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Have one DC, not really by choice, and struggling with how I feel and the expectations of others.

(4 Posts)
Oneofthegiants Sat 15-Mar-14 09:55:08

I don't think there is any real solution to this but wondered how others have dealt with this situation or if there is anyone who can at least sympathise..

We have 1 DC (5yo) who for a number of reasons (mostly medical) will almost certainly remain an only. I am not yet at a place where I am comfortable with this- my emotions do go up and down but at the moment I feel low. A lot of my time is spent thinking, debating with myself, wondering. I am mentally exhausted by it all. To protect myself in the past, when asked if we were having more i would always reply with a cheery and false standard response that it probably wouldn't be possible but we were happy etc.

I have always been (and well known for being) 'good' with children, wanted at least two, worked with babies and toddlers for a living etc. Sadly, it's not turned out as planned but I so realise how incredibly lucky I am to have my one DC. As happens, most of my friendship group have gone on to have second and third children.

My problem is that at the moment, as I said, I am particularly down with it all. I am tired of being given babies to hold when I meet with friends as "you must miss having a little one to cuddle". I am tired of pretending to be excited and happy when another pregnancy is announced (I know that sounds terrible). Most recently, and the catalyst for this post, is that I have been asked by a friend to be involved with a charity in a supportive sense that will involve me having contact with lots of new parents and babies. A few years ago I would probably have been fine with it but feeling now that I need to protect myself emotionally and don't feel i can.

So I guess my question is, how can I explain to people carefully that I am struggling at the moment and that certain situations are hard for me? Or should I battle on with it and hope this period of negativity passes soon?

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Sat 15-Mar-14 17:26:31

I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I have a DS nearly 6 and for a number of reasons he doesn't have, and more than likely won't have any siblings. Even if he did, by the time a baby came along he would be far too old to have any siblings for a playmate kind of relationship.
I have been having a bit of a wobble for the last week or so about it. His behaviour has been a bit "challenging" recently to say the least. A totally irrational part of me thinks I am raising a stereotypical spoilt brat only child.
These feelings of guilt, for me at least, come in fits and bursts. I can go for months and months not giving the situation a second thought, and then for one reason or another I start to worry incessantly that by not giving him a brother or sister that I am making him socially backward and emotionally stunted!!
I find coming to these boards, just to read, makes me feel so much better. Lots of positive stories about children getting along just fine without a sibling relationship.
It's not something I feel comfortable discussing in real life. When people talk to me about having more children I tend to brush then off with the cheery smile and excuses that you are probably all too familiar with.
I hope these feelings pass for you and you can be at peace with only having one child. Certainly for me, that place we are in, between childlessness and having children is often an odd and lonely place.

Oneofthegiants Mon 17-Mar-14 12:23:27

Thank you so much for your reply- it really does help to know others understand. I know exactly what you mean about the 'fits and bursts'. I regularly have periods of time- sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes months when I feel really positive and happy with our situation. I feel content with the thought of having one DC and can really see the positives. Then other times when having a second child is all I can think about.

I also don't discuss in real-life- only with DP - and even then not always the full extent of my feelings- but he does know how confused I am and what in an ideal world I would want. But he can't do anything about the medical barriers and neither can I. If we did ever decide to proceed, we would both be very anxious.

I think by not speaking to others in real-life, I have almost made things worse for myself. Most people believe I am happy with my situation and then this leads to issues like I described- where babies are thrust at me because ''oneofthegiants loves little ones" and I do- but it is too hard for me at the moment.

I also identify with the worries about any negative behaviour being attributed to DD being an only.

You are right, it is an odd situation to be in.

liz98 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:07:14

Hi - I have a 5 year old DS and exactly as you've said, I have low times thinking about him being an only, but it comes in fits and starts. I sometimes get very down about it and at other times I feel very happy with our lot. I am an older mum and we had DS through IVF so I do feel very very grateful that I have him. I also have discussed my feelings with very few people, I saw a friend at the weekend who I was planning to tell about a recent miscarriage but I just couldn't bring myself to mention it, so I know how you feel. It's crazy really that I can come on here and say more than I say to my friends! My DH is quite strongly of the opinion that there isn't much to worry about and it's the quality of the parenting that matters rather than the number of kids, and the rational side of me completely agrees, but I can get very emotional. I really feel for you when you are being handed babies.That hasn't happened to me much - I have never been one to coo over babies and maybe people have picked up on that! What you describe is a tough situation to deal with while you are feeling really emotional. Is there one particular friend that you could discuss your feelings with and ask advice from?
I hope this low time passes for you soon

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