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post #41 of 62
I loved having just one child. However, our son started asking for a sibling at age 4, and more strongly at age 5. All of his friends have siblings, and I could tell that he felt alone & lonely. Then a death happened in our family, and I realized that I would like for our son to have a sibling so that he is not alone later in life.
post #42 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
We lost our first child and then had our son. For a long time I felt like one was enough...I felt like the 'missing spot' at our table was our lost daughter's. And I found one enough of a challenge!

But when my son hit around thee, three and a half both my DH and I found ourselves thinking about it again. Our family just didn't feel quite complete - which is a totally emotional thing.

My son's 5 now and I'm pregnant. I find myself thinking the age gap is working in our favour - my son's making leaps into independence and wanting to do more with peers and that will give me some time with the baby. They probably won't play together a whole lot all the time (my sister and I have a similar gap and didn't) but as they get older the age gap will matter less. The bummer is we have to childproof again etc.

But for me, I needed that recovery time from the intense first 2-3 years. I really did. I love my son but I don't love the pre-verbal stages that much at all. Going through them with no break might've made me very burned out.

The one thing I'm not loving so much is that we'll be in "small child" land for almost 10 years total...eeek. And I'm 39 and will be 40 when the baby's born, so that presents a few challenges, particularly financial at the end there. I know we'll be older parents when our kids are starting off their lives so we'll have to plan for our care so we're not saddling them right when they need to be concentrating on themselves.

I've also probably wrecked my career a bit to go on mat leave right now but - oh well. I do love my job but it does not love me back the way family does.

It's been a tough pregnancy so far and I've had to stare down whether I would try again, and I think I would not. (We had set a limit to TTC until I was 40 and then stop, and with recovery time we'd be hitting that window.) Hopefully, since we're at 20 weeks, we'll make it to where it's not an issue.

But I don't think being an only child is a lifetime handicap...and having watched my dad (only) care for his parents and my mom (1 of 3) care for hers, I have to say neither situation was great - in one case there was more work and in the other more arguing and bad feelings. Eldercare is just tough all around. That said, I love having a sister to call up. It's just - different, either way.
We're in the same place right now. I have a 5yo son, got pregnant again at 39 (and am now 40), needed the "recovery time" after my first (and thus didn't really consider another baby until the last year), and have career concerns. Great to hear that I'm not the only one!
post #43 of 62
This has occupied my brain for the last 3 years.

I have a 4 year difference between my two children. The little one is 8 months old, and we are done.

I have days where I mourn our family of three.

I was secure in the knowledge that one was right for our family until my mother died. I was so very alone with it. It was a complicated childhood and not entirely healthy. I loved her dearly and she was my emotional anchor, everything to me. I lost all emotional grounding when she died (I didn't say it was healthy). And I spent the next 2 years dealing with the mess left behind with probate, tons of craziness, scary people, lawyers, sadness, exhaustion, and I had no one with a shared experience to go through this with, and no one to share memories with.

That experience made me agree we should have another one. I didn't want my son to be alone family-wise in our death, whether or not his world had been happy and healthy with us. DH always wanted a second child.

We lost our second (another son) when I was 23 weeks pregnant; he died in my arms. It was devestating. I think I was falling apart with the loss of my mother and then my son. We decided to try again. It was a challenging path.

I am an introvert. I need sleep. And I have to recharge, I have to have downtime. I find parenting one challenging. My husband is also just like me. And, I felt I knew what I was getting into, but I also knew in my mind that it would get easier, and that the first year would be the hardest for me.

Now that she's here, it's been very interesting. I truly mourn the fact that we cannot afford to travel like we could have with one, to have the kind of schooling we would like, etc. I also mourn SLEEP. I miss all the one on one time with my son, too. I miss how easy it is to get up and out of the house with one. It is so incredibly hard having two when at least does not sleep well at night; DH and I both WOH and we are always very tired. And snippy (of course, I remember this from the first year with DS, too).

DD has had a pretty difficult road. Severe reflux, couldn't sleep any way but completely upright for 2 months (day and night). Really awful. And allergies to soy, dairy, gluten. Even down to eating about only three things myself she did better on nutramigen formula, so well, that after I weaned her, I couldn't bring myself to give her the stored breastmilk due to the way she reacted. Anyway, she's pretty well controlled now on prevacid. And at 8 months, I know the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. This is rambly, but in any case, it was pretty hard the first 6 months. I barely saw my son for the first 3 months of my daughter's life.

And now. I don't regret having my daughter. I did. I thought I made a foolish decision. Now that things are improving, and we are getting closer to the end of the first year (really I find this part awful), I really am happy that we are a family of four.

My son adores her. I had no idea it could be like this. He kisses her all the time, when she cries, he is the first to run to her to see what is the matter. He always talks about what they are going to do together when she is older. And she really digs him. She is all smiles at him. She saves her big laughs for the silly things he does. I think it's pretty amazing. Even if it all changes for whatever developmental reason, I'm really happy this has been the experience now.

I adore her. I am fascinated by her. How different she is from my son, and also how like him she is. How much like her father she is, we can tell already. Things she loves. Things she doesn't love. The way she interacts with me. My heart melts for her. I think about the future, about what it will be like for them together as they grow, for us, for all of us. I hope that they have a good adult relationship, whatever it ends up looking like.

Surprisingly, challenging as it has been so far, I feel like I am a lot less stressed than I was with DS. I think it simply has to do with the fact that I know this (whatever is going on) will pass. It used to drive me batty when people would say "this too shall pass" with my son, I was going crazy and it felt like it was neverending (and sometimes, um, 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 months - or more - *is* neverending), and "this too shall pass" made me cringe. But, now, I know, from experience that, without a doubt, one day, whatever it is will pass.

We are all adjusting, sometimes well, sometimes not. This is our family now and I'm very glad that we have two loves. Though I will be happier once I'm getting enough sleep again.
post #44 of 62
I lean toward just wanting one, but it's based on my experience as a sibling, not as a mother. Neither my sister nor I really enjoyed having a sibling growing up. We made each other pretty miserable, and are barely friends now (I mean, I love her, but being "sisters" has added little to either of our lives). And I know my parents love us both, but I imagine we made life pretty hard for them sometimes, too, with all our fighting.
post #45 of 62
Honestly, the only people I know who have just one child either had fertility or medical problems, they were single parents, or they just did not enjoy having the first one and were never "kid" people. I am completely not saying this as a judgement, just a statement of what I have observed.

My cousin is an only child (one of many I know, I just wanted to share what is going on with him). His wife is also and only child. I know my uncle wanted more children but his wife said no way. Since then, they did get divorced, but it was when my cousin was 10 or 12 so plenty of time to have had more children. My aunt (ok, so I don't really consider her an ex-aunt as that is their divorce, not mine) remarried but never wanted to have children with that man. They were simply in to adult things and not kid oriented.

Now, my cousin and his wife do not want children. They like their life the way it is, child free. This is fine. But his parents and her parents are pressuring them to have a baby, just one, so they can be grandparents. Last I spoke to them, they were actually considering it, just to please the grandparents. I hope they do not have a baby just to make the potential grandparents happy. This is their life. If the potential grandparents wanted a guarantee of grandchildren, maybe they should have had more children or something, I don't know. But I think it is completely wrong to demand that someone else have children to make you happy. Not YOU, but I mean, them. Their choice to be childfree should be respected.

In every case where I know the story behind it of just one child, the parents either had some limitation like fertility or medical issues or marital status, etc or, they just flat out say they did not really want children, but the potential grandparents insisted. So now, when I see someone having just one child, I figure that while I do not know for sure, either something prevented them from having more, or they kind of did not really want to have children but felt obligated for some reason.

I completely respect other people's choices in how they make family and chose to have their family (as long as they are not destructive or interfere in mine, by destructive, I am referring to the people that have 4 children by 4 different people, or have abuse or drug problems, etc). I think everyone should do what their heart leads them to do, and their partner's heart too of course. Not what they feel obligated to do based on what others want them to do.

I don't know if I helped, I hope I have explained myself well. I think regardless of the number of children, they all are equal but different choices so I do not think it matters much as far as the children go. There is a different life from being an only child to having 10 siblings and everything else in between. You just pick which life you want and go for it. (I sure wish I had before I turned 40, I am 40 now and realize, I never made happen what I wanted to happen because I felt pressured by relatives who feel that everyone should have 1 child and a career and no one can be any different).
post #46 of 62
We have one DC...but we are currently ttc #2. DH was raised an only (he has 2 step brothers and step sister raised by his mom where he was raised with his paternal grandparents), and I have 1 brother.
We have been ttc over 6m now and I just had a stack of tests done...we have also accepted the idea that if it isn't to be it isn't to be. We love having just the three of us...we do everything together (I homeschool too). The three of us are very close. DS says to us all the time "you guys are my best buddies". I would love to bring another into the fold but wont be shattered if it doesn't happen.
If we are fortunate to have another there will be nearly a 5 year gap....so will be like starting all over again.
post #47 of 62
DH was an only and I was one of 3. He had a happy childhood (as did I), so naturally, he was happy with just 1 child whereas I always thought I wanted at least 2, if not 3.

We were very happy with just the two of us and DS. He was a difficult baby, but an easy toddler and we had one of those lives where it was still mostly "adult". DS kept late hours with us and was well-behaved to the point where we could easily take him to concerts or nice restaurants. Not to say that we didn't do a lot of child-centric things too, but there was a nice balance.

Ultimately, we decided to have a second child because I felt that we would never regret having another child, but we might regret NOT having another. I knew that having a sibling could only enrich DS's life and in fact, he had been asking for sibling as he saw our families in our circle of friends have subsequent children. DH and I were both on the fence and even when I was pregnant with #2 I was still unsure about our decision. I admit I even shed a few tears about having to split my attentions between DS--the light of my life!-- and another child.

8 months later...I'm so glad we had DD. I had loved DS so much I didn't see how I could love another child equally, but it truly works. The best part is how the children love each other so much. DS is a wonderful big brother and it makes me so happy to see them playing and laughing together. It's a wonderful thing. I know that for all of us, DS especially, it was the right choice.
post #48 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
I think the hardest thing about having just one child is that you need to have a thick skin. Society is keen to blame pretty much any character flaw, or any less than ideal behaviour, on a child's lack of siblings.
It goes both ways. I get almost daily ignorance and mean-spirited comments about not giving my kids "enough" by having more than one. I was an only child for over 8 years and still my dad's only child. I hated it. I love having siblings. And I'm glad my kids will have many siblings, too. Not that it's best for everyone, but you have to have a thick skin no matter what your decision is-no kids, one kid, 18 kids, because no matter what you pick, you'll get grief from someone.
post #49 of 62
Being a family of 3 has been win-win for us, I do sometimes think about another pregnancy or giving DS a bro/sis, but I'm not convinced that DS wants a sib and his father definitely doesn't want another, so my options are before me. I'm also thankful that I'm not missing out on DS-time with TTC or pregnancy worries.
post #50 of 62
I'm an only child and I never, ever regretted it. Not as a child, not now as an adult.

I watched my dad deal singlehandedly with his aging parents, because his siblings lived too far away to help. I watched two of my mom's brothers completely check out of any care for my grandmother as she died. One uncle told my mom he and his wife *expected* mom to bring grandma home, but that mom couldn't count on any help from them "because its just so hard seeing her like that." I've seen family members marry spouses that cut them off from their siblings. Yeah, it will be hard as my parents age, being the only one -- but it was really, really hard on both my parents, and they have seven siblings between them and still did most of the hard work for their parents.
post #51 of 62
I guess it's kind of morbid, but part of the reason I wanted 2 children is because if I had only 1, and that child died, I could not handle it. But if I still had another child, I would have a reason to stay strong.

Also, if you have more than 1, you have a better chance of being supported in your old age.
post #52 of 62
Well, I had two siblings and we talk maybe once a year, if that, and oddly the task of taking care of my parents has fallen on one sibling (me) which I think is more common than most people like to admit. It happened with my DH's family and it has happened with many families that I have known. Multiple children are no guarantee that you'll be cared for in your old age, nor is there a guarantee that siblings will share in the responsibility. My siblings and I were close when we were kids but have drifted apart considerably. I would venture to say that we don't really like each other or approve of each other.

We have one and we're perfectly happy with that. It wasn't an issue of fertility or not liking kids or being pressured into producing an heir. It is what it is and much more complex for us than the common stereotypes. The one-child family is very popular where I live, and I think a lot of it has to do with people not deciding until much later in their lives to even have kids. We waited a long time, but have no regrets. DD is awesome and has changed our lives for the better. I love that we can focus on her and have the time and resources to grow together as a family.
post #53 of 62
We only have one child and I really thought I only wanted one for a while. I came to realize that I really just didn't want to birth another child.

Around age 3, my dd started saying that all she wanted for Christmas was to be a sister. She talked about it all the time. "When I grow up I'm going to be a sister." "I have room at my picnic table for a brother." "I share my toys really well and I will share even more when I'm a sister." She is 4 now and she still talks about it pretty frequently. When I would see a picture of young siblings together, it would make me tear up. I know that our family is not complete.

I prayed a lot about it and I had a few dreams (I believe God [or whatever you believe in] can speak to us through dreams) and I felt pulled toward adoption. We are now in the early phases of research and prayer.
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post

My point is... no vacation I could have taken would substitute my siblings that I have by my side for a lifetime.
I know I'm taking this remark out of context, but ever since I read it, it's been bugging me. No one is suggesting that a human life and a vacation are somehow equivalent here, but that's the implication in this statement.

I didn't really have much of a choice about how many children I'd get to have, but when I realized my son would be an only, I decided to focus on the positives, rather than on what he might be missing by not having siblings. There are pros to having only one child, and they've been enumerated here. They aren't being presented as arguments for having an only, they're just things people appreciate about the situation.

And yes, it's definitely easier to travel with one child -- anyone who's ever chaperoned an elementary school field trip knows that firsthand. We have done a lot of traveling with our son, and we've enjoyed it. When I was spending months crying over the loss of the two-child family I'd always envisioned, the thought that we'd get to do more traveling than we might have otherwise was something that consoled me.

It's annoying to see it reduced to something like the comment above, when that's so far from the way people make their very personal, often very difficult decisions about how many children to have.
post #55 of 62
Tellera, I love your post & relate to much of it. Thanks for sharing this!
post #56 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennchsm View Post
I know I'm taking this remark out of context, but ever since I read it, it's been bugging me. No one is suggesting that a human life and a vacation are somehow equivalent here, but that's the implication in this statement.

I didn't really have much of a choice about how many children I'd get to have, but when I realized my son would be an only, I decided to focus on the positives, rather than on what he might be missing by not having siblings. There are pros to having only one child, and they've been enumerated here. They aren't being presented as arguments for having an only, they're just things people appreciate about the situation.

And yes, it's definitely easier to travel with one child -- anyone who's ever chaperoned an elementary school field trip knows that firsthand. We have done a lot of traveling with our son, and we've enjoyed it. When I was spending months crying over the loss of the two-child family I'd always envisioned, the thought that we'd get to do more traveling than we might have otherwise was something that consoled me.

It's annoying to see it reduced to something like the comment above, when that's so far from the way people make their very personal, often very difficult decisions about how many children to have.
I highly doubt her post was addressing people who want to have a second, but can't. She was specifically addressing those who choose to have only one based on a lifestyle choice (ie. people like myself, before I became pregnant again... I was VERY happy being the mother of one child). I found her comment poignant & have also thought about it a few times over the past week. Personally, my primary barrier in choosing to have a second was the potential loss of time/freedom/resources.
post #57 of 62
Quote:
So now, when I see someone having just one child, I figure that while I do not know for sure, either something prevented them from having more, or they kind of did not really want to have children but felt obligated for some reason.
We felt no obligation to anyone other than to do what was right for us and our family. We could have another child but we do not wish to. We love our perfect sized family of three (well four if you count the dog and we do ) and only wish that other parents make the right choice for their family and respect that we made the right choice for ours.
post #58 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
Honestly, the only people I know who have just one child either had fertility or medical problems, they were single parents, or they just did not enjoy having the first one and were never "kid" people.
I know plenty of people who have an only child by choice, and not for these reasons. You will find plenty of them here on MDC as well.
post #59 of 62
This is something I have been thinking about a lot too. I always though I would want two, but neither DH or I are completely sure yet. I think we will probably decide to try for a second, but there are definitely some nice things about having one too.
post #60 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
Honestly, the only people I know who have just one child either had fertility or medical problems, they were single parents, or they just did not enjoy having the first one and were never "kid" people. I am completely not saying this as a judgement, just a statement of what I have observed.
This is certainly not universally true (as you suggest). In the circles that I travel in, it's extremely common for people to have only one child (think demanding careers, high levels of education, urban settings). As I said, there are five only children in my daughter's preschool class, and I know many, many people back home in NYC who have actively chosen to have just one.

Quote:
In every case where I know the story behind it of just one child, the parents either had some limitation like fertility or medical issues or marital status, etc or, they just flat out say they did not really want children, but the potential grandparents insisted. So now, when I see someone having just one child, I figure that while I do not know for sure, either something prevented them from having more, or they kind of did not really want to have children but felt obligated for some reason.
I wouldn't assume this. I have just one and she was very, very wanted and planned. We feel very strongly about having just one, for many reasons, and we had no marital or fertility issues (pregnant on the first try!). As noted above, I have many friends and acquaintances who made a conscious choice to have just one, not out of obligation or because of fertility or other issues, but because they felt that was the right size for their family.
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