On "One and Done"

A girl I follow on Instagram just gave birth to a beautiful little boy. The first few days of his life she posted picture after picture of him, gushing with the incredible love of a mother. Seeing her posts made me so happy. They also made my heart break.

Ever since R turned one, people have been asking us when we're going to have another baby. At first our answer was that we were going to wait and assess the situation in five years or so. Everyone told me I'd get baby fever long before then and that I'd change my mind. I wanted to punch everyone who’d say that and scream, "DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT I JUST WENT THROUGH? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND HOW AWFUL IT ALL WAS?"

Before N and I got together I was very firm in the belief that I never wanted kids. You can ask my own mother, I'm the least maternal person she knows! Or at least I was. But I fell so crazy in love with N that something deep inside me yearned to have a family with him. He had always wanted kids and I wanted a tiny version of him whom I loved so much (BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.)

I had my first (and only) bout of baby fever while we were engaged. I was two years from finishing college, we had an entire house to renovate, lots of money to save up, and I think the realization that we wouldn't be trying for a baby for a few years is what drove my longing. When I found out I was pregnant with R a switch immediately flipped and all desire for a baby- including the one inside me- vanished. But that is another post.

Now that R is coming up on her third birthday and has shown us her personality and energy level (!), we have decided that we are done. Barring the malfunction of my copper IUD of course. Knock on all the wood in the world! N will also get a vasectomy in a few years. Instead of my desire for another child growing, my desire for only one is cementing. And I feel at peace with this. I do.

But when I see the pictures of these sweet newborns and their loving mamas, it makes me both happy and sad inside. It makes me sad not because I long for another baby (I don't in the slightest), but because it makes me realize how much I missed out on with R- both during my pregnancy and when she was a newborn. I could not have changed my circumstances. If I could go back in time and try to re-live those long months everything would be the same. Everything that went wrong was out of my control. But honestly, you couldn't pay me a million dollars to relive one minute of my pregnancy or R's newborn period when I struggled with severe Post-Partum Depression and she had what can only be described as the colic from hell.

I feel cheated. I feel like I was robbed of something precious and invaluable. Depression/ anxiety and physical health issues have stolen so much from me over these past 25 years, and it just sucks goddammit. It sucks. And now we're done and there aren't going to be any do-overs. (Although I know that even if I did have another chance things would be just as difficult- if not more so- because of my worsening health issues and having to deal with R.)

I *am* grateful that I got to experience pregnancy at all. That I have a healthy, wonderful child. I will never take these facts for granted. In fact, the infertility of others is something that troubles my soul immensely- it is a huge source of guilt. Why me and not them? Those who deserve it. But no individual’s pain should lessen/ invalidate that of another. These are my feelings, and I have been hurt by the circumstances of my life.

This is not a subject I dwell on anymore. It gives me pause only infrequently, but it's something I wanted to share. I will be typing up a couple of posts regarding my pregnancy and newborn experience (i.e. depression during pregnancy and post-partum depression), and that will perhaps give you more insight into my hurt. I hope you'll stay tuned.


  1. I think you're so brave for being so honest about all of this. I've never really understood how people can say that they never want kids because all I've ever felt is the strong desire to have several. But as I have gotten older, I now realize that that urge & desire that I feel is exactly what others feel only opposite - it's just who they are inside. I used to think someone had to be a monster for not wanting, loving and adoring children but now I know that that couldn't be further from the truth. Some of the best people I know have no interest in having children. I've even had friends who told me that they if they could, they'd hand over their ability to have children to someone who lacks it and wants it. I've learned that not everyone is meant to have children and not everyone needs them to feel like they've fulfilled their lives.

    I'm sorry for the awful experience with pregnancy and having a newborn, but I'm also glad that in the end you wound up with a healthy little one that you love. And I think it's absolutely acceptable that you know that you don't want another. No one knows what's best for you than you!


    1. Thank you! It is a really hard thing to share because it's certainly more common to have a maternal instinct than it's isn't, and for those that want children it's difficult to imagine anything more gratifying. I'll admit, even in my position I can't think of anything that would make me happier in life. But going through this has really made me understand more clearly why some people wish to remain child-free, and it's a decision I certainly respect!

  2. I love this post- thank you for sharing (Because it's honest, not because you had a rough go of it!).

    I'm so sorry that you didn't get to enjoy your pregnancy/pp like you would have liked.. I does suck. Suck is really the best word for it. I can't identify with you on that but I have definitely had experiences that I "should have" enjoyed more than I did, but couldn't thanks to mental noise going on.. Also kudos for you for sticking with "one and done". I think I'll be a one and done too, but I worry about my willpower when I'm holding a sweet newborn.... Then I say think like "I worry about my willpower" and newborn in the same sentence and re-think the kids idea all around.. :-/

    I understand the guilt too..life is so hard and unfair sometimes. I really look forward to reading your up coming posts. I know that I've said it before, but thank you. REAL is so awesome to read. Plus getting the awareness out there is so powerful.


    1. Aw thank you! I think suck is the perfect word too. As I was tying this out I was wondering if I could think of a more eloquent way to put it, but suck is just exactly how it is. It's not minor, but it's certainly not the worst thing in the world.
      And I thought I'd be the way when I hold my friend's newborns, but luckily my body is like "awww this is so sweet, and what's even better is you get to give the baby back!" When R was a newborn I never saw her awake and not screaming (she did this until she was three months old) and she never let us hold her while she slept. So when I hold a newborn that isn't crying or is sleeping it is so amazing to me! But even so it doesn't turn on that crazy biological urge to make me want more, haha. Thankfully!

    2. 3 months of screaming?? My gosh... I don't know how you did it. Thank goodness for rational thought haha :)

  3. I honestly think those first months are a complete blur for everyone--at least for me. Not discounting your hardships AT ALL--just trying to help you feel a bit better. I feel like I missed out on so much, too, but I think it's because I was just so tired and trying desperately to figure out parenthood. Your honest posts are so refreshing, but it makes me so sad that you've been through so much. I honestly wish I could go back and rescue you somehow, but, as you said, it was all out of your control.