I'm a long time lurker on this board. Left parenthood a little late, struck lucky, got pregnant straight away and had a DS, now 10. Roll forward to his 5th birthday. multiple miscarriages behind me, and I made the decision that I didn't want to waste any more his life being pregnant and miscarrying. This was very much my decision, DP would probably have carried on. But - you know what - our life now is great and he is very happy! I, too, went through the processes and thoughts that I see others going through on this board, and as friends had 2nd and 3rd babies, I felt guilty, miserable, and sad for us and our son. But I made the decision that we must make the best of our situation - after all we have been lucky enough to have a healthy child. So that is what we have tried to do. And as time moves on, friends stop having babies and it becomes so much easier when you move out of that period. And so, at 10, DS is very happy with his lot. He is bright, sporty and sociable. We have to turn down more invitations that we accept for him. He is great with the younger and older siblings of his friends, has a strong relationship with cousins. He doesn't want a sibling because he perceives they only fight. We are lucky enough to have made friends with people with an only DD of the same age, and we allow them to experience a degree of sibling behaviour - eg fighting!! His friends love coming to our house -we can taylor activities completely to their age group.
Our Christmas day included a collection of friends who for a variety of reasons, didn't have a nuclear family to retreat to - and they appreciated having that. There were 22 of us across the day in total. Loads of kids for DS. He was delighted to have a quiet boxing day!
We are a social family - actually probably much more social than I would naturally choose to be. It takes work to develop that group of friends and supportive network that we want him to grow up in.
Having an only child has been better for me workwise, I have a satisfying career, albeit part time so I am here for DS. But I also love my job, and derive much enjoyment from it. Activities wise, because we can do things at the right age for him, and we can do them all together, I have learnt new skills along side him, and we have many outdoor family hobbies. With another younger child, one of us would be looking after them. I also have time to give to others who need help, and have been able to assist some troubled neighbours looking after their toddler, which means DS has exposure to the care of a young child.
Clearly, it is really easy for us, and others, to attribute some of DS' characteristics to "only child syndrome" - but that is an easy label, isn't it? And clearly, it will have an impact on him, although we try our best to mitigate them. Eg very strict about sharing, earning rewards, taking responsibility for pets etc.. But if you look at larger families, you could pick out characteristics in most children, that you could attribute to their place in the family, when they might or might not have been like that whatever size of family they were in.
And of course, there is the "when the parents get old" argument - but as someone has already said on these boards, if as an adult, he has not made any friends or partner to support him, then we won't have done our job in bringing him up well in any case. So probably good we weren't able to inflict our parenting on another equally socially inadequate child!
So I don't think DS has suffered from being an only child, and I see many positive benefits for us all. Life could have dealt us a different hand - but it didn't and we need to live the life we have got.
So, as so many people say on this board, you shouldn't have a second child as a sibling for the one you have already, but only if you really want one yourself.
And if you can't, or chose not to - make the most of having one child because there are so many benefits, but you may need to work at some of it. But you will glean the rewards.
A bit of a long first post - but I hope it helps someone
Brilliant post Singsoon! I have a 2yo DD, means the absolute world to us but we decided early on that she'd be an only. No medical issues, just various reasons such as finances, no desire for another and, maybe selfishly, the hope for a fairly easy-going life Having more than one just seems stressful in my opinion! However, i recently had a bout of the wobbles over whether it will be the right decision in the long-term but posts like this, coupled with the fact I am awake at 3am due to a night-waking toddler for no apparent reason just reassures me that we're going to have such a better life sticking at 1 rather than conforming to what is expected!
This makes me very happy to read, thank you. Our DD, due any day now, will almost certainly be an only due to what we had to go through to make her happen. However, my 70 year old mum was an only and is a very happy sociable person. Also, my two friends who have teenage/nearly grown up only DDs also both seem very happy and close with them, while my DH and I both have a few issues with our siblings.
I read in a book about health and society once that it's only been in this one short period of human history and in western society that you're expected to reproduce exactly twice, ideally one boy and one girl, close together, and found that an interesting thought.
I am at that cross-roads in my life right now. I left it late to start a family, and had DS 2 years ago when I was 41. He is a joy, he lights up my world, and I would love to have another to double the fun. It seems mother nature is not so keen, and after two miscariages this year I am trying to re-evaluate my life. Now 43 I know I don't have time to play the 'ttc' game for much longer, and I am trying to decide what is best, what do I want, what will work for us.
This thread has given me a new perspective, now I have something new to think about.