The pandemic made me choose to have only one child. I can't deal with the anxiety of having another.

·3 min read
Child playing with shadow
Michael Zwahlen/Getty Images
  • I gave birth to my first child in March 2020 as the pandemic was starting to shut down the US.

  • Raising a child during lockdown made me reconsider having more kids in the future.

  • I'm prioritizing my mental health to be more present with my son.

Before having our baby, my husband and I were undecided about how many kids we wanted to have. But when I gave birth in March 2020, as the pandemic shut down the US, our lives were suddenly filled with more anxiety than I could handle.

Since then, I've started taking anxiety medication. More importantly, we made up our minds that we'd be a "one and done" family.

The isolation of new parenthood during the pandemic

The pandemic has caused a lot of stress for parents like me. I was new to parenting, dealing with the most difficult months of newborn life, as well as trying to figure out how to keep my baby and family safe.

Between the beginning of lockdowns and the birth of my baby, I had near panic attacks almost every day because my husband still had to go to work in person. During my maternity leave, I felt alone, isolated, and overwhelmed.

Although we allowed my parents to come over a couple of times to meet their first grandchild, I didn't have anyone whom I could call to help as I struggled with the transition to motherhood.

My husband was home for that first month - and that was a huge help - but after his paternity leave ended, I would watch the clock until he got home from work so that I could hand him our baby, even if for a few minutes.

I hated the awkwardness of video chatting with a lactation consultant and how difficult those sleepless nights and days were without any kind of a break. Although things have gotten better as my son has gotten older, I can't imagine going through all of that again. With no real end in sight to the pandemic, I just can't have another baby.

Doing all of this again with little help, and with a toddler running around, is more than I can handle.

Choosing to be one and done during pandemic times

I've never experienced so much stress and anxiety as I did during those first few months of my son's life. That's saying a lot as someone with a lifelong generalized anxiety disorder. Besides the regular parenting stress, safety was also a huge issue for me.

Although both my husband and I are now vaccinated, our 18-month-old isn't eligible for vaccination. And if I'm honest, I don't believe we'll ever truly get back to what life was before COVID-19. We now live with the constant fear of getting sick.

Like many other working parents, I was also worried about our financial stability. My husband's job was safe, but my hours at work were slashed in half for the first year of my son's life. I realized fairly quickly, as we struggled with our budget, that financial stability was important to us.

Things have stabilized a little bit since the beginning of the pandemic, and although we're both now making more than ever, I still stress over our finances. Especially because childcare is so expensive, even for just one child. I can't imagine doubling that expense.

By the time our son turned 1, we both knew that being a "one and done" family felt right to us. And I'm glad to find out now, instead of after having a second child, that my mental health and family security matter more. I'm sure that we're making the right choice for my son's happiness and ours.

Read the original article on Insider