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Is it selfish to only have one?

(29 Posts)
mikeysmom Wed 24-Dec-08 19:42:21

Ok, this is our situation. I had an ok pregnacy and and ok birth (it was C-section but no major complications beyond that). We have our child and we are happy. I can't imagine in a million years having another, going through all that baby stuff again, being up at night, etc. Everyone in our family, all our friends think we should have another. I here women talk about how they may have only one due to medical reasons or due to things such as that...well, I have no medical reasons not to have another, except maybe mental reasons like keeping my sanity, etc.

I just don't want him to be lonely when he grows older. I don't want him to have no one to call when he needs someone. We don't have anyone close in our family or nieghborhood in age, so its hard beyond playgroups and the kids at the park for my 3.9 year old to socialize with anyone. I don't know if it will get harder or easier as he gets older. Are we being selfish-for our own reasons as parents not to have another? Am I taking away something from him as he gets older? Or is it just some type of major peer/family pressure thing people fall into when deciding 'should we have antoher?'...I really really want to go back to working and I miss adult interations, and I dont' think I can stand another child.

stillenacht Wed 24-Dec-08 19:43:57

I don't think so in answer to your OP. Entirely your choice.

I have 2 and really only had second one as wanted first one to have sibling.

reindeersnake Thu 25-Dec-08 02:21:38

Have just been away on a city break with only dd and dh. Seething mass of humanity, no room even to move on the pavement and it struck me as an analogy for the state of the world - there are too many people!!

Habitats are being destroyed, species becoming exinct, half the Third World is starving as the West takes the lion's share of the world's resources, war and untold suffering is caused by competition for ever-scarser resources ... the greenest and most ecological thing we could all do is limit the number of human beings we add to the earth's population.

Which does not mean that I am not very sad not o be able to have another child ... or that I am saying that any of your existing children should not be here, of course they should. It also does not mean that I don't realise that the problem of the ageing population in the West would not be made worse by smaller families ... This topic is maybe too complicated for this time of night.

But I am frequently suprised by terribly caring green friends trying to reduce their impact on the world, then having more and more children, who can't help but have a huge impact on the world. So, no, I think having just one child could be very UNselfish.

Now lots of people will hate me and I wil have to hide. hmm

JacksFirstChristmasMama Thu 25-Dec-08 04:47:09

I'm with reindeer, we'll hide and be hated together.
it is not selfish to only have one if that is what you want. If you make sure you put him in situations where he can meet other kids`and make friends he will not be lonely.

Merry Christmas to you!!

ninedragons Thu 25-Dec-08 06:00:34

What's selfish about being able to lavish time and resources upon your son? Can you imagine anyone less likely to get individual attention than number 15 of that ghastly holy roller American woman? Jesus, talk about lost in the crowd.

I have a lot of friends who are only children and they're all terribly articulate (presumably from adult company at an early age) and self-possessed and very good at making friends. Personally I am closer to many of my friends than my siblings anyway, so I don't see the point in having a second child just to keep the first one company.

twentypence Thu 25-Dec-08 06:35:14

Even if you conceived tomorrow there would still be an over 4 year age gap. It would be year before either one was company for the other - school will start school and friends and playdates and clubs. You will have more children through your house than you can shake a stick at.

Ds at nearly 6 has started to ask for a brother - but he wants a 5 year old brother and so we explain that it isn't possible to do that.

Shells Thu 25-Dec-08 06:58:55

Obviously its your choice. If you don't want to do it then don't do it. But you can't really have it both ways and want child-age company for your child and yet not want another child. You have to accept that thats what you've chosen for him and make it work for you as a family.

Agree with ninedragons that the only children I know are very articulate - although maybe better at being with adults than other kids. But that all depends how you play it.

Sorry Reindeer - I don't buy that argument. Having more than one child is not environmentally unsound - it all depends how you bring them up. My children are very conscious of issues around conserving energy, wastage etc. and thats how we live as a family. Compared to a massively consumerist family with one child we are having a smaller impact. Not to mention the fact that my children will grow up passing on these values.

Furball Thu 25-Dec-08 06:59:44

I feel exactly the same mikeysmon - my ds is now 7. But, he knows no different, is loved and has an active social life. He is very shy so takes him a while to make friends, but he's fine.

Most of my friends have 2 or 3, but this is my/dh's/ds's life no-one elses lets live it how we want to.

Your ds will be fine on his own, just as he would be fine with a sibbling, but have another child for you no-one else.

ps. Merry Christmas smile

revjustaboutbelievesinsanta Thu 25-Dec-08 07:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

starbear Fri 26-Dec-08 12:54:22

Not selfish but you just to have to make more of an effort to get out of the house and invite people round. My DS is 4 yrs and I was just thinking 'how old do they have to be to start Beavers & Cubs' as he will need the company of his peers. We also make the effort to see friends who live miles away so he has contact with various generations of our friends so, if the children become close friends they have some sort of shared history. DH goes to church with Ds not only for the religions parts but also the sense of community and he has made lots of friends locally through the church. We have the add disadvantage of being older parents, all his cousins are adults. They act as young uncles and it's fine. He might call them when he's older and we are no longer around. My brother now lives in Canada and we don't speak to each other for months as we have very little to say to each other. Having siblings doesn't mean they will grow up close.

needmorecoffee Fri 26-Dec-08 12:59:58

while its your own decision of course....and this possibly isn't a good reason to have more children.....what about when you're old and frail? Everything will fall upon the one child (mind you, I'm having to care for my ma with no help as siblings have pushed off abroad). Something to consider though.
DH is an only and we'll have to take on his parents too.

BucketsofReindeerPoo Fri 26-Dec-08 13:03:04

Without being pessimistic (but hey, it could happen to any of us), being a single parent with only one child has got to be easier!

Are you young enough to have another one in 10yrs time should the feeling take you? It's always nice to know you can change your mind later.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 26-Dec-08 13:03:18

starbear - beavers is 5y9m, if you want him to join get his name on a waiting list.

SAmbiClaus Fri 26-Dec-08 13:04:27

hmm I know where you're at, I only want one and everyone had told us we need another to stop dd being spoilt/ lonely.

Though I done know how it can be selfish to have one, as it implies unselfish people have lots of children hmm

kittywise Fri 26-Dec-08 13:34:15

Well I think that the selfish bit comes from the thought that you are depriving your child of a sibling and hopefully friend, especially when they are grown up and you are old .

There is no certain that sibs will get on of course.

I am not going to post my opinion here, just wanted to say what thought people mean when they say it's selfish just to have the one.

TWINSETinapeartree Fri 26-Dec-08 13:46:14

I only have one, I wish I could have more but doubt it will happen.

I dont think it is selfish, perhaps not ideal but we live in a real world not an ideal.

I think you actually have to be a less selfish parent to have one ( not that I am saying other parents are selfish before I get lept on) as you have to become the sibling when they are little and you have to invest a lot of time into providing lots of oppurtunities to play with other children.

BoccaDellaNativita Fri 26-Dec-08 14:17:23

A lot of what I would have said has been said already, but here goes ...

There's no guarantee that siblings will be close, whether in childhood or later. It's not selfish of you not to want another child and school and Beavers (or whatever) will provide your son with opportunities to make friends.

As for consuming resources, reindeersnake is (I believe) right. Families with more children will be using more resources now and in perpetuity. In a generation from now, my offspring will (probably) live in one house and drive one car, my friend's four children will (probably) live in four houses and drive four cars between them; unless they live in a yurt off-grid, it is inevitable that their collective impact on the environment will be massively more than my only child's. Recycling our newspapers and switching off lights is important but it is (I think) a bit of a distraction from the much bigger questions of how to sustain a growing world population.

That isn't for a moment to suggest that people should not have whatever number of children feels right to them. Speaking personally, concern for the environment had no part in my having only one child and I would very much have liked to have a second one, but I do think there are some complicated issues here which cannot easily be resolved. There is a tension between sustainability (and the size of our collective carbon footprint) and the economy's need for more workers to support an ageing population; what's good for the environment may not be good for the economy (and vice versa). But that's getting away from the theme of the thread and would need a thread of its own to explore properly ...

Mikeysmom - hope you reach a decision with which you feel comfortable.

Reallytired Fri 26-Dec-08 14:31:20

My son is going to be seven years old in a few days time and I am expecting my second child. The reason why there is such a large age gap is that we were just not ready to have another child before then. Our decisions have nothing to do with the environment. It could be argued we need people to have a certain number of children to look after us in our old age.

At the moment my son is stilll an only child. He is a social little boy with plenty of friends and many of them are only children. My son doesn't do Beavers, but he does mix with other children at after school club.

When my son was 3.9 years old he went to nursery and that helped his social life.

SAmbiClaus Fri 26-Dec-08 14:33:02

Perhaps my feeling of resentment towards my sibling throughout our childhood clouds my reasoning behind having more than one.

ellasmum1 Fri 26-Dec-08 14:49:54

I felt like this right up until dd had started school and was nearly 5. Then I suddenly felt ready to have another.(And I work 4 days a week). Dd loves her little brother to bits( hes 4 mths now), and I know they won't be as good company for each other as with a smaller gap, but its what feels right to the parents that matters. you are the ones bringing them up so you need to be able to cope, and enjoy your child/children!
p.s Feel free to search my old posts to see the worries I had about this in the past x

reindeersnake Fri 26-Dec-08 15:21:02

Interesting reading views on this issue. A couple of thoughts occur:
My sister and I were not close (understatement) since about the age when we started school. My happiest memories of my childhood all involve time alone with one of my parents. So no guarantees.
I am solely responsible for my mother now, and also for occasional moral, emotional and financial support by me of my sister. Again, no guarantees.
I have a friend who had a second child to support/befriend the first, and feels that her older dughter has lost out under the arrangement. She was a happy only child.
I would enjoy exploring the ideas of sustainability verses the happy functioning of the economy, but don't know if anyone else would, so will say no more aout it (except where it overlaps into selfishness/unselfishness, which I feel it does). Also, I have been roaming the almost empty corridors of mn and listening to conversations and have learnt that hijacking threads Is A Bad Thing.

BoccaDellaNativita Fri 26-Dec-08 15:29:16

"I would enjoy exploring the ideas of sustainability verses the happy functioning of the economy, but don't know if anyone else would, so will say no more about it (except where it overlaps into selfishness/unselfishness, which I feel it does). Also, I have been roaming the almost empty corridors of mn and listening to conversations and have learnt that hijacking threads Is A Bad Thing."

Me too, reindeersnake. Although I think these weighty questions would need a thread of their own to do them justice, I have no intention of starting one, as I fear it could degenerate into the sort of factional slanging match that we saw when the only child topic was started. And, anyway, it doesn't really help mikeysmom reach a decision.

reindeersnake Fri 26-Dec-08 16:27:27

I agree totally, bocca.

Mikeysmum, I'm not saying 'become a green campaigner by limiting your family'. I'm just saying, don't be too swayed by people talking about selfishness. There are many ways of being unselfish and many needs to balance. Your own needs/wishes are just as important as your son's. (The difference being, I suppose, in this case, that you know what the reality of one child is, but have only hearsay for the advantages or otherwise of having another.)

I suppose I feel, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

bandgeek Fri 26-Dec-08 16:46:08

I'm an only child and can nev er remember being lonely when I was growing up. I did have a lot of friends in and out of school, and made friends easily whilst on holiday (even though I was shy) so it never seemed that bad. I dinstictly remember being very happy at Christmas as I wouldn't have got half as much if there had been two of us grin

I do sometimes think it would be easier if I had a sibling now, as my dad died a few years ago and it is just me and my mum. Hhowever not everyone I know who has brothers and sisters is all that close to them so who knows how it would have worked out.

starbear Fri 26-Dec-08 19:49:24

ChasingSquirrels Thank you. I put his name down now. I used to help a friend out with Brownies and I was a DOE leader so I might volunteer my services soon as well. Ta! & merry Christmas

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