Posted in I'm the Daddy

There Can Be Only One

‘It will be easier with the second one’.

‘You can save that for your next one’.

‘You’ll forget about all this when number two comes along’.

‘When are you having another baby?’

 Maybe I missed something when they were handing out leaflets at the 12 week scan but I don’t remember being told that one child is not enough. Despite this it doesn’t stop countless people from making the assumption that my wife and I are only pausing momentarily before ploughing on with spawning Harris Junior MKII. When we say that we have only ever planned to have one child, the reaction ranges from mild surprise to outright horror that we could leave our little boy without a sibling.

What seems to surprise people most is that this is something we have planned, not a decision that has been forced upon us. We discussed how many children we wanted long before George was born and although we reserve the right to change our minds in the future I don’t think we will. As Connor MacLeod famously roared in Highlander, ‘there can be only one’.

At this point I am normally asked something like ‘aren’t you worried he will grow up lonely/spoilt/needy/all or the above?’ If he does then I’m doing something more fundamentally wrong than not giving him a brother or a sister. I don’t believe being an ‘only’ child is a one-way ticket to childhood loneliness and I will do everything I can to give George a happy life.

Some people don’t understand our decision but I don’t understand why anyone would want a huge family. Having four or more children seems like insanity to me but everyone makes different choices. Some of those who are trying to understand our choice usually start by asking if my wife and I have brothers or sisters. The assumption seems to be that we were both only children and don’t know any other way or that we have siblings we that we don’t speak to anymore.  This isn’t true.

I have an older sister who I love dearly and feel very close to but I have always valued her more as an adult. I have some memories of playing together as kids but we mainly did our own thing. What I needed as a child were more friends my age not another sibling. It may sound harsh but I hope George can make enough friends through his life to fill any void that may be left by not having a brother or a sister.

There are many reasons why I am happy with one child but the biggest is that I don’t want to struggle. I want to have the time and energy to be able to give George all he needs in the hope that he never feels like he has missed out. I want to be a loving husband and be able to support my wife so she can feel she is something as well as be a mother.  I don’t want being a parent to take over my identity. This all seems very selfish now that I have written it down but it still feels like the right decision.

Are you an only child or part of a big family? Do you feel strongly about how many children you want? All comments are welcome.


13 thoughts on “There Can Be Only One

  1. Oh, fabulous! I agree with every word and it has reminded me of something. We are happy with one child for lots of reasons, one of them being that now that she is nearly five we all get a chance to do the things we like rather than just spending every waking moment up to our elbows in shit and puke. We have created a really great balance that means that while we are dedicated parents we can also enjoy our careers and social lives. I struggled witth a loss of identity in the early years and do not want to go through that again. Kraken Junior is and will always be the most important thing in our lives but we (my husband and I) are also more than conduits for the next generation of rug rats.

  2. Well written post, and it’s refreshing to hear this point of view. One-child families are common, but for some reason there is an underlying assumption that it was never planned or a desired option; there must have been some other circumstance that ‘forced’ the decision. What’s worse is when it’s perceived as somehow easier or more selfish.

    We are a one-child family. We didn’t set a goal for the number of children to have; we simply didn’t believe that any number was somehow better or more desirable. And we’re happy.

  3. Great post Andy. Well said. I never understand why people feel the need to dictate to other people what kind of families they should have. I suppose it is a natural question to ask a parent of one child, but if you say that George is enough, any further badgering should just stop. George is lucky to have you guys.

  4. Both my ex and I were only children, and kinda hated that, for some reason, and so we decided that we would have two children so that they would never feel like we did. Not sure if that makes any sense but both play well together, for now, and are very close. When T is upset K often cuddles him to comfort him, and T does the same for K. Also, handily, when I’m changing K’s nappy T can help by going to get the wipes and the nappy while I’m assessing the damage, which is awesome.
    We made that decision and that’s what felt right to us, but obviously, everyone’s different.

    1. A good friend of mine was brought up as an only child and has made exactly the same decision as you. In my eyes he is evidence that being an only child doesn’t make you lonely, spolit or needy but he doesn’t want his daughter to not have a brother or sister.

      We are all different but united by the hope that our decisions are the best for our children. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I am one of 6 and my partner is one of 2. I made the decision very early on that I only really wanted one child or if I did want another child, it would be when my first child was much older so I could work, spend quality time with my child, be able to afford to do things that we wanted to do etc. Just after my first childs birthday we discovered that we were expecting another child and it threw all our plans out of the window. Although we are now very happy about the impending arrival, it took us a long time to get our heads around the idea and it has meant a lot of compromising and changes that had to be made. My own mother was an only child and she has always maintained that she didn’t want that for her own children and so wanted a big family. I obviously come from a big family and was quite happy having just the one child.

    1. Thank you for commenting. The more I talk to people, the more I can see how few people have exactly the same size of family that they grew up in. I still feel like we have made the right choice.

      1. Ultimately, if you feel like you have made the right choice then you have! I always say that if something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t and if something feels good then it probably is. It’s the only rule I live my life by religiously! I would love to continue as a threesome but I’m sure we can accomadate an extra bod.

  6. Praise be for posts such as this. I am with you on this Andy, although I also defend the right to change our mind at any point. I don’t think this is going to happen though because, as you’ve stated, it’s a struggle. We all have different ways of living our lives and not a single person has any right to judge you for only having one child. You are allowed to feel like this and I for one support you tenfold. I do not want to see my wife go through the pain of childbirth, the struggle for finances, the losing of several teeth and a bout of crippling PND again.

    Great post.

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