Moms of only children or those debating the issue - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Is it okay to have only one child
Yes 94 87.85%
No 5 4.67%
Under some circumstances only 8 7.48%
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#31 of 51 Old 04-08-2003, 05:58 PM
 
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Hi everyone! I'm an only raising an only Ds is almost 3 1/2 now and sometimes I do worry about depriving him of close family. Unlike me, he will have no aunts, uncles or cousins. But like many of you stated, having another child just to provide a sibling isn't sound reasoning to me ... although I've given it a LOT of thought!

I lost both of my parents three years before ds was born, and while I'm sad they didn't have a chance to be grandparents, I'm grateful that I was able to be there for them when they needed me. I honestly believe that I would have felt the need to "be there" whether I had siblings or not. Who can say.

We're enjoying our ds to the fullest, ebf'ing, co-sleeping, seriously considering home-schooling, plus we've gone veggie (in the Midwest - horrors!), so he will be unique in more ways than one. I hope he will continue to appreciate his uniqueness as much as he does now!
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#32 of 51 Old 04-08-2003, 06:08 PM
 
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Baudelaire, while you and I share frustration with folks who take it upon themselves to let us know that we need to have more children, I also disagree with the idea that one child will be loved more than another.

I totally understand the feeling that you could never love another child as much as #1, but I have heard this concern from every friend of mine who had more than one, and they always found that they were wrong. I believe that you can love children equally, but that each relationship will be special in its own way because of that particular child's individual personality.

I only have one child right now, but I know I could have twenty (not that I want to ) and I'd love them all as fiercely as I love my dd.
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#33 of 51 Old 04-09-2003, 11:25 PM
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I'm now pregnant with my first and it's amazing how many people ask me if we want another one. Hmmm...let me get adjusted to the one first, then we'll see, OK? My husband and I have talked about whether we want one or more though. We're both very much okay with one but will remain open to the idea of more. Both scenarios seem to have their advantages and disadvantages. I am in awe of how strongly some people feel about this issue. When I recently told a coworker that we may just stick with one child, she said that was "cruel and selfish". Cruel? That's pretty harsh, huh?
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#34 of 51 Old 04-10-2003, 02:58 AM
 
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Hey, LunaMom and others....

I hope, like I think I said in my earlier post, that I'm wrong about that love-one-kid-more phenomenon...I really DO hope for tons of people's sakes that they love both children equally (or at least equitably). Yeah, it's hard for me to say because I only have the one...but without rehashing old family garbage, I strongly believe that between my brother and me, my brother was the more preferred of us, so certainly this affects my belief about what's true of sibling relationships. But hey -- one family is not universally representative of all families, right?
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#35 of 51 Old 04-10-2003, 02:08 PM
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We have just one child right now, but my husband made it a condition of our marriage that we absolutely HAD to have more than one child.

My dh is an only, and he grew up lonely and very, very controlled. His parents had absolutely no malice towards him, but they were involved in every single aspect of his life, totally focused on him and totally oblivious to his need for privacy and individuality. Dh is the only source of their identity as a family, and that's a big burden for him (and now me) to bear.

I personally think that parents need to have very specific strategies in place for how they are going to deal with crushing their beloved only children with love and attention. My husband really liked the line in the Horse Whisperer, where the only child says to her parents, "I just wish I wasn't so special". It's a lot to live up to - all the parents hopes and expectations fall on one little set of shoulders.

And sometimes those shoulder's can't take it.
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#36 of 51 Old 04-10-2003, 02:42 PM
 
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Baudelaire, I totally hear you, and I felt the same way about my family, too. My brother was clearly the "golden boy." And thank goodness my family of origin is not a model for all families either, or else the world would need a whole lot more psychotherapists!!! :LOL
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#37 of 51 Old 04-11-2003, 12:08 PM
 
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Hi ~ I'm and only rasing an only (for now) and have been thinking about this a LOT ~ I have always wanted more than one child because I was an only ~ and we are ttc now ~ but I am a bit scared of having another simply because I have no true idea about how siblings relate to each other.
I was VERY lucky to grow up across the alley from my best friend, we met when we were 3 and have stayed closely connected throughout our lives. She is really like a sister to me, however, she still can't commiserate with me about how crazy my folks are or how their relationship is SOOO goofey (another subject entirely!!!). I was a bit lonely even with her company too. I also miss the bond that many (of course not all) siblings have later in life. Like someone else said, I missed out on the reminicing (sp??) about our families past and simply having the commonalities that many siblings share with no one else but their siblings.
I also would enjoy a larger family, ours is soooo small (I'm even an only grandchild on my dad's side as my aunt had no children, and I only have 4 cousins on my mom's side). I would love a huge family ~ but then I wonder if that is for me either.
I also know for me I always want what I don't have. But I really think that I'm going to go for 2 maybe even 3, simply because I feel I lost out of some things being an only ~ yeah there were benifits too, but for me, the losses outweight them.
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#38 of 51 Old 04-11-2003, 12:57 PM
 
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I have 2 onlys. My ds is 25 and my dd is 28months. I feel completely comfortable with my decision. THere are so many reasons, but I think the main reason is it is what I can handle and feel good about. Some moms have 2, 3 and 4 kids and I dont know how they have the patience, money, attention to give. I guess Im one of those moms who does better when I have some life and time to myself, to recharge.

I think if I wouldve been deciding whether to have a child before 9/11, I dont think I wouldve had one. It weighs heavy on my mind the world my dd will inherit. But I guess that is off topic......
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#39 of 51 Old 04-11-2003, 01:26 PM
 
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I'm the oldest of three, dh is an only. We have a 5 month old who is actually our second baby, but our only living child. We have not decided for certain that we want another child. Everyone tells us that we need to have another one or that Lily needs a brother. I'm sorry, but kids are not like action figures or comic books - you don't have to collect the whole set. Also, I don't feel like we should have another child just to make up for the loss of our first. I'm a mother of two. Period.

I would love to experience giving birth again, but I don't know that I want another child. I don't have the patience for two little ones. I want to wait at least another 4 or 5 years before we think about having another one. I always said I would be done by 30. That's cutting it pretty close. Dh and I have talked about a vasectomy, but all we hear from everyone is that we're too young to consider it.

Dh is happy as an only child. He is neither selfish or spoiled or any of the other horrible things people say about only children. I have a sister who is 3 years younger and brother who is 5 years younger than I. There is still a lot of rivalry between us even now. I was always the outcast of the family.

My brother and sister were athletic and always hung out with the jock-types in high school. I was the smart and artsy one that never fit in with anyone in my family. I was always teased at home for not having an interest in sports. I was always left out of a lot of family events. I absolutely do not believe that having siblings will give you a happy childhood.

As for parents favoring one child over another - it does happen. I don't care what anyone tries to tell me. I'm sure my parents loved me just as much as my brother and sister, but I know for a fact that I was not their favorite.
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#40 of 51 Old 04-11-2003, 08:32 PM
 
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Of course it's perfectly alright to have an only. And honestly I don't get the people that insist that an only child won't learn to share, or will be selfish.

No one should have children because they are afraid that if their kid is an only it will be selfish. Sorry, but that sounds nuts to me.

Having siblings does not guarentee you'll have someone to "share the work" when your parents are older. Some people are flakey. It also doesn't guarentee that your child "won't be alone in the world" when his/her parents die. Sometimes siblings make life harder for children and adult children too.

You just have to decide what you want for your family and hope and plan for the best.
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#41 of 51 Old 04-11-2003, 08:36 PM
 
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I'm an only raising an only. May I say how WONDERFUL it is to read of so many others who feel having an only is OK! (I feel like so many parenting boards out there are jammed with women who would never have just one child.) DH, btw, is the youngest of 4 and is 100% in favor of DD being an only child. He's more for it than me sometimes.
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#42 of 51 Old 04-12-2003, 12:22 PM
 
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Our pixie is an only and I was an only and my husband is the youngest of four. I had cousins and friends around most of the time. He had four years of lonliness when a kid because his friends had moved away. I love large families, but I do notice that frequently the kids all have their own friends and don't necessarily hang with or pay much attention to the siblings unless the parents make an effort to unite the family. My idea of a large family is a large e x t e n d e d family. I think that is much better than a large nuclear family.

On the specific side, I am definately NOT having another birth, even if it was predicted that the next one would cure cancer and bring world peace. The birth was too traumatic. Husband has gotten a vasectomy. Of course, we may adopt. I have lots of friends who were adopted and while there are special issues about it, I think it is a nice thing. Some of those friends have adopted children, too. But, we wouldn't be adopting to 'give' ours a sibling, we just think it would be a good idea and fun. (For those who think that you need siblings to learn how to share, that could be the best way of learning that lesson.)

Lunamon & others: Yup, I've heard that cruel not to have siblings crap. I generally try to be polite. It is so obviously untrue. It is also no one's business.
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#43 of 51 Old 04-16-2003, 11:35 AM
 
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I come from a family of mixed numbers. I have 2 older step-siblings and 2 younger 1/2 siblings. The older ones are 6 & 9 yrs older than me & the younger are 7 & 9 yrs younger than me. They're also in different families (step sibs are my step-moms, half sibs are my step-dads). This means that I'm the oldest in one family, the youngest in another, in between both and the only from my mom & dad. It also means that for our family, we've achieved zero pop growth from one gen to the next, which I value. I'm not quite an only child, because I have been partially integrated into each family, though it's hard to say that it's ever or always been a complete integration into either. I really do value having siblings and I think to a degree it's a method for learning the value of cooperation and individual responsibility, though certainly not the only method. Having siblings can also cause a lot of tension, but it seems to be that being in the same room with another person can be tense.

I've been debating whether to have other children a good deal. Sometimes I hear of people spacing their children fairly closely together (2 years or less), and I think I definitely DO NOT want that. My son is great and I think that it's fabulous that it's just the three of us for now. I know that because I grew up with a lot of people and my extended family is large, that I really love having a busy house - people always talking, making noise, activity everywhere - but I know that this can be had in other ways that are not so constant (having lots of close friends & doing things with them). This debate has not made me feel any more strongly about having more than one or not, but it's peaked the debate in my head a bit.

DH put it this way - we've bitten off a chunk & we're chewing it, that doesn't mean that we need to hurry up & bite off another just 'cause it's going okay.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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#44 of 51 Old 04-19-2003, 02:27 PM
 
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Well, I have a brother who is 2 years older. And although we get along now, we walk on tiptoe and don't talk about anything important. We fought like cats and dogs growing up. He hated me and never missed an opportunity to let me know that I was ugly and stupid. Consequently, his approval became the approval that I sought - my parents couldn't give me enough because I felt that if I didn't get love from my brother, Iwas not love-worthy.

As a consequence, I only want one. My brother now has 4 kids, but he purposely spaced them 4 years apart so that they wouldn't be in high school at the same time - I guess he only remembers the fights during that time, but it started WAY before that. And I am happy to report that, for the most part, his kids seem to care about each other and get along great. I've seen a couple things I didn't like, but not a lot.

I think my parents were largely at fault for our relationship - but I also honestly think that they did the best they could with what they knew and they honestly didn't know what to do. (I remember my dad pulling me aside when my brother had made me cry and saying "I saw that honey and Iwish I knew what to do about it." It comforted me at the time but now it makes me go "SO WHY DIDN'T YOU TRY SOME STUFF???" lol)

Anyway, when my mother died my brother came out at her memorial with all these negative memories of her. So, he has never been a comfort to me about that - I loved my mom dearly and it seems like we had very different relationships with her.

My husband has 3 sisters and they all get along pretty well at least now. He also is happy to just have 1, though he doesn't feel that way as a result of his sibs - I think it's just what he thinks he can emotionally handle and be a good parent. That's how I feel about it, too, ultimately.

I am NOT worried about the 'giving him/her a sibling" thing. Personally, I think that's wierd - like a sib is a pet or something. My hubby has a HUGE family & extended family in the area and baby bean will have a billion cousins to play with!

Margo & Bean, due 12/16
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#45 of 51 Old 04-19-2003, 11:15 PM
 
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havent read all the posts, but wanted to put my two cents in..... i am an only child and although i admit i never wished for a sibling as a child, i would love to have some now. i am close to my parents, but my family is so small. family gatherings consist of me, dh, ds, my parents and my grandma. personally, i would love to have at least 3 kids, however, i don't think there's anything wrong with having only one child. just think of all that undivided attention your dd will get.
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#46 of 51 Old 04-21-2003, 06:16 PM
 
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I belong to the "Maybe One" environmental group. With current overpopulation and taxing of the natural resources, more and more people are choosing to remain child free (a less judgemental term than childless), or opting to have only one child.

We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and if I think she needs a sibling, we will simply adopt a child who is unwanted, unloved and possibly from a less developed country, rather than have another baby. It will most probably be a girl since they suffer more (sexual slavery and such) than the boys, but that's not to say we wouldn't fall in love with a little boy along the way. Either way, I hope to breastfeed an adopted child also.

Another option is to live with another family with just one child (cousin, sister, etc), so they feel like siblings. The whole American concepts of nuclear families don't make sense to me. Many immigrants feel shame at having two or more generations under the same roof. The way I see it is that those too old to work take care of those too young to work (archeologists say that is why women live longer and do bot menstruate their whole lives - the grandmother factor makes childrearing easier).

Our current living situation is with the hubby's parents. If not for them we would both be working minimum wage jobs and paying almost our entire salaries on day care. Living here allows us to go back and finish college (I am done in May, hubby in Dec) and get better paying jobs.

After we get on our feet, I plan on helping my cousin and her family to move here from Romania. That will mean they will live with us for a year or two until they get on their feet (paying it forward). This will let her child and mine feel like they have a brother/sister and get it out of their systems.

I truly believe that the desire for a sibling peeters out at 10 to 14 and at that point they think the sibling is too annoying. My cousins are 7 years appart, the only reason my aunt got pregnant again was because her daughter begged for a little brother. At 14 she was like WHY had I ever asked for this little pain?
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#47 of 51 Old 04-25-2003, 08:41 PM
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Just want to say that I debated and debated this issue in my mind. Now we have two kids--five years apart. The spacing is perfect for us and we're so happy we have them both!
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#48 of 51 Old 04-26-2003, 03:35 PM
 
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I think if you are done, you will know it in your heart, or if you want more you will also know when the right time is to start trying again. Just keep listening to your heart and try not to think about it so much with your brain. :-) Good luck!

edited to add: I am a virtual only child after my handicapped brother was killed when I was 9, he was 6. I did not miss the sibling thing so much growing up except when I was having hard times, I wished I could have shared the burden with someone. As an adult I sometimes get envious of the close adult relationships people have with their siblings-- but then I have some really good girlfriends and they are like the sisters I never had.

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7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#49 of 51 Old 04-26-2003, 04:03 PM
 
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I read a great quote once:

"Only have as many children as you can give your energy to"

Not the "cleaning house" kind of energy, but the attention and awareness kind. Some mothers have a huge capacity for children and some mothers don't, so don't listen to that crap about spoiling a child by having just one. Only have as many as you CAN.

My mother had 5 of us, over 20 years, and it makes me sad to look at how she is raising the youngest 2. They are depressed, rebellious, and out-of-control b/c mom is sapped and tired of raising kids. She just ignores them and says, "the rest of you turned out fine and they will too." What a horrible way to raise kids. They have food and water but no mother.

Who defines "turning out fine" ???????????
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#50 of 51 Old 04-26-2003, 04:16 PM
 
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I agree with you!

I have four siblings and we are all soooo different from eachother. Though I love them with my whole heart, I doubt I would know them as friends if they werent related to me. And we are very close now.

I have best girlfriends who are truly sisters to me and think that is one of the greatest gifts we give ourselves.

I guess Im one of those mothers who only has energy for one. I want to do my best and I do.........one at a time.

I also believe you know in your heart when youre done, just like any life decision.

mom of 2 onlys
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#51 of 51 Old 04-27-2003, 11:51 PM
 
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I am an only child and my dh has 3 brothers. Both of our experiences have been, let's just say good lessons on what not to do with our own children.
If you are the kind of parent who respects, accepts, and celebrate's a child's individuality, then either way you're going to have success.
Playing favorites is a personal failing of many parents. It's human, but so preventible.
If you are going to have just one, I think it is important assure the child that you are a family of 3, not 2 adults with child. Does that make sense? An only child needs to feel just as important as the parents. An only child needs a sense of accountability, of power, of worth. An only child never needs to hear that she is spoiled.
I decided to give my son a sibling, because I would like more family to love.
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