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having only one child

(34 Posts)
ottawagirl Thu 29-Sep-11 21:56:38

Hello, as someone who only wanted one child I am starting to feel a bit selfish about my decision and I am worried about how this will impact on my 4-year old. Are there any chatrooms, support groups, forums out there that anyone knows of to support those of us with only one child? Out of 60 children in my child's year at school there are only two other singletons. I often feel looked down upon by other mothers and am treated as someone who couldn't possibly understand what being a mother is as I have only gone through it all once. And I can't even count the number of times I get asked "Have you ONLY got the one then?" as if this is some sort of failing on my part. I would really like to feel better about my decision which was for very personal reasons and maybe find some people who are experiencing something similar. Thanks. Oh yeah -- I am new to Mumsnet and I have no idea about the abbreviations. Half the time I can't even understand the posts!

Hulababy Thu 29-Sep-11 22:01:38 - This is the section of Mumsnet that has lots of threads about being a parent to one child.

FWIW I am mum to an only child, 9y DD. It wasn't particulalry through choice but it is the eay it is now and likely to always be. But I can honestly say that my DD is happy, well rounded, sciable and happy. She has lots of close friends and has a great relationship with her little cousins.

There's nothing selfish about only having one child, regardless of the reason.

Even if you had another child there is no guarantee they would be friends or play together.

Hulababy Thu 29-Sep-11 22:01:48

helpmabob Thu 29-Sep-11 22:02:51

Hi please dont listen to other people. Everyone has an opinion whatever you do. E.g. what you have two, why would you want another one? Or surely you want a boy/girl now that you have the other? Or Why such a small/big age gap? or Why do you not have any children? The list goes on.

Everyone does what is best for their family unit. I know a couple of only children all grown up now and they had a lovely childhood and are very happy. I am sure other people will come on here to tell you the same.

Each situation is unique and it is your love that makes a happy child.

ottawagirl Thu 29-Sep-11 22:15:18

Thank you both hlepmabob and Hulababy. Good to hear only children aren't all doom and gloom!

I will check out the section on Mumsnet which might shed more light.

CaptainBarnacles Thu 29-Sep-11 22:26:55

I only have one child - also not through choice - but I love it now.

Having a brother or sister isn't necessarily always brilliant: I know a lot of people who have dreadful relationships with their siblings.

What strikes me is how similar DD is to her peers with sibs. A good friend of hers has three brothers and sisters, and she and DD are like two peas in a pod.

TBH, I think a lot of people have two because it's the "done thing". That is certainly what I would have done, if I had had the opportunity. And I did go through a stage of feeling very broody. But now that has passed, and I can see that there are lots of wonderful things about having an only.

There is a book called Maybe One about having an only child through choice. I haven't read it, though. I really like Playful Parenting, which is written by the father of an only child, although not 'about' only children per se.

MyBaby1day Fri 30-Sep-11 01:43:18

I agree 100% with helpmabob, people are always judging you WHATEVER you choose in life, it's so wrong, if a couple choose to have no children-they judge, if they have one-they judge, if they have one of each and are having another they do. You have to just live your life for you. I'm an only child and i loved it!!. My Mum has had a dreadfull time with her super-selfish Brother so it's not always true they're close-so many i know aren't!!. In China it's pretty common due to the population control rules!!. I can't say anything bad about it, of course it has the odd draw back but what doesn't?, in the main i loved it. Especially as all my professional photo's it's just me!! ha other dud stealing the limelight (well maybe puppet-Clifford)!! ha ha....the best i could do for a "Brother" was him!!....he's amazing!!. We're an odd little family, (me, him and my teddy Arkie)! but it works. If you want one then just stick to one!!, i found with me bgeing an only one we could do more things whereas larger families were more financialy restricted. In turn i only want one!!-YES!. I think due to my medical situation and the finanical side of it it's better (although i judge no-one with more), it's just all our personal choice. Read a few books about the topic but don't be having more just because of societies "rules"!!

FairyArmadillo Fri 30-Sep-11 02:12:15

I'm an only child and always thought I'd never have just one. However I'm a single mum and DS wasn't planned. If I meet someone they I might have more, if not I don't want to purposely have another baby as a single parent. A few of my friends from baby & toddler groups, or with kids the same age are having or have had their second. I get the odd comments that "it's time for another." But much as I love DS and would love another, it isn't happening again unless I'm in a relationship. I don't feel DS is missing out as an only child. He gets my full attention and I make sure he's around other children.

Thumbwitch Fri 30-Sep-11 02:26:38

Within the one-child topic, there is also the Tea Room - where most of us have only one, either through choice or circumstance and no one is ever judgy about it.
We support each other through the various ishoos peculiar to one child families and the problems that some of us have had with outside comment; and also through the various sad times that crop up. PLease come and join us - even though it looks cliquey, it really isn't - we're open to every one who wants to chat.

As far as the whole "should I/Shouldn't I" thing goes for having another - you will always find good and bad experiences on both sides, those who are onlies, and those who have siblings. All you can do is make your child's life the happiest it is within your power to make it - siblings may help or hinder that.

minibmw2010 Fri 30-Sep-11 07:13:47

I have a beautiful 19 week old DS and I know my husband wants us to try for more in the future but to me I feel happy with the idea he'd be it. He was an IVF baby and I'm 38 already so I don't really see it happening again unless it happened naturally (and I hear you need sex for that to happen wink).

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 09:48:48

My child doesn't have any siblings. Frankly, I take a very dim view of anyone that wants to make this out to be some kind of handicap or indication of selfishness on my part. We have a great relationship and he's a very happy, independent child. I suggest you tell people to mind their own business....

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 09:56:30

Wow thank you all for your support.
And CaptainBarncles I will check out those books.
It is quite astonishing how many stupid and thoughtless comments I get about only having one child. Yet when I see a family of six get into their gas-guzzling earth destroying 4x4 I don't tell them off for populating the planet with consumers! Maybe I should. Ha ha.

gigglepin Fri 30-Sep-11 09:58:39

I have one, but not through choice. I kind of like it though.
We are certainly better off in terms of finances and time, we struggle to juggle work and home with one, i am not sure we could do this with any more.

I would have absolutely loved to have had the choice to have another.

My boy is 8, so i have had years and years of comments and questions, the most annoying being "didnt you want any more then?"

I did my best but after 6 miscarriages.....i got the hint, it isnt gonna happen, so here we are, a little family of 3, happy & very grateful to have my little boy.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:10:39

Keep going with the 'stupid and thoughtless comments' because that's all they are. I don't think people really appreciate just how offensive they're being half the time. The worst offender in my life is my DM. Ironically, she's one of four siblings who can't stand the sight of each other, produced by a rather nasty mother that gave most of them a different father (and this was in the thirties!!!) Whenever she gets on her high horse about poor little Cogito Minor's only child status being the reason why anything bad happens to him whatsoever... Of course he gets bullied at school because he's an only child!! I tell her straight that she's being ridiculous.

SquirtedPerfumeUpNoseInBoots Fri 30-Sep-11 10:16:35

I have an "only" as well. Except he is not only, I am blessed and grateful. I suggest you tell people how rude they are being. Think of the positives of your situation, you have more time to devote, probably more money, and my DS is well adjusted, happy and sociable. He is described by his teachers as popular and caring, and has a naturally generous personality.

AMumInScotland Fri 30-Sep-11 10:19:25

As others have said, you'll get stupid and thoughtless comments whatever the makeup of your family. The trick is to be comfortable with your choice, then the comments are easier to ignore/challenge.

I found there were less comments as DS got older - at 4 you're probably still going to get the "when's the next one coming then?" type of comments, but once they get into school age and you still haven't had a second, people seem to get out of the mindset where that's the default question.

And a lot of the time it is just default "open the mouth and see what comes out" rather than their strongly-held views anyway.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:19:51

The word 'only' is pretty demeaning, you're spot on SPUNIB.... smile I'm pretty thick-skinned as a rule but it's very annoying and difficult not to get sensitised about this particular matter. Especially when the prejudice is within your own family.

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 10:25:16

Hello CogitoErgoSometimes (great name by the way!). How old is your child? Mine is only 4 so still too young to really miss a sibling. One of my big worries which is fuelled by the super-fecund parents of the broods I see at school every day is that my daughter will blame me when she is older of depriving her of a sibling. "People" say that it's not until they are older that they start to miss a non-existent sibling. I feel doubly guilty as I have had 2 terminations and therefore COULD have given her a sibling. I am in my late forties now so it's not a question anymore. Maybe I could tell the thoughtless parents who have zillions of kids and think it's the best ting ever that I am tired of having terminations. That would shut them up!
Thanks for your comments. Very helpful indeed.
BTW my mother is exactly the same! She had 7 or us and blames every little sob or complaint issued by my DD on her being an only child. Luckily we only see her once every two years as she lives half way around the world!

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 10:33:00

Yes, SquirtedPerfume, the word 'Only' is not a good one. People do say 'Singleton' but that sounds like something you would wear.
Glad to hear your 8-year old is so happy and sociable. My DD who is four is very shy and timid and not self-confident at all. So of course everyone around her continually and gleefully announce it is due to her not having siblings.
However when she is with her good friends she is very happy and joyful.
She has just started school which she has found REALLY hard. I am on my own a lot as my husband goes away for work so she is extra clingy with me. Again this in the eyes of others is down to her being an 'only'. Can't win can I!
I just focus on the good things and she and I do have a very close relationship and do lots of fun things together as we are on our own so much of the time. Life is good and would be even better if people weren't so quick to judge me and her!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:35:35

Mine's 11yo. He did once ask me if he could have a little brother (and as I'm single, it would have been a biological challenge) but I made a fairly strong case that they probably wouldn't let us take a baby to the various places that he particularly liked (we're big on travel) ... and he quickly went off the idea. He enjoys spending time with other children but always likes to get back home and loves his own space. One of his best friends has four siblings and tells my DS how lucky he is to have a bedroom to himself rather than having to share. The grass is always greener whichever side of the fence you're on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:43:05

Should add... I've probably made more of an effort to enrol him in various group activities than someone with more children. Mostly cubs and scouts which has been very good in terms of boosting his confidence, making him more independent (they go off on camps etc) and helping him work with others as part of a team. And, because he doesn't have a father (and you want to hear DM on that one!) , I also felt it was important for him to have positive male role models which scouts also provides.

If I've got it wrong it'll be entertaining for his therapist to listen to in a few years' time. smile

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 10:47:10

Hey Cogito, You are right. There are pros and cons. The trick I guess is feeling OK with one's choices and circumstances.
I guess as I am not on my own (but live with a man who is often not there) I get more pressure and more stupid comments because if you are living with a man it is expected of you to pop em 'out regularly. Maybe it is the neighbourhood I live in which is insanely middle class and full of smug families who seem to think that reproducing is life's main purpose. It isn't for me as there are a lot of things I want to do in life and having more babies isn't one of them!
Yeah the grass is greener wherever you are. I need to start seeing how green the grass is right under my own nose! I like tour reasoning with your son. I will try that line when mine starts asking. I know it'll happen any day now!

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 10:49:51

Hey Cogito,

I guess the money we have saved on only having one child could be put in a trust fund for their future psychoanalysis needs!
I am sure my DD will have a gazillion ishoos to discuss with a willing shrink.

Ho hum. Better get some work done now!

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 30-Sep-11 10:51:00

Its unfortunate (and unusual) that there are so few parents of one at your school. There were 6 in my dd's reception class and we had a lot of fun as we could easily meet up to do age appropriate things without needing to worry about bringing different age siblings along. This also very much "normalised" having one child. Most of my friends have one child or none, and this too means that I have the fortunate situation of not finding being parent of one anything other than normal. Try to find more parents of one to hang out with might be an idea?

I find it much easier to have a good social life both for me and my dd because I do not have other children. My experience of having one has been amazing. I think once you can shake off other peoples preconceptions you can relax and enjoy life with one - there are loads of advantages! My dd is now 12 - she has always had a happy disposition and been socially adept, and never wanted a sibling. Life with her is fantastic. Sometimes I wonder if it would be even better with more children but i doubt that it would be any better in all honesty. Enjoying the life that you have is an artform imo.

Today I will be taking dd and 5 of her friends out on the river for the day with a picnic. We will have a great time. Enjoy your day OP - and don't worry about your child, he or she will be just fine without sibs!

ottawagirl Fri 30-Sep-11 10:53:48

Oh yes, Cogito, the group activities sound like a really good idea.
My DD refuses to do any sort of after school clubs or classes. This does worry me. She says that going to school is enough for her and she wants to be with me the rest of the time. Of course I worry about this as I am surrounded by parents who bring their lovely little diddums to Cantonese class and violin lessons and you name it. Meanwhile I am in the park feeding the squirrels with DD and making banana cake... Should I be worried? Maybe in time she will want some more challenges and group activities.... But for now she just wants me. Of course this is ALL because she has no siblings right. God her shrink will have a lot to work with in future!

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