Why I Might Not Want More Kids

by Nikki Zuniga 6 months ago in children

I always thought I'd have more than one, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Why I Might Not Want More Kids
Photograph by Tori Elizabeth Photography

I was 25 years old when my daughter was born. Her biological father and I didn’t stay together for a number of reasons, and my now husband came into her life when she turned one. He took on the role of fatherhood organically when he moved in with us. Since then, we’ve built a life together as Mom, Dad and Little Tiny (my daughter’s nickname for herself).

One thing I often get asked is when my husband and I plan to have another child. The thought of more kids always seemed like a given. We both grew up with siblings, and I personally loved it. Having brothers and sisters meant having built-in best friends. My siblings and I rarely fought and genuinely loved doing everything together. Even when we had the chance to go our own ways as we each prepared for college, we chose to do this together too. Different groupings of us attended the same university, shared the same dorm, and even chose homes within minutes of one another after graduating. That close-knit bond is something that I’ve always desired for my daughter.

Yet, I’m seriously considering not trying for more kids at all.

The term “half-sibling” bothers me.

I’m the second oldest of all of my siblings, but my older sister has a different mother. I take it personally when people feel the need to differentiate her from the rest of my siblings, especially since I myself find that tidbit of information all but irrelevant. To me, emphasis on the “half” only stresses some sort of divide. It’s as if I’m being told that my younger siblings and I are only half connected to my older sister, or that she should matter to me half as much as my younger siblings who share the same mother as me. It unsettles me because I love all of my siblings with equal fervor. Though “half” anything isn’t the tone I’d set for my own kids, I can’t say the same for those around them, and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be disappointed if they thought of one another in this way.

I don’t want my daughter to feel like the “oops” kid.

My unexpected pregnancy wasn’t met with celebration, and though my daughter is still too young to understand the weight of that, some day she’ll ask questions that will be hard to navigate. Why do I have a different last name? Why don’t you have any pictures from the baby shower? Who came to the hospital when I was born? Who didn’t? I dread the day that she wants to know these things, because of the one thing that will become clear for her: that “unexpected” at many times translated to “unaccepted” – even for many of her loved ones. The subject of her origin is difficult enough to maneuver without pitting her experience against the more positive one of a planned sibling, and as the mother who lived through that difficult time, it would hurt me to relive it as well. To see others put forth a level of unseen effort with my daughter, for a new child, would be a reminder of what she deserved and never got.

I’m worried that nothing can compare to how much I love my daughter.

This sounds insane, right? I’m certain that I’d love all of my kids the same, but I also have to recognize that my daughter and I have a special bond. When we first started out, it was often just the two of us. I worked hard to provide for her on my own, and I fought for her in ways that I’d never have to for a planned sibling. My daughter made me the woman I am today. From our journey together, she’s become my best friend – my love for her surpasses all else. It’s such a unique connection, and I worry that this love would go unmatched, or be misinterpreted as less love available even for another of my own.

Most importantly, I’m genuinely happy with the kid that I have. Going from a young, single mom to a blended family has been an intense experience. I know things would be different, and likely more positive, another time around because of what my life looks like now, but I don’t feel the need for a do-over. I came out with a really brilliant, beautiful daughter who finds new ways to surprise us each and every day. Life with her turned out to be better than anything I could have ever imagined. Only time will tell whether or not we add to our family – but our lives feel plenty full as is.

Nikki Zuniga
Nikki Zuniga
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