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AIBU to only have one child?

(158 Posts)
Slinkysista Fri 04-Mar-11 11:45:40

My son is three and I totally adore him, he is wonderful and easily the best thing to ever happen to me. However he is now at the stage where he'll be starting nursery this September and I will at long last have some time to myself. I get no help from either sets of grandparents and my husband is good but basically the whole childcare thing comes down to me, which is more or less fine. Anyway I am excited at the prospect of getting a job and going back to work and having a bit of a life again but at 36 I know if I am going to have anymore children I need to really get my skates on within the next year or so but the big problem is I don't really want to go through that whole baby bit again ( my son didn't sleep through the night for 18 months).
Would I be unreasonable to just leave it at one? Have heard lots of chat about 'lonely onlys' and 'only child syndrome'. I just can't decide sad

worraliberty Fri 04-Mar-11 11:49:44

How does your husband feel about it?

For the record, my eldest child didn't sleep through until he was nearly 2yrs old. My second child slept through at 4wks and is still a bugger to get up in the morning now! smile

Mumwithadragontattoo Fri 04-Mar-11 11:51:04

YANBU - There's no reason for an only child to be lonely. I would say you'd perhaps need to make more of an effort to give him lots of opportunities to make friends outside of nursery / school. Maybe more activities and friends round than other kids. But he's likely to get more individual attention from you and your DH too so there are benefits too.

scaryteacher Fri 04-Mar-11 11:51:13

I only have one as I was advised not to have any more. I'm grateful that I do have at least one. Anyhow, from where I'm sitting, university will be cheaper with one!

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 04-Mar-11 11:52:21

YANBU. We only have the one and even if it had been possible to have more, we (or at least I) would have just stuck with her.
She is nearly 10 and a joy, mostly. We had absolutely no support from family as we've lived overseas since she was born.
You must do what you feel is right for your family. For us it is right that we stopped.
DD is definitely not a lonely only nor does she have single child syndrome. She is a loving, caring, generous humerous child.

squeakytoy Fri 04-Mar-11 11:54:17

From the perspective of being an only child. I hated it. I hate it now.

It is very lonely.

I hated growing up with no siblings to share christmas morning with. I hated going on holiday because other kids were playing with their siblings and I was on my own building a sandcastle.

I hated it as a teen because there was nobody to argue with, nobody to share moans about parents with.

I hated it as an adult, because when my parents died, I had to make all the decisions and had nobody to take any of the burden away.

I hate it because I have no children of my own and its looking unlikely we can have one, (have stepchildren but thats not the same), and I have no nephews or neices.

Ultimately, I am now 40 years old, with no blood relatives at all.

Thats my view on being an only child. It sucks.

Lizcat Fri 04-Mar-11 11:56:21

I love being a mum to only one I don't have to divide myself up - I was a sibling and hated sharing, my DSis has always 'needed more help' than me. On top of that I had a horrific delievery and first 6months (yes I know all babies are different), but even my midwife said she would have another if she'd been through what I had.
My DD was at full time nursery and formed a really strong bond with two other little girls who were only children though all born within 6 weeks of each other they definately behave like siblings even now 7 years later.
Now DD has her 'brother' our dog who she plays with.
I do not think you are being unreasonable to only have one.

glasnost Fri 04-Mar-11 11:58:33

Blood relatives aren't always all they're cracked up to be squeak

Slinkysista Fri 04-Mar-11 11:58:37

Yes Squeakytoy, I am lucky in that I have siblings and we are extremely close. My Father is an only child and he hated it too that's why there are six of us!!
I am so troubled by this, it may seem terribly minor to some but I really can't stop thinking about it.
My son is very very close to his cousins and he could in no way be described as a lonely child but I worry about when he gets older.
Squeakytoy just out of interest how many children do you have?

CMOTdibbler Fri 04-Mar-11 11:59:33

I have an only - he's very happy and sociable.

There are adults with siblings who were unhappy, and onlies who were happy - it's more about your family dynamic than number of children. I know someone who is one of 10 and is being left to look after her elderly mother by her sibs, and I've never had an emotional relationship with my brother. And he is no support or help with our parents at all.

If you and your dp/dh don't want another child, then don't - no one elses opinions matter tbh

BristolJim Fri 04-Mar-11 11:59:47

On the flipside, my brother and I hated each other as kids, weren't particularly close, and don't speak now. He is an idiot, mind.

Your child is about to become so fascinating, so inquisitive, so adventurous, so humorous, so amazing, that personally I'd have hated losing that time with my own OD to look after another one. We can have days out, adventures, play sports, watch films, none of which we'd be able to do if I had to devote most of my time to another newborn.

ajourneyofgiraffes Fri 04-Mar-11 11:59:53

I only have one child, unfortunately not by choice, so I would hate for it to BU to only have one. However, in my opinion, if there is even a teeny tiny bit of you that does want another child, I would say you should try and have that other child. IMO the biggest regrets come from the things you didn't do, rather than the things you did.

Macdog Fri 04-Mar-11 12:02:17

I count myself lucky to have one happy healthy child.

MamaLazarou Fri 04-Mar-11 12:03:05

YANBU. I used to dream of being an only child. I like my brother and sister but wouldn't say that they enrich my life in any way. We're happy for our son to be an only child.

squeakytoy Fri 04-Mar-11 12:03:12

I have 3 adult stepchildren, Slinky.

solooovely Fri 04-Mar-11 12:04:58

Aah squeakytoy! So sad for you!

solooovely Fri 04-Mar-11 12:05:55

Just do it! Go on!

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 04-Mar-11 12:08:29

Squeakytoy your post really resonates with me. I'm an only and that is exactly how I feel. sad

I understand the problem baby bit, but how much is 18 months out of a whole lifetime?

skidd Fri 04-Mar-11 12:08:56

from what you write it sounds to me like you do want another but are daunted by the prospect of it (completely understandably) - do you think this is the case? If so then try for another, you will definitely not regret it. If not, then there are loads of advantages to having just one child - both for you and him. (FWIW My third has just turned one and the last year has been VERY hard but I can't even begin to imagine a world without him in it, and have never regretted having him)

FeelLikeTweedleDee Fri 04-Mar-11 12:10:24

What squeaky said. I have the same experience. I even go as far as to say I resent my parents.

Oh the ishoos!

MamaLazarou Fri 04-Mar-11 12:10:30

Siblings don't always help each other, relieve burdens, play with each other, share moans, etc. though.

Some of them just exist to make each others lives a misery.

Slinkysista Fri 04-Mar-11 12:11:32

Thanks for your opinions everyone, my biggest fear is that I regret it when I am in my forties and think i just should have gone for it.
My son and I have a wonderful time together, we do new and different things everyday and he is just the happiest child I know. He sees his cousin everyday as they are the same age and live just round the corner so he is not short of company.
I think I just wonder because I am so close to my siblings and just think I might be depriving him of something if I leave it at one but then again not everyone is as close as I would be to my brothers and sisters.
Am so torn!

Blu Fri 04-Mar-11 12:12:43

Really sorry you had such a bad experience, Squeaky.

I am the parent of an only child - we take care to ensure that he is not lonely, has plenty of company with friends, and big family occasions with cousins etc. We take holidays where he will have people to play with. And we will plan ahead so that decisions and systems are in place for our aciency!

He often exuberantly tells us how much he enjoys his little life - clearly a happy, sociable child.

You can make a good or bad job of parenting a big clutch of children as much as you can parenting one. In either case you do your best to ensure the best fo your child/ren.

moomiemoo Fri 04-Mar-11 12:13:07

I'm an only child and I've got 3 dcs. I hated, and still hate, being an only child. Although I know people who don't get on with their siblings I do think it's a truly unique relationship and one that you can't replicate with anyone else.

I totally get where you're coming from with having time to yourself - I'm looking forward to that very much too!

You're not BU. Of course you're not. It's such a personal decision and one that only you and your DH can make together. Does you family feel complete? Mine didn't till number 3 came along and, although she's been the most difficult baby of the three she's just what we all needed.

RossettiConfetti Fri 04-Mar-11 12:14:37

Slinky, I'm in a similar position to you right now, and feel torn between having another child now, or going back to my career for a few years first. I'm only 33 and have been a SAHM for 3 years.

Before I had any children, I was adamant I wanted a big family, 3 or 4 kids. DH is an only child, and I come from a big family, which I want(ed) to replicate.
Also for all the reasons Squeakytoy so poignantly set out - that struck many chords for me.

However, I now fear that if I put off having a 2nd (let alone a 3rd or 4th) to go back to my career that circumstances could take the choice away from me (age, health, money, relationships - I can't plan to have a baby four years from now and presume it will happen) and DD would end up without a sister or brother. If I had to choose between career or having a 2nd child, it would be to have that 2nd child.

But I want to have them both... although the long-cherished image of a big happy family seems to be growing faint in my mind as the practicalities of real life eclipse it.

What to do?

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