It’s Perfectly OK to Have Just One Child
Sitting through another annual check-up, and I’m staring at the walls of the exam room as my doctor finishes making his notes on his clipboard. He looks up and says, “You should really have another child. I’m not saying you need to have a bunch more but I always think two is the perfect number.” I smile at him and look down, shaking my head. Last year he said, “See you next year unless you get pregnant again,” before being greeted with the same reaction of my smiling and looking away. I’m never certain how to react. Less than a week ago a woman at the park was telling me, “You shouldn’t wait to have another. Once the age gap is too far they don’t play as well together. Right now is perfect.” I’m sure to some it may sound selfish, but at thirty six there is so much I still hope to accomplish.
I want to raise my daughter until she’s ready for school. I want to use the master’s degree I worked so hard for. I want to have a career at some point. I want to be able to provide a college education for my daughter, trips to Europe, family vacations, and exposure to the world. In my mind another child just doesn’t fit into the equation. It’s not the first time and certainly not the last time I’ve heard this suggestion uttered since having my first born. Everyone has an opinion, and certain questions start to feel a bit frustrating, even insulting, though I’m sure they are not meant to be construed as such. Regardless of certain assumptions, I promise, it’s OK to have just one child.
- Aren’t you afraid she will be lonely, or have trouble making friends?
While my child has mastered the art of self-entertainment, which I believe is an excellent skill; I’m not concerned about her socialization at all. I’m not worried about her being lonely because I don’t sit around watching television all day long while ignoring her. I take her to music class, the park, and playdates so that she is exposed to other children her age. She has more social activities than I do by a long shot. In fact, one of the reasons my husband and I moved to a condo complex is for the large population of children living in the area. In no time our daughter will grow to be one of those preteens strutting through our neighborhood like a little pack of wolves, though hopefully with better manners. In addition, it is not guaranteed that siblings will get along well. I’ve seen my fair share of brothers and sisters who can’t stand to be in the same room as one another. While I adore my own brother, I cannot vouch my own children will have the same relationship I’m lucky enough to share with my sibling.
- Don’t you think she may end up spoiled?
Children are spoiled because their parents spoil them. Having more than one child will most certainly not guarantee that the children will not be spoiled brats. My child knows that going to the store is not a guarantee she will be coming home with a toy. I even stop my own mother from buying her too much when she is having one of her over-generous grandma moments. My daughter is only two, but when I tell her that something isn’t hers she either doesn’t touch it, or hands the item back to the owner. My husband and I do our best to teach our child that she will not have everything she wants, and that things aren’t always going to go her way. Of course, it’s easy to want to spoil our child. She’s cute, we love her more than anything, and when she smiles our hearts always melt, but this doesn’t mean we are incapable of sticking to our rules. We definitely don’t want our princess to act like a princess.
- What if something happens to you? Aren’t you worried she will have no one?
I’ve gotten this question a few times, and I must admit that I find it disturbing. We are hopefully not going to get sick, or die before our child becomes an adult. That would be great. If everyone focused on the possibility of dying young then many would probably chose not to have children at all out of fear of leaving them orphans. Unfortunately one cannot control the occurrence of illness or death. In the event of a loss, there are no easy, or less painful ways of dealing with the situation. It’s doubtful that one sibling would be old enough, or mature enough to take care of the other. Like most people, if something were to happen to us our child would of course to go one of her grandmothers, or an uncle, a close family member. It’s not something one likes to think about. Would it be more difficult for our kid to face this without a sibling? It may be. Though I am guessing no matter what the circumstance, losing one’s parents at an early age isn’t going to be an easy experience.
- Really? You’re done?
Yes. I’m pretty sure we are done. There is nothing wrong with our decision to have one child. Our kid is awesome, and she’s more than we ever dreamed. My husband jokingly says, “Why do we need another one? We got it right the first time!” I know that people are probably wondering if maybe we can’t physically have a second child, which many people should be sensitive to when asking this question. I know that the thought has crossed questioning minds whether or not we could afford a second one, or if our marriage isn’t strong enough to handle more. These are all valid concerns, and we’ve taken them into consideration, though they’re not really anyone’s business either. The truth is we are happy with our family of three, and we are good parents, or trying to be, which is all that really matters.
I know people who ask about, and or suggest having more children mean well. They love their families, experience the benefits, and want to share how wonderful it all is. It is wonderful; I’m not saying it isn’t by any means. I simply don’t believe the assumptions many have about only children to be a cause of concern. If I accidentally got pregnant I know I’d adore my second child, and I’d adapt to the change in lifestyle as need be. It’s just not our plan. I’m not going to regret my decision. When we three are on the beach playing in the sand, enjoying a day at the amusement park, or snuggling on the couch reading a bedtime story there is never the feeling of something missing. We’ve found a great balance that works for us. We are the proud parents of one happy, adventurous little bundle of love, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.