s entirely a personal choice — one that all parents have to make based on their own preferences, circumstances and beliefs. I, for one, admire and appreciate families of all sizes, economic backgrounds and walks of life. I understand how tough it is to raise little ones no matter what kind of situation we’re dealing with — small families, big families, financially strapped families, rich families, strict families, blended families, traditional families, rural families or urban families. Even with unlimited resources at your fingertips, bringing up any number of kids in this world isn’t easy.
That’s why moms and dads have to pick the route that works best for them and remain confident in their decisions. For us, that means one child. And I resent it when people — especially perfect strangers — insinuate I’m making a mistake. I’ve been told our choice is selfish. I’ve been told our daughter later will resent having no siblings. I’ve been told I’ll eventually regret not having another baby. You name it, I’ve heard it.
Here’s the thing — my husband and I did not come to this conclusion easily. We agonized over it. A lot of time, thought and consideration went into our decision. Admittedly, every once in a blue moon, I do second-guess it, but just for the tiniest fraction of a second. And then I come to my senses. I certainly don’t need anyone else to make me feel guilty or question my own logic.
A couple weeks ago, my daughter and I were shopping on a Sunday afternoon. A friendly older lady smiled, waved at Reese and told her she was adorable. She asked about Reese’s age. I said she’ll be 2 this month.
“Oh my!” the lady said. “It’s time for another one!”
I considered launching into the diatribe that has more or less become a memorized script for me at this point. I considered coldly informing her that I have no interest in being perpetually pregnant. I even considered agreeing with her.
Instead, I merely nodded and said, “Maybe,” before heading on down the aisle.
Explaining my position to a total stranger likely would’ve been overkill, and it would’ve taken way too long. Besides, I don’t expect everyone out there to understand my decision. I just ask that they accept and respect it.