But as both an only child and the mother of five, I want to assuage women’s fears: there are many, many things to worry about when it comes to having kids, but having an only child is not one of them.
I'm one of four children and a parent to one child. I always assumed I'd have more than one child because it was what I knew but after I had my son I changed my mind. It was tough to come to terms with at first as it kind of felt like something was "wrong" with me for not wanting to have another child as much as other people. My mother gave me some good advice- the only reason to have another baby is if YOU want to have another baby. I realized that the part of me that didn't want to was bigger than the part of me that thought I should or did want to. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have another and that's okay- there are so many things in life that we have to chose and in doing so we are letting go of the other options. I can both be happy with my choice and feel loss about the choice not made.
Professionally, I am a licensed therapist and know that it's a wash- there are people who have siblings who struggle emotionally and there are only children who struggle emotionally. It's not a guarantee of anything.
Thank you for this Shannon. I had my son at 41 and because of childhood cancer treatments, am in early menopause so the choice was in many ways, made for me. I also wasn't ready to be a Mother really any earlier (I did have a miscarriage at 37 but that was the earliest I felt ready to even consider having a child) so understand waiting had an influence.
My husband feels VERY complete with 1 and in some ways I wonder if I had the choice if I'd want another. Between the cost, lack of village, etc. it's so hard to know how much of it is parenting culture and my own desires. I do know I think having another kid in my 40s might break me (although I wouldn't have a pandemic to contend with)!
It's such a complex decision for everyone and great to know being a single child has as much of a chance as the rest of us to be messed up (or not!) 8-)
I am an only child with an only child. I always planned to have just one, and enjoyed skipping right over the chapters on sibling rivalry in child development books.
Thank you! As an only child who is the parent to an only child the only thing I find bothersome about being an only child parent is the constant commentary about how horrific being an only child is by people that aren't only children and have multiple kids.
Thank you! We are very happily a three person family. It has its upsides and its challenges, but it is our preferred normal. We are complete.
THANK YOU!! I'm consistently writing about how many Americans can only afford one child if they can afford one anymore at all--and to have this stigmatized is just insult on top of injury. And as a parent of an only child (who is v happy as a parent to just one child) I find it very validating!!
Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this. After struggling (and failing) to have a second child, I worry about this every single day. I also have so many voices in my head from older parents/family members condemning the "only child." I so appreciate hearing from the other side and telling me that my family is not a travesty, as some might see it. Sadly. It makes me so happy to read this and see other people's comments about this. In my head, I logically know that the naysayers are wrong about this... but there are still comments and assumptions made to this day to my face (and my child is an older teen)!
Thank you again!
I have an only child thank you for this!!
I'm the opposite...I was #9 of nine children in my family. Don't get me wrong I love having a big family but with a big family comes many different personalities and once the glue that holds everyone together (parents) are gone, at times those bonds break. And it's never pretty. I'm the only one of my siblings that has one child and she is thriving! We are fortunate to be able to spend more time with her. Give her experiences most kids her age aren't able to get.
My younger sister has only one child. Due to the cost of living in Hawaii - she and her husband waited quite a long time to have a baby. They always waited for the right time - not enough saved up, work is busy, etc. Then she was already 35. I told my sister - if she wants a baby, don’t wait. Everything will work out. I felt the longer they waited, the chance for her to get pregnant would be harder. They finally decided to have a baby and now their daughter is 12 years old. There were times I know they considered having another child, but they decided that they’re very happy with one child. I know they sometimes feel guilty that she doesn’t have a sibling(s) but they do everything they can to provide the best life for their daughter- my niece. She has my two daughters and other cousins whom she is very close to. In the end - I agree with everyone that, it’s not about how many children you have, but rather how well you love and provide a loving home for your child /children.
I'm a mom to an only child, and one of four siblings. After my daughter was born (I was 31) we considered having another child and actually stopped using birth control, but I never got pregnant again. I felt our family was complete as soon as she was here, so I was never sad about it. My daughter is a delight. Her career path as a clinical SLP was probably at least partly informed by her life long comfort level with adults.