Mothers With One Child Are Happiest
Having an only child is desirable from a wide range of viewpoints and practicalities, but that doesn't make decisions about family size any easier. Going from one child to two (or two to three or more) is a dilemma single parents and couples wrestle with, sometimes for years.
The mother of a three-year-old child talked to me about whether or not she really wants a second child. She is not an isolated case of men and women who are asking the same question.
The husband of an almost 40 year-old wants to give their five-year-old a sibling. His wife doesn't. She told me that she has weakened and agreed to see a fertility specialist, but isn't sure she can cope with another child.
A friend, age 34, has been teetering on the second baby fence for four years, but her resolve is being undone by pressure from her family to have another. She hesitates knowing her job (and promotions) will be in jeopardy if she takes another maternity leave.
Although each situation is unique, the profound confusion surrounding the question of having more children is similar.
You may be very clear, even emphatic, about how many children you want...or don't want. You are positive you want two children; there's no shaking your confidence until you experience parenting one child. Suddenly, it doesn't seem so easy to welcome another. On the emotional side, you wonder how another child will affect the relationship with the child you have. But then, too often you hear, "He needs a brother or sister." You begin to waffle.
Before finalizing your decision, consider this stunning support for stopping at one. Hans-Peter Kohler, sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that people with children are happier-happier than those without children. The Pew Research Center framed it this way, "As a source of adult happiness and fulfillment, children occupy a pedestal matched only by spouses and situated well above that of jobs, career, friends, hobbies and other relatives."