This weeks World Mama writes about a subject that is still a bit of a taboo: not wanting a second child. The guilt that comes with wanting “only” one child and that nagging question: “Is an only child a lonely child?”. Sasha has decided to talk about it candidly, because she is definitely not the only mom out there who feels this way.
If you have read my blog before you will know the trouble Jake and myself went through to have Mae. From being told we might not be able to conceive to having a cyst at 16 weeks that threatened the life of our unborn child.
The thought of losing a child is unbearable
My pregnancy wasn’t as smooth as any expecting mum hopes for. After they found my cyst we had a hospital visit every 3-4 weeks. I guess I shouldn’t complain as every month I got to see our beautiful girl grow and feel hopeful she would arrive safe and sound. Maybe this is the biggest reason having another child is off the cards for me: the thought of losing a child is unbearable so if I knew I could be at risk again then why would I put myself in that position?
I have one sibling, my twin sister. We grew up very close, we had each other to play with and probably a little more freedom then our other friends. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t roaming the streets all night long. Mum had us locked up in bed at 7pm, but as we got older we had each other so we could venture a little further round our town.
The bond they have is overwhelming, the sibling love is like no other.
Jake (Maes daddy) has a few more siblings than me. He is only 17 months older than his brother Joe. Jake and Joe are extremely close. Probably closer to each other than us twins. Jake also has two younger sisters and three younger brothers. When I watch him around his siblings that’s when the guilt kicks in. I watch them laugh and tease, the mayhem that swallows the household and it’s fun, so fun! The bond they have is overwhelming, the sibling love is like no other.
So am I wrong for wanting only one child? Will I change my mind in a few years? Will Mae be lonely? These are the questions that take over my brain during these moments. Then I remember she will have friends. Friends from school, friends she’s grown up with so, no, she won’t be lonely. I can rationalise my thoughts but it doesn’t stop my guilty feelings. I have spoken to a lot of my friends who have two children close in age. One who’s children are 6 years apart and she says the same thing- having two children is hard work. I see so many of them struggle, their family life strained and I think to myself I don’t want that! I want to enjoy the girl I have, why would I want to go through all the sleepless nights again? The colic, the teething. Juggling nursery, work and a newborn! Maybe it’s a selfish thing but does that mean I’m a bad person?
I see so many of them struggle, their family life strained and I think to myself I don’t want that!
I know Mae will have friends to play with after school, she has her aunt who is only three months older. She has my friends children to grow up with, children that will live on her street. She has cousins and young uncles, so no! That’s my answer to the question- is an only child a lonely child. It’s no, Mae won’t be lonely. I shouldn’t feel bad for wanting just one child, and people shouldn’t assume because of my decision that my daughter will be lonely.
Next time you ask a mum when she plans on “having another” just think for a second, maybe she doesn’t want another baby. Some people – like me – are happy to be honest, but I’m sure some mums might struggle. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or 6 children, parenthood is bloody hard! It’s not for the faint hearted. It’s stressful and lonely, but it’s also the best job in the world.
I count my lucky stars every day for my perfect angel. Without her I wouldn’t be the person I am today and today I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.