As someone from a huge family of many siblings, with just one child of my own, and the constant nagging that I need to give my son a sibling, it was with great interest that I read this article in The Guardian.
Half of families in the UK have just one child now. The writer of the article, Sabine Durrant, writes about her own experiences as an only child and how it has shaped her as a mother of three. She says:
It will be interesting to see how many of these 3.7 million single children will have more than one child themselves. The people I know who have one child all came from big families. Behind the figures and the taxonomy of personality traits, lies a basic truth about human nature: we often want what we don't have.
Growing up, I had a sense that there was a parallel existence, just out of reach. The books I loved were run through with unruly gangs; books by Arthur Ransome, E Nesbit, Enid Blyton. Adults were absent from their pages or fleetingly present – peering around a bedroom door at the end of a day, oblivious to the torch and provisions hidden under the bed in readiness for departure. For a single child, used to living in the beam of attention, such mutual disregard seemed unimaginably exotic. Large families had adventures. The children discovered magical lands, caught robbers, sailed to France by mistake. They didn't sit with their mother watching Crossroads.
My father was an only child and he has stated more than once that he wanted so many children because he absolutely hated growing up without siblings. Our house was always loud and crazy, but my siblings are also my closest allies and confidants. I can't imagine life without them.
You can read the full article here. It also touches on interesting things like birth order.
Are you an only child or a big family? How has that affected your family-planning decisions?