Parents of Only Children-would you share with me? I need some perspectives.

(25 Posts)

We have one DD, now 7yo. She is, absolutely, the light of my life. DW had a difficult (lengthy) labour - really put her off the thought of a second (she occasionally joked to our midwife she'd have another if she were guaranteed a c-section - midwife nodded gleefully, and a boy...).
I don't regret for one moment stopping at one - it's our happy little unit.
Do onlys get spoiled more? Well the reality is more kids equals more financial constraints, but that doesn't mean you have to spoil them.
Is she lonely? She has numerous close friends, an older cousin she worships, plenty of mummy-daughter, daddy-daughter, and family time, and she (we) are happy.
Many of the parents (particularly mums) we befriended (and still see regularly) at ante-natal classes, and no small number of family members, were very much "when you gonna have another?", especially while DD was a baby/toddler, but that's gone quiet now.
Has a childhood filed with adult company affected her development? Well, her speech, sentence construction, reading, imagination all seemed to advance quickly (so twos-club, nursery, pre-school said, anyway), but was she going to be that way anyway? She's often referred to as being very independent. And she has a better social life than her folks...
To cut my rambling short, do what you feel is right for your family - if one's enough, that's fine, don't let anyone tell you different.

Jellyboobs Tue 15-Jul-14 22:11:03

I have one, a little 2.5 year old girl, she is (of course) gorgeous.
I do feel that I would be doing her down by having another, as well as being unable to cope financially, the thought of TWO tiny people in the back of my car going 'mummmeee, mummeeee, mummeee, I wanna juice, I wanna sandwich, I wanna boogie, I wanna get down' tells me I won't be able to cope mentally, and would do both of them down.
I feel no urge to have more either. When I was trying to get pregnant I saw pregnant ladies everywhere, and I was so desperate to be one of them. Now I occasionally think 'hmmmm, would it be good to have another tiny gorgeous thing?' but it doesn't last long.

My relationship with oh isn't great, so I wonder if that makes a difference too.

yummymumtobe Fri 11-Jul-14 19:01:07

I just want to say be wary of saying to anyone that you fobt want a second because you have a good bond with the first and don't want another child to dilute all that. That's what I thought before I got pregnant with no 2 by accident. Now I realise what a prat I must have sounded! It's true that your love grows to cover however many children you have. It really is incredible. I now see I was very naive on thinking that and people must have thought I was a bit pfb

Imsosorryalan Fri 11-Jul-14 18:49:26

I'll come from another perspective. I have two dds. I will add initially that I'm very happy with both my dds and I love them both more than life itself. However, if I knew how hard I would find having two, I may not have had anotherblush

Dd2 had reflux and fed constantly as a baby, I'm a bit of a perfectionist so every household job/ anything I did was never up to scratch as I never had the time to do it, let alone the guilt of how much of my time dd1 was getting. I found the first two years very very hard.
I still find the bickering, noise, attention tantrums hard! And I'm only just managing to feel like I can breathe again. Don't beat yourself up if you only have one.

It's a perfectly valid choice, just as having lots is as well. Different things for different families.

We have an only DD aged 5, through an horrific birth and secondary infertility. We have given up wanting any more now and are both 'at peace' with it (aged 36 & 39). People did ask A LOT when she was 18m-3.5 yrs when we were having another (!) but very rarely now.

I think DD is happy and we make an effort to have play dates now she has friends at school. We go on holiday where they have a mini disco or campsites where she can play rather than say renting a villa in the middle of nowhere.

DD doesn't conform to the stereotypes and is brilliant at sharing etc. She occasionally asks for a sister but pretends her best friend is her sister which is sweet smile.

0pheliaBalls Fri 11-Jul-14 18:20:46

My DD is an only. She's 17 and being her mum has been the single most wonderful thing in my life.

I would have LOVED another. I still cry almost daily because I didn't have one. I'm 42 this year and am so sad she won't have a sibling or me another child. But DH and I simply could not afford one, and we live in a small flat. Honestly, my heart breaks anew every day - of course I am so thankful for DD but I feel kind of incomplete, iyswim. What hurts most is that it wasn't a choice, it was out of my hands.

Not much help I know, sorry sad

I have an only, who is now 20. I certainly don't regret stopping at 1 - we had options that I don't think would have been there if we'd had more.

The main reason for me was a difficut labour, and the fact that he was hard work and we were a long way away from any family or close friends to help us out.

When he was around 2, I went through a stage of wondering if it was the right choice, because others from baby groups were often having a second. But I never actually wanted another, and was happy to stick with my decision.

I guess it was easier because DH and I had talked about it and were both on the same page - if I'd changed my mind he'd have supported me in having another, but it was never something he specifically wanted.

My advice would be to say, quite firmly, "At the moment, my plan is to stick at 1. That's not written in stone, so I'm not saying I'll never reconsider it. But this is the way that it is for me, so please don't assume that I'm definitely going to have another or make plans on that basis."

Assuming your dd is still tiny, your feelings may change as the worst of the baby stage passes. But equally they may not!

Amrapaali Wed 09-Jul-14 12:26:10

A few gentle tips if you go down the only route:

-Don't excuse behaviour or explain away stuff saying, "oh, it's because she is an only." My friend does this with her daughter and it makes me sad. It is horrible enough we have to live with 'only' prejudices from other people. But your own mum parroting this stuff is not nice. Do not buy into those stereotypes.

-How old is your DD? Your husband maybe right, you may have time and you may yet change your mind. But let him know your thought processes as well.

- Do not plan for another child, just because it is the "expected thing". Dare to be different. People will stop asking about future children when DD is 5 or 6. More importantly and keep reminding yourself of this, "I need another child as DD needs a playmate" is not a good enough reason to bring a baby into the world.

- Also remember that each child is different. You won't know how your daughter feels about a sibling-less existence until much later. My daughter, now 8 is horrified by the idea of siblings. (Unless it is an elder brother which is logically impossible) grin. This has gone some way to assuage any feelings of guilt I had. At the same time, another acquaintance's son constantly moans about not having brothers or sisters. He is 10 and I can tell his mum feels sad about this. The important thing is to keep reinforcing your love to DD and plan for exciting days ahead, without disparaging other sibling families.

Lordy, that was an essay! blush

ginzillas Wed 09-Jul-14 12:03:32

jeanmiguelfangio Sorry to hear that you struggle with anxiety and depression. I had terrible anxiety after DD was born. I'm ok now but i have such a low stress threshold and DD is a very spirited child (ie very tantrummy!). I don't know if I could truly cope with another one too.

Also, like you, I cherish the bond I have with her and don't know whether I have room for another child. I love that she gets mine and DH's full attention. She is not spoilt in any way, I hasten to add. But I feel that our family of three is complete. It just seems to be easier to write this down than say it aloud.

It's so reassuring to read that others have gone through this dilemma and are feeling the same way.

jeanmiguelfangio Thu 12-Jun-14 22:41:36

I have an only. I am late 20s, one dd she is 15 months, and she will be our only by choice. I dont have problems with pregnancy, had surgery after a natural birth for stitches, but other than that normal. But I had pnd, and a refluxy one. She does however sleep well and is a beautiful, happy little thing. I adore her and she is my world.

however, to do it again, I think it would just finish me off. I struggle daily with the anxiety and depression and that sucks. DH works various shifts and isnt here a lot, so it would fall more on me. Ultimately, our family is a family of three. I want to be there for everything, spend every second im not mumsnetting teaching her, showing her the world.

Its huge for me, I didnt have that initial bond, that rush of love for her, now I cannot get enough of her, and just the wonderful thing she is. I dont want to share her with anyone, and I dont want her to have to share me.

We are similar to many responses above. I have chronic pain and had to be off medication when conceiving, pregnancy and breastfeeding. I really struggled, in bed most of the time and very sore. Our beautiful daughter arrived quickly when, due to DH having mumps just before we were married, we weren't sure if we could have any.

We re now a very happy family of three, me on medication and much happier and more able to do stuff etc. We made the decision that a hard pregnancy was fine for a couple to cope with, but not fair on a young child. Also, I don't want to miss anything with DD while I WS off medication again.

Sorry hope that makes sense.

Also dh is an only child and is happy. My sister is very very special to me and sometimes I want that for my child...but not at such a high cost! Also.'.my sister I'd hoping to mproduce some cousins!

I think this particular decision is about weighing up the pros and cons. And its perfectly fine to be happy how you are and not rock the boat

Ragwort Sat 22-Mar-14 20:51:14

Thumbcat puts it much more eloquently than I do.

I know this isn't going to be a popular thing to say but I do think you invest a lot of emotions in your relationship with your child, no one would have more than one husband/partner (hopefully wink) at a time so, to me, that is why I could never have had another child.

Please don't think I am too involved with my child - I can't wait until he leaves home grin.

Ragwort Sat 22-Mar-14 20:48:26

We didn't have our child until I was 43 (by choice) so it would have been a challenge to have another but I genuinely just didn't want another child - I find being a mother quite hard work and emotionally draining, I just don't know how people cope with more than one ........... perhaps I overthink it but being a family of three just suits us. DS and DH have an incredible bond (most of the time grin) and do a lot together - for me, being a 'mother' isn't the be all and end all of my life so it was obviously fairer to any unborn children (if that makes sense) to just stick with the one. smile. I never felt that 'broody' feeling that I read about so often on Mumsnet.

RandomMess Sat 22-Mar-14 20:43:29

I have a few dc but I think your choice is perfectly valid, you are family as you are, make the most of enjoying what you have and yes a proper talk with your dh flowers

Thumbcat Sat 22-Mar-14 20:36:38

Like you, I just find being a mum really hard work. I love it though, and I think I do a good job, but I don't feel the need to do it all again and I know that I wouldn't be a particularly good mum to 2 or more. There wouldn't be enough of me left IYSWIM.

Having one child is a perfectly valid choice, even though people's comments can make you question it. I'd be concerned about your husband's expectation that you'll have another. DH would have liked another one when DS was about 2 or 3, but he said ultimately it was my decision and he never tried to persuade me. Now DS is 6 he wouldn't go back to the baby days if you paid him and we're a very happy family of 3. It just feels right to us.

Damnautocorrect Fri 21-Mar-14 18:51:14

Whoops! I've an only. Late 20's good pregnancy, a few birth complications but nothing horrendous thankfully. But just one is fine for us. Oh agrees. It makes sense in so many levels. But we both agree, make sure you talk to your dh so he understands how you feel.

Damnautocorrect Fri 21-Mar-14 18:47:01

I've an

MummyBeerest Fri 21-Mar-14 18:24:31

Thank you all for kindly sharing your experiences. It's definitely given me a lot to think about and lots I'll need to discuss flowers

Basketofchocolate Thu 20-Mar-14 21:20:58

One DS here too. I'd agree with Dreaming above really. Easy pregnancy but difficult everything else. Bit of a wobble around 2yrs but various rationale reasons helped us make the decision. I was also facing a difficult pregnancy if went ahead as well as birth, recovery and then potentially same probs as with DS. Had to think about not only me surviving emotionally and not having regrets or being so stressed I wanted to walk out every day, but also that a difficult, sleepless child also puts a strain on even the best of marriages. We figured that keeping a strong relationship and keeping energy for a child who has a lot of attention was probably better for the three of us in the long-term. I knew that I would really struggle if a DC2 had similar/worse health than DC and that would impact the pfb we already have.

Only word of caution - you will have to answer the damn question constantly from anyone and everyone for years - so be prepared and be content, esp every time one of your friends is pregnant again...and again.

Good luck and you will feel what's right.

CMOTDibbler Thu 20-Mar-14 21:01:21

My ds was born after 3 miscarriages, a very stressful pregnancy, prem birth, and a not very well baby in SCBU.

DH and I both decided that we couldn't put ourselves through all of that again. DS is now 7, and we have no regrets.

Talk to your dh about how you feel

Mollymoo75 Thu 20-Mar-14 20:55:03

We had 4 lots of ivf and couldn't have any more children. Was initially devastated. But due to having pnd and no family near by, it now seems for the best. I find it hard with one and working full time. I just can't imagine how hard it would be with 2. I've learnt v recently to appreciate what you have. You must be honest with your dh and tell him how you feel. If you are not honest it could have bad consequences for your family future. Good luck. wink

Jackthebodiless Thu 20-Mar-14 20:06:36

I've posted re this on a couple of similar threads recently so apologise for repeating.

We have an only, for a few reasons. Mainly because ds was very ill when he was a baby and we spent the best part of two years in hospital and we certainly couldn't have considered another baby at that stage. Second reason was financial. We were never in a position again where I could have afforded to give up work again, and moving to a bigger house was out of the question. Also to be honest we never really wanted another. DS is an angel and and was an easy baby, an easy teen, and Is an adorable young adult and we just felt really lucky. I have a lovely dsis but dh had two vile brothers who made his and his parents lives a misery so mixed feelings there as well.

However, you do have to bring them up differently. We always had holidays with friends with children, on days out/weekends away we always invited one of his friends, and play dates and sleepovers were the norm. I was paranoid about him being a lonely-only.

Now he's away at uni and has great life and some very close friends. We have no regrets at all and he says he genuinely doesn't miss having siblings, and indeed has never even thought about it. The three of us are very close and certainly don't feel any less of a 'family' for having only one.

tobiasfunke Thu 20-Mar-14 18:50:34

I have an only. He was conceived after 7 years of infertility and after we had given up hope. I was 39. He was a 'high needs' baby. He didn't sleep, never took more than a 20 minute nap a day from he was 5 weeks old and he demanded attention all the time, always on the move. It was exhausting. The first year was horrendous as I was breast feeding and didn't get more than 2 hours sleep at a time until he was 10 months. Once he got to 2.5 ish and started to sleep through we decided to try again for another because Dh wanted another but secretly I was dreading it.
I remembered all too clearly how hideously tired I was and by that stage I was 42 and just the thought of having another one that demanding made me feel sick. I just couldn't imagine how I would cope especially as my DH was pretty useless the first time and we had no other practical help.
I persuaded myself it would be fine, that I should try for a sibling for DS's sake. Ater about 6 months my period was late and I got a a faint positive test and I remember feel absolutely horrified and being shocked at how upset I got. In the end it was a chemical pregnancy and my period came the next day. I felt total relief and then I made the decision to give up. I told my DH it was because I managed to hold it together for the 7 years before DS but I couldn't go through it again. DH really wanted another child but he is more than grateful we were able to have one.
Both DH and I have pretty awful relationships with our siblings so in some ways I think at least I have spared DS that.

Practically, life is easier and cheaper with one.

We've stopped with one. I'm 43 and we can't afford another one and we are actually really happy in our little family as it is. We struggled a lot when DS was young and I'm not sure we could cope with another. I did have a little wobble when DS was around 2, thinking I really wanted another one, but it passed and now I'm so glad we resisted smile

DS is now 4 and so much fun, and life is really good. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. But then I'm an only child myself and very happily so, so I don't see any negatives.

I really hate this expectation that of course you want more than one, or the stereotypes that only children are lonely and selfish, etc and so on. It's all BS.

I think it's very important you don't have another child if you don't really want to, and I think you should have another talk with your DH to make sure he understands that you are very serious about this. It's not good for him to brush away your feelings like this.

MummyBeerest Thu 20-Mar-14 18:27:00

I'm about 90% sure I don't want to have any more children.

Terrible pregnancy, stressful labour and PND. Despite all this, I have a sweet, lovely, bright and beautiful DD and I love her to death. I know everyday gets better, but I find being a mum hard work {understatement of the century} and feel that, if I'm such a stressed out basket case of a mother now, there's no way I'll be able to manage another. Plus, DD won't remember my PND with her; she'd most certainly experience it firsthand if I had another baby.

Nevertheless, everyone, DH included, anticipates me having more. More so now because we are moving, and DH wants at least 3 bedrooms for "our next one." I've told him that I don't think I want any more, and he brushes it off by saying we don't need to decide if and when right now.

Everyone else says not to be ridiculous, of course we'll have more, I'll regret it if I don't.

So, my question to you is-What were your deciding factors? Do you regret it? How did your partner feel?

Thanks if you got this far!

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