Having Only One Child
My biological impulses tell me otherwise -- and my husband certainly wants another child -- but the more I mull it over and read online, the more inclined I am not to have a second child. After a rough night that included drinking and my son waking up earlier than usual -- with me being the only parent to get up -- I gave my husband an ultimatum: You do 50 percent of the childcare with a second child, or, we simply do not have another one. He told me he couldn't help out with the son we already have so I plan to get on birth control when I get home from Chicago.
My decision does not mean that I do not like children or that I do not madly love my son (I do. If anything, the ONLY reason I want another child is to give him a sibling). But as a loving mother, I recognize that I have limits -- my energy and patience reserves are running out! -- and I will shortchange my son if I don't recognize them. I am 28 years old and would like to have a career outside of motherhood. I plan to go back to school in January and will do so without spending any less time with my son. If I had a second child, I would have to drop out of school (because of nursing and childcare costs).
We enjoy traveling and must do so because all our family live so far away. Already it is difficult and expensive to travel with one child -- there is no way I could do it comfortably and cheaply with two children in tow.
Because we don't have parents nearby, my husband and I hardly ever get out together. The truth is I hardly think about my husband. I can't think of the last time I bought him a gift or wanted to do something thoughtful for him. I am so consumed with taking care of our son and he is so busy with work that we live parallel lives. Having another child will not remedy this situation and I don't think this is in the best interest of our son.
I was relieved to read the comments on Berkeley Parents Network and BabyCenter, suggesting that parents do not harm their only children when they choose not to give them a sibling. Even parents of multiple children and only children themselves wrote letters of support, which bring me peace on my decision not to have another child.