The decision to have one child
As a teenager living under my parents’ roof, I had no worries in the world. I used to dream of being married and having two children by the age of 26. Little did I know, that adulthood is not as simple as dreaming, and that dreams evolve as much as we do. Figuring out what my husband and I wanted in life helped us realize that one child is all we want to be happy.
When I was 19, I moved from Colombia to the United States on a scholarship and lived in small town called Peterburg. Living away from home and in a new country was a complete culture shock for me. It didn’t take long for me to realize what adulthood meant. My life was quickly changing.
Not a child anymore
In community college, I was probably 1 of 5 Latinos. No longer did I live in the comfort of my parents’ home, and all of the sudden I was responsible for myself and my decisions. On the weekends and after school, I worked as a hostess and delivered pizza in a car I bought for $1,000. This is something I never would have had the opportunity to do in Colombia. Living in the US put life in perspective, gave me a sense of purpose, and made me responsible and independent.
When I turned 26, I was living in D.C. I worked in marketing and communications and was nowhere near getting married or having kids. I was focused on my professional career.
Thinking about a family
At 33, I married my husband Vicente. I was constantly torturing myself with the idea that my biological clock was ticking if I wanted to have two kids. As women, we are constantly planning our lives and adding and subtracting time in fertility years. We have thoughts like this: So if I start dating at 30, I’ll get married at 33 and have kids at 35. We do this without realizing that parenthood can be fulfilled in many ways and that there is no one formula for it.
Having my first child
I had Simon when I had just turned 35. My pregnancy was considered a geriatric pregnancy, and I couldn’t go past 41 weeks to give birth. My delivery experience was somewhat traumatizing (I’ll save this for another post). The reality of welcoming a new adorable person to our lives was challenging, and I would be raising a child without the support system that raised me. The experience made me rethink my dreams, what I wanted in life, and what it would take to be the best mother to my son without giving up on myself.
The reality of motherhood
There are unspoken truths that are rarely addressed about motherhood. These include opportunities you relinquish, the toll it takes on your marriage (not to mention your body), and what you give up fulfilling the needs of your little bundle of joy.
A year into being a mom I had an honest conversation with myself and consequently with my husband. Do we want to be parents of a second child? We both agreed to give it a year and reconsider then. When Simon turned two, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided he would be our only child.
Life with children is a transition
When you have kids in your mid-30s, it’s harder to give up the life you had pre-kids. Kids change your life for the best, but it’s still a very drastic change. We also realized that in order to be the best parents we could be, we had to recognize our virtues and acknowledge our limitations. That meant that in order to give our child the best of ourselves, we wanted to make a plan that worked for us and the lifestyle we wanted for our son, both financially and emotionally.
If I would’ve had kids at 26, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about having a second kid. I was young, had the energy, and I was not very self-aware. Now, at 37, while I love love love being a mom, I realized I do not need to have another child to be happy. I let go of the guilty feeling of not giving Simon a sibling. I’m lucky that my husband thinks the same way.
This is just my story and my perspective in case there’s someone who can relate. Society sometimes tends to put a lot of pressure on us, but the reality is that women are powerful and tenacious beings; with or without kids; with one or with multiple kids.