I was always sure. Even from a young age, I was pretty sure it would only happen the once. You see, I never wanted kids. Children. As in more than one. Maybe it was because I am the oldest of 4 girls, maybe it’s my social anxiety or the fact that I am a pretty introverted person who prefers solitude to huge throngs of people and large gatherings. I’m not entirely sure. But on this I was. Having one child really can be enough to complete my family.
Luckily, the man I became pregnant to at 24 felt the same way. From those very first days consumed by sickness and nausea I knew I was only doing this thing called pregnancy once. Initial thoughts and feelings on this 9-month process stuck with me until I gave birth at 35 weeks and 1 day.
The excruciating pain of labour whilst being told I wasn’t in labour and to be quiet has never left me. The flashes of nurses tutting at me and opening the curtain on a scared young woman in pain forever etched on my memory. They later came by to apologise. But this only served to strengthen my resolve that this would never happen again. Ever.
Being a first-time mum was all consuming, tiring, and a complete whirlwind. But despite my protestations to the contrary people waited and questioned when the pitter patter of more small feet would grace my life. As if my life was lacking somehow and being a first-time mum to one wasn’t enough.
I could see them clicking their tongues in unison. Steadfast in their belief I was wrong and they would soon hear of pregnancy number 2. People should have known, the more you tell me I should be doing something, the more likely is I won’t do it. But on this subject, my mind was already made up, well before the Spanish inquisition into when my body would be home to baby number 2.
It Seems Society Thinks I am Wrong……
So I continued with my life. Happy as a family unit of 3. Yet the questions never stopped. Peer pressure mounting but my answers remained the same. We were happy with 1 why wasn’t that enough for people? Have I automatically failed as a parent because I choose to just have a child as oppose to children?
Does it make me less of a mother, of a woman for not reproducing to please others? What kind of mother would that make me if I had more to please others? Other children, that I didn’t want because it’s what I should do? Is that a good mother?
In a society that seems to think that if you have one, then two, three and maybe more must automatically follow. Is it wrong of me to admit that just the one child is enough for me? Have I failed at being a parent for denying my child the experience of siblings? Selfish? Maybe, realistic definitely!
Yes, I felt the pressure, the expectations and ultimately the judging. “I can’t believe it!” They say. She needs a little brother or sister, she would love that. Yes, of course, random stranger who apparently knows my daughter better than I do. I’m sure you think she would but I’m still not changing my mind. For me, for us, our family unit was complete.
Even when the dynamics changed and our family became a party of 2 from 3. I felt it was the right choice for me, for us. Because surely at the end of the day that’s really what matters isn’t it? What’s best for me and my family not what other think I should do? Right or wrong it was and still is my decision to make. Selfish it may be, but my life and my family is not lacking despite its size. Contrary to popular belief.
It fitted me nicely. Just the one, she slotted so easily and perfectly in our lives and the need or desire to travel down that road again didn’t resurface. An experience worth having but ultimately it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not a place to frequent over the years. With no regrets. None at all. To this day I still don’t regret my choice. I agonised over whether I would in time. Years down the line would I still be confident I made the right choice? I did, in my heart, I know I did.
The question still gets asked to this day, the answer still met with disbelief mostly. Sometimes disappointment, even pity but I don’t worry about that, others disappointment is not my regret. My womb isn’t and never was there to please and reproduce as per others demands or what is perceived to be normal. These days however, the question has changed. Years have passed and people now choose to question my choices, ask do I have any regrets? The answer is no. Sure I have thought about it on occasion but deep down I know, it’s really not what I what I want.
Lately, however, the question has changed. Years have passed and people now choose to question my choices, ask do I have any regrets? As if making me think about it will force me to see the mistake I made. How I was completely selfish. But still, the answer is no. I do not have any regrets. Sure I have thought about it on occasion but deep down I know, it’s really not what I want.
One Child Really Can Be Enough.
You see, the tugging on the heart strings and maternal ache felt by others never fluttered inside me. Holding babies doesn’t make me broody. Despite people thinking otherwise when they pass me a newborn to hold. Holding a baby will not change my decision, chances are I will be glad to pass them back and think how glad I am that sleepless nights are a thing of the past for me.
Maybe I am lacking in maternal instincts. Was it a chemical reaction that went wrong inside my head and my heart? But I choose to think not. Because whilst I never regret becoming a mum for one second, I know in my heart that one is enough for me. And if it’s enough for me, then it should be enough for everyone else too.
Because contrary to popular belief one child really can be enough to complete a family. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.