How many children should I have? Is Double Trouble?

How Many Children?

How Many Children?

I'm 42 years old and my only child will be two in July. A year ago, my husband and I decided that we would only have one child. Now, I'm starting to have doubts about an only child. I really don't want her to grow up without siblings, even though she has cousins near her age, I feel that the bonds between siblings are so much stronger.

Still, I am concerned that another pregnancy will not go as smoothly for me or result in another wonderful, perfect child like we have. Since I was a "mature mother," their nice way of saying old, I had to go through extra ultra-sounds and additional testing throughout my pregnancy. Everything went fine and we always had good news at the end of every test, but the night before each test I was a nervous wreck...what if...? On top of that, I had an extremely easy pregnancy--no sickness, no issues. Everything was perfect and my daughter is beautiful, smart, and healthy.

So, now I'm two years older and I think I want to do it again but I can't help worry about the what if's. I know science/medicine is good, but with the increase in autism and all the possible birth defects associated with mother's age, I think I'm tempting fate by trying. Should I leave well enough alone or am I doing my daughter a disservice by letting her grow up an only child? I would love to know what other only children think and also what other older mothers have thought when they were in this predicament themselves.

Oh, and I forgot to mention how my husband and I are thinking that life is getting a lot easier as our daughter gets older and that we can do a lot of things we used to do. Do we really want to go back to sleepless nights and all that? We also got rid of tons of the baby stuff when we decided that we wouldn't have another one.

Am I being selfish? Or smart? I don't know how to deal with these mixed emotions and I'm usually pretty good at reasoning things out, but as the clock ticks, I feel like I'm even more and more undecided.

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Aug 10, 2016
Best of Luck to You Too!
by: Arrington

Thank you so much for sharing your story. We all have different paths when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood. You are very wise to think about what happens later in life. Congratulations on being calm and informed! That really is the best state to be in - as much as possible - because as you point out, pregnancy brings up so many emotions!


Aug 09, 2016
go for it!
by: Anonymous

I'm going to start with that annoying platitude that this is all highly individual and what's best for you may not be best for someone else. That being said, I've been coping with similar issues for the last 2 years and feel I can comment. I am now 5 weeks pregnant, at age 43. I'm certainly afraid of pregnancy, birth, and infant health issues. I'm not excited about sleepless nights and temporary loss of freedom during the early years (our son is now 6). But after 2 miscarriages already, I'm even MORE depressed by the thought of not having another child. To me, it feels unfathomably incomplete and I've been struggling to fill the void and accept that we may have only one child. Now I'm pregnant, struggling to embrace the joy and hoping for the best!

I was an only child until the age of 11 and I hated it. However, I did not have a healthy relationship with my parents. My brother was killed in an accident nearly 22 years later so I am left as an only child once again. As my parents age, it's extremely lonely -- perhaps even more so because we don't have a good relationship and I'm left to deal with this all alone. Growing up, I said I would never have just one child because it was so awful as a kid. I knew some other only children who seemed perfectly content, however. Sibling relationships are the longest of any in our lives. Mine was cut short and it changed my life. I want my son to have a sibling to grow up with AND a sibling to grow old with when my husband and I have passed on. Most people forget about that part.

Given my age and background, I know I've taken on a risk with this pregnancy. Frankly, though, if you look at the statistics, I actually have a 95% chance of having a perfectly healthy child. 95%! I'm not yet resolved about how/if I will seek genetic screening, but most likely I will. Yes, I'm scared, yes, I'm older. But I'm healthy and a whole lot calmer and informed.

Best of luck to you in whatever you choose!

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