Mom Confident With Decision to Have Only One Child

Difficult pregnancy, labor among the reasons this couple's son will be an only child


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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Four years ago, after a long and winding 14 combined years of dating and marriage, my husband and I finally decided that it was time to venture down the path of parenthood. Full disclosure here: I have never felt very maternal or had any great desire to have children. My college roommate and I used to joke that while she had always wanted to be a wife and a mother, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to stop at the wife part for me. I would babysit for local families as a teenager for gas and movie money, and literally watch the clock for when the parents were slated to arrive home. I had little patience for the children’s constant need for attention or for playing make-believe games. I distinctly remember feeling a bit sorry for the frazzled parents, and I cringed at the thought of one day joining their ranks.

One night, in our early 30s, my husband and I had the big discussion. Were we ready to start a family? We knew there was no perfect time in life to have a baby, but we felt that we were as close to that time as any. It was with much trepidation at the end of our talk that I announced that I thought we should go for it. Two short months later, the pregnancy test came back positive. Surely this wasn’t so! I thought I’d have more time to sort out how I felt before I saw those two unmistakable pink lines. I felt overwhelmed and so unsure of myself and my abilities as a mother. I prayed right then and there for three things: That there would only be one baby, that the baby would be healthy and that the baby would be a boy. My prayers were answered. My first question at the very first ultrasound was, “Is there only one?” When the doctor confirmed that there was indeed only one, I felt relief flood my body, and I excitedly squeezed my husband’s hand.

I went on to have a fairly rough pregnancy complete with all-day nausea, backaches, headaches and sharp pains all over. My weight ballooned from 140 to 220, which neither my husband or I could figure out because I seemed to be eating less than I usually did thanks to the nausea and the food aversions that I developed. The grand finale was a bad case of preeclampsia that left me extremely swollen and prematurely induced for labor. My nurses were actually amazed at the swelling and swore they had never seen a case that severe. I felt like the character Violet Beauregarde that turns into a giant blueberry in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” This all seemed to confirm to me that I was definitely not maternal. Not only had I never emotionally felt maternal, but now my own body couldn’t even seem to handle pregnancy correctly!

During my 20 hours of labor, I had a loop going in my head of a statement made by a friend of mine who had three children at the time and was intent on adding more. She said that while she was in labor with her first child, she was constantly thinking of how ready and willing to go through the process she was again. The words that kept resonating in my own head during labor were more like “never again.” I truly accepted in those hard, painful moments of labor that this would be the first and last time. I knew that, for me, this was not a case of forgetting the pain and continuing to get pregnant. This would be mine and my husband’s one and only child.

To say my subsequent hospital stay was unpleasant is an understatement. The combination of a lack of sleep from the complications of preeclampsia, the long labor, the uncertainty of first-time motherhood, the 3 a.m. trash collections in the hospital room (!) and my type A personality made me want to crawl my way out of the room to my safe and familiar home with my husband and my new baby boy on my back. I thought back to one of the many tips I had received while pregnant — stay in the hospital as long as you can since there are people there to help you take care of the baby and a level of service you won’t receive at home. Good grief! Was I different from expectant and new mothers in every single way?

I rejoiced when we finally left the hospital and made it to the safe harbor of our own home as a new family of three. Things were looking up until our notoriously unfriendly cat, Lyla, took one sniff of the new baby and promptly hissed. Although I usually rolled my eyes at her antisocial antics, I could see the irony of it — even as overwhelmed as I was. It felt like I had been hissing at the prospect of motherhood my whole life. I’m happy to report that Lyla came around and learned to tolerate our son.

I’m not happy to report that I spent that first year of motherhood in a desperate, exhausted and depressed state in which I did not seek professional help. Our son refused to sleep, had reflux issues, experienced a hernia and was coded as failure to thrive in his first weeks of life. I found breastfeeding to be difficult and extremely isolating. We all struggled through and things did get better, but I wish now that I had sought help.

All of these things led me to look at my husband incredulously when he asked, roughly two years later, if we were done having kids. We were still in the middle of the early childhood fog, and I reminded him of just how much denser said fog had been just a few short months prior. He is an only child himself and turned out to be pretty wonderful, I reminded him. I have a younger brother whom I love dearly, but we have very different personalities and fought like cats and dogs growing up. I informed my husband that I was actually thinking about saving up for him to have a vasectomy so we could be done with the whole baby-making process. It was his turn to look at me incredulously. For some unfathomable reason, he wasn’t ready to run right out and have that done. It’s the kindest snip, I joked. He didn’t find it nearly as humorous as I did.  

Fast forward to almost five years later, and we are happy with our only-child decision. I’m still pitching the vasectomy idea to my husband, and he is still not enthused. Day-to-day life has improved, but the fog is still far from dissipated. I am still, and probably always will be, haunted by the early days and my experiences. I’ve been able to deflect the “but everyone needs a sibling” line from well-meaning family and friends by reminding them how well my only-child husband turned out, and by reminding them that not all siblings get along. It helps that our son, who seems to have inherited my personality type, has asked me to state out loud that there will never be another baby and that "you and daddy will never be anyone else’s mommy and daddy." I laugh and say never say never son, but I am secretly glad that the lack of a sibling doesn’t seem to be a missing puzzle piece for him.

So, honey, your son and I are both on board with the “no sibling train of thought.” Time to schedule that vasectomy and seal our fate!


Kelly Bondurant is a freelance writer and North Carolina native. She lives in Youngsville with her husband and son. Check out her writer's website at kellybondurantwrites.com for updates, bio and other postings.

 

 

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May 2019

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Cost: $4-$12

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Museum
Telephone: 704-636-2889
Contact Name: Ian J. Kuhn

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Ages 6-14 swim, walk and run to benefit Just Tryan It, an organization dedicated to supporting families facing pediatric cancer. Proceeds benefit families at UNC and...

Cost: $55

Where:
Chapel Hill Country Club
103 Lancaster Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: Just TRYAN It
Contact Name: Sheryl Blackwell
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Enjoy an Art Market with more than 170 visual arts and crafts exhibitors from across North Carolina and the nation; Kidsplosure, showcasing multiple interactive educational...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Fayetteville St.
, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Cost: See website for fees

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N.C. State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Cost: Free with advance registration

Where:
Hilton Raleigh
3415 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Girls World Expo
Contact Name: Valerie Moore
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Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Chapel Hill
140 W. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Get in the driver's seat with this hands-on experience with vehicles of all kinds. Children will be allowed to touch, climb on and ask questions about their favorite vehicles in a safe,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Park
2200 Laura Duncan Rd.
Apex, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Town of Apex
Telephone: 919-249-3507
Contact Name: Allie Prelaske
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Cost: $15 or use your package/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Ages 5-13 enjoy a one-hour yoga class designed to strengthen and stretch the entire body, balance the nervous system, improve body awareness, encourage the development of communication and social...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Ages 11 and older with disabilities make New Orleans creole. Register online. Choose course #120057.

Cost: $19/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Making a kite is the perfect fun spring project! Learn about the forces that make kites fly and listen to the story of Benjamin Franklin and his kite (did he really draw electricity from lightning...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Century Center
Carrboro, NC  27510


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Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
Telephone: 919-438-3684
Contact Name: Mark Poole
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Discover the joy of cooking with storybook characters. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online. Choose course #120084.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Come celebrate Turtle Day by stopping by the park’s visitor’s center to learn some cool facts about North Carolina’s turtles! Meet our live park ambassador – Frankie the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Cost: 0

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 191-924-52539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Website »

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Ages 11 and older with special needs enjoy karaoke. Take a dish to share. Register online. Choose course #121043.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Edison Johnson Community Center
500 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Each Fourth Friday of the month join us for a night of art, film, food and fun. This is free and open to the public.​

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing and abc11

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Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Dogs, face painting, animal tattoos, a bounce house, dog contests and canine demonstrations, handmade bandannas, photo booths and local vendors highlight this annual festival to benefit the...

Cost: $15-$30

Where:
Duke University East Campus
Durham, NC


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One Saturday of the month join us for our family fun series. This is free and open to the public. Here is what you can expect: 10am-12pm: Come to the plaza for family-friendly activities for...

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing, abc11, and Offline

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Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call our park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resource Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are provided,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
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