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Feel like I have to justify plans to only have one child...

(16 Posts)
gobblygook Tue 18-Oct-11 07:29:20

I'm nearly 42 and my DS is 10.5 months. I met my DH late and to be honest, we were both very ambivalent about having kids - or perhaps more scared of the life change than ambivalent - and I'd never fostered the image of marriage and of a volvo of kids.

But we decided to go for it, got lucky despite some seriously dodgy fertility results, and DS is an unbelievable, amazing joy. We adore him. And he seems a very happy, content baby.

That said, I really don't anticipate having any more. I don't want to have to 'rush' to do it, and I think I probably would if we were to get lucky again; I don't want to lose out on DS' gorgeous early moment by being preoccupied with getting preggers again...I just feel very confused about whether I want another. If I was ten or even five years younger, I think it would be a lot easier - I could wait, take my time and then it would be an easier decision...

That said, everyone asks me all the time and when i say we'll likely have the one, the response makes me feel so guilty. What about him, they ask? Two older parents to look after. Won't he get bored, being the 'lonely only.'...all this sort of crap which I genuinely don't believe but don't seem to be able to shake off. I feel guilty I suppose...

Anyway, not sure what I'm writing for but just wanted to throw it out there, see if I wasn't alone with this sort of stuff.

Pascha Tue 18-Oct-11 07:36:35

You're not alone. We only have one and that's the way we like it. I'm only 34. I just laugh comments off, it Boone elses business.

Pascha Tue 18-Oct-11 07:42:12


Bucharest Tue 18-Oct-11 07:48:32

I know far more siblings who hate each other's guts than I do "lonely onlies".

I have an only, I am an only, my Dad is an only.

None of the 3 of us could be described as lonely.

How many siblings truly truly say (and mean) that their brother/sister is their best friend?

Siblings are handy to have around so you can get the hoovering done while they play nicely......if they play nicely. wink

There are lonely, introverted people who are only children, there are lonely, introverted people who have 5 siblings.

If you want another anecdote (for that is all anyone can offer you, both the anti-onlies, and the pro-) (although I believe there are statistics that show only children are likely to be more intelligent,independent and able to mix better in adult company) dd, as I have said, is an surrounded by a gaggle of friends, at ease in every social situation, never looked back when she started nursery, or school (t'was me that cried, not her) whilst her best friend (who has a younger brother) is a shy, timid little thing who cried for the entire first year of school,and is now, just, at 8.5 starting to dare speak to anyone who isn't her mother.

Because being shy/lonely whatever, is nothing to do with how many people are around sharing your DNA.

Btw, there is a dedicated section of MN for only children (parents of) The "tearoom" thread is one of theirs. You'll find lots of advice on there!

As for the looking after aged parents thing- again- how many siblings truly share the burden???? My Mum is one of 3, and when her mother had dementia, she did the wiping arses bit, while her brother and sister arrived on Mothers' Day and at Christmas with the biggest fuck off bunches of flowers they could find, for a person who no longer even knew what a flower was.

I'd also ask, genuinely, because it has never crossed my mind, as mother of an only and daughter of an only, why would anyone ever be thinking about "what will happen when I'm old and doddery" when they are planning their family? That hypothetical sibling might move to Australia, or be run over by a bus, or simply send one of those bouquets twice a year.

Furball Tue 18-Oct-11 07:49:01

I just say - we've worked out what caused it and put a stop to it. usually stops anyone in their tracks

have a read of this thread

Note it is in the the 'one child' section - you'll find loads of us there smile

CamperFan Tue 18-Oct-11 09:38:36

OP, people are just so rude - it's just none of their business and to say things like that is just annoying and insensitive. And being frank, at 42, how can people just assume that you can easily get pregnant again? I would find some witty comeback to say to such people.

I know several people who had a baby in their early 40s and none of them planned to have any more (one had a happy surprise though at 44!) and it wouldn't have crossed my mind to question their decision.

And do not feel guilty - siblings are not a right or an expectation, and not necessarily A Good Thing either - DH's sister is an utter nightmare and we haven't spoken to her for more than 2 years!

FeralGirlCambs Tue 18-Oct-11 09:45:46

I know the feeling, and I'm 31! I'm a well-adjusted, outgoing only and always quite fancied having just one (less impact on lifestyle, not being outnumbered, other Bad Selfish reasons). I have this perverse relief that DD being 7 weeks premature gives me an excuse - 'don't want to risk having another, more premature, feel we got off lightly with DD having no problems and don't want to risk it again'. If I / we really wanted another, I'm sure that would not stop me / us, but it does shut people up. But it's shocked me how judgmental people are, and, being still fairly young how many wise advisers take it upon themselves to assert that we'll change our minds in a few years. Maybe, but always wanted one, have one, feel confirmed in belief that one is good, now f* off and mind your own business. And I second the siblings not sharing elder care - My Mum did everything for her Mum with Alzheimer's, though she has a brother; my DH did everything for his Dad who had various health problems and recently died, though he has a sister. And children are NOT an insurance policy for one's own geriatric years - that's a more selfish attitude than the decision to have one, surely.

AMumInScotland Tue 18-Oct-11 09:53:52

People are full of opinions. If "everyone" is asking you about it, you may want to reply in a way that makes it less clear that you are deliberately choosing to stop at one. It's really none of their business anyway, so if they say "So when's the next one coming along?" you can always say "Well I'm not sure I can see that happening really". They should then STFU since they have no idea if it's your age, fertility problems, or what.

And if they keep on at you, a haughty stare and "That's a bit personal isn't it?" should reinforce the fact that you aren't up for an in-depth discussion of the subject.

In the meantime, try to work through your feelings of guilt - it's easier to ignore people's opinions if they don't actually hurt, and as long as you feel you are being unfair to yur child then other people echoing that will hurt.

Onlies can be fine - there are plenty of "pros" as well as any "cons" to their situation, and picturing the "happy families" you could play if you just had a second is a mug's game, as plenty of threads on here will tell you that siblings don't automatically get on, either in childhood or as adults.

smearedinfood Tue 18-Oct-11 12:43:16

I just say the next one is going to a Great Dane. Then they start talking about dogs. Sometimes people just stay stuff to "talk" inananely about stuff.

CMOTdibbler Tue 18-Oct-11 12:54:04

I've got a ds, who for a number of reasons has no chance of having a sibling. If people ask, I currently say 'thats not going to happen' and change the subject. If they come back to it, I get ruder tbh. And if anyone had the rudeness to go on about being lonely etc (and tbh, only mil has done that) they'd get told it was rude, wrong and hurtful.

I find it best not to justify as it invites comments. Course it helps that ds is 5 and incredibly social and I have a sibling who is no help with our parents, nor was ever much company

Lots of support over in one child families, and though the tearoom is a bit batty, theres a huge amount of support

oldmum42 Tue 18-Oct-11 14:17:58

Some people are so rude/insensitive, I had DS4 at age 42, he's almost a year old now, and I've had several people say we HAVE to have another as it's really unfair on him to have no one to play with (DS1-3 are all teenagers). Quite often in the same breath as "four boys, what a shame" sad

PipPipPip Tue 18-Oct-11 19:51:42

I'm an only child and have always enjoyed it. My parents and I could have proper conversations, they always had time to listen to me and we were like a little team. Who cares what other people say? You do what's right for you and your family smile

gobblygook Tue 18-Oct-11 20:10:47

You are all right. I need to find a way to deal with my own feelings about it all. I do find it complicated and I do sometimes feel very unsure if I'm making the right decision (if the decision is even mine at 42); I absolutely love being DS's mum...he's definitely my greatest love affair, and that of course makes me wonder what having another would be like...but that feels poles apart from having another, if that makes sense.

People are rude, and insensitive and have their own agenda. I need to find a place within all that and stay firm.

The bloody irony is that I've got 2 sisters and I have never had a particularly good relationship with either! I've got closer non-blood friends than them...

Hope I'm making sense. Thanks

gobblygook quite often people just like to comment on somebody else's life without thinking things through.

I am 42 and have 2 boys. I have debated a third but I am getting older and DH is older than me so it is getting less and less likely. People ask me if I wished I had a girl angry, if I am going to have any more etc. I just tell them that age isn't on my side (they don't know that it took me a long time to conceive both babies and that I actually think my odds of conceiving again are pretty low)

I have other friends who had a couple of children close together and people suggest that is not fair on the children because they didn't get much attention.

What I am trying to get at is that whatever your situation 1 child, two, six, younger parents, older parents some blighter out there will feel that they have the right to pass judgement on your decision. But they have missed the point, its YOUR decision and you don't have to explain or justify it to anyone.

If you think the right thing for your family, based on current circumstances, is to accept that your DS is the only child you will have, then that is the right decision for you and the critics can bog off!

missingmumxox Tue 18-Oct-11 22:50:32

I loved the comment, we found out what cause it, superb, I have 2 children twins, I would also love another but like you I am nearly 42, I am aways honest when people ask if I will have anymore, as in if I can I will...however I totally understand where you are coming from, I was ambilivent about having children, and was totally loved up once they came, and also had dodgy fertillity, I also realised it was about enjoying them and not worrying about future what ifs and enjoyed being with them, they are 6 now and I haven't got pregnant again so I am glad I haven't wasted to much emotional energy on it.
I have friends who didn't want any and are happy, only you know what makes you happy, but beware, my Gran's had their last at 43 and 46, I have now reached a point moving on from thinking oh wouldn't it be nice, to OMG! it really wouldn't be great now smile

missingmumxox Tue 18-Oct-11 22:57:00

chazsbrilliantattitude must have been typing when you posted, much better said than me, I have to boys and when the daughter comment comes that one I answer with, i have put in an order for a daughter, unfortunalty they can't guarentee exact model on delivery wink

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