Monday, August 29, 2011

Let me be clear...

I am only having one child. 

This is not a fleeting thought. It's not the mad ramblings of someone who hasn't yet "recovered" from baby #1. It's not something I'll "get over", "move beyond" or otherwise change my mind about. 

This is a considered decision, jointly, by me and my husband, as a team, around what we want from life, the lifestyle we want to lead, where our priorities lie, what we feel we are capable of and what kind of parents we want to be. It has nothing to do with me being an only child and I have not strong-armed him into making this decision with me. We made our decision about only having one child much the same way we made our decision to have a child at all: with much thought and planning.  

It's also not something I will change by "accident". I am not a teenager with uncontrollable urges who thinks she can "get away with it".  Included in our plan is a pretty fail-safe method to ensure no accidents, thankyouverymuch.

This is not to say that I think that having an only child is the way to go for everyone. It's our personal decision much the same way that you having more than one child or none at all, is for you.  

There is nothing wrong with having multiple children, as many as you want and can provide for. It's probably fantastic to have siblings. I don't personally have any but I'm sure that I would have been equally as happy in my life if I had. If you have siblings, I'm also sure that you would have been just as happy as an only child. Seriously, I know this is hard to grasp because you love your brothers and sisters and cannot imagine life without them - as it should be. But you can't miss or mourn what you never had.

As an only child, my daughter will not be lonely or unsociable. But thanks for your concern. When I was a child, my house was always full of children; my friends, who loved to come over and hang out at my house. As an adult I consider myself to be sociable, outgoing, and no more selfish than the average person, so I think it's safe to say that being an only didn't turn me into a social pariah. Incidentally, I know plenty of selfish, unsocial folks with siblings: just sayin' 

There is also nothing wrong with having no children by choice. It's not selfish to recognize that parenthood is not for you. In fact, if you did have that realization and decided not to have children, I applaud you. Society begs you to be otherwise at every turn but having a child just because it's what everyone else does is a piss-poor reason, IMHO. 

In short, no matter your parental (or non-parental) status, whether you have brothers or sisters or are an only child, I do not judge you nor ask you to defend your decision. I may not understand your reality but that doesn't mean I don't respect your choice. I don't ask you "if you're sure" when you decide to have baby number 3, nor espouse the many joys of parenthood you're missing out on, if you've decided to have none. We all make decisions that are right for us and this one is right for our family. 

This post is directed at nobody in particular, by the way. I know a recent exchange occurred on Facebook on this topic but I am not mad at anyone or about anybody's comments. But the comments did spur me to write this post because they are part of an ongoing conversation that my husband and I continue to have with people in general, about our decision. 

As there becomes an increasing number of only children in the population I hope the attitude toward only children and their parents changes. There has been a stigma associated with this lifestyle choice for a long time and it is without empirical merit - read this if you're interested in learning more.

Comments on this post are disabled because this is not a subject up for discussion. Thanks for understanding.
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