My decision to not try for another child as a solo parent (or in any relationship status)

by | May 2, 2024 | Decision Making

Growing up, my vision of the future was crystal clear: meet the man of my dreams, get married at 29, and then a few years later, have two children, about 18 months apart. It seemed like the natural progression, the path everyone followed, without question.

It’s a pretty specific vision in hindsight, but at the time I never spent any time worrying that this would not happen for me, as I just presumed this would be how life panned out, or a version close to this.

But life has a funny way of throwing curveballs when you least expect it. The person I had been dating for the previous 7 years and envisioned spending the rest of my life with, abruptly ended our relationship, leaving my vision for the future in ruins. Suddenly, I found myself extremely anxious with the uncertainty of what the future held for me and my dreams of becoming a parent.

I’ve widely shared my decision to embark on solo parenthood. Using IVF and donor sperm, I welcomed my daughter into the world in 2018. Looking back, I realise it was a blessing in disguise. Life with her fills me with a joy I never knew possible and I really enjoy being a solo parent. I never feel like anything is missing.

Amidst my life solo parenting, there’s a topic I’ve spent the last 6 years contemplating, that I’ve not talked about as much; the prospect of expanding my family further. My childhood dream of two children close in age lingered in the back of my mind. Should I pursue it alone, just as I did with my daughter?

I went back and forth with this question for years. Ever since my daughter was born actually. I couldn’t get the fairytale image of having two children, as I’d always imagined, out of my head. At the same time, I wasn’t sure that I could manage two children solo.

After 6 years of consideration, I finally came to a decision, although it wasn’t an easy one at all. I decided that it wasn’t the right decision for me or my daughter for me to try for a second child and here’s why:

  • Firstly, the thought of navigating the exhausting newborn phase again while ensuring my daughter receives the attention she needs feels too overwhelming for me.
  • My daughter has made it clear she thrives on my undivided attention! With the way my life is structured, I worry about spreading myself too thinly and not being able to give her enough of my time and focused attention. Instead, because she won’t have a sibling in her life, I am prioritising creating opportunities for social interactions with other children.
  • I love my life exactly as it is now. It works great for me. I’ve never been so content. As my daughter grows and has become more independent, I’ve been able to prioritise myself more and reintroducing things that were not possible during the early years of parenthood. I’m socialising more, I’ve joined the gym, I’ve been going to the theatre, I’m able to take more time for me. This newfound balance not only benefits me but also enhances my ability to parent effectively as I feel rejuvenated.
  • Financial stability is another crucial factor in my decision. I’m comfortable with where I am, and I don’t want to jeopardise that security by taking on additional financial responsibility.
  • Finally, I realised I’d reached an age (45 years old) where even if I met my dream partner, I still wouldn’t want to have more kids with them. I would consider blending families but I can’t imagine myself starting again from the baby stage now.

It wasn’t an easy decision, and it took me six years to reach this point. That’s why I held onto my daughter’s baby clothes for so long, clinging to the possibility of another child. But now, I have clarity. This is the best decision for both me and my daughter.

I want to emphasise that this is an extremely personal decision and it is the right choice for me. That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone as we are all different, with different priorities and different circumstances. I am sharing my experiences in case they help someone. There are plenty of solo mums absolutely thriving with two or more children as that was the right decision for them.

If you’re grappling with the decision of whether to expand your family, I invite you to join us for a live panel event Second Time Solo (for Thriving Solo Members or available on demand for non members) being held on the 15th May at 8.30pm. The panel will be sharing their experiences and decision-making processes, offering support and insight along the way.

Let me know whether you’ve had this same decision to make and how easy or challenging it was and what you took into consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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