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Feel totally alone in decision to stick to one

(36 Posts)
MindySimmons Mon 09-May-11 21:40:58

My gorgeous dd is almost 4 and a half and my decision to have one has been playing on my mind. No broodiness, no yearning for another but I know of no one else in rl who has chosen to have one and starting to feel like a failure.

My dh has said he doesn't mind either way which I think he feels is being helpful but doesn't really help at all. He hasvlt health issues which can result in stays in hospital and he says himself he doesn't think he could do anymore than he does now. I run a business to try and keep things stable money wise and I do lion share of the parenting really. I feel like the 3 of us work really well but also recognise how much dd relishes the company of other children. It's a decision that I know once made cannot be undone and want to do the best for my family more than anything else - just not sure what that is!

PrettyCandles Mon 09-May-11 21:52:57

" No broodiness, no yearning for another" - that's the key.

I don't think it's very common to have only one child, and tbh only one of the 4 singleton families I know is singleton by choice. So I can see why you feel a bit different. But it's your choice. It's what works for you and yours.

You're not harming your dd by not giving her a sib. Just make sure that she has plenty of opportunity to socialise outside school. Not just organised activities like Brownies, but also plenty of one-to-one stuff like playdates and sleepovers. Singletons have the opportunity to thrive on unshared attention. They do have to learn to share though, and that they cannot always be the centre of attention.

I think it may be harder for the parents to let go and give them freedom and responsibility.

MindySimmons Mon 09-May-11 22:02:48

Thanks pretty candles really appreciate your reply. We were very lucky to have dd and so relieved that she does not appear to have I hearted any health ssuess from dh that I think I've always felt so blessed having her, I don't feel the need for anymore. Yet I also want to be the best mum I can be and sometimes worry that deciding on one is not the best for her

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 09-May-11 23:07:08

Hello Mindy. Truly, I don't think any of us can ever know with certainty that we've made the best decisions for our children. We'll know in 30, 40, 50 years' time - if we ever do. It is hard to take any decision that marks one out from the crowd but for someone in your circumstances your decision sounds very sensible and well thought through, to me.

And PS I don't agree that all only children have to learn to share (or its corollary, that all children with siblings don't need to learn this). Things are never so black or white. My experience of many years of youth work is that the children with siblings can often be the worst at sharing, because years of having to grab whatever they want before a sibling gets there can become a habit.

MindySimmons Tue 10-May-11 11:57:49

Thanks Maud, it really is something I have thought carefully about and really only have doubt because I am surrounded by families who feel siblings are incredibly important (and feel under some pressure from family although have no one close who would now be in a position to help)

ubwlondon Tue 10-May-11 20:53:57

I know what you mean! We have one little girl, 3.5, and have just moved out of London to Oxford. In London I had several friends who decided to stick to one child for various reasons, here we seem to be the only one-child family around (but plenty of families with three or more!). Even if I know in my heart of hearts that one is enough, being surrounded by pregnant women and children does make me doubt my own decision sometimes. Maybe I need to set up some kind of club or association for one-child families...

MindySimmons Tue 10-May-11 21:36:58

Ubwlondon - that's a great idea! I think in major cities, it's much more common but I live outside Bristol now and 3 is by far the most common number of children. Also all my friends from elsewhere have 2 or more so like you, it makes me doubt and yet in my heart, I feel I'm doing the right thing

toughdecisions Thu 12-May-11 16:10:50


Don't feel alone. 1 child families make up 1 in 4 of households with kids (Times report a couple of weeks ago). They are not all in London. We live in small Yorkshire village eg no school, but there are 6 primary school age onlies.

We are happy to have one healthy DC smile

MindySimmons Thu 12-May-11 21:30:26

That's really heartening to hear tough, I was starting to wonder whether it really was only me!

londonmackem Thu 12-May-11 21:35:16

I am an only and it was great - am not even too worried about being left alone when my parents die (sorry to be morbid). I have my own family as well now. I especially loved being an only from about 12 onwards.

I was desperate for a sibling when younger but my mums open house policy and a friend on holiday worked well and I don't feel like I missed out at all - except on sibling rivalry.

londonmackem Thu 12-May-11 21:36:24

PS I am good at sharing but do like people to ask if they want to borrow as I am used to 'my' things.

nancy75 Thu 12-May-11 21:39:23

you are not alone, my Dd is almost 6 and the thought of another baby fills me with horror!
I feel like our family unit is great as it is and would be worried that another child could ruin it all.

Ragwort Thu 12-May-11 21:43:08

We have one ten year old by choice and are perfectly happy smile - he is friendly, sociable, goes to lots of clubs and activities. Perfectly happy to go off to camps etc on his own - not at all clingy. Please don't feel under pressure to have another because 'it's the done thing'.

Just because you have siblings doesn't mean you get on with them sad.

Nyx Thu 12-May-11 22:14:09

Hi Mindy, just adding my tuppenceworth too. We have one DD, who is 5 now, and we don't plan on having any more children. We have never seriously thought about having another, either. When I was pregnant I wished for twins (I'm a twin myself) but when that wasn't the case, we just thought "oh well, one it is, then".

I feel the same as you - worried in case it's not the best thing for DD to be an only - but we are not financially able to have another child, really. Also, I'm 39 and it took us 2 years to conceive DD, so I'm not even sure we'd be able to. But that is all beside the point really, as we are just happy as we are.

I know what you mean about other people with children going on to have more, all around you - I am in the middle of that too! But I made a conscious decision to try not to let it bother me. And nobody has ever said anything to make me defensive, our decision seems to be accepted by everybody with no question. I do get asked if we're going to have another, but when I answer that we're not planning on it, nobody has given me any strange looks or remarks!

Please don't feel like a failure - you are not! You have made a decision for your family and I am sure it is the right one for you. Good for you! Don't try to second guess yourself. My DH would probably have been happy for us to have another child, especially when DD was a toddler, but never pressed the issue and now sees the advantages to having a singleton.

MindySimmons Sun 15-May-11 18:39:26

Nyx thank you so much for your post, DH very much like yours actually. I am actually feeling a whole lot better about the whole thing - for me the only reason would have been to provide a sibling and playmate and tbh at 4 1/2 if I were to miraculously conceive, the gap is such that I would be making the mother of all assumptions that they would become great playmates! She's happy, we are happy and I truly love our little family - it's just tough sometimes being the crazy one in the village!

UrsulaBuffay Sun 15-May-11 18:50:32

Good to read this thread, DD is 2 and everyone who was pg around the same time seems to be onto at least no 2 shock

I do occasionally get broody but more to be pg as I enjoyed it and also I miss my wee DD as she is getting bigger. Another child would not be 'her' and I know that I would struggle a lot with 2 children, I am really not the earth mother type after all blush

DH says he'd like another some day, but when confronted with babies he says they are 'rubbish' and DD is so much more interesting & conversational.

For some reason I feel like I need to make a 'decision' rather than what we have said between us which is 'wait & see when she's in school'.

I had one brother & we never got on, didn't not get on just have never even had a conversation & I always wanted to be an only. Money is also a factor I feel like we'd be cutting ourselves out for a really hard time if we had another DC.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 16-May-11 18:41:14

If it's any help to anyone, my Girl told me last week that she was glad that she didn't have siblings. This took me by surprise a little, as at one point she felt rather wistful about (not) having a sister, just as she was wistful about not having a pony or living in a mansion. Anyway, when I asked about her wanting a sister she said that she preferred to be an only, because siblings are annoying and wreck all your stuff and you don't get so much attention from your parents.

So, her reasons may be selfish and not very laudable, but that is how she feels. Please don't imagine that every only child is hankering for siblings. Some might, but many others don't.

MamaVoo Sun 22-May-11 19:13:37

Don't feel like a failure. You should feel proud of yourself for knowing what you want and sticking to it. I bet a lot of people have a second baby without even questioning whether or not they actually want two - we're brainwashed to think that having two is the norm. Having one child is fantastic - the best of all possible worlds IMO.

FattyAcid Sun 22-May-11 19:22:45

You say that " I know of no one else in rl who has chosen to have one and starting to feel like a failure." I think this is most of the problem. I have one dd - age 11. In her reception class there were 6 other parents of one. My bf has one child and so do several of my work colleagues.

I think having one child is amazing. My dd has never wanted a sibling and is a very happy child. Knowing so many other parents of one normalises our family size and these are great people to socialise with! Are there any parents of one in your child's class or has she not started school yet?

biryani Sun 22-May-11 20:57:45

Why on earth do you feel like a failure? Having one is much commoner now than it used to be, and you have acted in everyone's best interests, so I'm not sure why you think of yourself as a failure, unless you have come under pressure from friends/ family or something?

I have an only DD, now 9, and she had to be an only because I left it too late!! I agree with comeintothegardenmaud - many children do not want siblings because they cramp one's style! Mine craves company all the time - this is usually not a problem but it does mean that I have to perhaps make more of an effort as regards her social life - but she is perfectly happy on her own, can entertain herself brilliantly, and is resourceful and sensible.

The one thing that worries me is that we will be a burden to her as we age. I'm an only too, and I found things difficult when there were bereavements/ family crises and I had to cope alone. Other than this I can't remember regretting being an only.

purplefeet Fri 27-May-11 10:47:56

I have one DS aged 3.5, we don't want to have any more children. I worry a lot about him not having any siblings but know we have made the right decision. I too sometimes feel like a bad mother or that I've failed somehow.

Though the only reason I would have another is to give DS a sibling, which I don't feel is right - I would only consider having another baby if I felt as I did when I conceived DS - that I desperately wanted a baby and it was all I could think about and was absolutely the right thing for us to be doing. I don't want any more children and would only be bringing an unwanted child into the world.

OP - do you get people asking you if/when you're having more children and then, why nots? I get this as least once a week, though hoping it stops when DS is a bit older. NIx you are fortunate not to have had anyone question you!!

I have no desire to have another child and DH only ever wanted one - his brother was born when he was 10, which had a negative effect on his life and he hardly ever sees him now.

What biryani says about bereavements/crises is something I think of but then remember two friends who were treated terribly by their siblings when their parents died.

Llanarth Fri 27-May-11 11:55:22

I sometimes feel like a 'failed' mum too - well not really failed, as I know I am a fab mum to my boy, but more that there must be something missing in me for not wanting another. I'm part of a book group and several of the mums have just had/are pregnant with their third baby, and when I'm with them I always feel I'm lacking 'maternally' for only having (and wanting) my boy.

I occasionally get asked if I'm having another but have never had a negative reaction when I've said no (well, not to my face anyway!). Our decision is partly due to fertility reasons - we tried and failed for another, and don't want to try again - so if pushed, I would tell them that, which would soon shut them up!

Personally, the bereavements/crises issue doesn't worry me - if we have done a good job in raising our son we will have equipped him with the ability to form strong secure friendships and relationships, and those attachments will support him when he faces life's issues. I have a brother and would never dream of turning to him if i needed support - I would rely on my DH and friends. And there is a lot you can do as a parent to ensure you don't become a burden on your child(ren) - forward financial planning, proactive and early downsizing to assisted accommodation, embracing outside agency help, funeral and end of life planning etc.

Purplefeet like you, my only reason for having another would be for my son. But then I know I wouldn't be such a great mum to him if I had another - I'm a SAHM/WAHM and we have the best time together, but if we added a baby to the mix, I know I wouldn't be a very good mum as my resources would be spread too thin.

But I still wobble occasionally, as we're nearing the 'now or never' (for us, in terms of sibling spacing) phase. Hopefully once we're past that the wobbles will become less frequent - it's having the potential to change everything with a simple decision (and consent form!) that I find unsettling.

TheHumanCatapult Fri 27-May-11 12:00:26

my friends have a only and they have just borrowed my daughter to take to Spain for a week with them and it works well .He is happy little boy enjoys company but after this week he will enjoy having his mum and dad to himself

messylittlemonkey Fri 27-May-11 12:03:48

We toyed with the idea of sticking with one, especially as DD1 got to the easy stage, but as time went by I DID start to want another child. There are 4.5 years between DD1 and DD2 and now we love two, but I also know that I don't want any more!

I do know what you mean though about feeling as though it's something strange just having one, but don't let that force you into having another if it's not what you want.

Good luck with your decision.

Blu Fri 27-May-11 12:16:21

We are happy parents of an 'enfant unique' who is also v happy. It was our choice to have one child - in other circumstances, at a differnt time, we might have chosen to have 2, but we rae happy with the decision we made at the time we made it.

I love big families, and i love our small family. Just as you make adjustments in your parenting of a big family (creating one to one time with individua children, for example) so does a sensible parent make adjustents for an only child - be v accommodating re play invitations etc, and have lots of children to play, include a friend on a day out, even ofr a weekend when older.

We regularly holiday with other bigger famlies, and actually I find DS LESS likely to mither for attention, and get on with his own child-centred thing with his friends because he isn't feeling competitive about it. And against every tedious stereotyp about only children finding it hard to share he has been good at taking turns and sharing since he was tiny! As have most other children I know without siblings. And I do know quite a few.

Bigger families are great - I love watching siblings look after each other - but sibling rivalry brings with it much hoo hah and irritating bickering, too!

Also - I would have another child if I really want another child, for his or her own sake - not as a sibling for an older child.

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