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I only want one...everyone else has a different idea.

(40 Posts)
brightonbythesea Fri 26-Jul-13 13:44:59

I have a little girl who is 8.5 months. She was a big surprise for my DP and I and we were very nervous about her, but as predicted, we both adore her to pieces, and even when it's been tough we've really enjoyed parenting her.

I feel very lucky that I have a healthy, happy little girl. We are both middle earners (teacher, engineer) and can just about afford to get her all she needs, pay a mortgage and afford childcare for the days I work. I found pregnancy and the early days very very hard, and although I didn't have PND I was very bluesy at times, and needed a lot of support for the first few months.

I am very happy with one, and I don't plan on having another child. If I did we would be financially very tight, even more tired (!) and frankly, we just feel lucky and happy and I don't want to upset that family dynamic. My DP currently feels the same. Unfortunately, many people in our lives (largely his mother) insist that 'one is cruel, she'll never learn to share, she'll be bored, what will she do on holidays' etc. ad infinitum. This has been repeated to me by colleagues, my own sister, and some friends. Currently I just smile and nod and then tell them we'll do what's best for us, but I am getting a little tired of it. I'm pretty good at holding my own usually, but I'm starting to think I'm in a serious minority and I'm getting something wrong.

Am I missing something here? Is it really so cruel to have one child? My DD doesn't have cousins in the UK, as my siblings live abroad and DPs are childless, but she does go to a childminder 3 days per week where she plays with other children, and I have made a number of friends at baby groups who we see regularly when I am not working. Is the first one being lonely really a reason to have another child, even if you don't want one for any other reason? I'd be really interested to hear what others think here, as perhaps I am being selfish on my DD as she gets older.

PrincessKitKat Fri 26-Jul-13 13:53:26

Somebody else was on here feeling guilty about only wanting one child the other day... I can't believe how taboo people find small families!

As I told her...
Both myself & DH are only children & have gone on to lead perfectly normal, healthy lives with strong relationships and good friends. You don't miss what you don't have and we were blessed to have loving parents with enough time & resources to give us all the things we needed (DH was dyslexic so got extra educational support etc). I had a wonderful happy childhood - while I can remember my cousins regularly ripping chunks of hair out of each other confused

We would be fine with only having one ourselves, so can't be that bad!

brightonbythesea Fri 26-Jul-13 14:05:19

thanks Princess - I too know several adults who have grown up as only children and are non selfish, well educated and well rounded people so I am strugging to see what everyone's problem is. I didn't feel guilty until so many people I know have reacted with shock and horror when I said we'd like to stick with the one.

Arcadia Fri 26-Jul-13 18:10:04

They are just ignorant, spouting cliches. Sorry to sound really harsh, but I am sad that these presumptions get trotted out. It is also totally insensitive to inquire into people's family planning even as family, and worse still to predict a miserable time for the child! Completely ridiculous. I have one and we are all happy. I see more advantages to it as time goes on. I feel so much freer with one than I would with more and I am an independent person. I adore DD and she can always be my favourite child!

I don't get this as much nowadays (she is 3.8) but I am pretty blunt when people raise this.

Do what is right for you as a family and don't worry about anyone else! We all live such socially full on lives nowadays that tbh I think it is nice for DD to have quiet time at home (and nice for us too) in between all her socialising and activities!

colleysmill Fri 26-Jul-13 18:26:33

I think you have to do what's right for you. If that's having one dc so be it - its not up to anyone else to decide you should have another.

I was fairly sure ds would be an only and felt that way up to quite recently. This was partly due to finance and partly because we were happy as we were. It's only been the last few months we changed our minds and now expecting dc2 so ds will be four and a half if all goes well.

And fwiw ds hasn't suffered in those intervening years for being an only!

PearlyWhites Fri 26-Jul-13 18:31:50

I think it will be hard for her as adult having to organise you and her df care on her own when you are elderly.

colleysmill Fri 26-Jul-13 18:37:06

I used to think that pearly but life often throws a curved ball. My mum died quite young at 50 and my uncle has had to take the responsibility for my dgm on his own. Having a sibling doesn't guarantee one child won't have to be the sole organiser.

juneau Fri 26-Jul-13 18:37:44

Of course it's not cruel! Lots and lots of happy, well-adjusted 'onlys' out there. She'll learn to share at nursery/child-minder/school, similarly she will make friends there, you can choose holidays where she'll meet other kids to play with (I do this even though I have two, because unless you have twins your DC will generally prefer to play with others their own age anyway).

Tell your MIL that she's upsetting you with her comments and that it's your decision, end of story. She got to live her life her way and you get to choose how you live yours and how many DC you will have. Stupid woman.

juneau Fri 26-Jul-13 18:38:05

The 'stupid woman' is her, not you!

SleepyFish Fri 26-Jul-13 18:52:21

Sorry PearlyWhites but I think that is a ridiculous argument and a terrible reason for having a second child. I have family all over the world, many of them don't even live in the same country as their parents.

Imo having one child is wonderful and honestly I think lots of people wish they'd stopped at one. 2+ children is way more stressful. I don't know a single parent who does'nt complain about how difficult it is, the constant squabbling etc. And from what i've seen most siblings don't share very well at all. I have to listen to my neighbours 2 fight all day long and it drives me insane.
Some of us are just better suited to having the one.

Fwiw my ds is kind, polite, appreciates everything he has, has lots of friends and can happily amuse himself for ages without getting bored.
How a child turns out has nothing to with having siblings or not and everything to do with how they're parented.

brightonbythesea Fri 26-Jul-13 19:04:50

pearly I just don't think I can justify that alone as a reason to have another child. As sleepyfish says there are lots of people whose siblings are far flung (mine included) so parental care comes down to one child anyway. Also I hope my DP and I will make enough provisions early enough to ensure this has limited stress for her.

I may of course change my mind, but at the moment I find two unappealing. I work with a woman who said the worst thing she ever did was give her boy a little brother, now her life is squabbles, poverty and sleep deprivation. I don't want to be this person!

Thanks for all your supportive replies - it is good to hear that some of you have one lovely only or are indeed one yourself. I will be ignoring people from now on!

flyingwidow Sat 27-Jul-13 16:43:08

I have one by choice! The interferers are ignorant I'm afraid... And like to perpetuate rubbish stereotypes. I know several only children who are incredibly successful well-rounded people. I know others who have siblings who are selfish and introverted. I do not believe that having an only child will determine your child's character!

Make the most of your only. Allow them lots of friends round and make a real effort for them to mix with others and I can't see the problem.

If your old age worries you make sure you have the necessary provisions and arrangements in place so that you are not a hindrance (in the nicest possible way!).

I love having an only and plan to embrace ever day of it!! grin

tumbletumble Sat 27-Jul-13 17:27:21

I have 3 DC and love it, but I absolutely defend your choice to have an only child. No one has the right to tell you how many children to have, it's an incredibly personal decision based on many factors. You are right to give a one-line response to this kind of comment and repeat it ad infinitum until they get bored.

Notsoyummymummy1 Sun 25-Aug-13 18:41:21

Nearly half in the families in the UK have just one child so you are certainly not in the minority. If your mil wants to know what cruelty is there are plenty of examples in the newspapers and you're certainly not one of them. Please don't be bullied into making decisions based on other people's narrow minded views.

People make huge assumptions when planning families when the truth is that you can't guarantee if siblings will get on let alone share the "burden" of looking after parents, if they even need it. In a lot of cases siblings fall out when the need to care of elderly parents arises. Learning to share and socialise are skills that children learn at school and from their parents - it is really nothing to do with having a sibling. People spout this cliched rubbish with no respect for or sensitivity to people's feelings or personal choices/situations and I find it sad and annoying.

The "only" children I know are all very confident and well balanced and have none of the insecurities that come from competing with a sibling. If your child has a happy home life, school life, hobbies and is brought up well then she lacks nothing at all so don't worry.

We all have to learn to tell people to butt out and remember what's best for us - you will drive yourself potty letting others dictate your own life to you. Your way is the right way.

Inclusionist Sun 25-Aug-13 18:49:24

There has been stuff in the news recently about there being a need to reduce the birth rate for the sake of the nation.

Develop a strong socio-political stance on this and batter it down their throats. grin

DancingLady Wed 28-Aug-13 14:58:26

Tell them to mind their own bloody business. It's not 'cruel' to have one child. It's far crueller to insist someone have more children just so their first one has siblings! And having another child so your first one isn't lonely, learns how to share, etc - how's that for spoiling your pfb?!

Your DD will learn to share. She won't live in a vacuum. Having another child just to teach the first one to share is lazy imo. Just teach your child to share!

Btw, congratulations on your DD!

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Wed 28-Aug-13 15:10:28

I'm sticking with one. I'm an only child, dh is from a big family, but he only wants one too. Here are my reasons (which I find myself giving not only to friends/family but strangers too)

1. I had PND pretty badly. Now, I know that it's not gospel that it would happen again, but it is more likely. I'm in a really good place now. If I did get it again, it would effect not only my relationship with dh, but it would impact ds too. I don't want to risk it. We're a strong, happy family.

2. We both work full time to afford our house. Ds is in nursery ft and my wages pay for childcare plus household bills. If we had 2 I don't know how the bills would get paid, even if ds was taken out of nursery. I know people 'just manage' but from doing the sums... We wouldn't. But with three of us we are happy and comfortable.

3. I have no desire for no 2. If I did have one, I feel it would be from bowing from pressure, and that is no way to bring a life into the world.

4. I always just wanted one. I still do.

I also don't buy into the lonely only thing, or that I'd be burdened by elderly parents. My family have discussed the arrangements for such events, and I have dh and friends to support and help. Siblings doesn't necessarily mean it's easier, I know plenty where a death in the family has caused all sorts of arguments and estrangements over petty things.

Hope that helps, OP

BiddyPop Thu 05-Sep-13 14:29:42

A colleague at work is only back after working 2 days per week since January to nurse her terminally ill DF. Her DSis was practically no help at all, and remains even less so as she has rowed with the DM leaving my colleague to continue to pick up all the pieces (the DSis is a SAHM!). So having siblings does not guarantee assistance in looking after elderly parents.

DD has lots of friends on the street, in school, in her various sports clubs (she is almost 8). She is good at sharing (despite her aspergers DX, she is better than her DCousins who are a family of 3 and all NT!!). She is happy, active, engaged in life.

DH and I both work FT, but DD has both of us most of the time around that. She has been in 1 crèche near our offices from 4 mths to 2.5yrs, when I had to move office she moved to another run by the same group for the following 2 years, and has been in a separate crèche near home for afterschool care since starting school (now in 2nd class so 4th year in school). We have had au pairs at home too in the past 2 years as DH had to take on an overseas project which meant 2 weeks working overseas and 2 weeks working in the home office here. But we make it work - if we had more than 1, I'd have had to give up the permenant pensionable and secure job I have to pay for childcare and juggle everyone's needs and rely on DH's far less secure job.

Over the years, we've had many many comments about needing more than 1. But I have generally ignored those (we were married almost 6 years before DD arrived so we had had plenty of comments about "needing to get a move on" before DD as well!). And as she is getting older, they have reduced a bit (she's almost 8 now), and especially as the physically distant families have become more aware of the realities of dealing with DD and her AS/ADHD dx, and helping her to integrate into society and achieve her own potential in life.

AvonRachel Thu 10-Oct-13 19:41:35

I've got an only child, i also happen to be a single parent but that has nothing to do with my decision to stick at one.

I knew from when I was pregnant I was only gonna do it once!! I hated being pregnant, felt awful most of the time, my labour was even worse, and ended up with a late night c-section cos she had been stuck for several hours! (10lb 10 baby will do that!)

I had a real fight with various drs over the last few years to get my tubes tied - they kept telling me i was too young - so i have a (now) almost 9 year old and have parented solo since she was 3, and almost solo for about 2 years before that, but I apparently don't know my own mind!!! Having had 2 abortions after my daughter clearly wasn't a good enough indicator in the past!

So happy now i persevered and regularly went back to ask for a referral - such a weight taken off my mind and I have explained to my daughter that I'm not going to have any more babies and some of the reasons why, and reasons why she wouldn't like to have a baby around.

She has trouble at school and I feel a bit guilty occasionally, but I think her problems are more genetic from her father's side unfortunately, she hasn't got a lot of friends and it is partly down to mis-management of her temper, which we have struggled with for years, and also a bad attitude to learning, but she has always had that, and I know it isn't from my lack of trying many many different ways and putting a lot of time in as I trained to be a teacher so used all the tactics I learned but nothing worked. She has got a bit better at it over the years, but still prefers other grown ups to help her with her homework, and mummy is there for cookery lessons and fun stuff at home.

Stick to your guns, don't bow to the pressure from those around you - for over 8 years I had to put up with everybody telling me I would forget how bad it was and I would change my mind! Well ya boo sucks to all of them - I haven't and have undergone surgery to ensure my happiness, and my daughter will grow up perfectly fine as she has plenty of people around her who love her and will look out for her.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 10-Oct-13 19:56:36

I find it so weird that people say this kind of thing to anyone. Even if they think it, and it's weird enough to think it.

I have 3 kids, I love having 3 and I'm still not totally decided about a 4th. I have two siblings, and I love having siblings.

And yet, I still can't see any reason to think that other sizes of families are less good. Different obviously, but all families are different anyway because they have different people in them.

I think it must be lovely to have one child to lavish all your love and attention on, to not have to keep going back and doing all the stages again.

Also a couple plus one child seems a really cool group - easy to accommodate for friends who want to put you up, often more grown ups than children.

Also, all the only children I know the same age as my kids are really precocious and smart and don't seem lonely at all.

You know what is right for your family, so go and enjoy it, enjoy her, enjoy all the stuff you guys are going to do together smile

CatFromAcrossTheRoad Thu 10-Oct-13 20:07:15

Fwiw, I did a bit of research (internet, not MY research) into this a couple of years ago. One thing that really stuck with me was that when the parents are happy with one, so is the only child. So as you are both clear that one is perefect, your dd should grow up feeling the same way.
Good luck!

GreenShadow Thu 10-Oct-13 20:26:17

It's not something parents of a single baby or young child think of, but fast forward to when they are 18, which I can assure you will come very quickly.

Our eldest two have now left for university, but at least we still have one at home. If DS1 was an only, I don't think we would have been ready for him to go off and live his own life. We'd have coped obviously, but it would have been harder. More than one gives you time to adjust to an empty nest.

Trunkcall Thu 10-Oct-13 20:41:27

When I meet adult 'onlies', I can often tell...

There is no substitute for having the daily necessity of getting on with other people. Playmates, cousins, friends are no substitute.

Some people can't have more, some don't want more. Their business. But if you can choose, IMO it's much, much better to have more than one.

VikingLady Thu 10-Oct-13 21:02:24

IME having a sibling does not necessarily teach a child how to share - my brother and I learned how to snatch before the other got in first, and how bitter sibling rivalry is.

Can you turn it on the insulting people who think they know better than you how you should be bringing up your daughter? Point out the growing world population outstripping the earth's ability to feed/house them? How much greenhouse gases they produce/resources they use?

Not that any of that outs me off wanting a dozen! But that is my choice (and DP's), no-one else's.

MyBaby1day Sun 13-Oct-13 06:03:40

What a load of prejudicial BS, do what you think is right for your family and if that's having one child then fine. I'm an only and bloomin loved it!!! grin

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