Why might a mom take a one-and-done approach to being a parent? There are countless reasons, from financial stability, not wanting to be stretched too thin, birth trauma, and more. I couldn’t tell you when I decided I wanted to be a mom. In fact, at one point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be one at all. Don’t get me wrong. I love that newborn smell. Cuddling and Disney movie marathons are some of my favorite pastimes. And anytime I see a little one making eye contact at a store as they sit in their mom’s cart, it warms my heart and puts a smile on my face.
But at the end of the day, I can return that newborn to their parents once they start wailing at the top of their lungs. And sometimes, I just want to watch my grownup shows without interruption. But how often do we get an opportunity to have a small person run our lives because of their dependence? Having even just one child is a life-changing event. For some parents, making that change one time is more than enough, so being one and done is more than okay.
A Few Reasons Why Moms are One and Done
You Worry About Financial Stability
Let’s be honest; kids are expensive. It’s estimated that raising a child from birth through the age of 17 will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars! And that’s only what you’re paying after they’re born. In the United States, before they arrive, you incur astronomical costs for prenatal care, ultrasounds, and extra expenses to prepare them to join your family.1,2
Would some parents who have decided to follow the one-and-done path like to have had a bigger family? Maybe. But the financial reality is the more kids you have, the more expensive everything gets. Of course, being financially stable isn’t a requirement for parenthood. But those who want to plan and maintain whatever lifestyle they’re comfortable with and give their children more experiences and luxuries are likely to consider this.
You Want to Focus on Your Career
As a mom, we know it’s easier said than done to have your cake and eat it too. Yes, we live in a time when society says you don’t have to choose. You can be an incredible mom and have a successful career. But is that true?
We all know that moms are silently penalized for being a parent in the corporate space, even though it shouldn’t be that way.2
And don’t get me started about the overwhelming mom guilt that can come with late work hours or sacrificing time with your family to get ahead in your career. Or maybe you are invested in your work and worry having more than one kiddo will impact your career trajectory.
You Don’t Want to Stretch Yourself Too Thin
Parenthood feels like spinning a million plates at the same time. As a mom, you’re the chauffeur, the cook, and a part-time teacher. You’re an arts and crafts enthusiast and a bedtime and bathtime wrangler — the list goes on. And if I’m being honest, it can get overwhelming.
If you’re trying to balance too many obligations as it is, having more kids to incorporate into your hectic routine might be too much. And there is nothing wrong with that. There is no reward for burning yourself out by trying to do it all.
Yes, you love your little one and want to give them the world (maybe even a sibling). But at the end of the day, only you know your limits and whether one and done is right for you.
Remember that phrase about not being able to pour from an empty cup? It’s especially true for moms. You are raising a little person who, for many years, depends entirely on you. Dedicating your time and energy to one child instead of spreading it around multiple siblings sounds much better.
You Don’t Love Being Pregnant, or You Experienced Birth Trauma
Even though everything on social media makes it seem like pregnancy is the best time of your life, it simply isn’t true for everyone. Some people have extreme morning sickness, experience preeclampsia, or have incredibly low energy lasting 22 hours a day. Having less-than-great experiences might leave you feeling like you absolutely never want to go through it again. The same can be said about having a traumatic birth experience. If you had complications that put your baby’s life, your life, or both of your lives at risk, understandably, ending up in that situation again is the last thing you want to do.
The Choice Has Been Made For You
Along that same road, sometimes complications during pregnancy or severe birth trauma might mean you have no choice but to be one and done. Your doctor might tell you that physically, the risk is too great for your body to carry another pregnancy. Or maybe, you’ve been trying to get pregnant again, and it seems like no matter how much planning you do, it just isn’t happening. Sometimes moms might take the one-and-done path because they don’t have a choice.
Your Child Requires More Care
Raising any child takes a lot of energy and patience. But if you have a kiddo with special needs, the time and energy you spend parenting them, caring for them, and raising them, is immeasurable. For some families, choosing to dedicate all their time and energy to their family as it is ends up making a one-and-done situation right for them.
Your Family Feels Complete As-Is
No rule says that because you choose to have one child, you must have another. Trust me; plenty of only children in the world turned out just fine. Every time you see your little one and your heart overflows with love and joy, and you feel content and complete, it’s a reminder that your little family is perfect, just as it is.
You Don’t Have to Justify Your Decision to Anyone
There are plenty of reasons to have just one kid, but you don’t need any explanation at the end of the day. It can be as simple as not wanting more than one. Best of all, you don’t have to explain your decision-making to anyone.
So, to all the moms who adopt the one-and-done philosophy when it comes to parenting — more power to you. We live in a world where society thinks it’s acceptable to constantly badger moms about when they’re going to give their only child a sibling, but it is none of their business and certainly not their call.
Whether having multiple kids or being one and done, it’s valid, and you don’t need to explain it to anyone.