“Is he your first?” I am constantly asked this question while we are out and about.
“Yes, and our last.” This usually isn’t the answer they want. This isn’t the answer society wants from a parent of one child.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question I was asked all throughout high school and even college.
“That’s it?” They would say.
“Yes, isn’t that enough?” I would respond.
Motherhood was my dream, my end goal. I wanted the husband, the big house, the fence, and all the babies. And here I am, at the end of the “terrible” twos with our first (they haven’t been that bad) and I am done having babies. I have the husband, the big house, the fence, and the perfect little boy.
I knew I didn’t want any more babies since the day after my son was born. Maybe it’s because I had a traumatic birth, maybe it’s because my pregnancy was a neverending emotional roller coaster, or maybe it’s because as soon as he was in my arms, our family felt complete.
Everyone told me I would change my mind. Everyone said that once I forgot about all of the “bad” parts of having a baby, I would want to experience the good parts again. They were wrong.
The thing is, I want to want to have more children. This wasn’t the plan. We were supposed to have at least two, maybe even three or four.
But I am done. I am done with bottles. I am done with waking up in the middle of the night to change diapers. I am done with first foods, blowouts, and carrying a 10-pound diaper bag everywhere I go for no reason at all. The plan changed.
The plan changed when I couldn’t breastfeed any more than a month and felt horrible about it. The plan changed when I started losing my hair. The plan changed when the baby blues just wouldn’t go away.
I have seen first-hand how crazy things get with more than one child. I see and hear how miserable parents initially are when their family goes from three to four. Some say it gets easier, some say it doesn’t. I say I can’t do it either way.
I just can’t force myself to suck it up and hope it goes well enough so that our son has a sibling, a lifelong friend. I just don’t have the patience. I just don’t have the stamina.
I don’t want to teach another baby how to sleep. I don’t want to hold my ground when they don’t want to eat what we are having for dinner. I don’t want to worry about milestones. I don’t want baby equipment all over our house again. I don’t want to load and unload a double stroller from the car, or worse, stay at home all day long again because of nap schedules.
I have accepted my own feelings, even if society hasn’t. I am a good mom. I love my son. I love him so much it hurts to breathe sometimes. I told myself that every first time with him would be my last time. I was OK with giving him his last bottle, seeing his first steps, and hearing his first words. I told myself to remember these moments because they wouldn’t happen again, not with him or any other child of mine.
I want to take my son on adventures. I want to give him everything he deserves without spoiling him. I want to go the extra mile and help him make friends so that he isn’t lonely. I want him to grow into a wonderful young man knowing that he is loved with all of my heart.
I enjoy my free time. I like going on vacations with just my husband. I like reading books and taking really long showers. I don’t want to go back to not showering every day or not being able to have a few hours at night of peace and quiet. I like drinking my coffee hot.
Do I feel selfish? A lot of times I do. But I know that this is the right choice for me and my family. I love helping my friends who have babies. I still really love babies. I just don’t want any more of my own.
I know that our son would make an amazing big brother. But he is also a great friend and cousin. I never thought I would be a one and done kind of mom. I can’t look back. I have to look forward. And forward looks beautiful as a family of three.
You can read more posts from Rosie on her new blog Sunshine and Reading.