Thursday, May 5, 2011

Only-Child Families: Pros and Cons

It's no secret that I am seriously considering never procreating again. It's not that I had a terrible pregnancy, nor is it anything Ava has done. In fact, A's practically perfection (remind me of this when it bites me in the ass later). We went to a large playgroup yesterday, and compared to all the other kids there, she was the most well-behaved, happy, content little girl in the entire group. My heart swelled with pride at how good she was, and that's more of the norm for us than the opposite (if you feel like you might vom, though, given my sugary sweetness, rest assured she can be a crazy hellion when it's just the two of us sometimes. Nobody's perfect!).

Anyhow, the point is that it's not because her behavior has scarred me for life, making me want to sew my uterus (and accompanying parts) shut and calling it a day. It's just..well, I have so many conflicting emotions about adding to our family. And, if you feel so inclined (please do!), I'd love for you all to share your thoughts, whether you have an only child, are currently thinking of adding to your family, currently are surrounded by a plethora of your own offspring, or were raised an only child. All opinions welcome and needed!

Here are a handful of reasons why I feel about 80% that A should stay an only child:

-Ava is SO good, that I feel that with the law of averages, my next baby is almost guaranteed to be Satan's baby. Like full-fledged colicky, sleep-resistant, hates-life-and-mommy baby. Eek!

-If you can't afford to add to your family in a way that allows you to live comfortably and support them (which, to me, includes contributing to their college education), you shouldn't. As it stands right now, A has a comfortable life, but this is due in large part to the fact that I have a huge support group of mamas I've babysat for that have given us things for A.

-We live in a school district I...don't love. With the housing market what it is, we're not likely going to be able to get out of our house in the next few years before A starts Kindergarten, which could mean private school. Gulp.

-I love my current job, but this is it for me. I have no dream of having this corporate career where I work my way up the ladder and make tons and tons of money. Well, that last part is in my dreams, but not because I want to be in the workforce. To me, if I couldn't take A to work with me, I wouldn't work. That's my ultimate destination. So our income will shrink before it grows (D's currently working towards a career change, though it could be lengthy..).

-I love, love, love spending time just the two of us, or three of us with David. I can focus my full attention on her when we play, and can provide her with what she needs without the guilt that I'd have if I split my (already stretched pretty dang thing) self with another.

-There is the standard how-could-I-ever-love-anyone-as-much-as-Ava thought process. I know all moms do; that the heart is an organ without a capacity, but I'm not sure how much of me I have left to give.

-I have ZERO interest in ever being pregnant again.

Then there's the opposite side to consider:

-I grew up an only child. And while I am an intelligent, well-adjusted adult now, I had to work at that last part, spending the majority of my childhood feeling alone and isolated. My social skills in middle school and even into high school needed some work, as I wasn't used to having to accommodate others, or how to interact in certain situations. It was a huge shock when I went to college. Even now, some days I just want D to go the hell away and leave me in peace and quiet to be alone and do "me" stuff. Selfish, right? I don't want A to be lonely, nor do I want her to be social maladjusted.

-If we die, I don't want her to be alone. Even if it's later in life and not untimely, I want her to have the unique social support that are sibliings.

-I hate to even allow this thought to cross my mind, but if God forbid something ever happened to her, I would still want to be a mother. I hate hate hate having even written that, but to me it is a big consideration. To counter, though, please God do not ever let me find myself in a world where Ava is not in (physical) existence.

-You know who I bugged to play with me every second that I felt lonely growing up? The adults in my life, namely my mother. Some might say the sole purpose of having more than one child is to provide them with a playmate.

What do you all think? Where do you stand? How do you feel? Please feel free to share your thoughts. Clearly I need all the help I can get!


  1. I think your cons against having another child are logical. Finances are always something to consider, but we've found that there are sacrafices to be made that seemed like a big deal at first, but become inconsequential later.

    Your pros are emotional and show concern for her well being. I think your pros for having another child outweigh the cons.

    That being said, if we actually had to make the decision to add to our family instead of it "being made for us (lol)," I don't think we ever would have taken that step (but remember I already had twins!). I didn't see how I could love this baby, this intruder it seemed sometimes, as much as I loved the twins, and I honestly felt like it was going to mess up the perfect 1 to 1 ratio we had. But then again it wasn't planned.

    She's one of the best things that's ever happened to us. Is money tight? Yes. Was it hard the first year? GOD yes. But we knew in the long run that it would be a great thing.

    Good luck with your decision!

  2. I decided to have another when my little guy was Ava's age and I'm not going to's seventy five times harder with two than one. My kids are 27 months apart and they fight like cats and dogs! The second baby is almost two and she still doesn't sleep through the night.

    I too wanted a playmate for my first little guy because I had a sister and we've had to go through some hard experiences with our parents and I wouldn't have wanted to do it alone.

    I could be on both sides of the fence. I do however regret that there is rarely one-on-one time with me for either of them (I also have a step son and a husband who works alot).

  3. I struggle with not giving Torin a playmate as well, but many of my best friends are only children and they're perfectly happy and they loved being an only child. Keep in mind that siblings don't always get along, so having a child to give A a playmate may not work out the way you hope. Two, and I know people hate when I bring this up, but what if your second child has special needs? Of course, you are still giving her a wonderful sibling no matter what, but when you do pass on to the next world, A would be responsible for her sibling's welfare. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing; it's just something to consider. My sister is my best friend (as is my mom) but my mom's sister got mad at my mom 20 years ago and stopped talking to her. So when my grandmother passed away and my aunt didn't come help with any of the details, my mom was alone, just as an only child. Friends and cousins helped fill the void.

  4. Two questions that make me feel like I'm turning into my old-fashioned mom:

    - Have you prayed about it?
    - What does D think about a second child?

    That said, if you have serious misgivings about having a second child, I would hold off if I were you. I wouldn't worry about Ava being lonely or socially maladjusted growing up--I was both (much more so than several "only children" I knew), and I had two siblings.

    I'll sound *really* old-fashioned here, but I would also wait until you and D are married before making any decisions about having another child. I know marriage is no guarantee, but if it were me, I would feel much better about growing a family if the father was legally committed to helping provide for the children as long as they need it. I'm not trying to be judgmental here, so please don't take it that way. But you asked what we thought, and honestly that was my first thought. :-)

    I've made a similar list of pros and cons and Dan and I consider whether or not to have a second child. The first wasn't planned, so it's weird to even be considering it. Like you, I'd like for Anne to have a sibling. However, I'm leaning toward not having another child, with the big factor being my age. If I were 30 or even 35, I'm pretty sure I would go ahead and do it.

    All the best as you consider this decision. It's a big 'un!

  5. I just re-read my comment, and my paragraph about being married sounded all cold and pragmatic, like it was just about the legal financial commitment that supposedly comes with being hitched. That's not totally what I meant--I think you probably know what I mean, based on your post from a few days ago.

  6. Well... apparently, my answer has suddenly changed as of this morning. Looks like I'm in for round 2 whether I'm ready or not. :-) I'll let you know how it goes. hahaha

  7. If I were in a different situation (married with a nice home of my own), I would be starting to think about baby #2. But because my situation is not ideal, it's not even something I can consider. I want to wait until Jack is 3 or 4 to bring another baby into the mix (that would be the case no matter what), but I really hate that the choice has been taken from me. Most of my mom friends with kids between 16-24 months, are pregnant again or actively trying. I really do hate the fact that I can't be weighing the pros and cons of another. With that said, I only have one pro to Jack being an only child- he can have all my time and energy. If he wants to be on a sports team and do music lessons and do karate, I want him to be able to. If I had a second child, I'd have to limit the amount of activites each one does due to time and money. I want Jack to have all the opportunities in the world available to him.

    But, I am an only child and I absolutely hate it, even now at almost 30. In fact, I hate it more now as an adult. Both of my parents are single and if anything happens to either one, I'm the one responsible for taking care of them in whatever way they will need it. I really wish I had someone to share that with. I also would like the bond siblings share (although it's not guaranteed). As a child, I was lonely and akward and we moved around a lot which made it even harder.

    I think that having a toddler is challenging and adding a newborn to that mix is insane! I think it would be very hard but in the end, very worth it. I really hope that I can give Jack a sibling in a few years. I also loved being pregnant and would love to experience all the joys of having another baby and witnessing the milestones, etc.

    It's a tough decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. I don't think parents realize just how difficult it'll be until it's already too late. I think it's great that you are really thinking it through. I will say that I think Ava would make a great big sister. But she is also around kids a lot and that will help her if she does stay an only child. I'm sure the second one won't be a terror, but I see why you would worry about that! I think about that too! :) And I know you would love that baby more than you think possible! Ava will always have a special place in your heart and probably be #1, but you will fall in love with a new baby the second you see him/her and get to hold them! And seeing Ava hold that baby will melt your heart!

    Good luck with whatever you decide! And ust remember- you are still young enough that you don't need to decide now. I think 3 or even 4 years age difference can be great!

  8. For me, it's never been a question. I always wanted more than one. Then I had Presley...

    Ok, I'm kidding, but seriously, I'm not sure how people ever have more than one child??? I don't even know how I would go about getting both safely in and out of a car. I still want another though. Not, like right now...but definitely another.

    I think the bond I have with my sister and brother is what makes me want
    another one. Now, we fought like crazy growing up, but we loved each other. Its so much fun sharing stories about growing up. I just couldn't imagine a life without them. Good luck with your decision, and which ever one you make, it will be the right one.

  9. I wrote you this super long response but then blogger decided it hated me and wouldn't post it... so I'm just going to get straight to the point and skip over all the lengthy explanations this time: do what YOU feel is best for your little family. Your heart (and God) will guide you (cheesy, I know). Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones (fyi, this pregnancy is a lot less fun than the first one... but I'm still excited about it and looking forward to giving Liara a sibling). :) Good luck!

  10. I've met a few women who seem to think the decision to have another kid is theirs and theirs alone...which I view as a completely selfish, immature outlook. Your man is on the hook for 20 years too and needs to have a say in the matter.

    That being said, I think you need to have a long, long discussion with D if you're even considering this. This isn't your decision to make alone, and another pregnancy and child would put even more strain on your relationship, and your last post wasn't encouraging as to their being support from D's corner.

  11. I have two sisters and they are two of my best friends. My sisters are my support system through the toughest times in my life and the people who make me laugh the hardest. That being said, I think that siblings are irreplaceable. However, since you are unsure I would suggest waiting a while. You have to feel comfortable with it. Even if they are several years apart in age they can still have a very valuable relationship. My oldest sister is 5 1/2 years older than me and we are very close, so don't be afraid to wait and space them out.


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