I often (too often) am asked about when we are going to give Paisley a sibling. I am asked by family, friends, strangers, other mothers at the park, teachers, cousins, and just plain everyone. I’m sure that everyone who asks is well meaning, but as far as I am concerned, they are far too nosey.
Remarks like ‘So, she’s four, when are you having another?’ or ‘Wow, you had better hurry up or you’ll have one in diapers and one in college’ are not helpful, rather, they feed into my guilt for choosing to have just one child.
In todays society the number of singleton children is increasingly growing 43% of Canadian families have only one child (according to the last census), that is a lot of children without siblings. So why am I constantly questioned about our decision?
Most people have arguments about why having an only child is a bad decision:
-They will be lonely
-They won’t learn to share
-They won’t have good problem solving skills
-They will have trouble making friends
-They will have trouble with conflict resolution
-When we die, they won’t have anyone to lean on
And the list goes on and on. What many people don’t realise is that all of these reasons are not valid. Many children with siblings have the same issues, it has nothing to do with having or not having siblings, but in how the children are raised.
Our decision to have one child was not one we made lightly. After four years of infertility, and a year of treatment for it, we were spent; emotionally, physically and financially. When we recovered and had the discussion as to whether or not we even wanted to entertain the thought of another, it was pretty clear to both of us that no, we were happy with our one, and that having another would not make our family any better, happier or fuller.
By having just one, we feel we are able to offer her more than if we had two or three . She generally has our undivided attention, there is no arguing over who’s turn it is to do anything, it’s always Paisley’s turn (unfortunately for her that also means it’s always her turn to set the table and tidy shoes). By having one child, financially we will be able to provide for her much more than by having siblings. Only one university tuition, one prom, one wedding (hopefully). We are able to spend more time with her on school work, sports, reading, and tea parties.
With all of this being said, all of it, I will admit that sometimes I do feel guilty for our choice. I question our motives, are we being selfish? I wonder if she will be lonely, will she have trouble, what if she doesn’t end up making a strong connection with someone who will help her through the hard stuff, but again, it’s a lot of what if’s.
I watch her now, at almost 4 (eep!), and I see that she has friends, she can share, argue, and problem solve with the best of them. I also see a child who is confident, is beyond her peers educationally, is a great communicator. I see a child who is empathetic, who is caring, and watches and explores the world around her not caring that she is alone doing it. I see a child who when she needs some extra love and attention doesn’t need to wait, or fight for it.
I think it is wonderful that many families have more than one child, I think that it also has many fantastic things to bring to the table. I am happy that there are people out there who have lots of children, I am just not one of them, and I’m ok with that. I just wish everyone else was too.