Q&A: being happy with an only child

Lucy wrote:

"I am in my mid-thirties and mom to a bright, energetic, wonderful 4-year-old girl. My husband and I put much thought into having a child and our relationship has deepened and grown in ways I would never have expected because we chose to have a kiddo. We both work full-time, but with creative scheduling and good daycare programs, we’ve been able to spend a good bit of time with our child.

In the past year, many of my friends who had their first kids around the same time I had my daughter have given birth to their second child. I have held these new little ones and have really missed those early baby years and being pregnant and all that. But… After I had my daughter, I had months of anxiety and depression. It was very hard. More than that though – my husband has a disability which affects his fine motor control and walking. He also has a tricky back. He’s a very hands-on parent and has been from day one. He is concerned – rightly so – with the energy and physical commitments that having another baby can bring.

I really think I’d be happy with one child. But worries linger – I wonder if I’d be cheating my daughter out of the special relationship siblings can have. What if we’re sick and old and she has to take care of us alone? What if she is inevitably spoiled by being an only child?

What I’d really like to find are people who are happy with just having one kiddo, why they’re happy and what they feel has worked for them. (It’s been hard to find these stories on the internets.) Also, insights into my concerns are welcome. :)"

I was thinking that I was not a good person to ask, because I deliberately had a second child, even though I was terrified of it, because I wanted to make sure my son had a sibling. My relationship with my brother is one of the joys of my life, and I wanted my son to have a chance at that. I’m very glad we had a second, even though it’s been harder than I thought it would be in a bunch of ways. (We’re currently living through the 18-month sleep regression and vicious scratching phase again. Nice.)

But then Lucy answered her own question! Awesomeness. Instead of having to research it I got to spend more time refereeing fights between my two kids. Here’s what she came up with:

Berkeley Parents Network (a great resource for all things
parenting) – Having Only One Child, http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/parents/singlechild.html

Parents Of Only
Children on Canadian Family Network – http://forum.canadianparents.ca/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=UBB133

Question: How true are the stereotypes that "onlys" have problems
adjusting to social situations and often are selfish and unappreciative?  –
Great answer  http://www.usaweekend.com/03_issues/030420/030420relationtips.html

Similar to my original question to you on the Gardenweb Forums: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/parents/msg120122131041.html?40


I’m certainly not going to tell someone else whether or not to have another child. I think people know, in their hearts of hearts, whether they want another one or not. Don’t let expectations influence your decision.

Anyone else want to say anything? Parents of onlies? Onlies? (Num Num or Barbara?) People who considered having an only, whatever you decided?

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