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UtahMum 06-07-2011 08:11 AM

Hello, I am 48, married and have one ds, 9.5 who is an only child Not by choice.  I was 36 when I got married, had him at 38.  Had one mc before and after his birth, and due to chemotherapy went into early menopause when he was three.


I am still dealing with only child guilt!  How do I deal with this??  We moved to Utah where big families are  the norm.  We've been here 6 months and I've only met one woman with an only child!  How do I not feel sorry for ds so he doesn't feel sorry for himself?


It is so hard doing playdates, kids here have multiple sibs and I think some moms hesitate because the other sibs won't have anyone to play with.  I have found this with my friends that only have two children as well (back home).


Above all, I don't want ds to grow up lonely!  I had a sib and I still was lonely a lot of the time, can't imagine life without at least one sib!  Ds does well in school, seems happy but I know he would love to play more.  Sometimes kids just aren't available, and I get so tired of constantly being 'activity director'.


Any helpful advice would be much appreciated!  Does the only child guilt ever end??

UtahMum 06-10-2011 10:07 AM

I guess I am the only one with this problem!!

Bena 06-10-2011 07:03 PM

I just wanted to let you know that there is an only child tribe here, I think you'll find it in the parenting forum....

It might help to chat with other mothers of only children.  hug2.gif

UtahMum 06-11-2011 08:31 PM

Thank you!

Dandelionkid 06-11-2011 08:47 PM

A different perspective- I feel self-conscious about having "only" families over because I am worried the chaos of our home will be too crazy for the mom. Silly but I remember how I felt having big families over when my first was small. It may be that the big families just need to know that you aren't judging their craziness or feeling stressed by it.

QueenOfTheMeadow 06-20-2011 07:35 AM

Just a reminder of the forum guidlines:
The expert forums are intended to be in a direct question and answer format between the member posting the question and the expert. These forums are not for community participation so the only exchange of posting in thread will be between the member and the expert.
Feel free to PM the OP if you wish to offer other advice or to invite the OP to the appropriate forum. Thanks for your cooperation.

windydawnm 06-21-2011 08:55 AM

It must be hard when your peer group all have large families.  However, I have an only child on purpose, and two other moms in my small area do as well.  Remember, just because one has family, or in this case siblings, doesn't insure they will have an adult relationship.

Also, as long as he is blessed with your love and attention, he is a very blessed boy, that is a greater blessing than a sibling!

DrLauraMarkham 06-22-2011 07:57 AM

Utah Mum-

You've been given some great advice already.  The truth is, when you have an only child, you do need to work hard to set up playdates and to be the activity director.  You can also make this easier on yourself by encouraging his passions with organized activities, whether sport teams or after school chess clubs, or Saturday film-making classes. 


But you wrote to me as an expert because you feel guilty not to give your son a sibling and you want to know how to get rid of that guilt.


Every situation has pluses and minuses.  Since you are already aware of the minuses of being an only child, let me remind you of a few pluses:


Your son is lucky to have a loving mom, that is what is most important. 

Some siblings fight and hate each other as kids. 

Some siblings don't stay close as adults. 

Your son never has to compete for your attention. 

You never feel divided in two the way many moms do.

You have more time to yourself to stay centered so you can be a better mom.


I could go on and on, because there are so many pluses in your situation.  Focusing on them instead of the negatives will help you a lot.


But what if, try as you might, you find that you can't talk yourself out of your guilt?


That's a sign that you need to explore what is under the guilt.  I suspect it is grief.  In other words, the guilt is a wall you have put up in your heart to keep the grief from spilling out.  You wanted something different.  More children.  No miscarriage. No chemo.  My goodness, how could you not have a heart full of tears?


The guilt is there to keep the tears inside.  Why not make a date with yourself to cry?  Light a candle.  Write down all those desires that can't be in this lifetime.  Write it as a goodbye.  Then burn it, in a fireplace or in a sink.  Cry as much as you need to.


You might need to do some version of this a few times to unlock those tears.  But I suspect that after you do, your guilt will shift and lessen. 


And you'll find yourself more able to focus on the many blessings in your life.  Beginning with the fact that you have a terrific son whom you adore, and to whom you are giving a wonderful life!

Tina1973 07-25-2011 11:51 AM

Wow, as a new member to the forum and site, I found this incredibly helpful.  I am 38 with a 7 year old daughter and suffered from PPD after her birth.  It was a pretty scary time and the thought of having another child and going through that again still sends me into a panic.  My husband, family and society think we should have another child.  A lot of the responsibility of our daughter fell on me without much help from my husband or any grandparents.  My husband and I each have our own businesses, he leaves the house by 7 and not home until 6, I have worked it so I can work less to be with my daughter more.  In doing this, my daughter has really been a mommy's girl which is lovely however can be very tiring.  My husband is getting more involved now as my daughter allows, however, 90 percent of the parenting was on me for 6 years and I was running a business too.  I feel selfish not wanting another child, as though I am letting everyone down.  I just don't want any more responsibility and I know the next one would be mostly on me too.  I am tired and really don't know if I can handle anymore.   I dreaded the day when my daughter would ask about sibling and the day has come.  I don't even like talking about it with her, as I know it was really me that didn't want any more.  She is a very happy child, has lots of friends and cousins around a lot, involved in tons of activities and we have such a wonderful relationship.  She is just starting to notice now that others she is around have siblings and says how she wishes she had a little sister.   I do believe sticking with one is best for our family, anymore would be too much, however how do I get away from the guilt and just enjoy it being the three of us?  Really looking forward to any feedback of like minded moms.

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