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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September 2019

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...

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Open Arts
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

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Open Arts
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Compare Foods Parking Lot
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City Market
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Discover Historic Yates Mill—a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

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

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

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Durham Performing Arts Center
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

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Crowder County Park
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Lake Crabtree County Park
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Orange County Main Library
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Cary Towne Centre
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other scientists...

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other...

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
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Main Street Creedmoor
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Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
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Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

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

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: Free

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River Park
114 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborouh, NC  27278
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This family-oriented event includes corn milling demonstrations and costumed tours of Yates Mill, and other event activities including a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and...

Cost: Free, though there is a $3-5 fee for mill tours

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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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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Take the family for Caribbean food, live music, a Kids Zone, bounce house, face painter and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
West Point on the Eno
5101 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC  27704
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

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

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

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Celebrate diversity in Wake Forest with live performances, traditional cuisine and family entertainment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $11.25 – $20

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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The Teen Advisory Board invites you to meet up with other gamers to mingle, snack, and test your skills for prizes! Guests are welcome to bring their own controllers/fightsticks. Register by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
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The Clayton Center presents country crooner Billy "Crash" Craddock in concert. Sing along with Crash as he belts out his biggest hits, including Knock Three Times, Rub It In, Ruby Baby, Broken...

Cost: $25 plus taxes & fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second Street
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: The Clayton Center
Telephone: 919-553-1737
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