Why I Chose Not To Have A Second Child

Published on: January 12, 2021


Having a second child is one of many life-changing, personal decisions that parents will have to make. But what do you do when practical reasons and biological needs are at odds with each other? 

By Suzi Chaemchaeng 

You meet a mother with one child and you curiously ask, “do you plan to have another?” It seems like a harmless question, but a loaded one for many and that includes me. 

I have one child and I love being a parent. The challenges it reveals can be good or bad, sometimes depending on the time of day. I now consider life in ways I never knew possible and have discovered a personal determination that was hidden before. 

I am also an Early Years teacher and I enjoy the role of facilitating my student’s learning and supporting their emotional growth. 

I am from a large family and my four siblings are also caretakers in different ways — it seems to be in my blood.

Do I want another child to add to my clan? Absolutely. Would I prefer not to be asked by someone I have just met? Absolutely. Will we have another child? No.

Since my child was born when I was 36, we have had constant upheavals; one of them is moving countries twice. I retrained to gain accreditation for the teaching jobs I have done my whole life. I got older — we all did — and now past 40, we are running out of time. 

I am surrounded by women in their 30s starting out and it is hard not to feel cheated by mother nature, but honestly, I do not know if I want pregnancy again. It is hard. No one tells you about the tired, constant feeling of sickness and the uncomfortable, sluggish physical feeling that will surely be harder now as a ‘geriatric’ mother (a term the medical profession would now use for me). 

There is also the newborn stage. The mother’s body becomes part of the child as the child was once part of theirs. There is no ‘me’ time and that is something I am enjoying returning to.

I would very much doubt there would be the gentle getting out of bed in the morning, with a huge stomach, to the sound of birds while I have my halo of pregnancy glow. In reality, I would be working full time, parenting most of the time, and then there’s that sickness again. No, thanks. So why does the feeling — the biological need — burn a hole inside me? Why do I feel I must create another small human in my life?

This is hard. It is so challenging to overwrite my deeply emotional state with my practical sense. Strangely, I feel fortunate. My husband has refused a second child and he is 50% of what is needed to make one. I have realised I value my marriage over my biological need to have another child. I come from a broken home and want my child to have both parents present, even if they are old and annoying. This decision may bring personal emotional recurrences of anger, resentment, and probably sadness but I will roll with them as they come.

I plan to be present with my one and only child. Give them a balanced, calm upbringing with strong boundaries. And I’d be able to afford flights back to the UK to visit my wonderful family and friends. I will make sure my child will be surrounded by other children and by our friends. They will feel the bonds we have outside the family. They will witness the love I have for friendships that are so old and so kindled with sisters not by blood but by mutual love. 

Are you trying to make this family decision? I would advise you to weigh up the pros and cons together with your partner. Consider space, money, school, and extended support. 

Essentially know it will be one of the hardest decisions you make whatever way it goes. I stand by the theory that every decision is correct at the time that you make it. 

I would love to hear from others who are sitting with this decision and those who made it and their reflections on it now.

Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash.

About the Author

Suzi is a born Londoner with an Irish heritage. She is a teacher and has taught yoga, exercise and now Early Years. She works in Phuket, where she lives with her child and husband of 10 years. They met on Koh Lanta, and have lived on and off in Thailand since. Her personal blog is: mamaferang.wordpress.com

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