Moms who purposefully join (and then pay lifetime membership dues to) the “one and done” club are accused of all manner of real or imagined sins. That they’re selfish for choosing to raise an only child is the most common one; that they’re just too dumb to know what they really want makes for a close second.
The fact is, women in the “club” — an “exclusive” group that comprises more than 40 percent of the population — have reasons that stem beyond “I just want to party,” “I hate children” and “the tears of lonely children crying out for siblings sustains my black, brittle soul.” We wanted to know what those reasons were, so we did something crazy.
We asked them.
Here’s what 14 women had to say about their decision to keep their family micro-sized. Their reasons are as varied as their backgrounds, ranging from the heartbreaking to the practical and everything in between.
1. Difficulty conceiving
Sheri reasoned, “We struggled to have just one [child], so we couldn’t be happier!”
2. A high-risk or traumatic pregnancy
This was the case with Megan, who told us, “I had gestational diabetes and almost lost my son at birth, so I felt lucky to have one healthy kiddo.”
3. Severe postpartum depression
Laura had always planned on having more kids, but she said that the postpartum depression she had after the birth of her daughter 86’d those plans. “I had a rough pregnancy, and terrible PPD. After [my daughter] was born it took us a while to get to the point where we would even consider having another child.”
4. The loss of a wanted pregnancy
“I always wanted two [kids], but after the problems we had with our second pregnancy I wasn’t ready to try again for a long time. Then I think we just waited too long and didn’t wanted to try at all any more,” said Chrissy.
5. Not wanting to start over
“I can’t imagine going back through that whole diaper/spit-up/no-sleep thing again,” reasoned Angela. “Having to plan for an hour before leaving the house for a grocery run, having to pack fifty things just to drop a baby off at the in-laws’ house so you can have that rare date night… “
6. Money troubles
“In the first three years of our daughter’s life we lost our jobs, went broke, had tons of issues, separated and by the time we were financially and emotionally stable, she was five and I think we were so shell-shocked that we decided one was enough.”
7. Not wanting to divide time and opportunities between siblings
Lizzy told us that giving her son what she didn’t have was priority No. 1 for her, something she couldn’t have done with more than one kid: “I was able to spend quality time with him, playing, teaching, loving and providing him with great opportunities that otherwise would not have been a part of his growth and development.”
Then there’s Lynne, who told us she had an only child “Because my husband traded me in for a 25-year-younger model!” She further clarified, “Meaning version. She was far from a model.”
9. Wanting a little free time
Jillian confessed that “This may sound selfish, but [my husband] and I also really enjoy being able to have a decent amount of free time for ourselves when [my son] goes to visit with his father.”
10. Babies are way too much pressure
An anonymous mom told us that the baby stage was too much for her, saying, “Independent 8-year-olds are cool, [but] I have no patience. I hate having someone completely depend on me to keep them alive for god’s sake!”
11. They were only children, and they liked it that way
Estee told us that the difference in her and her husband’s upbringing played a role in their decision to raise an only child, quipping that, “I was an only child. My husband has four siblings. My way is better!”
12. They got a late start
Gabriela told us, “I love my child; I do not love motherhood. One is enough and sometimes too much for this older mama who loves her freedom.”
13. They didn’t want to tempt fate
Another mom heeded the warnings of all the mothers of two or more that came before her. “I feel like I got the fabled easy child straight away, and all the other moms told me it was a trap. Everyone was saying, ‘If I’d had my spirited, third-degree tear-inducing second child first, I would have stopped while I was ahead.’ I was ahead. So I stopped.”