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To only want one child....

(76 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 27-Oct-13 17:13:03

Me and husband have made the decision to only have one child (mainly because of health problems I have) and when I told this to my mom the other day, not the reason behind it, but just that we only planned on having the one, her response was one of shock/horror! She passed comment to imply that it wasn't 'right' to just have one as it wouldn't be fair on the child.

I have a sister who is only 12 months older than me and I love her to pieces. We are best friends and we had the most wonderful childhood together and part of me feels like I'm doing a disservice by not providing a sibling. My husband has a brother who he can't stand, they never got on as children and still don't as adults, they don't have anything to do with each other. His brother and his wife/children didn't even come to our wedding. It goes without saying my husband isn't too concerned about the supposed 'benefits' of having siblings.

Is it selfish to just have one? hmm

I didn't think it was but I can't get my mom's response out of my mind...
I did explain our reasons to her and although she took them on board she certainly wasn't too convinced by the argument.

Mumasaurous Thu 07-Nov-13 15:21:46

Oops - meant to say DS is nine months old! Numbers on our keyboard are playing-up.

Mumasaurous Thu 07-Nov-13 15:19:21

My DS is months old. My DH took 4 years to come round to the idea of kids and it took 4 years and 2 rounds of IVF for me to get pregnant. I'm now 39 and feel my son is a miracle and utterly fullfilling. There is no way we could afford more IVF, more maternity leave and more childcare other than me working full-time and I can't face that thought - I have a fairly well paid but extremely stressful job. I feel I was lucky this time with my age but to go through the highs and lows of IVF again whilst working and looking after no 1 would be awful. I also have a real ambivalence about sibblings - my brother never really got over me coming along when he was nearly four and we had at times a really toxic relationship with him quiet badly bullying me in his teens when he was going through a bad time. Though there is no reason this would happen with us it is a big turn-off. I'm lucky though, people who I have talked to about this really understand my reasons and are supportive. For me there is a part of me which would like another but I really don't feel it is the right thing for my family. I think it is appalling to put pressure on people about this. These decisions are hard to make and very emotionally loaded and you deserve respect for knowing you and your family best and therefore making the right decision.

Theaub Sat 02-Nov-13 19:03:08

My mum had a very unhappy childhood and was an only child. she has been an unhappy adult most of the time. She obviously feels these facts may be connected, as she told me it was 'cruel' when I said that we're not planning for our baby to have any siblings. Her reaction upset me at the time, but I realised that she was just seeing our baby as an extension of herself. Your mum obviously has her own views on this too which reflect her own life story- you don't need to give them any more weight than that. My mum assumed that if she had had a sibling that they would have insulated her from her own unhappy childhood. There are no guarantees about how sibling relationships work tho and all you can do is go with your own instincts. Being able to have a family of any size is a blessing so enjoy yours and try not to worry about what others say. People will have an opinion on every aspect so try to only take on board the advice you find helpful. Good luck and enjoy your baby!. smile

elQuintoConyo Tue 29-Oct-13 22:36:09

I have a list as long as my arm as to why we aren't going to have another child - but none of the reasons are anyone's business but mine and DH's.

DS is nearly 2 and the questions/comments have started already. I just smile and say 'no' then change the subject, hopefully the person will realise they may have put their foot in it and not ask anyone else.

I sometimes half-supress a snort and say, 'lordy, no - next one's a dog!' and make light of it.

I get far more fucked off when I get told, 'wow, he's so active, what do you feed him?' type comments - yes, he's running around the slide on his invisible motorbike, again, now piss off!

<and breathe>

Congratulations OP thanks and don't feel you owe anyone an explanation to your choices, anyone.

BlueStones Tue 29-Oct-13 12:56:36

I think pregnancy has a good point. I also know numerous siblings who never got along, to the point where they no longer speak. I don't believe childhood happiness has any bearing at all on the presence or absence of siblings.

Amibambini Tue 29-Oct-13 12:41:04

I'm pregnant with my first, and most probably only child. I'm really looking forward to being a happy threesome and really don't feel the need to have siblings just for the sake of it, as much as relatives and certain friends gasp in horror at the notion.

My reasons are thus..

All the one child families I know are pretty happy and sociable, with all members having rich and varied lives, independently and as a family. It seems to me that more kids means that one parent becomes pretty much nothing but 'a parent'. A frazzled, stressed parent! This is no disrespect to the parents who chose to have larger families, it's just not something that I see myself willingly committing to or enjoying.

My partner and I want to be able to give our full attention and resources to our little Junebug, however we also want to stay engaged with our own lives.

I personally don't feel we could afford two kids.

And last but not least.. (in fact very important to me) is, well, our little planet sure does have an abundance of humans! We aren't running out of people any time soon. And I don't have a particularly rosy view of civilization in 20 or 30 years time, I think there is a good chance that life will be harder for most people, even in developed and wealthy countries such as the UK. Part of me has been so cynical about the future that I really questioned whether to even have children at all, but y'know, wonderful partner, long term relationships, life, the idea that future humanity's survival depends on having smart, awesome, resilient, creative and caring members, so we should at least make one!

Anyways, that's me. Don't let anyone tell you how to make your family. Laugh it off and eyeroll inwardly, and know that your choices are the right ones for you. Good luck!!

My DC were 9 and almost 6 when my sister had her little girl, and they've all had such a great time together. Has been lovely to see DS especially taking on a bit of a caring role towards her. She thinks he's the bee's knees grin

Summerblaze Tue 29-Oct-13 10:12:05

Also, my dc are aged 9, 5 and 18 months. My dsis has dc aged 4 and 2. DH's dsis has the only child who is 8.

You would think that the combinations of children who got on better was the 9 and 8 yo, 5 and 4 yo and the 18 months and 2 yo.

The two that seem to get on the best is my 9 yo DD and my dsis 4 yo so age gaps between your baby and your sisters will lessen as they get older.

Summerblaze Tue 29-Oct-13 10:08:50

I, like you have a dsis who I am close to so always wanted to provide dd with a sibling. I have 3 dc.

However in your situation I too would have only had one. My dniece is an only and has many friends and is friends with my dd.

I have many friends and family (and I'm sure you do too) who have siblings who are really close and others that can't stand each other.

And a mother who would rather have 2 grandchildren and her dd have worse health is quite frankly shock.

Hope your pg goes well.

pregnancywithouthim Tue 29-Oct-13 09:32:31

In my experience OP, it tends to be people who loved their siblings and were very close to them who can't imagine only having one.

However, I know just as many people who don't get on with their brother or sister, including one (admittedly) extreme case I know where two sisters have so much bitter resentment between them - parents split up when they were pre-teens and one sister got seriously ill. The mum was either working or at the hospital for her DD2, while her DD1, who was only 11 or 12, spent hours alone in the house after school. There's still so much resentment there - sad, really.

But I digress - I think in these uncertain times one child is sensible for a myriad of reasons.

CeliaLytton Tue 29-Oct-13 09:23:39

YANBU to only want one child. Unsolicited advice should be filed away under 'didn't ask, don't care'.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and congratulations!

Writerwannabe83 Tue 29-Oct-13 09:20:10

Thank you everyone for your continued responses and reassurances. Thankfully my mom hasn't raised the issue again so I'm hoping that she has now digested it and decided to just leave us be. I don't think we could afford a 2nd child either....I don't know how people manage smile

Someone up thread mentioned about my sister possibly having children and so there being cousins around - my sister already has children they will be 9 and 6 by the time the baby arrives so quite a big age gap. However, one of my best friends had a baby boy 4 months ago and one of my other good friends is having a baby in 6 weeks - so there are potential play dates lined up smile

Our new dilemma is that hubby has taken a shine to the name 'Rocky' hmm Good Lord, help me grin

Lilacroses Tue 29-Oct-13 08:53:08

It's entirely up to you and your dp. I t drives me mad that people feel they have a right to tell you how many kids you ought to have!! My Dd is an only and although we wanted another it wasn't possible and after a while of feeling sad about it we moved on and now feel very positive indeed about having just Dd.

Yes there are advantages in having siblings but there are also disadvantages. In any case, it's up to you both and no one else.

Echocave Tue 29-Oct-13 08:22:50

Just repeating everyone else's view - it's not anyone's business but your family's. and I know plenty of perfectly lovely, well adjusted only children (including both of my extremely lovely parents!).
There was a good article written by Tracey Ann Oberman (I think) the other day about being a parent to an only child.
I always think its one of the most annoying and intrusive things people can say.

Evelynevening Tue 29-Oct-13 01:40:26

Yanbu. You can choose your family size and do not need to justify it to anyone.

I might be best to avoid this topic in the future. If anyone asks directly about your plans just say something vague like 'time will tell' and move on.

TombOfMummyBeerest Tue 29-Oct-13 01:00:26

I have one DD. I either want only her or 2 more, not just one. So that, if I do have a favourite, it won't be so glaringly obvious. thlgrin

In all seriousness, if I only ever have her, I'd be extremely happy. And I won't hesitate to say so.

BigOrangePumpkin Mon 28-Oct-13 14:26:30

No, no, a thousand times no! My DD will be an only child too. As loads of PP's have said, there is no guarantee that siblings will get on. Me and DSis were 'forced' together when we were younger due to a small age gap but we've never really got on, and there are always tensions simmering away under the surface because of it.

eurochick Mon 28-Oct-13 14:19:44

I'm an only - not by choice but because my mum miscarried the next four and was then told to stop for the good of her health.

My childhood wasn't awful by any means, and much of the time we were a happy band of three. However, having lived it, it is not what I would ideally want if we are able to have a family. It was sometimes a lonely childhood and I longed for a brother or sister (and asked my parents for one, which must have caused them a lot of heartache given what they were going through). It was very unusual in the 80s (I think I was the only one in my class of 30), less so now. And there are far more clubs and after school activities than there were back then, which should help.

You have to do what is right for you and your family. Given your health concerns, it sounds like sticking with one is right. During your first pregnancy is not really the time to be discussing it anyway!

If you get on well with your sister maybe there'll be cousins one day for DC to play with ?
My DC have a great time with their cousins.
Also on holiday they're soon off playing with new found friends - I think children are much better at this than adults.
It doesn't always have to be nuclear family based these days - friends are the relations you choose for yourselves smile

EldritchCleavage Mon 28-Oct-13 14:09:31

There is simply no way for you to predict whether your child will love or hate being an only, just as there is no way for those of us with more than one to predict whether they will end up having good sibling relationships in adulthood.

So do what suits you and your husband now. It isn't up to anyone else.

QueenofLouisiana Mon 28-Oct-13 14:06:28

My DS is a happy only, it was pretty obvious that we would only ever have him. His best friend is growing up as an only through much less happy circumstances.

We ensure the 2 boys spend a lot of time together so they have a close friendship, learn to share and compromise as they will need to as adults.

My response to people making stupid comments is " I can't improve on perfection " yes, MIL, I'm looking at you

lifeinthefastlane1 Mon 28-Oct-13 13:52:32

I have best of both worlds, 2 grown children girl and boy who were 3 yrs apart, they get on really well and are great friends, however they stuck with each other on holiday and didnt make outside friends at all when we were away.
now I have a 4yr old and shes like an only child as sibs no longer at home, shes totally different, she makes friends everywhere we go and is not shy at all, shes happy with others and happy alone. We made the decision that we wouldnt have another one with her, as I wanted to do the whole only child business ,after paying for 2 kids on holidays etc its lovely to just have to think about the one.

Thumbfuckerwitch Mon 28-Oct-13 13:32:02

The only selfish thing here is to inflict your views onto anyone else, such that they feel bad about the perfectly valid choice they have made.
I.e., your mother is the selfish one, not you.

My mother was an only. She chose to ensure that I wouldn't be, and gave me 2 siblings, neither of whom I appreciated or was grateful for, despite her being sure I should be and telling me so. hmm
I am grateful for my sister now, but couldn't care less about the other one - but if I had been an only things might have panned out very differently, so in reality, I'd have probably been just as ok with being an only child as not.

I had DS1 at 40 - 3 MCs later, it was looking like he would be an only then we got lucky and got DS2 5y after Ds1. But if we hadn't got lucky at that point, then we would have stopped TTC when I turned 45 anyway. I was quite happy to have stopped at one but DH had one brother, close in age to each other, and he wanted DS1 to have that experience of having fun with his sibling.

Your only child doesn't have to be a "lonely only" - make friends, go to groups, mothers' groups, playgroups, etc. etc. - this gives them their socialising when they need it.

In the end, you can NOT work out ahead of time what is going to be best for your child because you simply can't know whether or not your DC would all get along, and whether or not any of them actually would have preferred to be solo.

Stick with what you've decided upon - you have very valid medical reasoning for it so your Mum can stick her head up her bum, quite frankly.

You don't have to justify your choices to anyone. If you decide to be childfree that is the right choice for you, if you decide to have one child that is the right choice for you...its your life not theirs.

I have two boys and you sometimes get the don't you wish you had a girl - no we are happy with things as they are.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 28-Oct-13 13:09:56

First off, you have made the decision for very good reasons. I have a friend who, after 3 miscarriages, made the same decision because she said that the child she already had was more important than any she might want in the future (miscarriages were having an effect on her dd also due to emotional turmoil etc)
I would have chosen to have 3, but I won't. I have one (and I never say I ONLY have one. I hate that. Not sure why!)
There are good things and bad things about it, but I can't change it so no point worrying really.
Ds has cousins, who he adores, and lots of friends. I always made an effort to invite other kids over, and to go places where there would be other children to play with.
He is absolutely not spoiled, probably because I have made a very conscious effort to not over indulge.
He is hilarious, kind, and very good with other children, good at sharing, kind to his friends younger siblings, and deeply eccentric.
In fact, I have had many boyfriends who have been onlies, and they all tended to be quite eccentric, but in a really good way. They have never been compared to anyone else, they are just them iyswim.
As for holidays, we go with cousins, or we go places where there will be other kids, and I then I steel myself to go and make friends with other adults with kids of a similar age, and playing amongst children usually follows.(I think with one child, you have to be a bit pushy sometimes, especially if that child is a bit shy.)
Ignore all the negative comments, and feel grateful for your one unique child.

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