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Should You Stop at One? How to Decide Whether to Have Another Child

Should You Stop at One? How to Decide Whether to Have Another Child

Should you have more than one child? Circle of Moms members have shared many considerations that can help you decide what's right for your family. If you’re struggling with the decision, consider these perspectives from other moms who have faced the same dilemma.

Lonely Only?

Numerous moms who opt for more than one child say that providing a playmate for their first child was a major factor in their decision to have another. As Sandi A. shares of a friend who is an only child. “She calls herself a 'lonely child,' which breaks my heart.”

Many others, however, argue that the “lonely only” assumption is not a foregone conclusion, and that an only child can have a social life that is every bit as active and fulfilling as those of siblings. “Only children does not equate [to] lonely children,” argues Sharon C. “It is a parent's responsibility to see to it that our children are not lonely. Begin play dates and social groups early on.”

And only child Helen H. counters that she’s far from lonely, not to mention very independent: “I'm an only child…and as a result I'm a strong, independent person with some amazing friends."

Unique Sibling Bond

In addition to basic childhood companionship, one key reason Circle of Moms members cite for having more than one child is the unique bond between siblings.  

As an only child herself, mom Cassie W. feels sad that she missed out on that bond: “Honestly, growing up and even now you miss a bond you feel you deserve but never had and never will have.”

Nadine L. agrees: “Nobody in the world can take the place of a brother or a sister, not even parents. You have a different bond with them. Yes as teenagers you fight and you can't stand each other, but you and your siblings get married and start families you see that nobody will love you or your children the way your brothers and sisters do.”

Other moms argue that sibling companionship alone isn’t a strong enough reason to have more than one child. As moms like Charlotte M. note, there’s no guarantee that siblings will actually get along — either as kids or adults: “I know plenty of [brothers and sisters] who can't stand to be in the same room [with] each other and never see each other at all."

Time and Money

“I think having one is giving that one the best of everything,” shares Eileen B. “Instead of giving your child a sibling, you will be giving them the best opportunities because you will have the money and more time.”

Finances and time are heavy considerations when deciding how many children to have. As Pam N. relays: “Money is one of the big reasons for our decision to only have one child. We both work full time and the guilt I feel for not being able to spend as much time with her as I would like is already hard to deal with. If I had a second child right now, my guilt would not only be doubled, but my first child would probably get even LESS time with me than she does now.”

But some only children like Cassie W. argue that splitting time and attention is a positive: “100% of parents’ attention ain’t so great, it taught me to be a selfish, needy, clingy and demanding child and young teenager and it took a lot to work myself out of that.”  

Rebecca M., who has several children, makes a similar point: “It is good for you to have to split all your attention and finances, etc., so [that] one child does not receive it all! There is enough love to go around, but I have watched my kids benefit in so many ways from having each other — learning to share, learning to amuse themselves, learning how special the time we have together is.”

When You’re Older — and Gone

An additional issue to weigh is that an only child will have the sole burden of caring for elderly parents. Only child Cindy S. shares: “Someday that one child will be the only one making decisions about their parents' care in their elder years. I know it bothers me that I don't have a sibling to share decisions with, like how to finance home care when my parents get older.”

Dealing with a parent’s death was also a factor in Angie B.’s decision: “We considered having a one child family but changed our minds one year when we watched two friends lose a parent...The only child (who was married and had a family to support) said he wished he had a sibling to help him. That day he told us not to have a single child family.”

Looking for more perspectives on this decision? Or need witty comebacks to rude only-child questions? Check out Circle of Moms' Mother of Only Children community, where you can connect with over 100,000 moms of only children.

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ash84422 ash84422 4 years
there is information out there on the (many) benefits of being an only child, this article is biased.
TinaRoberts78496 TinaRoberts78496 4 years
Sometimes having an only child isn't a choice. I have spent thousands trying to have another child. I'm blessed I was able to have a beautiful daughter. Having said that my only child is a wonderful ,well adjusted, bright only child!!!!
LisaMontgomery29138 LisaMontgomery29138 5 years
Sometimes it is not a choice to have an only child. My oldest daughter was an only for almost 9 years. It wasn't because we didn't try. We did adopt our second daughter when the first was 8.5 years old, however, that is not an option for everyone.
LornaNichols LornaNichols 5 years
So it's stupid to only have one child??? Well unfortunately it's not always an option.... Like myself for instance.... Due to medical issues I required a full hystorectomy... so the option of having a second, third, or even fourth child was taken from.... does it sound so STUPID now????!!!
MadieKnudson MadieKnudson 5 years
I think having only one child is stupid. You are depriving that child from a very unique bond. I myself have 13 brothers and sisters and it's AWESOME! Ya we didn't get spoiled like we would have if my parent's had only one child but we did have the things we needed and are very happy about that:) I am grateful my parents didn't only have 1 child because I would have never been born:( I am planning on having lots of children too:) I currently have 3 children and am working on getting pregnant with baby #4 :) I can't imagine life with no brothers or sisters or life with just one child. I know there is circumstances that some people are in and absolutely can't have another baby, but if you can I say have another:) You won't regret it! Another thing I think is so sad is when that "only" child dies and his/her parent's are now with out any children... Why take that chance? That's just my opinion though;)
maureenhoward maureenhoward 5 years
As an only, and the mother of an only, I feel it is important to understand that not every only child is "sad." Only children do not need excessive play dates and such, they get all the social interaction they need from school and neighborhood children. Only children usually learn to respond to adults on a more mature level earlier on then those with siblings. Their vocabulary is greater, their social skills are usually more advanced for their age and their overall maturity level is ahead of those with multiple siblings. Yes, I have had to take care of my aging siblings alone, but their is no bickering, hard feelings, or unhappy resentment either, as I have seen in multiple sibling families. Plus there is SO much less drama. All in all parental involvement is important no matter how many children you have and the decision is yours and yours alone. You decide what is best for you and your family, no matter how big or small it is!
QuinnMefford QuinnMefford 5 years
People are clearly divided on this one! At the end of the day the decision to have another child is more complicated and emotional than folks are making it seem - it's not a business decision (though folks do need to factor in if they will be financially and emotionally able to care for another child). People have their own ideas about how many children they think they'd like to have before they even start, then after having one they see how they feel after that. Some parents are craving another, others are simply not interested. Lots of people get pregnant unexpectedly, or conversely can't get pregnant again and that can change the the course of things as well. I have two kids and wouldn't change a thing - but isn't that how most women feel about their child(ren), whether they have one, two or more? The experiences our children have in life and the degree to which they are grounded and well adjusted are most impacted by how we raise them!
CassieNorwood CassieNorwood 5 years
I'd like my child to have a sibling but while I was pregnant with him I suffered from Hyperemesis, I did not go to ER as often as I should. I would not be capable of looking after myself, my son would be on his own. Maybe for 2 months, maybe for the whole 9. It was a miserable time of my life and I still have nightmares about it, vomiting blood and dehydrated, people closing the door in my face or cooking food in front of me. I'm too afraid to have any more kids, though I adore my son and don't regret it but it would be selfish to put him through that, especially as he is still dependent on me and would put a massive strain on our finances, it would just be irresponcible. I would rather consider adopting, if we had the funds for it eventually. I myself have a brother and we were really close as kids, I'm always glad to hear from him though he is very busy now.
neetudube neetudube 5 years
This is not helping...I'm even more confused.......
ColleenSmolen ColleenSmolen 5 years
I think children are a blessing but I think a couple needs to think thru their wants and desires when it comes to having kids and make the choice that is right for them. I was raised basically as an only child because of the large age differences between my siblings and I but I don't think I turned out too badly. Also, I have fertility issues, so a second child might not be in the cards for us and I will be Ok ether way it goes, as will my son.
samanthaburgoyne44559 samanthaburgoyne44559 5 years
Personally I have 3 already & feel another one would complete my family but hubby wanted to stop at two - the reason? Purely financial. I love all my kids to bits, & as an only child myself, I wanted a different childhood for mine, learning to share, develop social skills etc than myself.
PennyRoberts59481 PennyRoberts59481 5 years
Since when is it always a choice ? Through death & miscarriage I ended up with one surviving child. Hardly a choice I made for to be an only. Seems a lot of you are a bit preachy about having more, how do you think that makes us feel when we're lucky to havr our single survivor, then we're told we're wrong for that?
AmandaMillerMaracle AmandaMillerMaracle 5 years
I don't have 1 child only by choice but health and financial issues are the reality that slaps me up side the head. My son possibly being autistic (aspergers) may be too much for him yet as I would like to dedicate a lot of time into helping him with his speech and other issues. Should there ever be a time I am healthy enough health and money wise I would gladly accept an addition into our little family.
RebeccaFistel RebeccaFistel 5 years
I am being selfish here. My 31 yr old son died and I have another child. If I did not have my second child, we would be childless. It does not take away the pain every day of losing my son but I get great job with my daughter, her daughter and husband. I don't want G-d forbid for her to go through the same thing. I know it is selfish, but so be it.
CoMMember13609986380516 CoMMember13609986380516 5 years
I think the decision to have kids and how many is completely up to the parents. No one else should be involved. I cannot stand people who think that because a couple may or may not make a lot of money they should not have kids. If there are health concerns that is still up to the parents and their doctor to work through not noisy family and friends. Unless opinions are asked they should be kept to themselves.
AnnemarieJansenMeyer AnnemarieJansenMeyer 5 years
I would love to have another child, but unfortunately we tried for 5 years after our only daughter (which we tried for and conceived after 4 years of treatments and 2 operations). We accepted that God gave us 1 child and we are so blessed to have her in our lives. Thank you God for giving us 1 child, for the opportunity to be a parent. She is our pride and joy and we love her so much. I pray for those who can't have children. I am grateful for 1 and happy with our little family of 3. It breaks my heart if she asks for brothers and sisters, but she is a happy child!
DianeHudson14827 DianeHudson14827 5 years
I think this is a terrible heading for this article and hurtful. Some of us are only able to have one child. I almost died trying to have my son and I am so grateful that I have him. It's hurtful to have people ask us when we are going to have another. Isn't my son enough? Isn't it enough that I love him so much? It's very presumptuous to assume that it's in our control anyway.
JeanetteCampbell48694 JeanetteCampbell48694 5 years
My husband & I already wanted to have another child he was an only child I feel bad cuz he had 2 grow up all by himself. I have 2 sisters & a brother ofcourse my brother is 15 yrs older & my 1 sister is 12yrs older then my younger sister & I r 14 months sort we r best friends. After reading this article I think I definitely want 2 have another kid, specially since my 1st daughter was murdered when she was 3 by my ex-husband. So I want my 2nd daughter 2 have a sbling 2 grow up w/ so she can experience the same as I did. I really think it's good for a child 2 have a sibling 2 grow up w/
MichelleMaestas MichelleMaestas 5 years
This article seems extremely biased against those who chose to only have one child. I would like to see more on the other side of the issue.
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