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Do we have another - we can't decide?!

(76 Posts)
LittleB Wed 14-Oct-09 11:38:03

Hi, I just want to talk this through on here - it might help.
dd is 4.5 and has just started school, since she was born we have discussed having another several times and always decided 'no', now the subject has come up again and we are really not sure. Triggered I think by our lovely dd growing up and being at school, missing that lovely baby and toddler stage and the feeling that I could now mange another as I have more time now. Our pros and cons are as follows; Pros, emotionally we're both broody, dd says she'd like a baby sibling - although that may change when she has one, with dd at school I'd have time to spend with a baby, before one of our arguements was we didn't have room and couldn't afford to move - but we've now converted our loft so have the space.
Cons, juggling child care and work is hard ( I work 3 days a week) - its just got easier - do I want it to get harder again, MIL helped with dd - may not be able to help so much with another - shes now waiting for a hip op, although I know she'd love us to have another and to help where she could - my mum isn't so keen, always tells me how great it is that we have 1. Money for childcare and everything else, a large age gap - at least 5 yrs.
Can't decide, in my heart I'd love one but I'm not sure how practical it is and I am enjoying the few hours of freedom I have now dd is at school - I would sacrifice it though. I'm 33, but would rather have another before 35 if we do go for it - I don't want a huge age gap.
I think that if we keep coming back to this discussion perhaps we shoud just go for it, I don't want to regret not haveing another later in life, but I could find it really hard with 2, oh what to do - what do you think?

mel1981 Wed 14-Oct-09 11:42:06

personally I would say if your not sure than dont. For me its either something you know you want to do or not- despite pro's and con's
Thats the way I look at it anyway. x

NancyBotwin Wed 14-Oct-09 11:44:21

You will never regret having another child - yes there may be sacrifices to be made, etc but as you say, it's far more likely that you would regret it later in life if you don't.

Personally (and this really is a very personal thing!) I am not in favour of only children - and yes I know it's not always by choice! They may be better off financially but I think it can put a lot of pressure on them when they are the sole focus of all the parental attention (parents never get beyond the PFB stage!)- and then later in life they have full responsibility for dealing with ageing parents, etc

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 15:15:37

I agree with Mel. Having another baby is such a huge, life-changing and irreversible thing that one shouldn't (in my view) do it unless one is absolutely sure that it's what one wants and what works best for the family. I certainly don't think the decision can be based on whether an existing child wants a sibling - whatever the child thinks now, they may think differently in weeks/months/years time and, anyway, there's never any guarantee that siblings will be close in later life (as a zillion MN threads will testify).

I'm not pro or anti one-child families. I am, though, pro choosing what feels right for you, your partner and child without feeling pressurised by anyone or anything into a decision you're unhappy with. And, really, I'm always hmm at sweeping generalisations like "parents [of only children] never get beyond the PFB stage". Of course that's true of some parents of onlies but not all. And it's also true of some parents of more than one, as plenty of other MN threads will also testify. One child families come about for lots of different reasons and it's far too simplistic to suggest that they all conform to one tired old stereotype.

starwhoreswonaprize Wed 14-Oct-09 15:21:29

Having only one means only one to shoulder the burden of elderly parents, only one means they have to be there every Christmas, it also means you have to step up and play as they've noone else to play with. Of all the only children I know, who are now adults, I only know one (out of 7 good friends including DH and BIL) that didn't mind, but she hates her parents!

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 15:39:40

Yes, all those things can happen but they're not inevitable. And, in particular, having a sibling is no guarantee that they'll share the burden of looking after aged parents. I know several people whose siblings have conveniently scarpered once parents become frail, leaving them to do all the caring single-handed.

PoisonToadstool Wed 14-Oct-09 15:41:07

Yes, those are all good reasons to have another child, starwhores hmm

I have a sibling, yet never had a play mate, will not share any 'burdens' etc. I'm far from alone in this!

starwhoreswonaprize Wed 14-Oct-09 15:49:41

Okay a good reason to have another child is hardly any people want to be an only child and the relationship that a sibling may bring can be very rewarding, a shared experience. There's nothing better than seeing your children smile at eachother, only children are more likely to be selfish having never had to share, the parenting experience has a much better perspective too.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 16:26:13

Yet another bunch of assumptions that don't withstand scrutiny.

Hardly any people want to be an only child - There are plenty of people without siblings who have enjoyed the experience and certainly don't regret it. But they tend to be less vocal than those who might have preferred to have a sibling, so they tend to be overlooked and the picture becomes skewed.

Rewarding relationship with siblings - Yes, sibling relationships can be rewarding. But they can also be dysfunctional and painful. Check out the relationships topic for evidence of that.

Nothing better than seeing your children play together etc - I'm sure it's a wonderful experience but is there really nothing to equal it? I doubt it.

Only children more likely to be selfish - Only if their parents don't enable them to develop aocial skills. And even this isn't confined to only children - there are plenty of children (and adults) with siblings who are woefully bad at sharing because they are so keen to grab something which can be 'theirs' and not shared. Anyway, if (say) an only child is resisting when another child is trying to snatch a toy from them, why portray this as the only child's problem with sharing? It could just as well be said to be the other child's problem with respecting others' property or personal space. There was a very interesting thread a little while ago which brought (for me) an interesting new perspective on sharing; apparently the latest school of thought is that rather than encouraging sharing, it might be better to encourage waiting one's turn and not grabbing.

Parenting experience has a better perspective - What?

wheresmypaddle Wed 14-Oct-09 16:29:21

Ouch!! I have an only DS and am unable to have any more children, long story.......

I cringe at the stereotypes on here- have to respect the opinions of others I know but its a real shame that only children and their parents seem immediately judged by so many. Thank you to madbadand..... and others for pointing out that these are tired old stereotypes.

LittleB- sorry for rant hope you can decide what would be best for your family.

CMOTdibbler Wed 14-Oct-09 16:36:54

If you both really want another baby, then go for it. But if you have doubts, then don't. There's no big problem with larger age intervals, or having a baby over 35, so no rush to decide either.

Always good to see the only child stereotypes wheeled out hmm. I know a number of only children who are perfectly happy with that, including a couple who are both only children and have chosen to have one child by total choice.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 16:47:12

For anyone who wants to mull over any of the good or bad aspects of life as a one child family, the one and only tea room is open more or less round the clock for the dispensing of tea, cake, Bolly and chat. Please drop in whenever you like, but if you're quick, there's an orange drizzle cake on the go.

Adryath Wed 14-Oct-09 18:46:40

Firstly, where do people get off spouting stereotypical bollocks like this, I'd really like to know:

"Personally (and this really is a very personal thing!) I am not in favour of only children - and yes I know it's not always by choice! They may be better off financially but I think it can put a lot of pressure on them when they are the sole focus of all the parental attention (parents never get beyond the PFB stage!)- and then later in life they have full responsibility for dealing with ageing parents, etc"

I suppose people who think like this are the same sort of people who believe there is a "only child personality" too.

Ignorant and not afraid to admit it too so it seems.

NightShoe Wed 14-Oct-09 19:17:23

OP it sounds like you are on the "Perhaps we should" bench, rather than the "We really want another one" bench.

<Yawn> at the stereotypes. You'd be tripping over yourself if I said I thought that children with siblings missed out on parental time and attention, had no one to play with other than their sibling because their parents don't bother since siblings should play with each other, how siblings are overpossessive because they have always had to fight for their things and they are argumentative since life with a sibling means that you are constantly arguing with someone when growing up.

You are also not helping the OP because you are telling her she should have another child, because it just cruel to only have one.

DwayneDibbley Wed 14-Oct-09 19:51:00

Message withdrawn

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 20:02:09

That's a lovely post, Dwayne.

thatsnotmymonster Wed 14-Oct-09 20:03:12

Why do people always shout down others who are just giving their views on only children. Some of those things are true just as some of the things Nightshoe has said about siblings are true as well.

None of those things makes either option a bad thing. They are just more of the pros/cons of each.

I have 3 very close together and there are many cons- exhaustion, sibling rivalry, not spending as much 1:1 time as I would have done otherwise, not being able to do some activites due to too many young children etc.

Still I would never change a thing!

To the OP- it sounds to me as though you really would like another child. Only you can decide though grin

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 14-Oct-09 20:19:30

Thatsnotmymonster - Well, I hope I was speaking calmly. I respect anyone's right to state their views (within reason and within the law), but when those views are nothing but a bunch of sweeping and sloppy generalisations for which there's little if no evidence then I think it's perfectly reasonable to point that out. In fact, isn't it MN's raison d'etre?

Of course, some parts of the only child stereotype will be true of some only children, but they will be true of some children with siblings too. That is the sort of nuance which is often missing from these threads, where someone is deliberating about whether to have a second baby and, bang on cue, someone will pitch up and say "well of course you should have a second child because all only children are spoilt over-indulged brats doomed to a life of failed relationships and a lonely old age". It's untrue and its hardly helpful either to the people who start the threads or those concerned about their only child's future.

Adryath Wed 14-Oct-09 21:53:57

Thatsnotmymonster I would shout down stupid stereotypes wherever I see them.

That sort of thinking is the same sort of thinking that assumes that just because a man is gay that he must automatically fancy every other man on the planet.

They're just ignorant, plain and simple and I'm astonished that so-called intelligent people feel comfortable in commiting those thoughts to (virtual) paper and letting others know that they are daft enough to think them.

wilkos Wed 14-Oct-09 22:02:57

oh fgs.

yes some people are happy being onlies for a number of reasons.

some people are not happy being onlies for a jumber of reasons.

get over whinging about "stereotypes".

speaking from my own experience my mum (an only) had a very happy childhood and was very close to her mother and father. they were a great little unit.

now my grandmother is 96 and starting to go rather doolally the strain on my mum is unbearable, she would give anything to share the burden of caring with a sibling.

wilkos Wed 14-Oct-09 22:03:55

err... number not jumber

sticktoyourgins Thu 15-Oct-09 02:20:44

Get over yourself, wilkos! If people come onto the one-child board spouting nonsense about onlies then you can bet your life we're going to challenge 'em.

I'm amazed at the number of people who believe that siblings share the burden of elderly parents. I'm currently watching my MIL (one of three children) cracking under the strain of caring for her mother who has Alzheimers whilst her sibs leave her to it. Likewise my step-MIL has spent the last 17 years caring for her parents whilst her brother gets on with his own life.

OP - it sounds to me like you would love another child and I think you should go for it. Good luck.

nooka Thu 15-Oct-09 02:43:19

Wow. This seems to be a very grumpy place! I'm guessing parents of onlies get a lot of stick?

OP I think that you should consider that most people don't really plan their families (our second was totally accidental, although we didn't plan to stop at one, and I've met a lot of people with similar stories), and most combinations work out OK really.

It sounds to me that your heart probably has decided (getting broody) and your head is giving you all the reasons why not, none of which seem particularly insurmountable. How about stopping preventing pregnancy and see what happens? It can take a long time to get pregnant (my sister tried for a good 18mths before her second dd was conceived) - of course sometimes it doesn't (thinking of my accidental dd!).

Sometimes the best way to tell is to try it out, or you could think about it in terms of 'how would I feel if I miss my next period?'

starwhoreswonaprize Thu 15-Oct-09 08:23:16

I think most people have such over whelming feelings about their first child that having a second really does seem as if your first will lose out somewhat. I really think what a family gains by having more than one child and what a child gets from having a sibling completely outweighs any attention deficit.

I speak from the experiences of very close friends, DH and BIL all of which would have preferred a sibling. Maybe it's hard to hear for people with one child? Nevertheless choosing to have a family with one child does present different challenges.

I have yet to meet any adult who wished they had been an only child.

pleasechange Thu 15-Oct-09 08:37:42

I agree with the point that having siblings does not necessary help with parents in later age. In fact ime, my siblings cause my parents all kinds of work and worry and imo don't appreciate them nearly enough. This causes me a great deal of worry and annoyance

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