I was recently asked about having only one child and to expand on this. I feel the topic is truly significant and is often unfairly judged, especially for women in the TTC and infertility community.
This is my story.
1) Please share your story about being one and done, not by choice. 3-4 paragraphs would be great. How did you feel when you learned you would not be able to have more children? What has been most helpful in coping with this?
I never thought about the number of children I would have until my husband and I started talking about family planning together. And once I realized I could not conceive “naturally” aka via sex, I felt that how many children, if any, I was going to have was out of my initial control. When we were referred to a fertility clinic, and in vitro fertilization was our only chance of pregnancy, I really lost control of things, as anyone who goes through IVF understands that in order to even try and carry a baby, you relinquish all thoughts of how you thought conception was going to go and allow almost anything to happen in order to conceive.
Having the last embryo turn to one full-term pregnancy, resulting in one baby suddenly became all that mattered to me. Not the number of children, nor the gender of the baby, but the fact that I was going to have a child to call my own, was enough to make me happy. When the cards were dealt for me with fertility, and I was face-to-face with the understanding that I was not in control of the number of babies I was able to have, I was okay with that. I have a beautiful, healthy and ridiculously loved little boy named Ferris. I truly believe I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
The most helpful in coping with this has been my home. My husband is my best friend. My cat and dog are my fur babies. And the way that my son looks at me and hugs me and talks to me, putting 100% of myself back into his happiness and fulfilling life is what fuels me to be the best I can be, real and true and living in the moment.
2) What advice do you have for other moms who are just learning that they will be one and done, not by choice?
My advice for other moms in this similar situation is having this decision made for you is not necessarily a bad thing. We often forget that Mother Nature is the most powerful force around us. When I miscarried my first embryo transfer, I was often reminded that I had one embryo left and one is all it takes to have a baby. To be obsessed with having multiple children when the universe has given me one, suddenly felt silly and almost selfish. I am honored to have the decision made for me because I get to be one child’s mommy and it only took one child to make me a mommy. Knowing I cannot have more is one less thing I will have to wonder about. My son gets 100% of my heart, and I am excited to get to give him my attention and my time and be present with him. It’s not a crime to not have to split it between other children. Past generations seem to be the ones who tried to instill the thought that you must have more than one child to have an American family, but the truth is, you get to decide what makes your family a family. One child for my husband and I is what makes our house a home.
3) How did it feel to start sharing your story, which I know you’ve done an amazing job of, on your social media?
To start sharing my story on social media has felt invigorating and empowering because I started meeting so many other women who share in the same thoughts and feelings about having one child as I do. Support means so much when going through postpartum and motherhood for the first and only time. I am one of two children to my parents, and I am also one of two daughters that decided to have a child of her own. Having social media be there to send messages of understanding and care and concern for saying, “I have infertility and I am okay with having one child” has given me strength and courage when I didn’t always believe I had it. It so much as sparked me to write the I’m Very Ferris children’s picture book series and begin public speaking and even start my Fertility Coaching business.
4) What kind of support has helped you the most during your OAD, NBC journey?
The support of women in similar shoes as I have been in is the most helpful for me. Of course, there are days in which I wonder what could have been if the first embryo transfer took and I was able to have that little baby. There are days in which Ferris asks why he doesn’t have a sister and / or a brother. And often the “why me” question hits unexpectedly when I am out an about and my mind goes off in so many different directions trying to answer the unanswerable. But it’s support groups that bring me back to my beautiful reality. Understanding that I am not alone and that I wasn’t the first person to have one child, not by choice, and I won’t be the last. I am so grateful for the ten fingers and ten toes that God has given me to hold me and call me Mama. This motherhood story of mine was written just for me, and I never take that for granted.