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Is it ok to have just one child?

(27 Posts)
runningviks Tue 14-Jul-09 19:59:06

We have a DD, 18 months old, and are now at the stage when people seem to think it's ok to ask us if we're having sex ("so, are you trying for another yet.....?") We are really happy with our gorgeous girl. In fact, we feel no need to have any more children. But I'm worried that I may be in some way disadvantaging my little girl. I'm worried that in 5 years time, I will discover that she should have a sibling. What are the benefits to only having one child? What are the disadvanatges? is it ok to only have 1? Please help!!!!!

CMOTdibbler Tue 14-Jul-09 20:03:13

Yup, perfectly fine to have one child. In this area of MN there are quite a few one child families - some by total choice, and some very much not by choice.

MaureenMLove Tue 14-Jul-09 20:07:18

Gosh, where to start! Firstly, whether you have 1 or 15, there are going to be pros and cons. It is undoubtedly more tricky at times, having one. Like when you are totally pooped and just want to sit, you can't tell your lo to play with their sibling. OTOH, you don't get the sibling fights!

I will not lie, it's hard work with only one, particularly up to about 11, but after that, you're home and dry! You get to get your grown up time back much sooner than all your friends who have to wait for 2 children to be old enough to do their own thing!

I did have the advantage of being a childminder when DD was little, so she had surrogate siblings Monday to Friday and it made her appreciate her alone time a lot more, I think. As long as you make sure you surround yourself with plenty of friends with children of a similar age, there's no reason to think your DD will be at a disadvantage at all.

muggglewump Tue 14-Jul-09 20:09:04

I've got one through choice.
I was sterilised last year at 30.
I couldn't be happier with my decision to have an only, I think it's fab.

I have never regretted having one child, it's right for me, and for DD too.

runningviks Tue 14-Jul-09 20:10:32

Thanks MaureenMLove. DD goes to a lovely nursery and has done since she was 8 months old, so she already has quite a nice group of local friends who will hopefully be in the same school year as her.

CrushWithEyeliner Tue 14-Jul-09 20:12:02

Please don't feel like this is not OK - it is perfectly fine to feel your family is complete with one. We are and we have a blast. We have more time to dedicate to her, more money wink grin and now I feel like I have my life back and can pursue things I have put on hold for 2 1/2 years. DD is a happy soul and I love giving her all my attention, planning days out, holidays, events and pre-school (and she has not a spoilt bone in her body). For me personally I know I couldn't do this with a newborn in tow, and have no desire to.

You are not disadvantaging your child in any way this is a myth - they will have close, meaningful friendships and fulfilling lives like any other child. DH comes from a large family and they are not close in any way so it really is just the luck of the draw. Please don't be forced into having another because it is what people "do" - it is your choice. smile

MaureenMLove Tue 14-Jul-09 20:15:07

BTW, stock answer to those who insensitively ask if you're planning on any more. 'God no! Can't stand kids really!' grin Usually stops the conversation in it's tracks!

RenagadeMum Tue 14-Jul-09 20:15:08

Sometimes runningviks, I love my DS but really feel our lives would have been much easier and happier with just my DD. They don't play together due to being 3 years apart ( I hope that will change) and just seem to pull our brains and finances in different directions.
I miss being with just my dd sometimes as she is turing into a wonderful entertaining little girl but miss alot of it due to toddler tantrums.

Of course I adore him and don't 'regret' having him,but I know my DH and I both feel we would have been better parents to just one. You cant' say that out loud though,can you?

The main thing which worried us is how our dd would feel in the future if something happened to us and for the burden to be on her. Or, God forbid, for something to happen to her. Also we both adore our siblings as well so realised it would all come good in the end.

Don't feel pressured. One can definitely be enough.

Hulababy Tue 14-Jul-09 20:15:57

It is perfectly acceptable. DD is 7y and an only child. It is very unlikely now after 5y TTC, that a second child will arrive.

DD is very sociable, loving, caring, and happy. Being an only child has not been a negative experience for us or her yet.

DD has lots of friends and she she meets up with those regularly, so never gets lonely. She is also happy to play on her own with her toys.

sunburntats Tue 14-Jul-09 20:18:40

yes...its fine.
I was like you though and now my boy is 6 (we have been trying for 2 years) we really dont want him to be an only.
At 18 months absolutely NO fecking way would i have considered it.
My boy didnt sleep through the night till he was nearly 4, he was a nightmare behaviour wise and i could not have coped at all in any shape or form.

My boy is lonely, summer holidays are here in a week and i know tht he will be pottering around the garden alone, i ask freinds kids to come and play as much as poss, but it really brings a lump into my throat when i see him playing in his sandpit alone.

Unfortunately, i get comments from teachers along the lines of "you can tell he is an only child", so there is a stigma and a trait so it seems shock

NightShoe Wed 15-Jul-09 18:58:54

It is absolutely fine to choose to have one. We have and DD is now 3 and it feels just more and more like the right decision for us. We have had occasional wobbles where we have thought maybe we should have another one, but that has never been about us or about wanting another child so we have never gone any further than questioning ourselves.

I love being the mother of an only, she brings so much to my life and I just don't need or want another child. One of the major things that influences how comfortable we are with it as a couple is that we are both people who enjoy our own company, for us being alone does not equal being lonely so I don't see a problem with DD spending time on her own and she gets plenty of opportunities to socialise.

PersonalClown Wed 15-Jul-09 19:06:17

My god it's absoultely fine to have only one.
TBH I wasn't very maternal as never really wanted kids of my own. Now Ds is here, I wouldn't change it or the world.
But my reasons for stopping at one are a little different to everyone else.
DS has ASD, he's 7 and being an only, I have more time, patience etc for him to fulfill his potential (whatever it may be).
I have no desire to have another for so many reasons but I just can't get past the thought of having another child and risking regression, lack of time/1-to-1 etc just to appease others opinions on what 'should' be done.

DontCallMeBaby Wed 15-Jul-09 23:09:47

It's okay. Although having an only by choice is a bit strange sometimes, as plenty of people CANNOT get their heads round that concept. Actually I found it hard to get my head round it - having had one child and had no desire for another, was this some slight against my daughter? Would she one day discover that I had set out to have two children, but stopped after her, and not for medical reasons? Ulp! But for me those sort of thoughts have gone away with time, after beating myself up for a long time I realised when she got to four that having another child would actually make life quite difficult, with the age gap, not easier.

sunburntats, I'm not a fan (to say the least) of 'you can't tell s/he's an only child' type comments at the best of times, I'd be fecking FURIOUS if a teacher said something like that. Siblings and birth order are a tiny fraction of a person's experiences and personality - I bet most armchair psychologist would have me down as an only, probably DH as well, and neither of us is (neither are we in the same position in our respective families).

NightShoe Thu 16-Jul-09 04:03:04

I think what you say is very interesting don'tcallmebaby, because I think stereotyped 'only child traits'could be applied to me and DH too, despite us having different places in our families. I too would be furious if a teacher said that, because clearly you would be able to "tell that they are a crap teacher".

daisy99divine Thu 16-Jul-09 09:14:36

Quite agree with DCMB - not only is it fine to have one child, but if it is right for you and your family then it would be wrong to have more children just for fear of what others will say...

I think this concern that one ought to have more is all part of the stereotyping issue. We face steroetypes all the time - from "that's not very ladylike dear" onwards, but when they are sterotypes relating to ourselves nad life choices they are easier to resist than stereotypes we are pushing onto our children IYSWIM

I have no problems dealing with stereotypes aimed at me but feeling that I am choosing a stereotype for my DS is harder

but the truth is I choose them all the time, it is part of life ....

daisy99divine Thu 16-Jul-09 09:17:55

I don't think I have expressed that very well, but a good example is The Large Family on CBEEBIES - I really dislike it - everything is stereotyped

(1) the Large family are all chaotic, the house is messy and Mrs Large manages to spend all day in tractsuits

(2) the family next door are one child and precous and anal

(3) the large family are warm and loving

(4) the small family are prickly and uptight and cold

(5) the small family mother is aspirational and so had a northern accent

...wtf! It's like a 70s sitcom in its lazy derivative assumptions....

<<daisy takes a deep breath and goes to make a cup of tea>

myredcardigan Thu 16-Jul-09 11:20:24

Of course it's ok to have one. I have 3 and I consider that ok so why wouldn't one be?

Personally, I always knew I wanted a brood rather than just one and it was something very important to me. But that's me. Other women are fairly sure they just want one.

I know this is going to sound awful but personally, I don't think you should make your decision for your child's sake. I wouldn't have a second just for my first. It's got to be something that you and your partner want. If you really don't want another then you really shouldn't do it.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both decisions. I am in no doubt that I could have given my DS so much more time and patience had I not gone on to have DD1&2. I do sometimes get a moment of guilt over this. But then I see how much he gets out of the interaction with his sisters and I think it balances out.

You've just got to do what feels right for your family. Also, your DD is only 18mths so you have time to think.
Good luck. smile

runningviks Fri 17-Jul-09 14:54:13

Thanks for all your messages. It has made me feel much better. In particular, MyRedCardigan's comments about it being my decision and not just for DD. That really rang true. DH and I are always saying to each other "maybe we should have another, just for DD", knowing it could put huge pressure on our relationship.
But you're all right. It's seen as "the done thing" if you have one, to have 2, and I think we're feeling pressured to conform to what other people expect, rather than what we want.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Fri 17-Jul-09 15:44:29

I've come very late to this thread but agree absolutely with what Myredcardigan and others have said. It's never a good idea, in my view, to have another baby if the only reason is what you think (after all, you can't yet know) your existing child may want in the future. You have to give thought to what's good for you, your partner and your relationship too.

<<Whispers a discreet invitation to the tea room>>

daisy99divine Fri 17-Jul-09 16:48:51

hear hear to myredcardigan - be selfish grin do what is right for you and DH. Don't have another for your DD - she might not thank you, and by the sounds of it you and DH won't thank each other!

NKffffffffe38d258dX1229cfa1b27 Tue 21-Jul-09 15:23:06

Hi there, i have just been reading all the entries here as i have an only child the most wonderful 6 year old girl who i love to bits. She has many friends is very sociable and loving and she is happy. I have the same problem as the rest of you in that people always assume if you have one you will have another. I had the most traumatic pregnancy and childbirth and vowed i would never go through it again. I am a non working mother so i spend many evenings after school doing arts and crafts with my daughter and 2 or 3 evenings a week she will have a play date and she is always busy, she is never bored!!!! some of her friends with 2 or 3 siblings are always saying they are bored as they have nothing in common and their mum is always too busy so yes one child is fine just like 2, 3 or 10, IT IS UP TO YOU!!!!! it is nobody else's business, I think many people have the same problem my sister in law has been married for 3 years and they don't want children at all which is also fine and people never leave them alone asking when are you going to start a family? so you can't win either way you just have to do what is right for you. I thought i would just add that i am the youngest of 3 and most people assume i am an only child and i never got on with my sister or brother and i barely see them now.

noddyholder Tue 21-Jul-09 15:26:30

I have one He is 15 now and is very sociable happy etc etc.He has lots of freinds and we have always had a houseful tbh which is a nightmare when they are 6 but fun now! It is up to you I have found it has worked for us although I really wanted another it wasn't to be.It is easy in terms of childcare and holidays etc.

Herbiethecat Mon 17-Aug-09 15:12:42

This was a useful thread for me to read - thanks everyone.

DD is 4 and pregnancy/birth/aftermath were all very difficult/complicated/plagued by problems.

We are very happy with 'just' her, but I do feel a constant vague pressure to have another - which just isn't going to happen.

I'm pleased to 'meet' others in a similar boat.

LouiseBrewster Fri 28-Aug-09 13:00:31

I suppose if you just make sure that your child socialises as much as possible, you won't have any issues. I've met so many well rounded and social people who are only children, and on many occasions, have realised that they are actually more social then others, possibly because they have had to learn how to interact with strangers a little quicker than other people.

flibertygibet Fri 18-Sep-09 19:14:24

Hi there..i'm late coming to this thread too but glad I found it.

I have one ds, 6..and he is the joy and light of mine and dh's life. We are just so complete as a threesome. I did have a slight worry when all of my baby mum-friends were on to their second or third but it really has never felt right for us.

Thankfully people have stopped asking us about 'number 2', which I have always found intrusive. But my usual answer is 'well, I was told when I was 31 I'd never have my own children and now I've got the perfect one so why tempt fate?' ..that usually stops them in their tracks.

I admit though, I do get a bit of a hmm when all of ds's classmates start having siblings..(2 this week!).. but he is not bothered and he is a busy, happy and very very social boy. I am just so blessed, I sort of feel like I've been given the cream, why would I want the cake?

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