I was once getting a manicure next to a woman who asked if I had children. At the time, I told her I had a one-year old boy. She then asked my favorite question most people follow that up with. "Are you having any more?" I told her I wasn't--that my husband and I decided one was enough and the right decision for our family--we were one and done. She informed me she only had one son and that sometimes when you create a masterpiece, it doesn't make any sense to paint over it. Thank you manicure lady for immediately accepting my choice and making me feel good about it! It doesn't always happen like that. In fact, most people respond with confusion, sometimes horror when they find out you are "one and done." I love that phrase. It's short and sweet and very blunt. It leaves no room for interpretation. Those people do not. Sometimes those people are strangers. Other times they are acquaintances and family members. All I can say, is that at the end of the day, you don't know what it's like to walk in my shoes--to live my life--to know what I need and what's best for me. Only I know that, especially when it comes to motherhood. I also want to say that I am in no way promoting"one and done" as the best or easiest parenthood choice. If you don't want any kids or want to have two, three, even five kids, I think that's incredible. Do it! It's just not the right choice for me.
If you are one of my closest friends, you know all the reasons why I'm not having any more children. It comes up in our mom conversations all the time. You never make me feel guilty. You never judge. You never try to convince me to change my mind. Thank you for that. So now I'm just going to put it all out there--because I think it's so important for moms to feel empowered and confident in making the choices they know are best for them--regardless of what others think and say--regardless of who the people are that are doing the thinking and saying.
I need more. This might be a controversial statement, but being a mom and a wife aren't enough for me. I need more--something that is just mine. I'm pretty positive I have found it through writing this blog. My writing is my currency. It's part of my identity outside of being a mom and wife. It has transformed me--makes me feel happier--connects me with amazing women--feeds my mind and spirit. Writing is becoming my second baby. I want to nurture that and give it the time it requires while enjoying, raising and being present for my first baby too.
Happy mom, happy baby. If mommy isn't happy, there is no way baby is going to be happy. This is the reason I stopped breastfeeding on day 5. It's the reason I went on and continue to take antidepressants. It's why I have a part-time nanny, hire babysitters for date nights and girls' nights and take solo trips occasionally. And it's most definitely the biggest reason why I'm not having another child. I want to be the best mommy I can be to my son and part of that means taking care of my well-being. Therefore, I choose to give him a happy, healthy mommy rather than a sibling.
I want my marriage to last. I love my son to the moon and back, but he is not the sun in our marriage. My relationship with my husband comes first. We made a pact to live this way before we had Mason. Marriage is hard work and the work grows exponentially when you add kids to the mix. We have weekly date nights and take child-free vacations. I'm not going lie, child care is easier when there is only one tiny human to chase after. For us, we balance parenting and marriage by deciding to be a team of three. It's just the dynamic that works for us.
I need consistent me time. I take mom breaks and I do so without guilt. I need to for my own sanity and survival. Every now and then I go away. Sometimes it's for the night, other times for a long weekend. I usually go to New York City where I get to see my best friends, sisters, shop at my favorite stores, eat at my favorite restaurants, and take too many Soul Cycle classes. When I leave, my husband spends quality time with our son, is able to balance work and dad life, and I come back feeling renewed, recharged, and ready to be mommy again.
Airplanes fit us perfectly. Superficial I know, but an airplane row fits three people. In my world, that is mommy, daddy, and son. Mason goes in the middle with mommy and daddy on either side of him. iPads out, headphones on, and we are good to go!
I can't start over again. When Mason turned one and I finally felt confident and happy as his mommy, I felt like I had come so far. I went through so much in that first year and I just knew I couldn't go backwards. For me that meant no more pregnancies, no more infant stage, no more sleep training or bottles of formula. I just wanted to keep going forward, growing as Mason's mommy as he continues to grow into a little person. I love to see and love on my mom friends' new babies, but after about 30 minutes I'm over it and handing them back. I don't have that feeling of "my uterus hurts" for more babies. My family feels complete.I still get anxiety when I find myself back at the maternity floor of the hospital visiting a friend who just gave birth. If that's not a telling sign, I don't know what is!
I battled postpartum depression. I'm putting this reason last on purpose. Many people assume this to be the number one reason why I choose not to have more children. While yes, I'm at a higher risk for having it again in future pregnancies, it's a very small part of my decision. I am grateful for my PPD journey and who I am today because of it, but it is not something I want to experience again. It is not something I want to put my husband through again or my son especially now that he would be old enough to understand it more.
I'm sorry to everyone who might disagree with me here, doesn't approve of my choices, or thinks I'm saying too much on the subject. Actually, thats a lie. It's more like sorry, I'm not sorry. I can't please everyone, just the most important one. Me! I'm just being real...and honest...and hoping it gives other moms the courage to do the same...no matter what choices they are making or struggling with. And my baby who isn't such a baby anymore isn't going to just be fine. He's going to be independent, brave, strong, compassionate, opinionated, brilliant, and amazing. Well duh! Of course he is--because I made him--and he is a masterpiece--and I'm his mommy!