Just The One – Raising an Only Child

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Lizzie Lau

“Are you going to have more kids?” I used to get this question a lot when Vivi was little. The answer kind of made me sad.

Just The One - Raising an Only Child

I waited until nearly the last minute to have my child. I was 40 when I gave birth, and the whole experience was magical. OK, the 20 weeks of morning sickness were not magical, and by morning I mean 24/7. The birth experience was exactly what I hoped for though, and having a baby, raising this child, my daughter, is clearly the best thing I’ve ever done.

newborn love of my life - only child

While I was pregnant, and married, I thought that I would have at least two children. I grew up with a sister, and I just couldn’t imagine raising my child without a sibling. She does, in fact, have a brother and sister from her father’s previous relationship, but they live in Sweden and she has only met them twice.

After Vivi was born, I was just so grateful that she had been born healthy that I started having second thoughts about getting pregnant again. I worried that if I gambled again “at my age” and the next child was not healthy or had special needs, it would dramatically change Vivi’s childhood. The second consideration is that my relationship with her father ended when she was just a year old. He moved to Florida, and since then I haven’t dated at all. I signed up to an online dating site, and had a few messenger conversations with men in my area, but when they sent their phone numbers and suggested we meet, I chickened out and deleted my account. I just haven’t been ready to invest the kind of time and energy required to be in a relationship, and I have too much responsibility as a single parent to go out like a cougar looking for some action. So, there was no one to provide the ‘secret ingredient’ even if I was ready to have another child.

The final consideration was that as much as I love being a Mom and everything that goes with it, I am constantly exhausted. I’m doing my very best to engage, teach, play, read, cook healthy meals, and provide for my child. I work at home, and don’t receive child support so you can imagine how much sleep I get.

May Photo Shoot - raising an only child

It does make me sad to think that I won’t experience being pregnant again, those first flutters of movement, the hiccups, the knees and elbows jabbing at my insides. I won’t have another labor, or look into the eyes of my newborn again.  Whenever I get sad though, I flip through the photo book I made of our first year together and relive all those moments.  I have thousands of videos, my Mom even caught Vivi’s first laugh on video while I was singing a song I made up for her.  Those sad feelings are fleeting though, because as cool as it was to produce this child, having her be at an age where we can really have fun together is so much cooler.

So, yeah.  Just the one.

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32 thoughts on “Just The One – Raising an Only Child”

  1. I have “just the one” child too. She’s twelve now and people stopped asking about us having “another one” when she was seven. My husband took to telling people we “got it right the first time” which either shuts people up, makes them laugh or causes blank, uncomfortable stares. I had moments early on when I felt cheated that there weren’t going to be more members of our family, but I’ve come to realize this is just right. Happiness is about wanting what you have, not having what you want.

    • Got it right the first time. I use that line too! Now that I’m in menopause, and can’t have more children, I do have more moments of sadness that I won’t experience pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding again, but I do feel like my family is just the right size.

  2. Thanks Leah! I made it a goal of mine to go on a date over the summer while we were in BC staying with my parents. I did it, it went well, but I'm in no rush to do it again. Part of me really wants a fantastic male role model for my daughter in our home, but a bigger part of me acknowledges that I have a bad track record for picking men. In fact, I have already assigned a committee to vet and approve any future choice I make.

  3. This: "The final consideration is that as much as I love being a Mom and everything that goes with it, I am constantly exhausted. I'm doing my very best to engage, teach, play, read, cook healthy meals, and provide for my child. I work at home, and don't receive child support so you can imagine how much sleep I'm getting."

    Seriously, yeah. I don't feel like I could do another one on my own, as much as I would love to, and I just don't have TIME to date. I want to. I'm not closed off to love. But… being a single, work-from-home mom makes it hard. Especially being that I focus every spare moment of energy on being the best possible mom I can be. So, yeah… so feel you there.

  4. Thanks for stopping by. That's funny, just yesterday I used those exact words "you got it right the first time" to a friend who has a five year old son and isn't planning on having more. I'm heading over to your post right now to read about only child problems.

  5. Thank you! One of my best friends was a single mom of 6, though two are grown from a previous marriage. She once swore she would never introduce a guy to her kids let alone remarry. Now she is happily remarried. She found a BRAVE and wonderful man who loves her, is a great role model for her kids, and together they have weathered a lot of EX drama (hers and his).

  6. My only child is now nine-years-old. It took a long time for people to stop asking if there were going to be more. There just never were any more. My husband likes to say we got it right the first time. I worry about her onliness sometime, but like you, I wouldn't want to mess up what we have by forcing another child into the mix. For the most part, our family of three is perfect.

  7. Hi Lizzie, This post made me begin to tear up. Being a single mom of five boys, I can assure you I do NOT plan on having another child (I didn't plan on having this many! LoL So glad God's plans were different from my own though!). Since the boys' father walked out when I was 5 months pregnant with the last little guy, I have been too overwhelmed and too busy to date. Besides, I'm thinking it would be one BRAVE man to date a woman with five boys! 😉 I am so thankful for that last little guy and completely okay with not having any more, but boy those little belly flutters, hearing the heartbeat right after discovering you're pregnant, the guessing of boy or girl (I stopped guessing after Baby Boy #3!)â€ĶI think no matter how many you have, that bittersweet memory always stays with you. Enjoy that little girl. They really do grow up too fast!

  8. Thanks! Just wait until you're done with diapers. When I babysit for friends and have to change diapers again I'm more certain than ever!

  9. Thanks! It's great to know that other moms share these feelings. It's wonderful that you have the option and your husband sees it as a possibility for the future.

  10. Thank you. Energy is a big consideration. Your heart will always have the capacity to expand, but energy is limited. I'm already up to 3 double espressos a day!

  11. Thanks! The first year is such a whirlwind isn't it? The only unsolicited advice I give is not to rush any milestone. They are all bittersweet. I still don't correct my daughter's mispronunciations because they are so darn cute and she figures them out so fast that sometimes I adopt her words for things just to make it last longer. We navigate netflix on tv with a "crumote". LOL

  12. Thank you. I feel really blessed, and right now blessed to have friends who are pregnant so I'll get to squish chubby babies and sniff their heads! It's a good excuse to keep some of the baby things I haven't wanted to get rid of.
    I do feel like we'll be able to take advantage of opportunities because it's just the two of us and it's easy to pack a bag and jump on a plane. Especially since she's strong enough to drag her own rolling carry on!

  13. Thank you. It doesn't bother me that people are curious, I usually feel like it's just a harmless conversation starter. It made me think about it though and that's where most of my blog topics come from. Probably because I usually give people a short answer in person and then later, at 1am, I think of everything else I wish I'd said.

  14. Thank you! You are the only kind of stalker that I'm excited about having! LOL One of the reasons I make the photo books is because I'm so terrified about losing my digital data. I have everything backed up on an xdrive, and on my parents' xdrive, but can you imagine how devastating it would be to lose the photos and videos?

  15. I can totally relate. Whenever I start to yearn for a second baby (those fluttering particularly), I just remember how grateful I am that my now two year old is a healthy beautiful little girl, and that I get full nights of sleep now (for the most part).

  16. I love this post! I go back and forth about having a second (or possibly third) child. My husband is currently in the waiting phase, wait till we have more money, own a home, etc etc… but I miss all those newborn things. However, after reading your post, you're right, those feelings are fleeting. I love Emmett being at an age where we can play, run and laugh together. Thanks for sharing a fantastic post!

  17. Though we became a family in a different fashion, I too struggle with the feelings of wanting more vs. enjoying what our family is now. With emotionally needy kids I wonder if I have the energy for more. Yet our emotionally needy kids are also kind, giving, caring, compassionate and would love more siblings – they do great with younger kids. Since no 8-ball can show you the future you will never for sure how things will turn out. I appreciate the honesty in your post and the confidence you seemed to have when answering a question that can be personal and sometimes emotionally tough.

  18. Lovely post. I too miss the beautiful moments of pregnancy or babyhood. That's even though my youngest is not yet 1, the days go by so quickly. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

  19. That's how I feel. Really blessed. And yeah, after my daughter was potty trained I couldn't imagine going back to changing diapers again – that's the crappy part right? At least not until my parents get really old. LOL

  20. My mom is cool but not the princess – very different (she's an old hippy). The princess party queen is my mother-in-law!

  21. This was such a great post. Sometimes, I get baby-fever, and then I'm reminded that it's nice to be where we are.
    You two gals have the world in your hands 🙂
    You seem like such a loving mother; I think you two will enjoy the adventures and memories you will make *together*

  22. Such a great post! I think it is a great, positive response to others not-so-positive questions. I think having children is wonderful, and beautiful and miraculous, but it is up to each one of us to decide what is right for us. You did it so nicely here. Thanks!! Have a great day! PS Your "one" is darling!!

  23. I love that you flip through your photo book and look at videos when you get sad. Because I do that too ALL the time. Even when I'm not sad or anything, I just love reliving those moments of babyhood. I think your daughter is truly blessed to have you as her mom, so whatever comes your way, you guys will get through it together. Because you have each other. I love reading your blog and the stuff that you post. I'm a stalker I guess, because I love blogs that are about what really goes on in life. So thanks for sharing.

  24. Just the one for us too, but that doesn't mean I don't have those feelings. Growing a human inside you is magical and I feel so lucky to have had the experience. Mostly though I try to convince myself that I don't want to go through the crappy parts again.

  25. Thanks Arin! I didn't know that about you. Your mom is so cool, I always picture her dressed up for the Princess Party! I want V and I to have a relationship just like the one you described.

  26. Thanks for that perspective. It's true that just because you are family doesn't mean you are friends for life. My ex doesn't have much to do with his sisters, my daughter and I see them more than he does.

  27. Hey Liz that's me, only child of a single mom!! Every childhood memory I have I am with my mom. Although I saw my dad every other weekend, it was always me & my mom. We slept together, cried together, cruised in her MG together, wandered around Chinatown together, suntanned in the backyard together – this continued well into my teenage years until friends seemed more important to me. Thinking about it now, my mom must have felt lonely without me around. I love being a mom to my 2 girls, but I often fantasize how different life & parenting would be if I only had 1. She will turn out great!

  28. I get those same pangs of yearning to feel a baby move inside me, to hold my precious newborn. And I have three kids. I don't think those yearnings will ever go away as a mom, no matter how many we have. I have a younger brother but he was born when I was 12. So for many years I was an only child. Yes, there were times when I wanted a sibling, but I also got a lot of one on one time with my Mom and Grandma who raised me. I was their world, and felt so loved. My mom and I had a different relationship because she was a teenager when she had me, but my Grandma and I are the best of friends. Always have been. I adored the alone time, and quietness of our home and time together. I am sure your daughter feels the same way. My husband has three sisters and they all are very mean, passive aggressive, and compete with each other. He is not close to them. I think that is something to think about as well. Yes, we all hope sibling grow and love one another but it is not always guaranteed. Your love for your daughter is guaranteed. I cannot imagine the strength it takes to be a single mom. You are amazing for doing it!

  29. Thank you, I love to hear positive feedback from people who grew up without siblings. Now if I can get a comment from someone who was an only child of a single mom and turned out great!

  30. I was an only child, and I turned out fine 🙂 Whether you have 1 child or 10 being a mother is a 24/7 job You are doing amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

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