parent opinion

"I would make the same choice again." 9 mothers on how they knew they were 'one and done'.

Why would anyone stop after having just one child? Surely anyone who has voluntarily turned their life into a blur of sleepless nights, mashed banana and The Wiggles might as well throw a second child into the mix while they’re at it, right? 

Any parent who is “one and done” can expect to be asked, repeatedly, whether there’s another baby on the way, and if not, why not. Judgement is inevitable. 

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But the fact is that many parents do stop after one, for a huge range of reasons. Sometimes the “one and done” decision is made happily, with no hesitation. Sometime it’s made reluctantly, through a flood of tears. 

Nine women explain to Mamamia why they’re having just one child.

"Mentally I was a mess."

“I had severe morning sickness – hyperemesis gravidarum – that lasted 20 hours of the day. Mentally I was a mess after months of lying on the couch, unable to move from the bucket. (It’s 18 years ago, but still a vivid memory.) 

I knew that my mental health could not sustain another stint of this, so we made the decision to stop at one.

We did randomly check in with my daughter over the years to see how she felt about not having brothers and sisters and she never seemed bothered by it.” 

"I would make the same choice again."

“Only ever wanted one. I never really felt that motherhood was a natural fit for me, but when my daughter was born, I felt an immediate love and protection and went on to love, nurture, support, celebrate and enjoy her. 

She’s my best friend, has been always. But there were other things I wanted in life – writing, freelancing, travel, sex, friendships, me – and I knew kids would detract from that. 

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I also had horrific experiences being in the middle of two brothers and that was a strong influence not to put my daughter through something similar. 

My daughter went on to have half-siblings and she is grateful for that larger family, so there you go. It was my choice at the time, and 30 years later, I would make the same choice again.”

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"Our parenting journey so far has only solidified our view."

“My husband and I decided to have one child before we got married, for a number of reasons. 

One was environmental impact. Another was money and lifestyle. 

We love to travel and go places around our city and would not be able to with two children. I wasn’t able to do any extracurricular activities or go on camps growing up because money was tight, so my older sibling who displayed talent in golf was prioritised. 

I never want to be in that predicament. Another reason was the impact of our own childhoods. 

My husband was terrorised by his older sibling, while my mother didn’t particularly want another child and was stuck with me, and made her resentment very clear my entire life. Our parenting journey so far has only solidified our view.”

"I just didn’t want to do it again."

“I always wanted two or three kids. I had my son nearly nine years ago and then I just didn’t want to do it again. 

He wasn’t a bad kid, but it was so much harder than I expected. 

I also have depression and anxiety, so that made things harder. Now my son and I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD and medicated. If I had been diagnosed earlier I think I would have had more kids, as my mental health has turned around in the last two months with the right treatment.”

“I was a geriatric mother (hated that term) at 38, then had a traumatic birth. 

I was advised not to go again or risk miscarriage. I knew I couldn’t go through that. In hindsight I think it was the right thing for us. I suffered from pre- and post-natal depression. I am really fortunate to have the kid I have. He’s a gift.”

"I would be totally happy not to have any more children."

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be ‘one and done’. I’m from a family of five kids and have longed to be a mum all my life. Now that my son is here in all his perfect gorgeousness I feel so content being his mum and would be totally happy not to have any more children.

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I love our life, just him, me and my husband. We are so close and enjoy doing everything together.”

"It gradually grew on me."

“We had one child easily, then we tried and tried for five years to get another. I started to feel more annoyed about the money wasted on fertility treatments than the fact we weren’t getting a baby. So it gradually grew on me. My husband said he didn’t mind either way, so that also helped. I started to imagine our life just us and I felt so bloody happy and content.”

"Two kids would push us over the edge."

“My husband and I both have mental health challenges that mean we need some downtime, and that would be impossible with two. 

We also are financially secure with one child, and can afford the things we want to do, but two kids would push us over the edge. We also just got a really great kid, who I love spending time with as he grows and learns, and I love that I can give him all of my attention when we’re together.”

"I would give anything to have another child."

“My decision to be ‘one and done’ was due to circumstance and not choice. 

It took my husband and me two-and-a-half years to fall pregnant with our son. He is now three years old. 

Last year I told my husband I was ready to have another child. My husband was not. I was heartbroken and still am. 

My counsellor helped me acknowledge that our fertility journey was traumatic. I had numerous invasive tests and surgeries, medication that made me very sick, and eventually IVF. 

I was diagnosed with pre-natal depression and I vomited an average of five times a day until I was 19 weeks pregnant. 

I had a caesarean as I had a low-lying placenta and I haemorrhaged two litres of blood during surgery. 

Post the birth of our son my husband was diagnosed with depression and two weeks after that he was diagnosed with melanoma. I would give anything to have another child but I’ve also accepted that my birth story was hard.”

Feature Image: Getty.

If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, contact PANDA – Post and Antenatal Depression Association. You can find their website here or call their helpline – 1300 726 306.