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#721 of 1646 Old 08-09-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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I know people always say you forget how hard those first months were, but I sure haven't forgotten. I don't know if it's b/c DH and I literally had no help or what, but when I think back to those early days I just thank God that they're over!
I am so with you on this one. I never want to go back to that place/time/those feelings. EVER!

Lovin' my four-pack: M, S, a different M, and sleepytime.gif me.

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#722 of 1646 Old 08-10-2008, 03:14 AM
 
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Samm, hugs to you. I am the one who is "on the fence" in our family, and it's a hard place to be.

However, I think that it would be very disrespectful (not to mention likely the end of my marriage) for me to just go ahead and have a second one. Or to pressure dh all the time for a second one, or to guilt him, or....

My dh is NOT NOT NOT comfortable with the idea of having more than one, and though this is a change from the way he felt before we had dd, I am trying to work through it - also with counseling.

Take care!

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#723 of 1646 Old 08-10-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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oh, I think my bossiness post was somewhat unclear. dd is usually passive, not usually bossy, so I was surprised at the behavior.

However, most of the post was just me thinking out loud. I think that children who play by themselves a lot are used to directing their own play worlds, and so sometimes it's a hard transition to playing with someone else. And this may translate as "bossy" behavior to the casual observer.

I am not an only child, but I did play by myself a lot - and most of my richest play worlds were by myself or with one other close friend who invented it with me. I'm sure that I sometimes came across as bossy - just because I KNEW how I wanted my imaginary worlds to be, and the other person didn't.

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#724 of 1646 Old 08-10-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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I am so with you on this one. I never want to go back to that place/time/those feelings. EVER!
I never had anything like PPD (but if that was your experience), but I just never saw anything particularly redeeming about infants either. I don't think they are that cute. They are pretty boring. They can't do anything to help themselves. They are a hassle to take anywhere. These are mostly stating the obvious of infant care and keep, but still. The older my daughter gets, the more I enjoy being her parent.

I have kind of BTDT type of feelings about the whole experience. Pregnancy was easy and even fun sometimes, but I just feel no desire to do it again.

I was wondering if it would help to make a lil' list of why we choose to have only one child. For me it is:

1. Quality instead of quantity.

I read on the 'mothers of many' tribe that children are not expensive, lifestyles are expensive. Right. I thought carefully about what I can and want to afford my child and what lifestyle I want her and my family to live. It is not always cheap. The lifestyle is something I am not willing to deny my family to have more children. It is a quality of life issue for me.

2. Emotional reasons.

Like I said before, I love my daughter to pieces, but I have head spinning 'what was I thinking' days every now and again. That is enough for me to say forget it to more children.

3. Progress.

The more time goes by, the more positive progress I feel I am making with my daughter as her ability to communicate improves and she is more able to take care of herself. I can't see setting this back for myself with another infant. I also am not sure of my ability to parent with my attention so divided. I have no interest in keeping my baby a baby forever and do not mourn every milestone passed. I celebrate them.

4. Time.

My husband and I are both introverts and we had no idea how much time we really needed to have to ourselves until it was taken away. Though we very much enjoy the time we spend together as a family, we long for the occasional lazy weekend days of doing whatever we wanted without feeling guilty. We realize this probably won't happen until our daughter is school age, so another 3-4 years at least. Another shoe in for the Time argument.

5. Environmental or population concerns.

If you want to decrease the population, you either don't have children or you have below replacement level.

As far as resources go, I do not need to buy some giant van for one child. I do not have to look for 3 bedroom houses or apartments. Two will do. My family needs less space, food, water, and energy than an equivalent larger Western family. It is just ultimately and unfortunately math.

6. Uncertainty about the future.

Sure, it would be great to have a crystal ball and know that you will not be laid off from your job or that your benefits won't be cut or that you won't divorce, become disabled, or die. I just don't know what will happen, however unlikely, and feel in the event of any of these scenarios, but I feel it is best to have one mouth to feed instead of eight.
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#725 of 1646 Old 08-10-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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The things that are convincing me to have an only child are:

1. My marriage.
Dh does not want another child and I do not feel that he would be at all happy with two. He does not think that I did well mentally as I was parenting an infant, so he doesn't want to go back there.

2. Emotional reasons.
I also have those "what was I thinking" days. I don't like them very much, mostly because of the way I behave. I know that having children is an opportunity for personal growth, but I think that I can still do a lot of growing with this child.

3. The ability for my child to be an equal voice in our family
For me, when I have more than one child in my care I tend to want to manage them as a group. I feel that I respect dd's opinions and needs more as an only than I would if she were a child in a family with many children. That could change if I had more than one, though!

4. Time. We are also both introverts and we like to just hang out in the evenings. This has only started to happen again recently. Also, I am considering more education, and I would need to put this off if I decided to have another child.

5. Environmental or population concerns.
As Sonnenwende said.

6. Health. Another pregnancy would be stressful on my body. I debate whether or not to have another biological child who might have diabetes or another autoimmune disorder, as I do. They run in my family. Then again, I debate whether it would be better for dd to have a sibling to turn to if mom's health is poor. I'm on the fence about this one.

7. I really like dd and I (often) enjoy the time we have together. I am not sure that I really want to add another child into this mix.


That's most of it for me!

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#726 of 1646 Old 08-10-2008, 10:54 PM
 
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Health. Another pregnancy would be stressful on my body. I debate whether or not to have another biological child who might have diabetes or another autoimmune disorder, as I do. They run in my family. Then again, I debate whether it would be better for dd to have a sibling to turn to if mom's health is poor. I'm on the fence about this one.
i had a physically "good" pregnancy (my biggest complaint was heartburn and nausea, but no vomiting) and a phenomenal birth experience. c inherited a nice spectrum of emotional issues (on both sides of family tree) but is damned healthy otherwise. i've always had the feeling of "jinxing" it, like another child would have to be a greater burden somehow. weird, i know, but it freaks me out. i'm so very blessed to have this amazing kid in my life that i feel like it would be greedy to "try for" another.

as far as the issue of onlies needing a sibling's "shoulder" when dealing with the parent(s)' infirmity or death, i've seen too many examples from the opposite end of the spectrum to be convinced. i think i've posted the larger story here before; suffice to say things were damned ugly between my mom and her sister (and me, sad to say) when my nana started requiring full time care. just because someone's related is not an obligation for them to be nice to us.
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#727 of 1646 Old 08-11-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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as far as the issue of onlies needing a sibling's "shoulder" when dealing with the parent(s)' infirmity or death, i've seen too many examples from the opposite end of the spectrum to be convinced. i think i've posted the larger story here before; suffice to say things were damned ugly between my mom and her sister (and me, sad to say) when my nana started requiring full time care. just because someone's related is not an obligation for them to be nice to us.
Yeah, I know. That's how it's happened in my dh's family and in my family. Lots of bad feelings, and in both cases one child took over the care of the parents while the other opted out. I guess that's coming for us too, given the fact that all of our siblings live in other countries.

I'm thinking more if I become disabled or have significant health difficulties while dd is still under 18. This is a possibility, though something that I try not to dwell on. I don't know if having a sibling would be valuable then -as someone who shares that experience of having a parent who needs care.

That is not to say that I would create another child for that reason - of course not. It's just a thought.

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#728 of 1646 Old 08-11-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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7. I really like dd and I (often) enjoy the time we have together. I am not sure that I really want to add another child into this mix.
Yeah, that too.

I think for me, I have these images of my kid and husband running off in the distance to have fun while I am full of baby bags and an infant chained to my chest. I think the main feeling I get is one of being held back. I know it doesn't last forever, but it lasts long enough.
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#729 of 1646 Old 08-11-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Yeah, I know. That's how it's happened in my dh's family and in my family. Lots of bad feelings, and in both cases one child took over the care of the parents while the other opted out. I guess that's coming for us too, given the fact that all of our siblings live in other countries.
.
This happened in my family, too. Both my parents have one sibling--and in both cases, when my grandmothers needed serious care, one sibling had complete financial, physical and emotional responsibility and the other opted out. In both cases, too, this caused a lot of ill will and conflict between the siblings.
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#730 of 1646 Old 08-11-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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I'm thinking more if I become disabled or have significant health difficulties while dd is still under 18. This is a possibility, though something that I try not to dwell on. I don't know if having a sibling would be valuable then -as someone who shares that experience of having a parent who needs care.
see, i think it would make matters worse. your daughter, being the oldest, might feel like she has to take care of you AND her sibling. that would be a sh*tty spot to be in.

i am very grateful to have you all here. it's SO hard to talk about this stuff in my "real life" since almost everyone i know has 2+ kids.
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#731 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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OK, I have a new reason for wanting just one. LAUNDRY!!! Seriously, we have built up 6 loads of laundry in one week. To be fair, we did have some out-of-town guests recently, but still. Laundry has become the bane of my existence. I shudder to think of how much more I would have with another child.
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#732 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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Hehe. I don't mind laundry, but I was really impressed how having a kid upped the amount of laundry. When it comes up, I try to recommend a good HE washing machine to new expectant parents more than anything else.
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#733 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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everything shifted dramatically for me when i got pg. that's when i switched to no-paper-towels, reusable non-vinyl shower curtains, and such- then added cloth dipes 'n' wipes when he arrived. since we're done with dipes it's been a little better but he (and i) still use cloth wipes for pee. and he still wets at least 4 nights/wk so there's all that bedding to launder too. honestly, if i don't do at least 1 load/day, i'm buried in it!

uggh... he's also started a "fashion" phase where he actually gives a damn what he's wearing and will want to change 3x/day, strewing half-clean garments in his wake. and i'm surprised that darth vader costume isn't in tatters because i've washed that about a thousand times too! at least when he turns 10 i can start making him do his own.

eta: still prefer this life to siblings bickering about which shirt belongs to which kid, who had the last turn wearing it, blahblah. ack! and imagine if i had girls! i'd have to buy stock in biokleen!!
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#734 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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see, i think it would make matters worse. your daughter, being the oldest, might feel like she has to take care of you AND her sibling. that would be a sh*tty spot to be in.
Yeah, you're probably right. I know that when my dad's sister became ill, parental focus turned to her and my dad had to parent the other sister.

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#735 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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So - a question for you.
I assume that dd will ask why she is an only. She already has, to a degree. But when your dc asks why you chose to have one, what will you say?

You see, in my case I can convince myself that one is a good place to be. However, in my heart of hearts I do want two or more. I was someone who wanted a whole lot of kids. But I don't want to turn to dd and say, "Well, your daddy decided that he didn't enjoy the experience of having a newborn and he didn't really like it when mommy went crazy from sleep deprivation and being diagnosed with diabetes at the same time, so you're an only." That sounds a little harsh . And although having an only has really been dh's call, I have to respect that. I don't believe in bringing an unwanted child into our family.

What I'll likely say is that we enjoyed our lives so much with just her that we felt that they were complete.

Is this just one of those situations where I can't be truthful? Or when I need to be truthful, but some time when she is in her late teens?

I do enjoy our lives as they stand, but I did and do want another child. Maybe as I come to terms with this, I won't sound so bitter?

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#736 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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as far as the issue of onlies needing a sibling's "shoulder" when dealing with the parent(s)' infirmity or death, i've seen too many examples from the opposite end of the spectrum to be convinced. i think i've posted the larger story here before; suffice to say things were damned ugly between my mom and her sister (and me, sad to say) when my nana started requiring full time care. just because someone's related is not an obligation for them to be nice to us.
As an only I can say that this concept really got to me for decades. It wasn't until I married in my 30s that I realized I wouldn't have to do it alone, but, until then, it was a very real concern of mine.

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#737 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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caspian's mama, I must admit that dd uses 7th gen training pants at night. I've bought multiple types of night time pants and she pees right through them. Bad for garbage, but it cuts down on the laundry. We did use cloth diapers, and a lot of them - at points we were at 2 loads/day with only one child!

She's been using the toilet during the day for a year now.

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#738 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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So - a question for you.
I assume that dd will ask why she is an only. She already has, to a degree. But when your dc asks why you chose to have one, what will you say?
I think we will just say something like, "We felt that this was the right size for our family." If she wants practical elaboration, I might says things like: there were so many things we wanted you to experience (travel, private school) and we wanted to make sure we had the resources; or, we wanted to be able to focus our time and attention on you. I don't think it's unreasonable, either, to mention health problems during pregnancy/infancy (diabetes, PPD, etc.), although I would frame it in a more positive way: "Mommy got very sick when she was pregnant, and we were worried about her being sick again--especially because she wanted to spend as much time as possible with you and Daddy." Or something like that. I'm just thinking off the top of my head here.

Of course, the maybe the best answer is: "Because we got it right the first time."
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#739 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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no shame there. i'd still have him in them at night but #1 he doesn't want to anymore and #2 he usually leaks through anyway. that reminds me: i bought a pack for camping last month (i can wash the sheets but not a tent!) and have to give them away to a friend.

don't know about what to say to your dd. my guy hasn't asked and i doubt he will. he definitely thrives on being the center of attention! i've always told people that if he ever asks for a sibling i'll get him a puppy. i assume that would be the end of it! since i'm happy in my decision i just tell him the 100% truth: we're so thrilled with his special self that we have no need for another kid and we don't want him to have to share us with anyone else!
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#740 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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As an only I can say that this concept really got to me for decades. It wasn't until I married in my 30s that I realized I wouldn't have to do it alone, but, until then, it was a very real concern of mine.
I have BTDT. I'm an only, parents divorced when I was young. My mom died of cancer when I was 21. Let me just say that a) I didn't do it alone. There were so many people who loved and cared deeply for us, that we always had as much help as we needed. b) The grief/mourning process has been unbearable at times. But the more I understand about loss, the more I realize that those feelings are deeply personal; we all grieve in our own way. Having siblings would not take away from that pain. c) While it is true that the idea of having someone to "share the burden" seems nice, the reality is that I would not have had the same relationship w/ my mom had I had to share her with others. I am grateful for our closeness and our friendship. Maybe we would have still been close if I had siblings, but I really wouldn't change anything about our relationship. d) Over the years I have come to look back on that time I spent caring for my mother as an honor. I am actually grateful that I got to be the one by her side when she was dying. It was the most painful thing I've ever experienced, but I can't imagine it how it could have happened any other way.
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#741 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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So - a question for you.
I assume that dd will ask why she is an only. She already has, to a degree. But when your dc asks why you chose to have one, what will you say?

I dunno. Maybe that we decided to stop with perfection?

I guess it is one of those 'cross that bridge when I come to it' kind of things. I think it would be good to examine the reasons why she thinks she would like a sister or brother and work on improving that situation, if it needs improvement.
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#742 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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I dunno. Maybe that we decided to stop with perfection?

I guess it is one of those 'cross that bridge when I come to it' kind of things. I think it would be good to examine the reasons why she thinks she would like a sister or brother and work on improving that situation, if it needs improvement.
good answer!

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#743 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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I have BTDT. I'm an only, parents divorced when I was young. My mom died of cancer when I was 21. Let me just say that a) I didn't do it alone. There were so many people who loved and cared deeply for us, that we always had as much help as we needed. b) The grief/mourning process has been unbearable at times. But the more I understand about loss, the more I realize that those feelings are deeply personal; we all grieve in our own way. Having siblings would not take away from that pain. c) While it is true that the idea of having someone to "share the burden" seems nice, the reality is that I would not have had the same relationship w/ my mom had I had to share her with others. I am grateful for our closeness and our friendship. Maybe we would have still been close if I had siblings, but I really wouldn't change anything about our relationship. d) Over the years I have come to look back on that time I spent caring for my mother as an honor. I am actually grateful that I got to be the one by her side when she was dying. It was the most painful thing I've ever experienced, but I can't imagine it how it could have happened any other way.
(bolding: mine)

Your post really brought tears to my eyes.

I'm the oldest of five and my dad died this year. and you hit the nail on the head as far as my experience went. It couldn't have been any less pain because my siblings were around. Probably because, I'm not close to any of them. In fact, I leaned on my dh more than anyone, really.

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#744 of 1646 Old 08-12-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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I was reading another post here by a mother who was overwhelmed by her 4 children. I thought that in the past, it wouldn't have been that likely as there would have been a lot of social support from the family and the community to help her raise and care for her children. It is probably bordering on unnatural for humans to try to take on the raising of so many children alone with little external help.

I know that I could write for days about why I am having one, but add this also to the reasons why I can't have more:

Reason 320983593: No direct family or community support for my children.

No one is really all that interested in my daughter. Every single person in my family works out of the home full time or goes to school full time. There is no time or sincere interest. No one volunteers to watch her. Everyone seems more annoyed by her ultimately. She is the first born in my family in nearly a total generation (20 years), so the memory of what small children are like or what to do with them or how to react to them is a lost art in my family. I don't expect that to change anytime soon. I really can't do more on my own. :/
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#745 of 1646 Old 08-13-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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I don't know if this is necessarily true that just because people have more children that parents are harsher with their children. I think perhaps it's common regardless of how many children are in a family.

As for being spoiled.... I think it's a challenge to keep the balance so our child is NOT spoiled. Yes, we consider his opinion in things, and perhaps more often than not just go with his preference when we do not have one. I don't know if that creates a spoiled child... aka a child who always expects to get his/her own way. It is ironic that our family loves to get Lukas presents, yet some also comment on how much stuff he has. Honestly, again, I think the problem of being spoiled comes down to parenting style not necessarily the quantity of children in a family. And other than that, I don't really know or much consider what other outsiders think of my family or parenting style.

As parents of onlies or parents of multiple children, I think we all need to do the best with what we have and be satisfied and confident in our efforts. I have found when I start comparing myself to others that I start making assumptions that aren't accurate or considerate of what others are going through.

I hope that in this thread that we are careful not to judge others, especially those who have more than 1 child. Yes, it is different to have one child. And perhaps we want to avoid certain struggles that we perceive we would have if we had more children. None the less, if you only ever have 1 child you will never really know what your experience will be like.

I'm sorry if this post is coming across poorly; after reading some posts in this tribe I'm wondering if we can feel good about having 1 child without comparing ourselves with families with more than 1 child who face different challenges from us.

If I have misunderstood some of your posts, I apologize.
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#746 of 1646 Old 08-13-2008, 03:54 PM
 
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these FYT threads are strictly for support. in the case of only children (as with many other topics at MDC) there's little support to be found for "our way of life" outside these interwebs. maybe what you're reading as criticism of others is more about us feeling that we have to justify our choice to only have 1 child, even to each other. i think it's sad that some of us feel that way but i can certainly see why.

as for not knowing whether or not the grass would be greener, i can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that for my family one kid is the best (sanest!) choice. just because my body was designed to bear many doesn't mean that my mind was (certainly the societal support isn't there either as others have mentioned). and, although it's not popular, i still believe strongly that having multiple children (especially upwards of 3,4,5) is ecologically unsound. like someone (sonnewende?) recently noted, that's just basic math.

i also think having more children is an enormous emotional burden that few people are fully prepared to handle, probably because "everyone does it". i've seen much evidence of it with my irl friends and on any given day the gentle discipline forum is filled with otherwise kind, well meaning mamas who are at their wits end because of negative sibling interaction. seriously, it seems to be the number one reason why people abandon that "type" of parenting for more punitive methods. i don't think it's impossible to gently, consensually raise multiple children but i don't think most people go in expecting it to be as hard as it is either and that saddens me.

with regards to spoiling, i agree that it's not only dependent upon parenting choices but also in the eye of the beholder. of course my kid has more toys than he knows what to do with. he's "the baby" on all sides of the family and our relatives are way consumerist. but he's big on sharing and ALL about making donations to goodwill too. and he knows mama's an aspiring "compacter" so it's not like he gets to buy everything he asks for when we're in a store either (quite the contrary). lots of folks would see zombiecat's description as apt too, but i know it would be the same whether i had 1 child or 11. people in this society aren't used to giving children a voice and most seem quite threatened by it so they call it spoiling because i recognize my kid's need to BE a kid and to be treated humanely.

[feelin' ranty today... ]
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#747 of 1646 Old 08-13-2008, 04:02 PM
 
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:

I really appreciated all you said in that last post.
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#748 of 1646 Old 08-13-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidymama View Post
Yes, it is different to have one child. And perhaps we want to avoid certain struggles that we perceive we would have if we had more children. None the less, if you only ever have 1 child you will never really know what your experience will be like.
Right, but isn't this one of the times where it is actually better to speculate than to try it to prove yourself wrong? That seems like playing a game of "Does it REALLY suck to drink Drano?". I already know it probably sucks to drink Drano. I got some accidently on my hand once and read stories of people attempting suicide with it and failing with gruesome results. I know enough about the chemistry of Drano not to drink it. I don't actually have to to down a bottle to *really* know that.

In my opinion, same with more children. I don't have to actually have more to have some idea what it is like to have more. I already have a good grasp on what motherhood entails, what my child's needs are and what my needs are. I have read stories of overwhelmed mothers and heard them from friends. I know that more children would not work in my situation and don't have to have more children to know that.
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#749 of 1646 Old 08-14-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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hi mamas.
I have a 5yo dd. just the one. I'm not planning more.
well, that isn't entirely true. I'm planning not to have more.
I don't have any fertility issues; I'm 29, and healthy.
I just don't want more children. for a lot of reasons. I was just searching around for some support - some mamas who could maybe relate to parenting an only child, in a world that is saying "so when's the next one coming?"
and i found this thread. so, Hi

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#750 of 1646 Old 08-14-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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Welcome!
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Child , Sibling Issues In Foster Care And Adoption A Bulletin For Professionals , Sibling Stories Reflections On Life With A Brother Or Sister On The Autism Spectrum

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