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If you chose to have 1 DC...

(20 Posts)
Needmorewine Tue 27-Oct-15 12:20:58

Are you glad you made that decision? We are currently very happy with our one DD and really don't feel anything is missing. She is full on but I feel we have a nice balance as a family and DH and I have enough energy / time / money to pursue hobbies and interests. I am one of 4 and I always assumed I would have more but as it is I think we could definitely be very happy as we are, and there seems like there are a lot of advantages - I feel like having one would enable me to focus more on my career, my relationship with DH, less financial worries. I didn't enjoy the baby stage at all and whilst I much prefer toddler stage I do think I won't have the energy / enthusiasm to do this all again and still be a good mum.

The only reason we would potentially have another one is to provide DD with a playmate. I would hate for her to ever resent me for not providing her with a sibling and sometimes it is tempting because she is just so demanding of my attention 24/7 but is this an only child issue or a general toddler issue ?!

I would just like to hear from anyone who stopped at one for similar reasons and if you are glad whether or not you did . I am tying myself in knots over this, not helped by the fact almost everyone around me is expecting/ has had / trying for DC2 the general attitude seems to be "just do it it's better for all in the long run". Any advice much appreciated.

KittyandSqueal Tue 27-Oct-15 12:26:00

Dd1 is not an only but she will grow up and only as dd2 was stillborn.

We have had a bit of a tough time no I now probably cannot have another. However, I'm actually ok with it. I feel like dd1 will be fine without a sibling, she will have friends and hopefully cousins soon who will be nearby.

I occasionally get pangs knowing I won't be pregnant again (although I hate being pregnant) and I sometimes feel I should provide a sibling but I think that's a society expectation.

Funnily enough there is an article in the guardian today written by a woman who chose to just have one.

FishenNuggets Wed 28-Oct-15 17:36:05

We only had one. Difficulties conceiving, IVF, severe pregnancy sickness, traumatic childbirth... We have had another (unsuccessful) IVF since DS was born but we're done now.

I don't want to go back to IVF but I am now trying to come to terms with DS being an only.

None of that is particularly helpful advice but you're not alone with these worries.

Rshard Wed 28-Oct-15 17:43:35

I just have one dd and it was a conscious decision. She is not spoilt or lonely, instead a happy kind girl with lots of friends. She has turned out to be a pretty amazing swimmer so we are able to commit (time more than money) to that. For us it has proved to be perfect but I will admit to wondering about a second for a good couple of years. Interesting piece in last Saturday's Times about sibling hierarchy and noted that only children are very similar to first borns

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 28-Oct-15 20:46:33

Hello OP

Could have written your post almost word for word, especially the part about feeling you might not have the energy/enthusiasm to do it again and be as good a mum!!

We have various reasons for (aaaaallllllllmost certainly) deciding to stop at one: health/diability (the major reason), finances, age, and the fact that we are actually very very happy as we are.

I am 39 and think the window to make this decision is getting smaller and smaller - I don't want to end up making the 'decision' by default but it feels hard to make the final decision iyswim.

in essence almost all of me - head and heart - says it is way way better for us, for all our reasons, to stop with just the one.

But like you I can't shake the lingering worry that we are failing DD by not 'providing' a sibling/playmate for her.

Logically I know this isn't true as I KNOW siblings can loathe each other (have read anough of MN and seen enough of this in RL to know for sure this is the case very often!)

I think what I feel DD is 'missing out on' is some sort of theoretical best-of-friends-for-life relationship with a sister (or brother) whom she adores.

Logically, this might very well not happen!! DD is a jealous type to say the least and honestly right now if I were to walk through the door with a sibling for her, her little life would actually be destroyed (even if only short-to-medium term!!) as she can't bear to have my attention off her for one single minute. Yes, yes, of course, she owuld get used to it and it might well be good for her, but that doesn't change the fact that I actually think some children are way more cut out to 'share' their parents than others. Personality type is vastly important here!!

But anyway apart from this occasional desire to give her a sibling I pretty much have no desire whatsoever to do it all again.

So not much help OP, sorry, as I'm really in the same boat as you!

If it helps at all I have raised this quite openly now with most people who ask if/when we are having another and I've been amazed by how many people have told me they wanted to stop at one, too (but didn't, for various reasons, quite often simply expectation of others). Not to say for a moment that any of them regretted that second child - they didn't - BUT it has been interesting to hear other women saying they really weren't keen/that bothered about a second child, they often just felt they 'had' to.

But that argument could go the other way because obviosuly all of them adored their 2nd child so maybe I am just hearing what I wanted to hear from them, which is that only wanting one is very common and normal!!

Good luck OP with whatever you decide. If it helps at all I gather that 1 child families are getting more and more common so if you stick at 1 your DD won't (depending perhaps on where you live) be the only one in her class etc...

Kennington Wed 28-Oct-15 20:51:56

We have one as I don't think we would manage to work FT with 2.

I justify it for various reasons everyday

At the moment my favourite excuse is that she will be financially independent because of us. But in the end I would have had two but my job just wouldn't accommodate me.

It is fine and I don't have regrets because like you we have plenty of time to do other things and afford things that would be otherwise very expensive with 2.

Thankfulforeveryday Wed 28-Oct-15 21:08:41

We just have the one. We did decide to try for another, mainly as DH wanted a son but before we even started I got ill and needed a hysterectomy so it was completely ruled out. At the time it really got to me, however, 3 years later we talk about it every now and then and we are so relieved that we didn't do it!
DD is extremely happy and has even said she's glad she's an only child. She's never lonely, has lots of friends and we are comfortable enough to provide enough too.
I didn't "love" baby time or toddler time either for that matter!!
We have a nice life as a 3, life's becoming easier in terms of socialising too as she independent and grown up we can take her to most places and not need to worry, equally people are more inclined to babysit one child, as my sister with 2 is finding out!!
Stick to what your gut is telling you, it's generally right!!

OhMakeMeOver Fri 30-Oct-15 21:47:03

I have my son. For years before he was born I always thought I would have about 3 kids. I was so excited waiting for him to be born. But I ended up not having the best experience which left me with all sorts of anxieties etc.

After that I always said that there is no way I can do it again. So for me the realities of having another baby came crushing down hard. Over the years I got used to the idea of having one, gave myself every reason under the sun to not have another, I didn't even contemplate the thought of getting pregnant ever again! It all went really quick, the broodiness I had before just wasn't there.

I think you're always going to question "what if" in whatever situation. You don't know what will happen if you stay as is and you don't know what will happen if you don't.

Recently as I've come to terms more with my son's arrival, the old me is slipping back and my yearning for a second is there again, much less than before mind you, but it's slowly reappearing. I tell myself "it's just instinct, we're made to be broody, my uterus wants a baby, not me" ha! Logically I know I don't necessarily want another, but my heart says otherwise. But I think for me it's more wanting to go back and do it again, but have a much better experience without the consequences of actually having another one to look after. It wont be my son, though. I think I'll slip into the old "if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't" approach.

Either way I think having the one sounds more appealing than having two, to be honest. I think the only appeal about having two is your first has a sibling. (and for me personally... another chance at childbirth! But it could all go drastically wrong again!) I think I need to actually realise oneday that you have to let go of pregnancies and births eventually. I didn't mind the baby days, it was toddler time that got me! confused

QueenofLouisiana Sun 01-Nov-15 20:46:37

We have an only child- there are many reasons we didn't have another child. On balance we are happy with that choice.

DS has friends who come to hang out regularly (we have the space, games can be left where they are without a sibling trashing them, no-one gets in the way) and close friends who can stay over. He can take part in activities which interest him- with out worrying about what anyone else wants to do. (Good job as his sports training is very demanding.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Sun 01-Nov-15 21:51:40

Coming back to this thread again OP... I don't know if this applies to you too but the way I feel about it these days, mostly, is that though I quite like the abstract idea, 20-odd years from now, of having more than one adult child to have home for the weekends/meet their boyfriends/girlfriends/spend family Christmases with/hope for grandchildren from etc... the reality is that for the NEXT 20-odd years our lives will be immeasurebly easier/better with just one DC!

Does that make any sense?

It's almost like I feel it's a trade-off between the life we want now and in the medium-term (the next 15-20 years) and the life we'd like when we're old and retired, when it would be nice to have a bigger family perhaps.

Unfortunately I think all we can ever do is make decisions based on the real present and the immediate future, and for that reason I think the pie-in-the-sky vision of a different life, with more (adult) children years from now is unfortunately best left as just that, a vision.

MaudeTheMopLady Sun 01-Nov-15 23:02:30

Interesting point duchess. I've come to the same conclusion. You have to do what is right for you and your family in the present; as that is all we have.

Op - I too am tying myself up in knots about this. In my fantasy I would love another - or two! but the reality is: an ageing DH (sixty), a fabulous but full on DS (hyperactive 4 year old), PND last time and a few health problems I've had recently which have left me less strong (....plus the Fact Dh has a panic attack at the very thought of trying again...). All of which means I am trying to come to terms with enjoying what i have and to feel incredibly grateful for my family of three (and puppy).

EvaTheOptimist Sun 01-Nov-15 23:18:47

The only reason we would potentially have another one is to provide DD with a playmate. I would hate for her to ever resent me for not providing her with a sibling

I have two. The only reason you say you would have another child - that isn't a good enough reason to have another child. (In fact its a terrible reason IMO! My eldest resents us FOR providing her with a sibling. They are not playmates. They are just their own people.)

So, only have another child if you feel broody for another child on its own account. Otherwise, enjoy your DD.

I love my second child. But having a second child also wiped us out financially.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Mon 02-Nov-15 20:26:30

I keep returning to this thread, sorry OP!

Just wanted to add that I do sometimes wonder if the pull to have a second child comes when your first one is a baby or toddler, and still a long way from building their own little lives with friends, school etc... At that point in their lives they are so utterly dependent on the family/their parents that the thought, sometimes, of deliberately choosing NOT to give them a little blood-related pal for life seems terrifying. How will that tiny child manage with no immediate family when you are dead and gone, etc?? Who will be that tiny toddler's buddy for life, their rock through thick and thin? Given that the majority of children don't seem to start forming really meaningful friendships until, say, 4/5/6, I do sometimes wonder if that pull to have a second child is partly based on the obviously untrue assumption that their family will be the only source of emotional/social support for them all their lives.

I'm not for a minute saying that everyone who chooses to have a second child does it because of this!!! Obviously there are a huge majority of people who have a second child because they want a second child - good for them!!

But for those who waver and who then do it even if they really weren't sure, I can't help but think sometimes this is a factor.

I was thinking about this on Saturday night because of all the gangs of little 8 and 9 year olds out with their friends on Halloween. With our own DD so tiny (not yet 3) it's unimaginable to ever think of her off with a gang of like-minded pals right now, having a high old time on Halloween, or her birthday, etc. But (hopefully, anyway!!) those days will come, and though I'm not saying she WON'T yearn for a sibling as she gets older, I'm also saying that you have to assume that friends will be made who will fill her life with social activities and emotional support. Maybe she would get this from a sibling, maybe she wouldn't. But at 2ish, I can see how some people might want to fill a gap that would hopefully be filled by friends one day.

Yes, in a perfect world, a sibling is better than a mere friend, however good the friend. But honestly, in reality, I personally know almost no-one who had that sort of golden relationship with a sibling growing up, or as adults. I know many, many people who actively loathe their siblings, and many more who just don't have any sort of meaningful relationship with them.

I'll step away from the thread now, OP, sorry!!

Needmorewine Mon 02-Nov-15 21:00:42

Duchess please don't apologise you've made some very interesting points and at least now I know it's not just me tying myself in knots!! I definitely think your last comment has something in it - it is so hard to imagine our DC ever being independent and making their own support networks outside of immediate family. I'm trying to work out how many of my friends now are "onlies" and it's probably two of the least selfish, most caring people I know both of whom take great care of their friendships. On the flip side there is my cousin, who is a stereotypical "spoilt" only child which is something I desperately want to avoid for DD. sometimes I do worry I perhaps overcompensate by buying her more toys etc and this won't be helpful in the long run. Or it could be just because I like buying kids toys !!! grin

Thank you so much to everybody who has contributed to this thread and giving your thoughts and experiences flowers.

Needmorewine Mon 02-Nov-15 21:04:44

I also like your point Duchess about the life we want now vs. family in twenty years, this is definitely something I worry about having only one what if she emigrates and leaves me but I think your point about making decisions based on the present is very true. There are no guarantees in life I suppose.

SunnyDays1987 Tue 03-Nov-15 14:09:48

I've always imagined myself having two children, but I had a horrible pregnancy and developed pre eclampsia and had to be induced at 36 weeks. Which has basically really put me off going through another pregnancy. My DS is only 10 months so it's probably early days, but since I've started to think about not having another child, I can really really see the benefit to it. My biggest reason for wanting another is so he has a sibling to have a close relationship with as I'm very close to my sister. But like people have said not everyone has a good relationship with their sibling and so many people have absolutely nothing to do with them in adulthood. Practically and financially it makes so so much more sense not to have another one. I just wish society were generally more accepting so you didn't feel like you constantly had to justify not having another child- to them and yourself.

A lot of the time the reasoning for having another is a load of rubbish anyway. Plenty of people with siblings are horrible and selfish- I'm sure that's a personality trait rather than a symptom of how many kids are in your family. People who grew up as only children have no idea if they would have preferred a sibling and I think there's a lot of 'the grass is greener' mentality there. So many adults I know who have siblings have ended up being the sole carer for their elderly parents. Hopefully my DS will have a good family of his own so he has their support if anything was to be happen to me and his Dad. I know families where all the kids have moved away from their parents. I could go on and on. I can't say I'm 100% sure I won't wake up one day and decide I need another, but I seriously hope I don't!!!

OhMakeMeOver Tue 03-Nov-15 17:15:30

I re-read my post... "I know I don't necessarily want another, but my heart says otherwise. But I think for me it's more wanting to go back and do it again, but have a much better experience without the consequences of actually having another one to look after. It wont be my son, though. I think I'll slip into the old "if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't" approach."

I had my first therapy session yesterday, I never got over my son's birth. One thing she said to me was "If you choose not to have another baby, it's going to be because you CHOSE not to and not because you CAN'T."

I realised when she said that, my thought process about having another has been jumbled up. I want the birth I could have had with my son, and not the kid afterwards (I wouldn't mind keeping the baby until about age 2, ha) So my heart wants the birth, but my head doesn't want the second baby. I guess I'll see how this plays out when she fixes my head.

I think if you have any child it should be because your heart aches for it, you desperately want the baby and nothing will stop you. Which is how I felt when I fell pregnant with my son (and other crap happened)

I would be more likely to tell my friends everything I'm thinking rather than my family. I'm more relaxed around friends and talk to them more than anyone in my family. Even my dp knows more things about me than my mum, brothers or sisters do. It just happened like that, I have more in common with friends. Whereas my sisters and I are pretty much opposite.

I agree with what you've sad Duchess and Sunny I think the 'grass is greener on the other side' mentality is true, you always want what you don't have but isn't necessarily a good idea. I believe if a kid had siblings or no siblings, neither would know any different.

SunnyDays1987 Tue 03-Nov-15 17:42:36

Oh that makes perfect sense to me. When I think about doing it again it's because I want to have enjoyed the experience and obviously I can't change the past and if I had a similar experience again it would be even more horrific with having another child. I hope your counselling helps you to get over the birth. I think people often massively play down just how much a traumatic birth can affect you. Thanks for the comment about your sister, it does make me feel so much better to hear people say that!

OhMakeMeOver Tue 03-Nov-15 21:04:03

Thank you, Sunny she sounds very promising so far, specialises in PTSD. That's how I feel, one trauma is bad enough, I wouldn't be able to go through a 2nd with 2 LOs in tow. I never realised how much it effects your life, I tried to forget it but it all crept up when my sister had another baby 3 years later, then BAM! She was always happy after a baby, but I wasn't after the one. That's when I knew something really wasn't right.

annandale Tue 03-Nov-15 21:20:41

We have one 12 year old. On balance I hugely regret only having one while acknowledging that all the reasons we stopped are still valid. It didn't really feel like a choice at all, but of course it was and I have to own that.

It has got a bit easier as you say now ds has his own gang of mates and is only infrequently at home as he seems to have come to terms with it more. But there were many years, from about 3, when he clearly confidently expected a sibling, and then moved to wishing for one at every birthday and wishbone, and I felt plain awful about it.

Dh was very good and let me keen and abgst about it as often as I needed to, and in truth I don't think we could possibly have coped with going through the baby stage again and stayed together. Resources are not infinite.

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