“Just One”

This was posted on Facebook and I loved it so much that I asked Jeanette if I could post it here. I hope you like it as much as I do.



I disliked being pregnant. I originally wrote “hated” but there were some pluses to consider, so “disliked” seems more appropriate. I mean, I had a great looking pregnancy, only gaining 40lbs and establishing a very cute caboose, but inside I felt crummy. I was nauseous all the time, headaches, restless legs, moodiness…I remember one time standing on the stairs, holding a laundry bin, staring at my husband and trying to figure out how to wrap that bin around his neck. FURY and tears. I remember being exhausted all the time. I remember my friends stopped inviting me out, because they were single and awesome party animals. I remember being scared about whether I’d be a good mom or not. I never thought of myself as ‘Mom’. Wait, do I want to be called ‘Mommy’, or ‘Mum’?

I’ve been pregnant 4 times, with one awesome kid to show for it. I’m not complaining, my kid makes some moms playfully jealous…he, like yours, is perfect. Those three horrific losses gutted me, in the “painful-lost breath-heaving-sobs” way. The “I-can’t-do-this-again” way. They are deeply personal experiences, and there are so many of us who have them. Gut-wrenching episodes of red-eyed murmuring.

As a way of therapy and to wind my way to the point of my writing, allow me to share my experience with you.

My first pregnancy was a thrilling thing! I couldn’t believe how EASY it was! I know how many struggle. I was 32 years old, and I was going to be a mom (or mommy, still undecided). I scoured through books, I wanted to be perfect. The pregnancy was so painful, I was very sick and dizzy. I began spotting at 9 weeks but the doctor couldn’t say what, if anything, might be wrong. Every week there were questions…what’s happening? Will I lose the baby? At 17 weeks, exhausted and stressed, my baby’s heart stopped beating, and my womb became a tomb. I had to have a D&C to remove the “products of conception”, two D&C’s actually since not only my mind and heart, but my body wouldn’t let go…it tried to regrow the “leftover tissue”. It was a “triploidy”, a chromosomal issue.

It took a year to recover physically and mentally, during that time I made best friends with the early loss clinicians, they are amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I cried in front of them, the really ugly cries. It sucked that they were located in the maternity ward. That the waiting room was shared with excited friends and family. Don’t worry, that’s no longer the case as they moved the department to a new floor…I guess they saw the cruelty.

Next pregnancy was a huge success, 42 weeks and a happy, healthy baby boy. Nothing big here, just lost a gallbladder, sprained a foot and grew hair in weird places.

Post-son, we talked a lot about having another child, what that means to us and to our son. I’m not going to lie, I thought about how scary pregnancy is with what I experienced, and the fact that I was now 3 years older (35). I also thought about how much money it costs to raise a kid, how much stress on the marriage, on my career, on my individuality (cause I’m not just a mom y’kno!).

Our hearts wanted another child, and we tried, and lost. Tried and lost. One at 12 weeks (I found out on my birthday that there was no heartbeat), and the other a blighted ovum.

And now I’m very close to getting to my point…thanks for sticking with me so far…recently my husband and I decided that one is enough, that our one is perfect (even in his tyranny), that one is okay. We had to deal with the “but he needs a sibling” statements and the, “who will he lean on when you guys pass away” questions from friends and family. And, of course, my mother’s classic, “but I really want a granddaughter” *sigh*.

I wrangled with the “just one” thoughts for months before making our decision. We talked through our estate planning, and ways to compensate for the lack of sibling companionship, by spending more time with his cousins (they live close), and arranging lots of play dates… I reached out to other mommies I knew who had “just one”, to hear of any regrets (none reported).

My point…
Whether it’s a family with no kids, one kid, two kids, blue kids, we all just need support and kindness…

No. We are not having another child.
One and done.

To the friends and family of those who have tried and lost, or simply decided that they “did it right the first time” (rally-call of the one and done crew), please support the decision, it’s sometimes not easily made and usually backed by some heavy heartaches.

And to the moms who have found themselves struggling with whether to have another or not, I completely understand the battle. Feel free to reach out.

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“Just One”

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  • I had a great pregnancy & birth experience. I’m enjoying my 6 month old son immensely. One seems just right to me! I do feel the need to justify this decision, which is unfortunate. I am 36, but that isn’t really why I like the idea of one kid.

  • Thank you. I really needed to read this right now. We’re currently going through the talks of being one and done. After a traumatic birth and severe ppd I don’t know if I can go through it again.

  • We are "one and done" as well for a slew of reasons… But primarily we found peace with it by promising eachother to retire early and summer in Italy when she is all grown up… It wasn’t easy because we fought with the "but she needs a sibling" thing, but I didn’t have one and am perfectly self sufficient and my husband has three and isn’t close to any of them. We are raising a wonderful, independent, smart and resourceful daughter… Who will one day leave our home to live her own life… And when it’s just the two of us again, we’ll spend those years traveling and making memories of the next chapter of our lives. One and done gets us there, and it works for us… No apologies given! 😉

  • I will reiterate, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! We are still undecided but because of multiple factors may be okay with our beauty 🙂 You have captured the message I want to give to people daily. Now that our son is two I get asked multiple times a week (sometimes a day) when are you having another???

  • I can completely identify with this! My first pregnancy was perfect, but I’ve had two miscarriages (one at 12 weeks and the other at 6) since then which tore me up emotionally. And now that my son is almost 4, the questions of when we’ll have another are starting to ramp up. I go back and forth all the time. My son is perfect, and we’ve found our groove and I can have me time again and do I really want another? What’s wrong with only one? But then again, sometimes the visceral desire for another living baby is so intense I just can’t stand it, and I think I’m willing to risk it all again because I want it so badly. This stuff is HARD. I’m glad you’ve made your decision and are at peace with it. I’m still trying to make mine.

  • My first pregnancy was a partial molar pregnancy (triploidy) followed by 2 healthy children. Still, I get tons of questions of when are we going to have more?? Most people do not understand that any pregnancy takes my heart into my hands. Its not just a new pregnancy, its all the new worries of another molar pregnancy/miscarriage. I just need to keep my sanity, its tough to give all that away to risk being pregnant.

  • I wish more people got this and understood. I’ve been asked many, many times when number two is coming. I wish people knew how much this question can hurt. But then I get honest and discuss the emergency surgery for the ectopic pregnancy. Then I go into how lucky we are that our 28 week preemie didn’t end up with serious health problems. The decision for him to be our only one was a long hard one that came with many tears, and can still make a tear appear. But the life my son will have and the experiences we can offer him will fill his life.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. After 3 losses (and three D&Cs), #4 was born happy and healthy 15 months ago. At 38, we decided that we are one and done, partially out of fear of losing another one (and knowing that if I lost another, I may never come back from that dark place), partially because this parenting thing is fracking HARD, and when you’re old, it’s that much harder to keep up, but mostly because my little man is just perfect, and we are a perfect family of three.

  • Thank you so much for your honesty about what were obviously incredibly painful experiences. I am 38 years old have a beautiful (perfect, of course) 6-month-old son. I feel so unbelievably lucky that, at my age, he is happy (mostly) 😉 and so far very healthy. My pregnancy happened easily and was almost entirely uncomplicated, except for the Group B strep at the end, the almost constant nausea for pretty much the entire 9 months, and the pain that woke me up every two hours like clockwork from months 5 to 9 because the little nugget exacerbated my fibromyalgia by leaps and bounds. I don’t exactly look forward to that again, but I also find myself already feeling massive guilt for possibly not giving him siblings. I am an only child, and sadly some of the things your friends said to you are true (although why can’t people keep their traps shut anyway?) — it was sometimes lonely, I have terrible sharing skills, and not having much help or very close support through my mother’s death was devastating, to say the least.

    And yet, I wonder — dare I push my luck? I’m two years older than dirt in mommy age and so, so, so blessed with this perfect child. Why risk the heartache? Maybe it’s best to stick with "just one." sigh I just don’t think I could handle the loss with such as grace as you!

  • Thank you for this. Three miscarriages because of a blood clotting disorder, and our fourth try — the one I didn’t want to do, the one where I spent ten months on hormones and daily blood thinner shots — resulted in a perfect, silly, incredible bundle of now two year old joy. She’s amazing, and she almost makes up for the three lost before, but I can’t imagine the stress and emotional wreckage of going through that again on top of the hellacious pregnancy. She doesn’t seem to mind being an only child so far. She’s not big on sharing anyway. 😉 If I wasn’t going to be 37 in six months, and if my husband wasn’t almost 42, maybe we’d consider another. We like our trio. We fit neatly in a row of three airplane seats. And to those kind strangers who insist we need another… Give me five minutes and I think I’ll convince you otherwise.

  • Thank you! I’m on the edge of entering the third trimester, and this is our sixth pregnancy with no living children yet. I hope this one will stay to be our rainbow, but whether she does or not, we are done. We cannot keep doing this over and over again, and if this little one stays, she will be our baby, and we will be more than content.

  • I am so there. We have a beautiful, amazing 3yo son (after an easy but pre-eclamptic pregnancy) and had been on the fence about having another. I got pregnant on the first try and miscarried 15 weeks later. We were devastated that we lost the baby, but at the same time relieved as it somehow felt wrong. Maybe our subconscious-es and the fates knew something we didn’t. We are now clear to try again, but neither of us can make up our mind. Should we let nature take its course or focus on our one and only. I’m turning 32 in a few weeks so it’s getting to that now or never (because I cannot see my self heading toward 60 with a child still in high school)

  • Thanks for posting.

    I am in my 2nd pregnancy now, after a miscarriage 13 years ago. I have been very straight forward in saying this is a "one-hit wonder." I am asking for tubes to be tied after this pregnancy, one because I’m 40 and two, most importantly, I have a uterine anomaly which basically makes me extremely high risk. I had been told 5 years ago I wouldn’t get pregnant and furthermore if I did, I wouldn’t be able to carry. 29 weeks later I’m still here. But in that light, I don’t want to submit myself to this journey again. I’m enjoying it now, but for most part, it drains me, constant doctor’s appts, being told something wrong with baby, then not, being on medical leave/modified activity, no sex…ugh. I think I can be a really great parent to one, one lucky little kid! 🙂

  • I’m expecting a little boy in January after a total of 4 years of infertility and 5 losses, and all the insensitivity that comes with it. If all goes well (I still can’t bring myself to consider it a sure thing, even in the 3rd trimester as he kicks me in the ribs), he’ll be our second (take-home) son. And yet, through all this, my mom insists that we need to keep trying for a girl sigh

  • I have a beautiful 4 yr old son and I am done. Had him at 40 and do not have any desire to have more children.

    To those people (MIL) who always bring up the subject of making playmates for him….mind your own business!

  • Thank you so much for sharing. A few weeks ago, I was almost 19 weeks when we found out there was no heartbeat. I also lost one 11 mo ago at about 6 weeks. Thankfully I have my almost 3yo son who I am thankful for everyday. We really wanted 2 kids but after the pain of losing 2 I am not sure I can risk going through that again. Whatever happens it nice to know I am not alone. Even though I have a lot of support somehow it is still a very isolating feeling/experience.

  • I loved reading your story and I am sorry to hear about your experiences. Nevertheless, I am hoping that all things are quite well for you. You’ve gone through a lot and I could never compare your courage and strength to mine. Good luck!

  • I’m an only child and my life has been just fine. 🙂 I’m very close with my cousins and my parents and aunts and uncles. I didn’t feel deprived, and I’ve had a great life. I have a daughter now, and all the "she needs a sibling" comments make me a little sad, because I can’t imagine how painful those comments were for my mom.

  • My husband is an only child, and he’s a wonderful, well rounded person. He has lots of close friends, great relationships with his family and has lived a good life. When his parents age, I will be right by his side to help him through that part of life. They’re my parents too – if only by law!

  • I sit here with my 3-day-old on my chest, and I am almost in tears because it’s the first time since he’s been born that I’ve let myself really think about the 4 pregnancies it took to get this perfect little angel. We still intend to try for more, but I feel your pain and looking down at him, I know I would be totally content if this one was our "one and done" because he is absolutely perfect (even as he refuses to let me set him down, or sleep). Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. I don’t know why people make it their business to tell others how many kids to have! Some people want more kids and can’t have them. Some are perfectly happy with one and never want to try again. It’s all ok and frankly no one’s business.

  • Thank you. This is also me. 4 pregnancies, 1 perfect 3 1/2 year old daughter. My most recent loss was 3 weeks ago when I found out at my 12 week ultrasound that I had a blighted ovum. Still bleeding from the D&C, but finally able to talk about it. I’m 38 years old. Should I even keep trying? I want to, but goddamn it… The internal struggles and pain and heartbreak and optimism and guilt (while pregnant this summer I was so sick and a terrible mother and regretted getting pregnant – karma?). Ugh. I don’t know the answer. But I do know that when people say "when are you having another" I need to stop feeling so viscerally angry. They don’t know what we’ve been going through. They’re trying to engage and interact. I’ve started saying "only god knows", but it makes me cringe. It’s good to know I’m not alone. No one talks about their miscarriages. We should do that more.

  • Seven pregnancies with three kids and I totally understand your decision. Loss is painful, pregnancy is not easy and personally I’m done with it.

  • Yes. I am at age 35 of this exact story. One horrific six month long loss, two d&cs included, one beautiful amazing son, feeling very uncertain about what the future holds. Hopefully it’s an easier ride.

  • Thank you thank you thank you! 7 pregnancies and my 5 year old daughter entering kindergarten makes for uncomfortable conversations; "Now that she’s in school it’s time to have another!!"
    If only.

  • Thank you so much. I’m in my second trimester for the first time in four pregnancies, and I do not enjoy pregnancy at all! I don’t know if we will try for a second in a few years, but I can’t help thinking of the three that could have come before, and thinking that I don’t really want to have another 3 losses before there’s a sibling. I’m already hearing about how I can’t stop at one, because then this baby will be horrible. I just want to get this one out safe before I even worry about that!

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