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only children: were you happy? - Page 3

post #41 of 55
my partner would be happy only having one child..i have siblings. my brother and i were very close.. 18 months apart and inseprable..and my sister and i are 5 years apart and didn't get along at all back then but now are great friends.. i can't imagine not having siblings..

i feel like my family is incomplete. i want another one now and maybe even more.. i wish for my partners sake that i felt complete just the three of us..

but i cant imagine such a friendly kid being an only child. he loves other people so much..but like many of you have said, you never can tell how things will work out.
post #42 of 55
So, i was this miracle, this enormous answer to prayer. I hated that all my life.
This is sad statement. I am afraid my son will feel this, too!!! We tried for 7 years including infertility treatments. Finally my IVF worked! Infertility treatments are sooooooooo emotional and physically exhausting. DH and I NEVER want to do infertility treatments again!

I always wanted more children but I am afraid he will be an only. This makes me very sad to read your comment because I was wondering if he will feel this.
post #43 of 55
Thread Starter 
Well, just don't have that fact in his face all the time. Let your world be bigger than him. Let him be normal. I've read that beccause we pay close attention to onlies (which can be good and bad) they learn to pay close attention to themselves. Maybe if you help him learn not to take himself too seriously, the fact that he's a "miracle" won't be a burden. The fact that you only have one child shouldn't be his "problem."

All of us are miracles! We don't ALL resent that fact!

post #44 of 55
Great comments about the pros and cons of siblings for the child(and the lack of any guantees . . .)

But now to a possible con for the parents': it breaks my heart when I hear about parents loosing thier one and only child as a teenager or young adult. If you have more than one, it is harder to be left childless? Does anyone worry about this? (Don't mean to sound crass or to say that some losses are worse than others).
post #45 of 55
i have thought about that.. not that i would be any less devestated if my son died, but i think that if i had other children i would be able to cope better than if he was my only son..
post #46 of 55
My dh grew up an only child but wasn't born one. He had an older brother (19 years older - MIL's first marriage) who was killed in a car accident when dh was 3 or 4. We have pix of them together and he has some memories of him. My MIL has said that she was able to go on because of Marty. I think she would have gone on anyway (she is very religious) but I think she was able to do so with some joy in her life because of the son she still had.

Another real life situation that we know of - Friends of ours have a daughter from her first marriage. That daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. She had half siblings but no full siblings. My friend was so distraught with grief that she considered the idea of having another baby with her ex if it got to the point of needing a bone marrow transplant and not having a match. I know that is a very controversial idea but if your child could die, you think of every option. I am not suggesting people have siblings for bone marrow insurance but the thread seemed to be going that way and this is something that my friend had to deal with. Of course the siblings COULD be estranged and COULD not be a match anyway or refuse to agree to it. But it again gives you that POSSIBILITY.

I think everyone has a bent for or against siblings as a concept. I don't think anyone's mind will be changed if they feel strongly. I am glad there is a support of onlies area - and I wouldn't post my pro-sibling thoughts there as it wouldn't be appropriate. But the OP asked and seemed not to be decided. I think it is interesting to hear everyone's opinions and experiences whether an only or a sib.
post #47 of 55
I think you have to follow your heart and do what is right for your family and yourself. We have one child and are only having one, mostly for financial reasons. But, that is okay. I have lots of friends who are only children and although some of them wish they had siblings, all of them have very good strong friendships. I have friends with big families and some are close and some are not. I really don't buy that there is something wrong with only one child. I think when we are adults and discontent or unhappy, we may look to our childhood and seek reasons. Also, of course, we tend to want what we don't have. My best friend is an only child and she said, laughingly, her worst nightmare as a kid was her mom would get pregnant and she'd have a sibling!

I have thought, though, like Mamawanabe mentioned, about "what if" something happened (horrible) to my beloved only son? But, after a bit of consideration, I concluded that having another child would be no consolation. At least not for me. I also can't have a second child for that reason alone.
post #48 of 55
I was happy as a child, yes. But (because my parents are older) I had to start taking care of my aging parents starting in sixth grade, and that was a VERY hard thing to do all by myself. It still is hard to relate to my parents in a healthy way.

Besides that, the worst thing about being an only child was I got the idea that everyone is paying very close attention to everything I say and do all the time. It makes me overly self-conscious in public, causes me to talk too much and not listen enough, and other related personality problems. However, I'm usually aware enough of this to be able to compensate. I'm not a selfish or uncaring person and I've never had any problem sharing a bedroom, etc. with someone. I have friends.

Do I wish I had siblings? Heck yeah. But I turned out okay without them, and I totally sympathize with how much EASIER it is to raise one child--you get to have the fun of being a parent while still having a lot of the freedom you had before, financial and otherwise.

If I had an only child myself, I would make an effort to pay a lot less attention to him than my parents paid to me.
post #49 of 55
Originally Posted by sohj
If it isn't one thing, it is another.

I was an only.

I was and am fairly unhappy with my childhood.

Was it because I was an only child?

Oh, for crying out loud! Of course not! That has nothing to do with it. It is just incidental, not causual.

And I know several happy only children. And I know several unhappy ones. And the same goes for people from big families.

It all depends on the raising.

You can't plan everything, you just have to take it one day at a time. If the family feels right to you, it probably is.
I only read the first page......I think what sohj posted makes a lot of sense....great sig line btw sohj...I have heard a song or two by Jon Prine would really like to listen to that one!

My dh was an only child....he came out...well to be perfectly honest troubled not crazy or anything but he has his issues and I dont blame any of it on him being an only child ...I am the middle of an older bro and younger sis...my siblings were extremely mean to me at times and I think at times I would have done better without them given my personality. We arent very close but when times get tough we are always there for eachother and we do love eachother in our own disfunctional way.

you posted "I can't bear the thought of her being alone once I'm dead and gone." Ive never once thought about that....I was kind of blown away when I read it
post #50 of 55
Thread Starter 
The way I see it, having any child at all opens up the risk of a terribly broken heart. (I considered this before marriage, getting pregnant.. I'm pretty careful with my heart but once I'm commited, I'm the oposite and put it all on the line.) The more kids I have the higher the probability something awful will happen to one of them, right? Anyway, the way in which I morn, it would probably be better/easier if I DIDN'T have an other child to tend to, comfort, etc. (I'd want to take up smoking again, /i bet.) And the gaping hole would be there forever regardless. And I'll be a mother forever regardless of how many kids I have or lose thanks to my first, my only.

Juliacat, you really seem to have a good grip on who you are and why. Yes, I plan to intentionally fix my attention beyond my little one. This article was quite inspiring:

and dd (8 mos) is already so much more content and pleasant when just being part of the action instead of the center of it.

I also have learned from my parents' mistakes and my in-laws' wisdom that its so important to take care of myself -- i.e. retirement gets paid before college fund -- because I don't ever want to be a burden to dd. I'm always worrying about my unhealthy, hard-working, broke parents, while dh's parents have retired comfortably and in a way the whole family can benifit from (nice guest room, fun website, etc.) and are still quite productive.

So many things to consider. Good thing we have each sweet day to savor along the way.

post #51 of 55
I know what you are feeling. I was very comfortable having just one child, but I am having another almost mainly because I wanted my son to have a sibling that was close in age. I also didn't want any regrets at having only one child. There are people I know that have only had one child and they regret it, and their are others that have had one and are very satisfied. It is a very personal decision. Having only one child is one of those things that you can't go back and change later in life. A person could adopt, but those close bonds that form between siblings are harder to create the longer the child has grown up alone, I think.

Even though I have a brother, I was raised as an only child (me by my grandparents, brother by my mother). We have never been close as we only saw each other several times a year. It was lonely, but I found ways to entertain myself. I will say that it is harder to relate to other people, but that could be my personality rather than how I grew up. I don't regret being raised as an only child. It did have many benefits such as: less strife in the household, quiet time for reflection, more individual time with grandparents (or parents in other situations), and more freedom to be myself (didn't have to be an example for a younger sibling or not do things because they might want to).

I wish you peace with whatever decision you make!
post #52 of 55
Originally Posted by awnja
Juliacat, you really seem to have a good grip on who you are and why. Yes, I plan to intentionally fix my attention beyond my little one.
Thank you, awnja. I'm glad you plan to do that. I think it will help.

I want to add that I plan to have at least two children myself, but my mother also wanted several children and could only have one, so I think having a plan B up my sleeve is a good idea, too.

I also want to illustrate what I mean about my own spin on only-child syndrome. Yes, my parents paid WAY too much attention to me. I couldn't get up to throw a banana peel in the trash without being asked where I was going and what I was doing. So there's that. But there's a more subtle aspect of it as well. If you have several kids, you're likely to say, "Let's pick up the kids from school," "Let's let the kids take turns picking a restaurant," "Let's send the kids over to their grandparents' house." With an only child, you're likely to call her by name: "Let's pick up Julie from school," etc. Being singled out like that in subtle ways happens a LOT. And I think it changes the way a person thinks about herself.

But it sounds like you're already two steps ahead of the game by thinking through all of this in advance. Good for you!
post #53 of 55
Both Dh and I are the oldest - I never thought about there being similairties between being the only child and being the oldest.

Right now I have a little nagging feeling that I want another, but I dont know how much of that has to do with the fact that dd is now 18 months and no longer a little baby, and Im just mourning the fact I will never have a baby again.

We had planned on having one for so many reasons. As the oldest of 3, I remember my childhood as one of limited resources and major responsibilities. My sister is 3 years younder than me and my brother is 6 years younger. I had to watch them after school, get dinner started, get them up in the morning, iron everyones clothes, etc. Because of this I resented my siblings and was never close to them growing up. I just dont want to do that to my dd. I actually dont share well because I never had stuff of my own growing up.

But I do adore my little brother now, although we didnt become close until he went to college and looked to me for guidance. My sis and I have just now started speaking frequently because she has a new baby and needs some support. So they are more like friends I probably would have had anyway.

Until I read this thread I thought "onlies" were one year olds! :
post #54 of 55
Well you have to do what is right for you, but I can answer your original question. No I was not happy. I always wished I had a sibling to share with. I was jealous of other kids who had large families. Holidays with just me and my parents always felt (and still do) kind of lonely.
post #55 of 55


i am an only. MY parents were a bit on the controlling/neurotic side while i was growing up. if there had been more than me, i think that we could have teamed up to help my parents mellow out. instead, my childhood was at times intolerable B/c they could hyper-focus on every damn thing i did 'wrong'.
i think that a child with loving, relaxed parents who do not try to impose their expectations could be perfectly happy. based just on your post, you don't sound like a control freak about your child's personal choices.
as an adult (and i'm fairly resolved about my parents, we're pretty darn close now), i don't feel any ongoing longing for siblings. if i actually think about it, i would love to have one or two. but i have friends, and i in no way feel alone.
good luck with all your choices.
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