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I only want one...everyone else has a different idea.

(40 Posts)
brightonbythesea Fri 26-Jul-13 13:44:59

I have a little girl who is 8.5 months. She was a big surprise for my DP and I and we were very nervous about her, but as predicted, we both adore her to pieces, and even when it's been tough we've really enjoyed parenting her.

I feel very lucky that I have a healthy, happy little girl. We are both middle earners (teacher, engineer) and can just about afford to get her all she needs, pay a mortgage and afford childcare for the days I work. I found pregnancy and the early days very very hard, and although I didn't have PND I was very bluesy at times, and needed a lot of support for the first few months.

I am very happy with one, and I don't plan on having another child. If I did we would be financially very tight, even more tired (!) and frankly, we just feel lucky and happy and I don't want to upset that family dynamic. My DP currently feels the same. Unfortunately, many people in our lives (largely his mother) insist that 'one is cruel, she'll never learn to share, she'll be bored, what will she do on holidays' etc. ad infinitum. This has been repeated to me by colleagues, my own sister, and some friends. Currently I just smile and nod and then tell them we'll do what's best for us, but I am getting a little tired of it. I'm pretty good at holding my own usually, but I'm starting to think I'm in a serious minority and I'm getting something wrong.

Am I missing something here? Is it really so cruel to have one child? My DD doesn't have cousins in the UK, as my siblings live abroad and DPs are childless, but she does go to a childminder 3 days per week where she plays with other children, and I have made a number of friends at baby groups who we see regularly when I am not working. Is the first one being lonely really a reason to have another child, even if you don't want one for any other reason? I'd be really interested to hear what others think here, as perhaps I am being selfish on my DD as she gets older.

Amrapaali Thu 17-Oct-13 14:57:47

I really dont understand the "learning to share" business. With a sibling, you do the OPPOSITE of sharing. You grab, pull, covet...

I remember reading an article about one child families long ago, where the author basically said, "there's too much emphasis on making children share, when actually as adults, none of us have any reason to share our things. We really dont do it that often, do we?"

Made sense at the time. I have an only, as you may have guessed. Not by choice, but as time goes by, I am very, very happy with our family dynamic.

And many horror stories around me dissuaded me from trying for another child- finances, permanent disability after the second birth, children not getting on at all.... All true. Anecdotes only, I realise, but too many for me to be just random happenings.

Enjoy spending your time, love and money on your child. smile

Mellowandfruitful Thu 17-Oct-13 14:44:34

I am another only who had a great childhood. You need to cut off these comments straight away next time they start, with something like 'You've said all this before and I don't agree, and what's more I find it offensive that you carry on like this. Please stop'. And end the conversation if they don't get it even then.

AdoraBell Thu 17-Oct-13 14:39:43

I have a step son who was an only child úntil my DDs came along when he was 16. He is a Well rounded adult who did Well in school and Uní and is now doing Well in work, he shares, has a sense of fairness, isn't selfish, makes friends etc just as people expect from someone who grew up with siblings.

I otoh, come from a large family and struggled through Life úntil a few years ago. That was because of my parents and their relationship moré than lack of money, but my point is having siblings does not gaurantee a better childhood and up bringing than being an only child.

It should be you and DP who make decisiones about the size of your family. I can see why his DM might feel a need to poke her nose in express an opinión, but not colleagues and siblings, they can just feck off.wink

Lurkymclurker Thu 17-Oct-13 14:31:58

I was an only child and vowed to have more than one - now we have dd a perfect little 2 year old and we don't want more!

Much for the same reasons as you finances etc, no family children and she is likely to be the only one in her generation from 3 sides.

But she shares, her speech and physical skills are slightly above average (according to hv and compared to her peers) and we can devote all our time to her which is what we find we want.

We can support her in every way while still maintaining a nice standard of living and That should continue for the future.

There is a part of me that wants another baby but my desire for a kitten is stronger (if that doesn't sound flippant)

IMO there will be people asking you about the second from now until forever and you have to have some retorts and responses under your belt or it does grid you down, but normally a swift "one is plenty" or "you pay for it I'll have it" stops the questions and you hope people just get bored of asking smile

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 17-Oct-13 14:29:23

What you will learn as a parent is that you are always wrong.

One is not enough.

Two - well, if they are both the same sex ok (but don't you want one of the other). If they are opposite sex, well that's the perfect family (but they'll never be as close).

Three- poor middle child

Four or more - are you mad, they will be neglected.

See, no right answer. Except for you. Just ignore everyone else.

Scunnilingus Thu 17-Oct-13 14:25:56

...oh and when I was younger I used to DREAM about being an only child! wink

Scunnilingus Thu 17-Oct-13 14:25:04

My DH is an only child, he's by far the most giving and least selfish person I know! He's far less selfish and more patient than I am and I was one of three! There are no rules saying you have to have more than one child. Don't be pressured into anything. Having two is REALLY hard work ;) but it was what we wanted. If you guys are happy as you are then there is no problem. Your DD will be fine. She will not have anyone to compete with, she won't be lonely because she'll have all the love and attention she needs from you. Complete nonsense that she'll never learn to share! That's what she's learning and nursery and what she'll continue to learn at school. For what it's worth, my DS2 is obviously not an only child yet he HATES having to share! Don't feel you're being cruel by doing what you know is best for your family.

Fifibluebell Sun 13-Oct-13 10:53:13

Likewise isitmeor I find it bewildering when people with siblings tell me I'm lucky and they would like to be an only child grass is always greener

IsItMeOr Sun 13-Oct-13 09:57:05

We have one DS 4.7yo. I'm one of 4 and DS has a DSis.

I find it bewildering when some people talk about the desire for another sibling or child that somehow the fantasy person is always perfect. Not a bit flaky and lives half way around the world. Not disabled and physically incapable of providing any care to an elderly parent.

As the youngest of 4, my eldest siblings were sometimes more significant in my upbringing than my parents. Great if you want your child to be formed by a 11yo's view of the world (still remember being told I was a horrible person because I didn't understand what it meant when my grandad died when I was 5). Or if you don't mind that they'll only tell their eldest siblings about important things going on in their lives (e.g. being bullied at school).

So my view is have the kids that you want and can cope with. I agree that two sounds like a lovely idea, but in practice, not for us.

Fifibluebell Sun 13-Oct-13 07:03:49

I was sad when I was young and jealous of friends with siblings even if they would fight all the time as an adult I still feel a little sad that I don't have that but will I live? Of course! I worry about if anything happens to my mum that I won't have any family other than my DS as we are so close but anyone can be close to a parent with or without sibling! It's your choice no one else's business and you should tell them that! smile

LtEveDallas Sun 13-Oct-13 06:59:49

Take heart OP, eventually they stop asking. It took until DD was about 5 or 6, but they do stop (probably because the same people with 'lonely only' prejudice also believe that a 6 year gap is too much smile)

You could always whisper to MIL "You don't understand how upset you are making DP you know....we can't have any more" and leave it like that. Let her imagination run riot.

Or, just tell the truth. "We don't want any more. Our family is perfect for us and is complete. Please stop commenting or you will damage our relationship"

I love having an only. I can give her my full attention whenever she needs it, I have more money, I have more space, holidays are cheaper, childcare is cheaper, clubs are cheaper ad infinitum. I wouldn't have another now if you paid me.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sun 13-Oct-13 06:46:18

Another one who thinks Pearly's argument is ridiculous. E.g. I have one sister who lives abroad so if it comes to it I will be the only to look after my aged parents.

Seriously, if you are happy with one, stick with one. Much better for the environment. I have one and we all couldn't be happier. Most people I know with more profess envy, although they might be being polite...

It's such a weird topic to have an opinion on - how many children other people should have.

BoundandRebound Sun 13-Oct-13 06:28:49

I don't get the discussion tbh it's clearly your decision, and yours alone. Tell them you cant have a other and you need them to stop discussing it.

Lavenderhoney Sun 13-Oct-13 06:20:21

Pearly, I don't think people should have children to care for them when they are elderly! I don't expect my dc to live their lives and make decisions based on having to look after me when I am in my dotage.

Your mil shouldn't interfere really. Carry on as you are, or ask her to stop as if she starts to spout this type of stuff round your dd, you might find your dd wants a sibling based purely on granny's fantasy which will drive you mad.

You sound very happy with your family decision. I think I would ask her to stop as its not going to change. Children make friends and learn social skills wherever they go, and if they have full lives and plenty of opportunity for friends then its fine.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sun 13-Oct-13 06:16:02

Op it wouldnt matter how you respond to their questions Tgey will still make you question yourself if you let them.

I wasn't really bothered about having a second, we'd just reached tge nice (and cheaper) 3 year mark with Dd and I was feeling really happy about our little family.

I got pregnant by accident and had a terrible pregnancy due to basically not wanting tge baby. I did of course come round in tge end and of course I love him.

The fact is he isn't an easy baby. He has just started sleeping at 2 years and it costs a lot of money, we would be £500 a month better off (which would make a real difference to our lives). All that said I do love him, he is part of our family.

Whatever your choice remember its yours to make

MyBaby1day Sun 13-Oct-13 06:03:40

What a load of prejudicial BS, do what you think is right for your family and if that's having one child then fine. I'm an only and bloomin loved it!!! grin

VikingLady Thu 10-Oct-13 21:02:24

IME having a sibling does not necessarily teach a child how to share - my brother and I learned how to snatch before the other got in first, and how bitter sibling rivalry is.

Can you turn it on the insulting people who think they know better than you how you should be bringing up your daughter? Point out the growing world population outstripping the earth's ability to feed/house them? How much greenhouse gases they produce/resources they use?

Not that any of that outs me off wanting a dozen! But that is my choice (and DP's), no-one else's.

Trunkcall Thu 10-Oct-13 20:41:27

When I meet adult 'onlies', I can often tell...

There is no substitute for having the daily necessity of getting on with other people. Playmates, cousins, friends are no substitute.

Some people can't have more, some don't want more. Their business. But if you can choose, IMO it's much, much better to have more than one.

GreenShadow Thu 10-Oct-13 20:26:17

It's not something parents of a single baby or young child think of, but fast forward to when they are 18, which I can assure you will come very quickly.

Our eldest two have now left for university, but at least we still have one at home. If DS1 was an only, I don't think we would have been ready for him to go off and live his own life. We'd have coped obviously, but it would have been harder. More than one gives you time to adjust to an empty nest.

CatFromAcrossTheRoad Thu 10-Oct-13 20:07:15

Fwiw, I did a bit of research (internet, not MY research) into this a couple of years ago. One thing that really stuck with me was that when the parents are happy with one, so is the only child. So as you are both clear that one is perefect, your dd should grow up feeling the same way.
Good luck!

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 10-Oct-13 19:56:36

I find it so weird that people say this kind of thing to anyone. Even if they think it, and it's weird enough to think it.

I have 3 kids, I love having 3 and I'm still not totally decided about a 4th. I have two siblings, and I love having siblings.

And yet, I still can't see any reason to think that other sizes of families are less good. Different obviously, but all families are different anyway because they have different people in them.

I think it must be lovely to have one child to lavish all your love and attention on, to not have to keep going back and doing all the stages again.

Also a couple plus one child seems a really cool group - easy to accommodate for friends who want to put you up, often more grown ups than children.

Also, all the only children I know the same age as my kids are really precocious and smart and don't seem lonely at all.

You know what is right for your family, so go and enjoy it, enjoy her, enjoy all the stuff you guys are going to do together smile

AvonRachel Thu 10-Oct-13 19:41:35

I've got an only child, i also happen to be a single parent but that has nothing to do with my decision to stick at one.

I knew from when I was pregnant I was only gonna do it once!! I hated being pregnant, felt awful most of the time, my labour was even worse, and ended up with a late night c-section cos she had been stuck for several hours! (10lb 10 baby will do that!)

I had a real fight with various drs over the last few years to get my tubes tied - they kept telling me i was too young - so i have a (now) almost 9 year old and have parented solo since she was 3, and almost solo for about 2 years before that, but I apparently don't know my own mind!!! Having had 2 abortions after my daughter clearly wasn't a good enough indicator in the past!

So happy now i persevered and regularly went back to ask for a referral - such a weight taken off my mind and I have explained to my daughter that I'm not going to have any more babies and some of the reasons why, and reasons why she wouldn't like to have a baby around.

She has trouble at school and I feel a bit guilty occasionally, but I think her problems are more genetic from her father's side unfortunately, she hasn't got a lot of friends and it is partly down to mis-management of her temper, which we have struggled with for years, and also a bad attitude to learning, but she has always had that, and I know it isn't from my lack of trying many many different ways and putting a lot of time in as I trained to be a teacher so used all the tactics I learned but nothing worked. She has got a bit better at it over the years, but still prefers other grown ups to help her with her homework, and mummy is there for cookery lessons and fun stuff at home.

Stick to your guns, don't bow to the pressure from those around you - for over 8 years I had to put up with everybody telling me I would forget how bad it was and I would change my mind! Well ya boo sucks to all of them - I haven't and have undergone surgery to ensure my happiness, and my daughter will grow up perfectly fine as she has plenty of people around her who love her and will look out for her.

BiddyPop Thu 05-Sep-13 14:29:42

A colleague at work is only back after working 2 days per week since January to nurse her terminally ill DF. Her DSis was practically no help at all, and remains even less so as she has rowed with the DM leaving my colleague to continue to pick up all the pieces (the DSis is a SAHM!). So having siblings does not guarantee assistance in looking after elderly parents.

DD has lots of friends on the street, in school, in her various sports clubs (she is almost 8). She is good at sharing (despite her aspergers DX, she is better than her DCousins who are a family of 3 and all NT!!). She is happy, active, engaged in life.

DH and I both work FT, but DD has both of us most of the time around that. She has been in 1 crèche near our offices from 4 mths to 2.5yrs, when I had to move office she moved to another run by the same group for the following 2 years, and has been in a separate crèche near home for afterschool care since starting school (now in 2nd class so 4th year in school). We have had au pairs at home too in the past 2 years as DH had to take on an overseas project which meant 2 weeks working overseas and 2 weeks working in the home office here. But we make it work - if we had more than 1, I'd have had to give up the permenant pensionable and secure job I have to pay for childcare and juggle everyone's needs and rely on DH's far less secure job.

Over the years, we've had many many comments about needing more than 1. But I have generally ignored those (we were married almost 6 years before DD arrived so we had had plenty of comments about "needing to get a move on" before DD as well!). And as she is getting older, they have reduced a bit (she's almost 8 now), and especially as the physically distant families have become more aware of the realities of dealing with DD and her AS/ADHD dx, and helping her to integrate into society and achieve her own potential in life.

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Wed 28-Aug-13 15:10:28

I'm sticking with one. I'm an only child, dh is from a big family, but he only wants one too. Here are my reasons (which I find myself giving not only to friends/family but strangers too)

1. I had PND pretty badly. Now, I know that it's not gospel that it would happen again, but it is more likely. I'm in a really good place now. If I did get it again, it would effect not only my relationship with dh, but it would impact ds too. I don't want to risk it. We're a strong, happy family.

2. We both work full time to afford our house. Ds is in nursery ft and my wages pay for childcare plus household bills. If we had 2 I don't know how the bills would get paid, even if ds was taken out of nursery. I know people 'just manage' but from doing the sums... We wouldn't. But with three of us we are happy and comfortable.

3. I have no desire for no 2. If I did have one, I feel it would be from bowing from pressure, and that is no way to bring a life into the world.

4. I always just wanted one. I still do.

I also don't buy into the lonely only thing, or that I'd be burdened by elderly parents. My family have discussed the arrangements for such events, and I have dh and friends to support and help. Siblings doesn't necessarily mean it's easier, I know plenty where a death in the family has caused all sorts of arguments and estrangements over petty things.

Hope that helps, OP

DancingLady Wed 28-Aug-13 14:58:26

Tell them to mind their own bloody business. It's not 'cruel' to have one child. It's far crueller to insist someone have more children just so their first one has siblings! And having another child so your first one isn't lonely, learns how to share, etc - how's that for spoiling your pfb?!

Your DD will learn to share. She won't live in a vacuum. Having another child just to teach the first one to share is lazy imo. Just teach your child to share!

Btw, congratulations on your DD!

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