Do I Want Another Child?

by Dagmar Bleasdale on May 3, 2009

Today, I found myself pondering again what I have thought about a few times since Landon was born: do I want another child?

Landon was only months old when family members and friends started to ask about the second child, and a lot of my mom friends seem to be having the second child now or are pregnant or working towards it. Not us.

Thankfully, I don’t have a huge urge to have another one, although I loved being pregnant and had such a wonderful drug-free birth experience.

I say thankfully because I can imagine wanting another child really badly and not being able to have another one because of finances or because of problems to conceive or other reasons must be heartbreaking.

I’m happy with just one child. I think I am too practical to let myself dream of another child. Being pregnant a second time and having a second child would mean I am out of commission again work-wise for another year or longer, and that is if everything goes well during the pregnancy.

(I was on disability for extreme nausea for two months when pregnant with Landon but after that worked from home part-time until he was born.)

I would want to breastfeed the baby on demand again like I did for Landon, so I would have no time to do much the first year but be there for the baby and Landon.

I strongly believe in attachment parenting, so I would wear the baby a lot, co-sleep with him or her, and all that means that I am again mostly the person taking care of the baby.

And the fact is that we need two incomes living here in Westchester, NY.

My mother-in-law would love us to have another child; she in fact thinks it would be the best for Landon. I keep pointing out that we can provide well for Landon but that having another child would be tough financially.

Her answer to that is: “Once you have another child, the money will be there, you’ll see.” She had four children and was a stay-at-home mother, but unfortunately times have changed dramatically.

Nowadays you really need two incomes to get by. I think it is irresponsible to have another child and to think that the money to raise it will just magically appear.

I wish I had the luxury to just be home with my child/children, but I have to work. Even though I work from home, I am just now able to work more hours again and to spend time increasing my blog and editing business, 2 ½ years after Landon’s birth.

Inevitably, this question comes up: is it selfish to only have one child? I don’t think so. Is it selfish to want to have time to grow my business I am so passionate about, my mommy blog, and my other passion, my editing business, instead of having another child?

Staying up until 1 every morning blogging (it will be almost 2 by the time I finish this article) and editing is not selfish in my book.

Sharing my thoughts about being a mother is what fulfills me almost as much as being a mother — it makes me a more content person and therefore a better wife and mother.

I work when Landon takes his nap, when Don takes him for many hours (thank you, Sweets), and when both of them are sleeping.

I could make really good money working as a full-time editor, and I know I would enjoy it and we could use the money, but I don’t believe in having a child and then putting him or her into daycare for the whole day so I can work out of the house.

Doing that would be selfish because it isn’t what is best for the child. I rather deny myself (and my child) a few luxuries and work when I can from home so I am here for him.

Landon loves little babies, but so far he has never asked for a brother or a sister.

We moved to Westchester so he can grow up with all his cousins, who he sees and plays with every week (the youngest is 3 ½ years older than him). I also make a point to schedule playtime with children his age so he gets to interact and learn with/from them.

Having just him is making this possible; those frequent playdates would be a thing of the past if I had another child. Plus, his weekly music class, which he loves so much, would not be in our budget anymore.

If we win the lottery, I might change my tune, but I think Landon will grown up an only child.

I have such a wonderful relationship with him, and he is turning out to be such a caring, funny, and gentle little man, I want to focus on him and not have to divide my attention between him and another sibling/s. I am going to have fun shopping for baby clothes — for all my friend’s new babies, not mine.

I came across a great article on Babble.com about this topic — take a look at Jeanne Sager’s “Why I Don’t Want A Second Child.”

Why are you just having one child? Why did you decide to have more than one? I would love to read your comments.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

MarcieMom November 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM

I fully agree with you; I stayed at home for the first year when Marcie was born, and I had to because her eczema was bad and it’s impossible to leave her in the care of grandparents/childcare. Especially, when most people still underestimate the level of care needed for eczema children and try to offer quick fixes or miracle cures for her skin.

If I have a second child, the chances of that child having eczema are high. http://eczemablues.com/2011/09/will-your-second-child-get-eczema/ But if I tell that to anyone, the most common remark is “You never know, maybe he/she won’t have eczema”. Yeah, if only they know what it is like to care for an eczema child. (I take my hats off to those parents who have the love & strength to have another child)

My husband and I like the financial freedom of doing what we like someday, now, we’re doing what we like at night! (And I could write this post at 2am because we weaned our baby off co-sleeping at 2 years old) Can we seriously be happy and loving to our children if we have to work more years, work fearing we’d be out of job, take care of 2 eczema children almost on our own because our parents are too old to help much and we don’t want to take the route of having a maid (au pair) living in with us?

No, I think we’d be miserable so we’re not going there.

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Allie September 20, 2010 at 10:39 AM

My daughter is 20 months and we have received 20 months of, “When is Emerson getting a little brother or sister?” Every time a friend announces that they are expecting, they tell us that we need to “Hurry up” and make a friend for their fetus.

The other week, it was a lovely late summer day, Emerson was down for a nap, we sat out on the deck with glasses of wine, enjoying the weekend. We brought up the subject of another child and both agreed… we don’t feel the need. We love our family of three. We both grew up with younger sisters – I had and still have a great relationship with my sibling, he not so much. But neither factor into our decision. It’s not about playmates for road trips, baby fever, or making the most profit off our cloth diaper stash. It’s not about finances or the fear of a relationship like my husband had with his sister or me having to go through another traumatic birthing experience. It’s how we feel. And we feel right, right now.

And maybe it is selfish, but I love the one-on-one time that we can give Emerson. That my husband can stay home with her, that she can nurse as long as she wants, that we can easily go as a threesome to a restaurant, a concert, a vacation and there’s two of us to share the load of changing diapers, wiping tears and peanut butter, carrying and strolling and distracting… and loving and cuddling and teaching. We feel very blessed to have one, and only one, lovely child.

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MarfMom September 20, 2010 at 7:03 AM

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong # of children to have. Each family has to decide what their particular values are. Originally I thought I’d want 4, but like you pointed out, finances are a big issue to consider and I’m not sure I’d want to return to work out of the home in order to have enough money to afford that many kids. We also have my son’s health issues to take into consideration, and the time spent with his therapies. So, maybe we’ll stick with two though.

However, I strongly disagree that having to put your kid(s) in daycare is necessarily a selfish act. Having a child is the least selfish thing you can do. Many, many women can’t afford to stay at home with their kids, and that doesn’t mean they don’t love their children or that they’re not great parents. As Cheeyee said, kids can still be well attached to their parents and be cared for by someone who is not their parent.

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duffnstuff October 16, 2009 at 3:54 AM

I can’t even fathom only having one child, but it is a personal decision. My DH & I decided to have a smaller family of 3-4 kids, coming from families of 8 & 6 kids respectively. Not having siblings isn’t something I can even imagine. I don’t think you should have another if you don’t want one, but again, I can’t even fathom that.

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Lisa August 28, 2009 at 7:52 PM

If you only want 1, that’s all you should have. The older I get, the more I think the # of kids people have is no one else’s business. Just wanted to mention my friend from high school. She has a 13yr old & is due in a few weeks with her second child. You just never know.

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Kelly@ Parenting Princesses July 14, 2009 at 5:59 AM

We have two girls, 1 and almost 3. Now that I’m finished university I want to start working on my career. We plan on taking a break from having children and probably having 1 or 2 more in a few years.

Personally, I could never imagine having just 1. I grew up in a family of 4 children and my husband was part of 6 siblings. I do wish we had done more things when we just had one kid though. You don’t realize how easy it is to go out with just one kid until you have another.

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Annie @ PhD in Parenting May 31, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Thank you for sharing your article and commenting on my post:

http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/05/29/what-on-earth-were-we-thinking-part-1-of-series-on-preparing-for-baby-2/

I think this is a very personal and very difficult decision. There is no “right” answer about the number of children to have. There is only the best answer for you and your family. It can be tough to figure out what that is!

For us, it never even crossed my mind to only have one child. I always knew I wanted at least two. For us it has been more the battle of whether two is enough or whether we would like three. I would love another baby, but then we would need a different car, a different house, traveling would be more difficult, etc. It’s tough…

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Hannah MacKinnon May 23, 2009 at 4:03 AM

Best of luck with your decision. The great thing is that you hopefully don’t need to make a permanent one any time soon. I too had a drug free delivery and nursed my daughter for 18 months. She is amazing and I though at one point she would be my only child. For many of the reasons that you have stated for only having one. Then when she was 6 and off to school I began to long for just one more. One more turned out to be twin boys! Born emergency c-section 2 months early one week before my MA grad! Now we have a crazy busy family of 3. You never know ; )

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Cheeyee May 7, 2009 at 2:42 AM

In the current economy, I agree with you, we really have to think about the financial side. I have 2 kids. Just nice for us. My hubby would like to have 1 more child but I think it might be too tight for us on the financial side and of course time is another factor. I’m a FT working mom. I send my kids to child care and bring them home everyday after work. Both kids are very attached to us. Taking care of them myself definitely is the best, but sending them to the child care is not a bad thing, though. My daughter gets to learn a lot and interact with other kids in the child care. Of course choosing a good place for them is important. And I still get to fully breastfeed the baby boy since his birth. I express the milk during work hours and pass it to the child care people every morning. Here, it’s not easy to get someone to support breastfeeding and I’m glad I’m meeting the right people. Landon is blessed to have you as his mom with all the good thoughts and planning. Being a mom definitely is not an easy job. Cheers.

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candace May 5, 2009 at 12:54 PM

I am a mother of an only child. My daughter is now 7. She loves being an only child, she sometime mentions she’d like to have a sibling but, it’s not a longing of her by any means. No doubt that the financial end of things is a reality. Stuff gets more and more expensive as the kids get older but, the good part is because we only have one, so we can afford all the things we wanted to give her! There are so many falsehoods about only children that I was worried about for my daughter that just didn’t transpire (at least not yet!). She is not spoiled at all. Even thought she gets (to other kids must seem like a lot) everything she needs, she does not get everything she wants. There are no temper tantrums when we tell her she can’t have something. We were told that she won’t share. Another untruth. Maybe because she is an only child she likes to share because she doesn’t have to share with anyone at home. She loves to give and help other children. We do have a lot of her friends around. On any given day there could be 2-8 kids running on my lawn playing tag (probably the reason my grass won’t grow!) and we have seen that having the friends around is a very important part of an only childs life. They need to feel connected to kids on many levels and their friends become very important. We make a very large effort in this area for her. We bring her friends along on outings (some of course are just family), movies, parks, skating etc… So, for any of you who are a bit concerned about the “only child” issues, put your minds to rest, make an effort to have their friends around and I think the kids take care of the rest.
Cheers

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Nicole May 4, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Well said. Times are indeed different. In this nation of debt I think it is irresponsible to not think about the financial aspect of parenting. Money is a reason why I think two is enough for me…time is another big factor.

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Kiki May 4, 2009 at 2:07 AM

I am the mother of one son. I enjoyed reading your blog. I feel there is a lot of societal and family pressures for us to have another child. We had always planned on one boy, and that it what we got, and we are thrilled with our little family. Also, the recent numbers are close to $300k to raise one child to eighteen years of age. This helps us believe we have made the right decision. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Susan Newman, Ph.D. May 3, 2009 at 9:16 PM

In the current ecomony, I weigh in with you, not your m-i-l. The money might not be there. That said, the ONLY reason to have another child is because YOU want one. As to Landon needing a sibling, the cost of having children, only children playing with others and lots more, see what I’ve written on the subject for Psychology Today: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons
Susan Newman
Author of Parenting An Only Child: The Joys & Challenges of Raising Your One & Only

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