When I was younger, I didn't set out to have only one child. In my mind, I was going to have two because it seemed like the perfect number. Not too many and not just one. But life doesn't always happen the way you want. Timelines are not always something you can control. Unforeseeable and unfortunate life events can't be stopped.
I shared about how we had two miscarriages before having A. That really sucked and was gut wrenching. Whenever I hear stories of miscarriages or child loss, it sometimes triggers the feelings from many years ago.
What I haven't shared with you is the frustration of trying for the second child and never seeing it come to fruition. Not becoming pregnant the second time while time flies by and you see your chances of getting pregnant go down the toilet with each menstrual cycle. The longing you feel for your family when you hear of friends getting pregnant with their second while your womb is still empty.
It's not like I think about it all the time. I had these thoughts and feelings when A was younger. Now that she is 5 (almost 6), I can't even think about living the newborn mom life again. But every once in a while, there is a sense of sadness and wistfulness of what could be with two kids. Trust me, I'm actually pretty happy with our life right now, the independence, the ease of life with one. But when I see A with friend's babies or her baby nephews-- I wonder if I did right by her. If I should have sought out other methods to have another baby.
The Hardest Thing
To me, the hardest thing about having an only child is everything they go through is the first and last. All their milestones, their "firsts", their "lasts", the "I'll do it better next time" is the one and only time. The first time they do anything will be the first and last time you'll experience it as a parent.
Ok, so this post is sounding pretty depressing and sad. That wasn't my intention! Let's shift for a moment and let me share with you what has been amazing! Despite this being the hardest thing about having an only child, it's made me savor those firsts SO MUCH. It's made me really enjoy all the first and last milestones with my daughter. It's made me try my best to be present and to give her my best as a mom because she's my only.
This isn't to say that if you have a lot of kids, you're giving them less. It's more an encouragement to all of us as parents to enjoy the moments- the first, the last, the first first- the whatever. To savor the moments as much as possible and enjoy them regardless of whether it's your first child's first or your last child's first.
What do you think is the hardest thing about having an only child? What's the hardest thing about having multiple children?
Wondering why I just don't have another one and that it's not too late-- check out this post about why having an only child is right for us.
Photography: Rachel Richey