Those of you who have been following my blog since it’s start might remember that we had been debating whether having a second child or having an only child would be the right thing for our little family – for us, there are a number of factors at play – my health, finances, childcare, care of those in our extended family and most of all…could we really go after that never ending intensity from birth until this moment all over again?
As part of my journey to work this out in my own head, and have some sort of answer to those who seem to be endlessly querying about a number two…I speak to five bloggers: Aby from You Baby Me Mummy, Simon from Man Vs Pink, Tattooed Mummy, Jess from Baba A Fi and Paula from Punky Moms about why they have decided to have only one child.
Why have you decided to only have one child?
“We tried for a long time to become pregnant and I had quite a hard pregnancy, ending with me being on crutches. After my daughter was born I was diagnosed with PND, an illness which is still present in my life today. We have decided to no have anymore children, mainly because we are not sure how my body would cope with pregnancy again. We are blessed, why rock the boat”. Aby, You Baby Me Mummy
“For me, it’s because I really like the dynamic of our family with one child. I cannot imagine loving another child as much as I do my daughter.” – Simon, Man Vs Pink
“The reasons are many! I didn’t have our daughter until I was already 34 so I was almost ‘an older mum’ by NHS standards back then. My husband is 20 years older than me so between us we felt a tad mature for a large brood (and the sleeplessness and associated stress!) and then when our daughter was 2 I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a hereditary neurological problem. That was sort of the clincher for us I think. We don’t know if DD has it but there is a 50% chance of passing it on. So we stopped. Luckily for us our daughter is also the most perfect daughter anyone could want (I may be biased).” – Tattooed Mummy
“We’ve made the decision to stay with one child principally because Marianna’s birth was so traumatic. I had a horrible pregnancy, in terms of sickness, aches, illness, etc, then Marianna arrived by a full crash section and spent weeks on NICU. I just don’t think I could go through all the worry and stress, even with the closer monitoring I’d get as an ‘at risk’ pregnancy, and OH is really keen to stick at one.” – Jess, Babi A Fi
“There are so many factors why my husband and I have chosen to be part of the one and done club. Financial reasons aside, we love the idea of being able to focus on one. We can’t stand the bickering between siblings and in all honesty we don’t think we have the patience for it. My son has cousins nearby and I make sure that he gets time to socialize with other kids. I know for myself as an only child, I felt as though it allowed me to have closer relationships with friends as well as my own cousins. My parents always made sure that I had friends over or that I went to sleepovers whenever possible. I always sat at the grown up table when out and so my maturity level and conversational skills were improved at a young age.” Paula, Punky Moms
How does this differ to what you had originally expected in your vision for your family?
“Very different. I imagined 2 or 3 (I’m one of 3). Even after daughter was born, this was my thinking, but the timing needed be right. But when I really started to ponder life with another child, I kind of thought ‘Nope. I’m happy with things like this.”- Simon, Man Vs Pink
“When I was 16 I wanted a huge family, I saw myself married young to a farmer and living life barefoot and pregnant, collecting eggs and hand rearing lambs…maybe in another trouser leg of time that’s what I’m doing! My husband never wanted any children at all (he is an only child, I am one of two). DD was his compromise as he could see that having a puppy was not going to be enough for me.” – Tattooed Mummy
“I never intended to have just one child. I think everyone imagines two! possibly 2.4.. I always assumed that we would have two children with a couple of years in between. I’d always envisaged myself with three children. I’m not really sure why, there were only two of us growing up (my younger brother and I) but it always seemed like the perfect number! Everyone tells us we will change our minds when Marianna is older as she will be lonely, which is how my brother came into being, but I do think there are advantages to stopping at one – financial, quality time with us, etc. I think so long as you get out and about there’s no reason why an only child should be a lonely child. Talking to friends about it, I think it only really becomes an issue as an adult; the full responsibility of caring for elderly parents, etc, will all fall on one person’s shoulders. I do worry about that, even though it’s a long way off in the future!” – Jess, Babi A Fi
“I never myself envisioned a big family. Some people just “know” that they want 3 kids or that the family doesn’t feel complete without at least 5. I have never felt that and I was happy when my husband agreed that he never felt that too.” Paula, Punky Moms
Why do you think there is a rise in only child families?
“I think more and more people are stopping at one for a variety of reasons. I don’t believe that only children are spoilt or lonely, although I do feel that parents of only children need to be focused on making sure their child mixes with others frequently.” Aby, You Baby Me Mummy
“Could be age? I became a dad at 40, and while that wasn’t a factor for us, many couples might be leaving it late find they can’t conceive again after the first. Most of my friends seem to have at least 2 though.” – Simon, Man Vs Pink
“Cost and time. I think lots of people want more from their lives and start later, so they have less time to cram in a big family. Of course contraceptive choices now make this easier. People get married later but even when they marry young they like to have careers and/or travel before ‘settling down’ with a family. And cost – not the baby stages, that’s cheap as chips but later, riding lessons, music lessons, trendy clothes, driving lessons, phones, college fees…the list goes on, it’s nice to be able to afford the best for your child and it’s harder to ensure you can afford all of that for more than one or two children.”- Tattooed Mummy
What do you feel the pros are of only having one child – and do you feel the notion an only child is lonely child does not hold true?
“I guess you can give all your attention to one child, without having to compromise. I see many parents wracked with guilt that they can’t pay the same attention to a second, etc. child, and deal with the first feeling un-attended. The thing is – this is normal, so for us I try to make sure our daughter ISN’T spoiled or getting her way all the time. That she does learn to play away from us. I try an replicate the sibling experience in that way, so she learns to share and respect others wishes. Lonely? Well, (as mentioned) I play with her, and also encourage friendships with her peers. I hope to do more of this when she’s at school, with more friends coming over after school, sleepovers, etc. I have noticed that she is very into imaginary friends at the moment, which could be a sign of ‘loneliness’ but she uses this way of play to explore relationships in an imaginative way.” Simon, Man Vs Pink
“As above, I can spoil DD. She can ride, plays two instruments, has a fancy prom dress and we travel to California, do yearly big festivals etc. I couldn’t afford all that with more than one. She does resent it, I know she would have liked a sibling, even now she talks about me adopting a baby! I think she wants a big family, maybe to compensate. But I also don’t think she realises how much less she would have had in the way of our time, experiences, and material goodies!” – Tattooed Mummy
“To my mind, there are lots of factors behind the growth in one child families. People are having children much later, for one, and then there is the financial side of it. Plus, as it becomes more common, people are happier making that decision without the constant judgement and pressure from others that they should be providing siblings.” – Jess, Babi A Fi
Do you have any regrets or would you have liked things to have been different in another world..?
“No, I’m really happy with it – which really surprises me. I’m really glad that we have only one child. She is amazing and I adore her. Can’t imagine having another.” Simon, Man Vs Pink
“I think it would be nice to have a bunch of free range kids on a farm, but I don’t regret not doing that. I’m very lucky and Dd really is a super daughter. Fun to be with, clever, pretty (did I mention I may be biased?!) I know that my husband now says if he’d known how much fun children were he would have started earlier! He has been her main carer (I work full time, he’s a SAHD) since i returned to work when she was 1, so he should know!” – Tattooed Mummy
“In another life I would love two children, but I have all I ever wanted and for that I am truly grateful.” Jess, Babi A Fi
Thanks to all the bloggers above who shared their decisions and thoughts so candidly. Are you thinking about stopping at one, or are you perhaps still deliberating? Please do leave a comment below and join in the discussion.
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