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Am I Less of a Mother Because I Only Have One Child?

I have two sets of friends – those who have no children and those who have 2 or more. I have yet to find that one who only has one kid. And if they did, they’re already pregnant with the second on the way. It’s like having multiple kids is a trend or something and I’m so far behind it that I’m really just uncool all around.

are you a supermom

I feel like I’m always walking into conversations I couldn’t possibly relate to, because I’m a mom of just one child. The best part is when I’m constantly asked (sometimes by the same person over and over) about whether or not I want to have another child or someone looks away after saying something that insinuates I couldn’t possibly understand what real motherhood is like because I’ve got just the one.

How could I possibly be ok with having just one child?

At those moments, I’d like to answer Jami Amerine’s question as she asks, “I want to know why when a mom of many says to you, “Oh, you JUST have one?” you don’t PUNCH HER IN THE THROAT???” with my honest to goodness response, “ARE YOU KIDDING?!”

Yes, of course! I would absolutely LOVE a bigger family. Why in the world would I want my child to be alone and not have siblings he could potentially be great friends with? Why wouldn’t I want a chance to have a little girl I can share princess stories with? Why would I ever be so selfish as to just have one child when I could probably have so many more?

Most moms start with just one child at a time. And yes, I’ve been around friends who have 3 or more but remembered the days when their “one” was just as difficult as any day they now have. I remember their “freak out” sessions, sleep deprived days, and days they did nothing but worry about what disease their child could potentially get because they’ve eaten something off the floor. I do remember and guess what? It never seemed less difficult than any of their present days.

Let me just say, first of all, that not everyone is in the same position in life. Yes, children are beautiful, they’re great, and can make life more amazing and positive in many ways. I don’t disagree with that at all. I do know as well that whatever our situations are in life, we find ways to make things happen, no matter what. Meaning, for example, that just because we think we’re not financially ready to have more children, there are always ways to be.

Well, you know what? I’m glad for all those people who make things happen in life because they think it will be alright without truly being prepared. Good graces will just fall in my lap and all will be well, right?

motherhood for mom with one child

Why my first pregnancy convinced me it wasn’t a good idea to have more kids

I’ve heard it all. I’ve been given lists of reasons that could solve my problems and fears of having more than one child. So if you must know what my “excuses” are, I’ll enlighten you on just a few:

  1. Pregnancy was not fun.

  2. Before you judge me and tell me about your horrifying experiences, let me just stop you there and say that just because you like pain, doesn’t mean I have to. My one pregnancy was awful. I had gestational diabetes and hypertension so I had to prick my finger 4 times EVERY DAY to test my blood sugar and couldn’t have anything with salt or sugar for me. I was STARVING! My diet included protein with no salt and no sugar.

    It also used to take me half an hour to an hour sometimes to get myself from my car to the front of a store or the doctor’s office because I was in a lot of pain with my “delicates” (as my son now calls it) and more. At least 4 months of my pregnancy was NOT good. Not to mention the fact that everything made me ill because everything smelled horrible!

  3. I had no real help.

  4. My husband’s job requires him to do a lot of traveling. So without him being around and not really having family here to help me when I needed it, I always felt like I was on the verge of insanity.

  5. You could never truly predict your financial situation

  6. A child’s condition is so unpredictable. For example, my son had a situation and had to be in the NICU for over a week, which accumulated about $75,000 in hospital bills for us. Fortunately, we had great insurance coverage, but still had to pay 10% of it. Since then, our policy has changed significantly and now would have to pay a great deal more, especially since I would most likely have a c-section if I were to have another baby.

    So, you see, no matter how financially prepared you think you are, there’s no way for you to ever tell what kind of attention your child will truly need and how much any of it would cost, if it does. And honestly, my husband and I aren’t the type of people to just “wing it” because we think life will just magically make it all work out for us.

    mom of one kid

  7. The doors have closed

  8. Sadly, my husband has closed the door on this subject and because I love him, I must say that I have to as well. He’s older than 50 and can’t see that having a child under the age of 10 when he’s 60 is just the way to go. It may sound a bit selfish to you, but for us, it’s how we choose to be. We don’t know how old we will live, but there’s a good chance we could probably not be in the same shape we are when we’re in our 70s.

    I honestly don’t know that I could spend any more years changing diapers, being a zombie and walking around without sleep. I’m getting much too old to put myself in that position and don’t think my body will physically and emotionally be able to handle it. As it is, bedtime for me is at least past midnight and my waking hours are just under 7am, if that. And I still feel tired. But hey, don’t get me wrong, because I had my moments when sleep was not as luxurious as it is now. I’m finally able to get more sleep and I like it way too much to give it up now!


It’s fantastic that your life is perfect with multiple kids, but do you really have to rub it in?

Motherhood comes in all sorts of packages. It shouldn’t matter how many little people you have to take care of. You still go through ups and downs, the good and bad times, the fails and the victories. Each situation could be significantly different from another.

A friend of mine with twins, swears to have had the best and easiest times with her babies. “I don’t know what the big deal was,” she said. She said they rarely ever cried, they both fed and slept at the same time, and they both grew with very little trouble at all. This coming from a mom of twins, while at the same time, I listened to a different story from another friend whose daughter had acid reflux, colic, and the absolute worst first year she ever experienced in her life from just one little daughter!

If you have many children, then lucky you! I’m definitely jealous because your life worked out in such a way that it was all so possible for everything fall into place so you could be in that happy family you so love. If your life isn’t perfect, then please, refrain from the judgments of why I choose to only have one kid.

motherhood is a gift

So then, how do you define motherhood?

A mom is a mom as soon as she is handed over the responsibility of caring for another human being. She’s there to share her love, care for and help that child become the best person they could possibly be. A mom is there to hug their child when they’re sad, to kiss away their pain, and to give them the most unconditional love no other human being could ever give. A mom is the one person who could unselfishly sacrifice just about anything for their child.

I wholeheartedly feel all those things described above. So does that still make me less of a mom?

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop is the proud mommy to little Oliver and wife to hubby. She is a resident of Laguna Beach and a big player in the web's large social media circle.

25 comments

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  • Having NO children is the most socially responsible and caring thing one can do in 2017; the next best thing is to have only 1. End of story.

  • I think this is something a lot of one-child moms struggle with! I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with it – just keep being an amazing mamma! 🙂

  • There is no possible way you are LESS of a mom just because you only have one child, the fact that I have 4 does not make you less of a mom than me. We still do the same things for them and we still worry about our babies in the same way. They all still carry the same responsibilities and they all need our love if anything I would say it’s just more of a juggling game when it comes to multiples. We are both blessed to have our babies though and it sounds like you have a happy family.

  • I don’t believe youre less of a mother at all if you just have one child. It’s really not about the number of children you have, and one is still a handful! Being a great mother means taking care of your child or children and nothing else!

  • I can’t believe there are people out there who are giving mother’s with one child a hard time! I say, you know your situation best, so stick with your gut feeling! Love your child to the moon and back, that’s the most important thing a parent should worry about : )

  • Having one child doesn’t make you less of a mom. And I’m not saying that just because I only have a son myself. Sometimes there are reasons beyond our control why we ended up having only one child, but you don’t owe those judgmental people any explanations. Just sayin’.

  • Most of my cousins (who are all younger then me) have at least 3 kids. In fact, in my family, having 5 kids by the time you are 30 is normal (my mom did). Almost all of my local friends have at least 3 kids. Several have at least 5. Then there’s me. I’m 32 years old and have one child. I often feel like the odd one out, lol. Especially since my friends all actively try to have more kids. Meanwhile I’m over here feeling like I am ok with just one child. Maybe one day I will change my mind. But until that day, I wish people would stop telling me that my son “needs a baby brother or sister”. That’s kind of (absolutely) none of their business.

  • I’m so glad I found your story. I too have only given birth to one child. I had my son when I was just 15 years old. While my actual pregnancy was pretty easy, besides a huge weight gain, my circumstances were not, mostly because of my age. My son’s dad bailed when he was 9 months old but just about 4 months later I met a wonderful guy with a 3-year-old daughter and we’ve been a family ever since (16 years now) and our kids are now 17 and 19 years old. I desperately wanted one more child for years but my partner didn’t but that was okay because after all we did have two kids very close in age who had a great relationship with each other. I’m still young enough to have another if I wanted to but my kids would be at least 18 years apart and I’d have an infant and a high school senior and that wouldn’t make much sense to me.

    We all have a story and a reason for how we choose to parent. I never appreciated other people remarking about me having another kid because frankly it was my choice and none of their business.

  • I’m so sorry people have treated you this way. I keep getting asked when I’m going to try for a girl and the answer is never. I’m done with just two kids. And here are some mythbusters for you, your kids will not be friends. They’ll hate each other most of the time, mom’s with multiple kids are not happier because they have more kids, they are more stressed and they just feel that if they talk down to others who don’t have multiple kids, it makes them superior or something. They have less money, they enjoy way less grown up times and date nights. I think you will have a closer relationship with your son, than these moms with multiple kids do, and later in life they might wonder why. Now one of the benefits of multiple kids is teaching giving and sharing lessons to your kids. It can be harder to do that with one child unless they are in a constant situation, maybe school or daycare where this is taught. But still it’s not a reason to have more kids unless you really want to. For us it was financial and like you mentioned, my husband was getting older, so sorry mother in law who wants a grand daughter. It’s not happening.

  • That is so lame that someone is judging you for only having one child. And just because someone has multiple kids doesn’t make them a better mom. You have to do what’s right for you and your family.

  • I think there are so many kinds of mothers out there, some that don’t have kids at all. It all depends on how you look at it. You’re a great mom!

  • I think it’s just fine to have one child. I have two daughters myself and I’m glad that I do. I just think everyone is so different and having one child is just fine. You can focus more on them too. 🙂

  • I totally respect your decision. If my third pregnancy was first, I would have likely only had one child. I hurt like crazy in my delicate parts too. I thought my pelvis was going to break in half. Raising kids isn’t easy either. I really wish people would stop judging. My husband only wanted 1 because they are expensive so we closed my factory while they were doing my c-section. It is a good thing since my health has only deteriorated since having him.

    I had my older two kids when I was young so it was easier on the body compared to late in the game. But I am thankful, that I opened my heart to 1 more. He is an awesome young man.

  • Life should not be about comparing your life to someone else’s to measure if you are okay or not. Be happy with what you have. You are doing a heck of a job. That’s wonderful.

  • i love this article. every mom should read this! forget about those very judgemental people around you. just be a perfect mom to your child and enjoy life with him! you are such an inspiration

  • I can’t imagine why any mother would go out of her way to make another feel like she’s “less than” worthy of being part of the mommy club. For me personally, I don’t care if you have one child or twelve, and I don’t care how you birthed them or whether you adopted them. If a child looks up to you, needs you, cries for you, then you are a mother, and that’s all there is to it.

  • I also only have one child and I like reading things from your point of view to see how other moms feel about similar situations. I have always felt like some parents of multiples were selfish rather than only child parents. I guess we all have our struggles and mom guilt is a real thing, no matter what your situation!

  • I do not know why people think everyone need to have more then one child. I think it is great to be an only child. There are many perks to having only one.

  • Oh SO MUCH this! I only have one child. He’s 12 right now. I used to get bugged a lot when she was younger to have more. It just wasn’t in the cards. – not for lack of trying. I’ve often felt like a failure watching mothers with their multiple children, having fun. What a great post – helps me feel like I’m not alone.

  • I LOVE this post! Although I have more than one child there is a BIG age gap between them and so I KNOW exactly where you are coming from! Stand your ground girl you are doing great!

  • I was a single mom of one for a few years. I just assumed one was it and I was fine with it. I had an awesome, happy, well adjusted child. One child or three (as I have now), a mom’s job is hard but so rewarding!

  • To each their own, that’s what I always say when it comes to families. I’ve always been frustrated by how many people harass people into starting families in the first place. Not everyone is even meant to be parents! It sounds like your family is perfect just the way it is.