Having an only child: One and done

only child

Those of you who have been following my blog since it’s start might remember that we had been debating whether having a second child or having an only child would be the right thing for our little family – for us, there are a number of factors at play – my health, finances, childcare, care of those in our extended family and most of all…could we really go after that never ending intensity from birth until this moment all over again?

As part of my journey to work this out in my own head, and have some sort of answer to those who seem to be endlessly querying about a number two…I speak to five bloggers:  Aby from You Baby Me Mummy, Simon from Man Vs Pink Tattooed Mummy, Jess from Baba A Fi and Paula from Punky Moms about why they have decided to have only one child.

Why have you decided to only have one child?

“We tried for a long time to become pregnant and I had quite a hard pregnancy, ending with me being on crutches.  After my daughter was born I was diagnosed with PND, an illness which is still present in my life today. We have decided to no have anymore children, mainly because we are not sure how my body would cope with pregnancy again.  We are blessed, why rock the boat”. Aby, You Baby Me Mummy 

“For me, it’s because I really like the dynamic of our family with one child. I cannot imagine loving another child as much as I do my daughter.” – Simon, Man Vs Pink 

“The reasons are many! I didn’t have our daughter until I was already 34 so I was almost ‘an older mum’ by NHS standards back then. My husband is 20 years older than me so between us we felt a tad mature for a large brood (and the sleeplessness and associated stress!) and then when our daughter was 2 I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a hereditary neurological problem. That was sort of the clincher for us I think. We don’t know if DD has it but there is a 50% chance of passing it on. So we stopped. Luckily for us our daughter is also the most perfect daughter anyone could want (I may be biased).” – Tattooed Mummy 

“We’ve made the decision to stay with one child principally because Marianna’s birth was so traumatic. I had a horrible pregnancy, in terms of sickness, aches, illness, etc, then Marianna arrived by a full crash section and spent weeks on NICU. I just don’t think I could go through all the worry and stress, even with the closer monitoring I’d get as an ‘at risk’ pregnancy, and OH is really keen to stick at one.” – Jess, Babi A Fi 

“There are so many factors why my husband and I have chosen to be part of the one and done club. Financial reasons aside, we love the idea of being able to focus on one. We can’t stand the bickering between siblings and in all honesty we don’t think we have the patience for it. My son has cousins nearby and I make sure that he gets time to socialize with other kids. I know for myself as an only child, I felt as though it allowed me to have closer relationships with friends as well as my own cousins. My parents always made sure that I had friends over or that I went to sleepovers whenever possible. I always sat at the grown up table when out and so my maturity level and conversational skills were improved at a young age.”  Paula, Punky Moms

only child

How does this differ to what you had originally expected in your vision for your family?

“Very different. I imagined 2 or 3 (I’m one of 3). Even after daughter was born, this was my thinking, but the timing needed be right. But when I really started to ponder life with another child, I kind of thought ‘Nope. I’m happy with things like this.”- Simon, Man Vs Pink 

“When I was 16 I wanted a huge family, I saw myself married young to a farmer and living life barefoot and pregnant, collecting eggs and hand rearing lambs…maybe in another trouser leg of time that’s what I’m doing! My husband never wanted any children at all (he is an only child, I am one of two). DD was his compromise as he could see that having a puppy was not going to be enough for me.” – Tattooed Mummy

“I never intended to have just one child. I think everyone imagines two! possibly 2.4.. I always assumed that we would have two children with a couple of years in between. I’d always envisaged myself with three children. I’m not really sure why, there were only two of us growing up (my younger brother and I) but it always seemed like the perfect number! Everyone tells us we will change our minds when Marianna is older as she will be lonely, which is how my brother came into being, but I do think there are advantages to stopping at one – financial, quality time with us, etc. I think so long as you get out and about there’s no reason why an only child should be a lonely child. Talking to friends about it, I think it only really becomes an issue as an adult; the full responsibility of caring for elderly parents, etc, will all fall on one person’s shoulders. I do worry about that, even though it’s a long way off in the future!” – Jess, Babi A Fi

“I never myself envisioned a big family. Some people just “know” that they want 3 kids or that the family doesn’t feel complete without at least 5. I have never felt that and I was happy when my husband agreed that he never felt that too.” Paula, Punky Moms

only child

Why do you think there is a rise in only child families?

“I think more and more people are stopping at one for a variety of reasons.  I don’t believe that only children are spoilt or lonely, although I do feel that parents of only children need to be focused on making sure their child mixes with others frequently.” Aby, You Baby Me Mummy

“Could be age? I became a dad at 40, and while that wasn’t a factor for us, many couples might be leaving it late find they can’t conceive again after the first. Most of my friends seem to have at least 2 though.” – Simon, Man Vs Pink 

“Cost and time. I think lots of people want more from their lives and start later, so they have less time to cram in a big family. Of course contraceptive choices now make this easier. People get married later but even when they marry young they like to have careers and/or travel before ‘settling down’ with a family. And cost – not the baby stages, that’s cheap as chips but later, riding lessons, music lessons, trendy clothes, driving lessons, phones, college fees…the list goes on, it’s nice to be able to afford the best for your child and it’s harder to ensure you can afford all of that for more than one or two children.”- Tattooed Mummy 

only child

What do you feel the pros are of only having one child – and do you feel the notion an only child is lonely child does not hold true?

“I guess you can give all your attention to one child, without having to compromise. I see many parents wracked with guilt that they can’t pay the same attention to a second, etc. child, and deal with the first feeling un-attended. The thing is – this is normal, so for us I try to make sure our daughter ISN’T spoiled or getting her way all the time. That she does learn to play away from us. I try an replicate the sibling experience in that way, so she learns to share and respect others wishes. Lonely? Well, (as mentioned) I play with her, and also encourage friendships with her peers. I hope to do more of this when she’s at school, with more friends coming over after school, sleepovers, etc. I have noticed that she is very into imaginary friends at the moment, which could be a sign of ‘loneliness’ but she uses this way of play to explore relationships in an imaginative way.” Simon, Man Vs Pink 

“As above, I can spoil DD. She can ride, plays two instruments, has a fancy prom dress and we travel to California, do yearly big festivals etc. I couldn’t afford all that with more than one. She does resent it, I know she would have liked a sibling, even now she talks about me adopting a baby! I think she wants a big family, maybe to compensate. But I also don’t think she realises how much less she would have had in the way of our time, experiences, and material goodies!” – Tattooed Mummy 

“To my mind, there are lots of factors behind the growth in one child families. People are having children much later, for one, and then there is the financial side of it. Plus, as it becomes more common, people are happier making that decision without the constant judgement and pressure from others that they should be providing siblings.” – Jess, Babi A Fi

only child

Do you have any regrets or would you have liked things to have been different in another world..?

“No, I’m really happy with it – which really surprises me. I’m really glad that we have only one child. She is amazing and I adore her. Can’t imagine having another.” Simon, Man Vs Pink 

“I think it would be nice to have a bunch of free range kids on a farm, but I don’t regret not doing that. I’m very lucky and Dd really is a super daughter. Fun to be with, clever, pretty (did I mention I may be biased?!) I know that my husband now says if he’d known how much fun children were he would have started earlier! He has been her main carer (I work full time, he’s a SAHD) since i returned to work when she was 1, so he should know!” – Tattooed Mummy

“In another life I would love two children, but I have all I ever wanted and for that I am truly grateful.” Jess, Babi A Fi 

only child

Thanks to all the bloggers above who shared their decisions and thoughts so candidly. Are you thinking about stopping at one, or are you perhaps still deliberating? Please do leave a comment below and  join in the discussion.

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  1. A very interesting read. A load of these reasons can be assigned to ‘stopping’ full stop… After two, or three. Each family is such a unique framework of complex emotions, experiences and makeup, so we should definitely all find what works for us and cherish it. I’m all for enjoying the here and now, and not craving the next thing to make us happy, life has definitely taught me that lesson.
    mummuddlingthrough recently posted…Occupational hazards of raising girlsMy Profile

  2. Thank you for sharing my rambling! It was interesting to read other replies. So many simialr answers and also lots of differences 🙂 It’s almost as it every one is unique 😉

  3. This post makes for an interesting read. It’s great to see the reasons of why people choose the lifestyle they choose. Each family is so unique so individual choices differ. Great post! xx

  4. Great read. I kind of stopped at none. 🙂 I think everyone has their reasons for having or not having children. I’m just glad I had a choice as I also know some people who are not in the position to make a choice at all.

  5. A very interesting read. I think, whatever the reasons for having one, two or six children, as long as they are loved and have opportunities to meet other children, they are pretty robust little things. What is really important to them is the state of mind of the parents … when you are happy, they are happy. And having children is the most amazing (and bloody exhausting) experience ever, however many you parent. #coolmumclub

  6. Such a great post! It seems to be a given that everyone will have a second child or even yearn for a second child so it makes complete sense to some families. It’s crazy that in today’s society, it’s not seen as ‘normal’. #coolmumclub
    Kaye recently posted…Pregnancy #2; 24 week updateMy Profile

  7. Such an interesting read. I think what is great about having a family is that every family is different and unique. As long as the child/children feel loved then that is the important thing! It was great to read everybody’s thoughts about their family. A really thought provoking read #coolmumclub
    Emma recently posted…The Queen and YoungestMy Profile

  8. This was a very interesting read. Everyone is different and every family is unique. I’m one of 4 and always knew I wanted more than one child. I’m pregnant with my second and I am worrying about how I will cope with the demands/costs of 2 children but I’m sure we’ll be fine. Very interesting to read other bloggers reasons for stopping at one xz #coolmumclub
    wendy recently posted…5 early signs you MIGHT be pregnantMy Profile

  9. Such an interesting read with such honesty from those who answered the questions – can I just say I’ve so enjoyed this blog and your one from last week – feel like you’re making me stretch my mummy brain that little more so I thank you for that – good quality reading material! But back to the post – I think sometimes people overthink their situations and perhaps just having one is the most perfect one for them – I have several friends who only have one and they sadly crave more but after spending 5 minutes in my crazy house I think they quickly change their mind. People should enjoy their own moments #coolmumclub
    justsayingmum recently posted…My Kids Are Like Just So Talented!My Profile

  10. Coming at it from someone who always knew I wanted two (and is happy to stop now thank you very much!) this is an interesting read. I think it’s great that families can come in all shapes and sizes – if we all wanted to he same then life would be boring!

    WhingeWhingeWine recently posted…Picture perfect parenthoodMy Profile

  11. Really interesting. Everyone came to the same decision, but for completely different reasons. It’s wonderful we’re all so different. It would be really dull otherwise!

  12. I had my first baby at 16 and was adamant that I didn’t want anymore. 15 years later I changed my mind and had two more. I now have aN 19 year old, a four year old and a two year old and I am definately not having any more. I live babies and am constantly broody but I find pregnancy hard, we aren’t well off financially and my four year old has additional needs and is handful enough for anybody. I’ve always said never say never, but at 35 I’m saying no more ever 😉

    Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) recently posted…Super Stressed Mum Alert!My Profile

  13. That was really interesting. I am always curious to know about the reasons behind people’s decisions over such a big thing as this. I think there are lots of reasons why people stop at one now, whether that was what they always intended or not. I don’t think you can ever really know what you want until you have experienced it for yourself…even then a second, third or fourth child is never an easy or decision that is made lightly #coolmumclub cc
    tammymum recently posted…Pick of the week My Profile

  14. Really enjoyed this post. We have two. But my body didn’t handle the second one very well, so I think we’d be safest to stick as we are (cough: pleasedontlettherebeanyaccidents). I look at my friends that have 1 kid and think how very lucky that one child is to have all that love and attention. It looks so easy in the park, on a plane, in shops etc. But I grew up as a two and my sister is one of best friends. Such a personal decision, but definitely on the rise I agree. Thanks as ever for hosting #coolmumclub
    Helen recently posted…160 minutes of playdate mayhemMy Profile

  15. Oh this was really interesting. I think all families have to find what works best for them. I don’t believe that it’s a given that an only child will be spoilt, people who have lots of siblings can still be spoilt! I come from a big family and so does my partner and we both like the idea of lots of kids. We’ve only got one baby at the moment and definitely want another but I wonder if we will then decide to stop at 2!! #coolmumclub

  16. So interesting to read all these perspectives on this issue. We are debating this at the moment. I had an awful pregnancy, and don’t relish the thought of going through it again, and the financial implications are a serious consideration. I do think one child families will become increasingly common – we’re delaying becoming parents later and later due to financial reasons, it’s only logical that along with that more people are going to have problems conceiving. It’s such a personal decision, but I think everyone comes to the one that is right for them. #coolmumclub
    Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…Things I’ve learned from 6 months of bloggingMy Profile

  17. Great post to hear other people’s stories on why they stopped at one. I’ve also got one, always thought it would be two but hey, life deals us the cards and we make the best hand with what we have! I didn’t have my first until I was 39 and my relationship broke down when my son was only 5 months old. 3 years on and I still haven’t got the inclination to go looking for love….guess that rules out ever having a number 2, ha ha! #coolmumclub

  18. As a person who has 1 and wants 2-3 more, this is a different perspective for me. Everyone and every family is different. My husband and I are younger though so we have plenty of time to change our minds. We both come from larger families so we like having lots of noise and little sleep :p. With the only child thing, I think any child of any sized family can be spoiled. It all just depends upon the parents really. Thanks for the interesting read. #coolmumclub

  19. Interesting, I’ve debated this recently as I now know more friends who have one child than those who have more than twoI definitely think more people are stopping after one and this is probably down to people having children later and most women have to go back to work. It’s a very unique and personal decision and no right or wrong answer. Thanks for sharing. #coolmumclub
    Cheryl recently posted…4 Tricky Questions from A 4 Year OldMy Profile

  20. Interesting & deeply personal. I think a lot if people stop at one now due to having children later in life and a lot of women having to return to work so childcare is a huge and costly prospect. I personally worry about only children more as adults than as children as they may need to care for elderly parents alone. I have witnessed this with work colleagues & know it causes stress & worry. Clearly every family is different & there are no rights or wrongs.
    Emma Jones recently posted…Motherhood is……My Profile

  21. I’m still unsure what I’m going to do. I love my boy so much I can’t actually imagine having another, although I always wanted 2 or 3. I also have a stepson, and we get on really well, so I don’t know if I *do* actually need another one. Great post

    Leila – http://www.swanny.me


  22. Really interesting post! Nice to read so many peoples real, truthful opinions on a fairly sensitive topic. It’s refreshing to see a positive spin on an only child, often when I say we may only have one it’s met with negative comments, these ideas will help me explain our decision in the future, thanks!

  23. A really interesting read. I always thought I wanted a massive family, as I grew up in a big family (I’m one of 6) but since actually having a baby, my views have changed. Whilst I would like to have more children, possibly 2 more, I also feel like if for any reason I couldn’t have any more, I’d be perfectly happy with my one gorgeous little man. My husband on the other hand is still pushing for 6….#coolmumclub
    Something About Baby recently posted…Real Nappy Week: My favourite brandsMy Profile

  24. We only planned to have one child – then twins happened! And I’m so glad because I love having two and feel that they’ll grow up learning to share and therefore not being spoilt. Material possessions aren’t important to us so I don’t really understand that side of it but it’s certainly more expensive to live, the more of you there are!

    When my girls cuddle each other, that’s when I know that having two was a blessing.

  25. The free range kids / farm perfection answers from Tattooed Mummy made me giggle 🙂 A really interesting post and even though I have two children, I can totally understand their decisions!! We took the plunge with a second when my first daughter was 18 months…a few months later and the terrible twos were in full force…so I think if we had left it any later we would have chickened out for a couple more years! #coolmumclub

  26. I have one and am constantly debating in my head whether or not to have another. I always imagined 2 but hubby is happy with one and at 40 I’m finding it very hard work with just one. We’d be lucky to conceive again anyway. And yesterday I held a friends newborn and my 23 month old freaked out, sobbed and sobbed. Maybe none of us really is ready for another child!

  27. Interesting post that really resonates with where we are at the moment. We have on 17 month old and I’m very keen on expanding our brood. My husband, on the other hand (one of 8) is adamant that we already have our ‘first and last’ child and that’s that. I can hear his words in a lot of the posts above…finances, rough pregnancy, tough times post-delivery…I don’t know where our family will ‘finish’ but it’s been useful seeing that it isn’t just us considering these factors.

    Really good idea for a post, particularly the spread of contributors. Thank you!

  28. Love this collaborative post, so many great stories and reasons as to why people have stayed at one. To be honest I think it’s sad sometimes that as families we may have to justify our choices and decisions we make regarding what we do and how many children we have, we should never need to feel compelled to justify our lives. We decided on two and that’s it but the number of people who have asked if we will try again as we have two boys and wouldnt a girl be nice….I love my two boys, I love having boys, why would I try it again just for a girl, cant we just be happy with what we have.
    As long as a child is loved it shouldn’t matter if there is one, four (I’m the eldest of four) or 17 and counting. It’s all about the dynamics, relationship and love between children and parents.

    Brilliant post to have written and great to see so many other bloggers and hear some of their stories x x x

  29. This was so interesting and I completely understand why some would choose, or simply end up with, just one child. I never wanted an only child, in my head I imagined two children and yet when our second child died we were faced with the prospect or raising our son as an only child, and I was devastated. When my marriage ended I accepted that he would definitely be an only child, I still struggled with it. He constantly asked why he did not have any siblings, he mourned for the brother he had lost and we really struggled with it. And then in the space of three years I met my new husband, married and had three children in quick succession and my son became one of four! These days there are times, when with annoying little siblings aged 1, 2 and 3, my 12 year old son longs for the days of being an only child!!! #coolmumclub
    ljdove23 recently posted…A whole lot of nothing.My Profile

  30. I found this really interesting. I have one son at the moment and as a single mum who is over mid-thirties it may well stay that way. I have struggled with this idea though for many reasons so it’s been really lovely to hear these diverse stories and the happiness in them #coolmumclub

  31. Interesting post – we’re at the ‘deciding if we want another stage’. I feel like I do, but I think that’s because I grew up with a sister and can’t imagine being an only child…hubby on the hand thinks he didn’t get on at all with his sister growing up and would’ve preferred to be one on his own!! So we discuss this a lot. I’m not really one for planning so I guess we will see what happens! xx #coolmumclub
    Mum in Brum recently posted…Why does my child reject me?My Profile

  32. Its an interesting discussion. Despite doing the whole pregnancy, birth and up to the present 9 month raising 99% of the time by myself, I would still have another in a heartbeat if I was in the right situation. I am not sure I would do it alone again, but I would love to become a bigger version of our little family. If I don’t, it doesn’t matter because I feel so privileged to be the mummy I was worried I would never get to be!

  33. I was an only child and hated it so when I had my son I knew I wanted another. The 3rd was a surprise. I think to each their own and what is right for them is what they should do. My hubby had 2 when we got together and we had 3 together. We figure we will have plenty of kids to wipe our butts when we get old Lol thanks for hostessing!

  34. Interesting read. In terms of whether I relate to the feelings here, I would have to say that I don’t – simply because I have two children, so my experiences and feelings are different. I think that would be true for anyone with more than one child, because of course we love them equally & see the different benefits that are associated with more than one child. However, though I don’t relate to this exactly, I do understand the reasons and perspectives given and I think they’re very valid. There are pluses and minuses both ways. I don’t think it really matters, as long as people do what is right for them and their family. I don’t believe that only children are necessarily spoilt or lonely (but, by the same token, it is not the case that where there is more than one child, they are lacking in attention or missing out). We will probably only have two. I always wanted two. OH wants more. Now I have children, I would quite like more too. But I don’t like pregnancy, and I also think that not starting until our 30s, it is not actually practical to have more. I don’t think we have left time for that, & I don’t think we would get the financial stability for the kids that we would like having more now. #coolmumclub
    Silly Mummy recently posted…The Princess and The ToddlerMy Profile

  35. I absolutely love this, it’s so interesting reading such a variety of thoughts on the subject and seeing who happy they all are with their choices. We have two and I do wonder if I want another but on balance I think we are so lucky with what we have, it’s sensible to stick with what we have. Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub xx

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