By: Kelly Metoyer
September 17, 2021
There are some things in life that I knew I wanted from a young age. I knew I wanted to go to college and graduate with a fancy degree. I knew I wanted to have a good paying job doing something I really enjoyed. I knew I wanted to get married and have a big, elaborate wedding. But to be honest, I did not think too much about having children. Sure, I liked the idea and figured it would most likely happen in “the future”, but it was not something I had planned out. In fact, I felt like I spent most of my reproductive years trying to not get pregnant.
Fast forward to my late 20s. I went to college and grad school, where I got two fancy degrees. I had a good paying job doing something I really enjoyed. I found “the one” and had my big, elaborate wedding. I even added a fur baby to the mix. But after all that was said and done, I started to think about what would happen next.
After getting married, my husband and I often were questioned when we would have kids. We usually had a snarky response, saying that I worked too much, or my husband would flat out tell people that we weren’t having kids at all. But the reality was that we never had a REAL conversation about children. When we did start to have those convos, we realized we had different goals. He seemed adamant about not having children. He wanted to be free to travel and participate in his other hobbies. But I was torn. I understood his thoughts about kids and having the freedom to do whatever we wanted, but there was the part of me that was worried I would regret not even trying. I felt extremely indecisive and could not make up my mind.
With the help of our trusty therapist, my husband and I started to talk more and more about the subject. It wasn’t a quick and easy decision. And then one day it just clicked. It was in March, just after our 3rd wedding anniversary. We were in yet another couple’s therapy session, talking about my fear of not having children or at least not trying and feeling regretful. My therapist asked me directly what I wanted, and I blurted out that I wanted to at least try to have a baby. That was the first time I ever fully verbalized that I wanted to have kids, without thinking about anyone else’s opinions. I sat there speechless for a second. My husband smiled and said he had been “waiting for me to cross the finish line”, a reference that tugged at my heartstrings since he was a runner/triathlete. I felt giddy and excited.
I had a decisive reproductive life goal and could create my reproductive life plan!
Things moved rather quickly after that. I made an appointment a few weeks later in April to get my IUD removed. My doctor told us that on average it could take 4-10 months to get pregnant after an IUD removal. Three months later, I found out I was pregnant. That was the moment our lives changed forever. There was no going back now. It was no longer just the three of us (my husband, myself, and our fur baby). We were on this full blown emotional roller-coaster and had no idea what to expect next.
The next 8 months were quite an adventure. Having a history of pulmonary embolisms and a deep vein thrombosis meant having to be on blood-thinners while pregnant, giving myself injections twice a day, from 8 weeks all the way until 39 weeks when I delivered. Aside from the that, I had a fantastic pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness, I actually lost weight, passed my glucose testing with flying colors, and had no complications. Most people didn’t even know I was pregnant. I enjoyed every moment of shopping and prepping for our baby girl. I had an induction at 39 weeks, with an uncomplicated delivery, and our sassy little lassie was born on St. Patrick’s Day, bringing so much happiness and joy to our lives.
Not long after birth did I start to get questions about when we would have another. Another?! I literally just had a baby! What on earth were people thinking? But I soon realized that this was going to be a normal topic that people would often inquire about. I had no thoughts about having another baby, especially as I was learning to manage life with a newborn.
It was not until months later that I realized I had no desire to have another baby. I could not imagine going through pregnancy or birth again. I had an amazing experience and am so grateful that everything went “right” for me. But I never want to do that again. While I had a great experience, I do not talk about the constant worry that I had that something was wrong or the fear that I was going to have a problem. The stress that pregnancy sometimes can cause is not discussed as often as it should be. We often imagine pregnancy to be this wonderful experience, with amazing and happy outcomes, and that non-stop glowing feeling. And it very well can be! But it does not always turn out that way. I will openly admit that I am afraid that everything will go wrong a second time around and I’m not willing to put myself at risk to find out. Eight months of twice daily blood thinning injections took a toll on my body. I do not want to do that again. Is this a selfish choice? Absolutely! And that is the joy of my body, my choice. So it was at that point that I made the decision that I am “one and done”.
I am quite often met with criticism for my decision. “She needs a sibling.” “How can you only want one child?” “Your child is going to be spoiled." “Your child is going to be lonely.” “It isn’t fair to your daughter.” While not always intentional, the shaming and outdated stereotyping that comes from deciding to have one child or no children at all is problematic and deeply rooted in society. Not everyone who is one and done makes that decision on their own. Many have complications that lead to the inability to have more children. Other reasons that lead families to having one child could be financial concerns, delayed parenthood, fertility issues, and high childcare costs, just to name a few.
The decision to have my one and only is not shocking to me, considering I was so indecisive about having children in the first place. My goal was to have one child and I have achieved that goal. My reproductive life plan is complete. In researching about other one and done parents, I came across a quote in an article on The Bump that perfectly sums up my decision,
“Sometimes when you create a masterpiece, it doesn’t make sense to paint another.”