It’s Okay To Only Want One
So you had a baby, and now you’re thinking this is it: this is the only child I want.
You heard me: you don’t have to have more children. What? Are you surprised to hear that from a doula?
It’s true I’m in the business of birth: as a labor doula, my work depends on people having babies! But birth itself is not my business, support is—and as a postpartum and infant care specialist, my sole goal is specifically helping you enjoy parenthood!
For many people, that means having one child. Unfortunately, this very valid decision is often met with a lot of criticism, and when parents of only-children turn to the mom groups and family blogs for support, encouragement, advice, they hear the following phrase (or a different but similar sentiment):
“I think every child deserves a sibling."
Each time it's been said, the person whose fingertips (or lips!) it left didn't see the problem with the statement they were making, but I'm going to break it down:
Not every child deserves a sibling. Let me be clear: no one is owed another human being.
Every child deserves a loving home, enough food to eat—there are a whole host of things that every child deserves, but a whole other person is not one of them.
When we tell parents who have chosen to have only one child that they are depriving their children of something, we are not only making up false dilemmas to shame them with (hello, you can't predict the future and thus guarantee that their child will want a sibling, or that they would be best friends with said sibling(s), or that they would enjoy any of the other experiences you think having siblings affords a child), but we are also totally invalidating their feelings, ignoring their desires, and treating these individuals as if they are somehow less deserving than their children of a life well-built. For some, that life includes one child—this doesn't make it (or them!) any less great.
But The bigger issue here is this: we have to stop telling women that they have to experience pregnancy, birth, and parenthood to be worthy—especially a second, third, or fourth time—when it isn't what they want for their lives.
Women are worth more than their reproductive abilities. Families are made up of more than just children. And parents, who fall in love with one another and start a life together, deserve to be able to share that life with as many—OR AS FEW—children as they choose.
I support your choices. I'll stand with you as you make them.
And, if I'm doing my job well, I'll allow you to enjoy your lives as parents just a little bit more, no matter how many babies you have in tow.