Any Only Children Regret It? (long)

Bad_WifeFebruary 5, 2002

I know, I know. This is a very personal decision. I always wanted 2 children. Pregnancy and labour (2 1/2 days!) were no fun for me. I have an angel I ADORE! I am now torn between staying with one child, or having a second. If we do have another, I want the kids to be close in age (like, just under 2 years apart). Since DD is not yet 3 months old, I do have some time, but that darn biological clock is ticking louder and louder (even if I do have my kids that close, I'll still be over 35 when the second is born).

I cannot image loving another child this intensely--I'm sure it's possible, I just cannot fathom it. If we stay with only one, we will be able to do so much more for her/with her. But, will she be lonely? How do kids who are that close together get along? There is 3 years between me and DS, and, quite frankly, if we weren't related we'd never be friends (don't get me wrong--I love her because she's my sister. I just would not hang out with her otherwise).

Is 2 years too close? Too far? Would an only child resent not having any siblings? Any thoughts? Like I said, I know this is a personal decision for my and my DH; I'm just looking for other people's experiences. Thanks.

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I can't respond as a parent of an only child, as I am expecting #4. I just wanted to respond to the part about not being able to imagine loving another child as much.

I remember feeling exactly the same way in the months before #2 was born. I wanted my son to have a sibling, I wanted a larger family. But suddenly, I looked at my sleeping child, almost 3 yrs at the time, I panicked. I remember feeling such an intense fear that I would not love a second child the same way, how it would be unfair to the second. I also remember thinking I was turning #1's life upside down, especially in the months after #2 was born. These were feelings I was not prepared for, no one warned me, I felt like I was shallow for having these feelings so I didn't want to talk about them.

But, a mother's love does not get divided, it mulitiplies. I thought I would have to take whatever resources I have within myself, time, energy, love, and divide them between two children. You don't, you somehow find even more. The money and material things still have to be divided, LOL. But the "mom" stuff gets mulitiplied.

Then one day the older one hugged and patted is little brother and said "Don't cry, I love you." And every single doubt I had about having enough of all the "mom" stuff was gone. To see your child show love to you is one thing, after all, you do everything for him/her. To see your child show that love and nurturing to someone who does absolutely nothing for him, just cry and take attention, lets you know you must have done something right and everything will be OK.

So if you've decided your family is perfect with one child, that's a good thing, don't feel guilty about not having a sibling. Whether a child is an only or one of 8, life can be happy, it's all they know and I don't think most give it a whole lot of thought. But the concerns about loving a second as much, don't worry, you will. You will fall in love all over again, but this time you get to watch your first born fall in love for the first time. I know that doesn't promise they will be close as adults, I'm not with my brother, but it's a start anyhow. We were close as children, and maybe someday when our lives have more in common, we will be again.

The fears of labor and delivery are still fresh. While throwing up during each pregnancy, and in the months right after each deliver, still recalling the pain and the sleepless nights, I ALWAYS said "I am NEVER doing this again!" And at the time, I really meant it. Obviously, the memory fades LOL! I think when each child was about about 2 I started thinking I could do it again.

Sorry so long and I didn't even answer the question about only children's feelings, I just don't know the answer. But it sounded from your post like you are feeling some of the same things I have felt in the past, those I could respond to.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 11:52AM
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Well, my daughter is 3 months old too and we are planning on trying to conceive this August. I too want my children close in age.

My Mom was an only child and she hated it.. that is why she had 5 of her own children. For us, I want 3 and my hubby wants 2. We will have to wait and see...

If what is swaying you is the pain of childbirth, just remember all that pain is worth a lifetime of a child.

Good luck with your decison!

Mom to Kayla Marie

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 11:56AM
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My sister is just 13 months older than I and we would probably never be friends if we weren't related! Growing up we fought like crazy, though part of that is how our parents treated us. For example, my sister had to wait until she was 14 to get her ears pierced, but I got mine done the same day. Not fair, but that is how our parents did everything - if my sister was old enough, than I was, too. My mom also had a strong desire to always dress us alike and we both resented that.
As a teenager, I had two friends who were only children and they were much better adjusted than I was! I always thought they were spoiled at the time, but looking back I don't think they were. Yes, they had a lot of things I didn't, but they didn't flaunt it.
After 15 years of marriage, my husband and I were just planning on having one child, even though many in our family were already talking about when we would have our second one. Well, we had severe complications that resulted in a premature, but healthy, baby. There is no way in the world we would ever think about having another one at this point! We just feel so blessed that the baby and I both survived and don't want to "press our luck," so to speak with another.
There was an article in our local paper a few weeks back regarding a new study done on only children - it really confirmed my belief that one is just fine. I can't remember all the details of the study at this point - sorry - but it was from a new book on the subject. I know there are lots of books out there on the pros and cons of only children, if you are interested.
Best wishes on your decision. ~ Suzie

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 12:04PM
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I am an only child (but with many step and half siblings) and don't feel necessarily slighted; I was never really spoiled, either. I do have two younger half brothers, which I consider close enough to be real siblings. I would like to have at least 2, maybe three children because I want my kids to have siblings.

The thing that got my attention was having the kids close together. My DH is 15 months older than his sister; my friend's children are also 15 months apart. Both my friend and my MIL suggest not having children so close together; my MIL said she was so busy with my DH that she couldn't remember certain things about her daughter. (My friend outright said "if you have children close together I'll kill you!! Don't do it!") My SIL has three kids all 5 and under; I haven't heard any terrible comments from her. Is it really that bad? Just want to know what I might be up against! : P

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 12:19PM
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I am the oldest of 3, one sis is 2 yr 9 mo younger than I and the other is 7 yrs younger than I. We all fought like crazy no matter how far apart we were. My parents we strict with me, a little less w/ sis #2 and didn't do a thing about #3, spoiled rotten and at this point in my life we do not speak, one reason is she's ungrateful, my hubby and I decided to give her and her bf a dinner certificate for Christmas since he's always complaining about her cooking and her response was to my other sis "she didn't want to spend time shopping for a gift or what?!". The other reason is bc my parents are seperated, my mother cheated on my father and my sis takes her side 100%. Those are all another story! Anyhow, my other sis and I are much closer now, we both have new babies, we get along great. My dd is 7 yrs older than my son and I see how sad she is not to have anyone to play w/ all the time. I wish I could've have my children closer but I didn't. Now I want another so my son won't grow up alone. Well, this is my experience, Johanna.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 1:22PM
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I am due in 6 weeks with my first and this will be an only child. I personally do not feel an only child misses out on important things, different things maybe but nothing that NEEDS to happen in their life.

My husband is 9 months old then his sister. Up to the age of 6/7 they played well together but after that it went down hill. They both can't really stand each other even now. I mean they don't wish harm on each other just totally different people. Would never communicate with each other if it weren't for holidays. Their cousin is an only child. He and my husband are best friends. They are 4 years a part and have a lot in common. The cousin's comment on being an only child is "Not sure, since I didn't have a sibling to compare which would be better".

My husband's sister has 2 children close in age just like her and my husband. She likes the idea when her and her brother played so well together, plus like her mothers thinking, she wanted to get all the baby stuff over with at once. My niece and nephew are 10 months apart. They are too little to tell right now how they will act later on towards each other. Both have very different personalities and may or may not be decent siblings when older.

Both my SIL and MIL seemed content with the decision to have 2 children close in age.

I and my brother are 5 years apart. He and I got alone in the beginning but around the time he turned 10 we starting fighting. His biggest hang up was I had more things then him since I had 5 years head start. making him think I was loved more. Then he got bigger then me and we came to an understanding and never fought again. He and I will call each other once a week or so. Send each other holiday, birthday gifts when money permits. We aren't super close but I can say I do like my brother.

As for not knowing if you can love a second child. My father was TOTALLY feeling that before my brother was born. He was SO worried that he would not be able to love this second child as much as his first, but he just got more love he said. (Its one of his favorite stories to tell us)

Again this is my opinion which mean nothing.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 5:22PM
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I would say to give it time. Since your first is only 3 months old, you will feel that you can't imagine having more because you haven't gotten through a lot with the first yet. I have had many moments when I felt I was ready now and others I was sure I would never want another. DS will be 3 in April. A few weeks ago I was so ready for the second one. I was planning and getting excited and then we decided to wait a little. I don't know why but I had this thing in my head that I had to have this one before DS turned 4 but I guess it really doesn't matter when the 2nd is in there. When it happens, it will and we'll figure it out. Anyway, if you ask me now, I'm fine with one. My mind changes depending on how things are going and things. I think it's normal. I wouldn't rush it too much. Many mothers are having they're children at older ages than they used to. Nothing wrong with that. I would rather spend time with my little one and get close to them and used to him before I plan another one. I know too many people who had kids close together and it worked out but they can't remember the one or the other growing up because they were so busy looking after both of them at once. I don't want that.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 11:01PM
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DH and I are discussing this now; I'm currently PG with our first and I only want one. He comes from a big (10kids!) family and wants at least two.

I don't see why being an only child would be any worse or better than having siblings. You could ask a hundred people, and probably get a hundred different answers about which is better: 1, 2 or more kids. I have a friend who is an only and has always said she didn't feel like she missed out on anything. My BIL is #7 of 10 (my DH is #9), and he says he hated growing up with so many brothers and sisters. He always felt like he was lost in the shuffle.

I'm 18mos. older than my sis and we really don't talk much. We get along, but have little in common. A lot of times I feel like an only child, because I'm the one making decisions on how to care for our ailing father, etc.. So having siblings is not a guarantee that your son/daughter "will never be alone".

I've always said that if I were going to have more than one child, I'd want at least 4 or 5 yrs in between them. That way I could enjoy each child more fully. My SIL has three children, each 4 yrs apart. She says she loves it that way, because by the time the baby is born, the next oldest is pretty self sufficient. Then a year or so later when baby is entering their terrible twos, the older one is in school so SIL is only dealing with one kid at a time.

These are just my opinions and experiences. Your mileage may vary.

EDD 07/06

    Bookmark   February 5, 2002 at 11:37PM
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Well-- I'm the child of two only children!! And my maternal g-ma was an only child, so no aunts, no uncles and no cousins (other than my siblings, the closest relatives are 3rd cousins). Because they were only children, my parents were ill-prepared for having more than one child--there is a certain amount of noise that goes along with a houseful of kids (4), and it drove them crazy! (we were all good kids, well-behaved, honor-roll and such). Now that my father has passed on, my mother is very lonely-- she has often mentioned that she wishes she had a sibling. She said it didn't bother her so much when she was younger-- she had cousins to play with sometimes and then she was busy with her own family, but now that she's older she wishes she had someone that she shared a deep lifelong kind of bond with. Long ago she made me promise to try not to have an only child-- partly for the child and partly for me (we tend to lose a lot of young people to accidental deaths in my family).

Both of my parents were married multiple times-- and were not happy together. I know that the same can be said of a lot of married couples which consist of people from multi-sibling families-- but I often thought it was because they never learned the basic communication skills and give-and-take that you learn when you grow up with siblings.

Anyway-- the above posters gave you some good advice and a lot of different input-- but they seem to be younger than the age at which my mother said it started to bother her and I wanted you to also think about what an only child now might mean to your possible grandchildren. You mentioned being afraid you couldn't love another as intensely as your 1st-- I'm sure the above posters are right that that shouldn't be a concern (I'm #4 and the closest one with my mom!). Insofar as being better able to do things with and for your child/children-- I was the last kid-- so there was a little more $ for some nice trips, etc., but I'd never trade in the memories of the camping trips we took when I was little. My fondest memories of growing up had to do with the relationships I had with my siblings-- schemes we'd come up with, silly things we were SURE were true, etc.-- I wouldn't trade those for the world-- or for anything my parents might have been able to buy for me had I been their only one.

Anyway-- just another perspective. I'm sure whatever choice you make it will be the right one for your family!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 1:43AM
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I agree that your love multiplies with more children. I have 2 daughters 17 months apart, and the second one was an oops! But, if I hadn't gotten pregnant accidentally, I don't know when I would have been ready to have a second one. What I'm trying to say is that it IS hard for some people to decide if and when to have more than one, and I am just lucky that God took the decision away from me. Even though it was hard when they were little, it was all worth the effort. I love my 2 daughters very much. They are very different, so I love them in different ways, but not in different amounts.

Sorry this seems to ramble, but I am up at 3 am with a bad cold and decided to check out the forums.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 3:20AM
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I agree that it's easier when someone makes the decsion for you! LOL My DS was born when I was 19 and I certainly did not want to be a mother at that age and didn't choose to be. But I now know that I wouldn't change a thing and somebody just had my life planned a little differently than I or my parents or grandparents ever imagined. It was a struggle but MIL and I talk a lot about being mothers and it seems that even those who prepared and planned for it don't know what they are in for until the baby comes~even if you have 2 or 3. Adding another person to the bunch isn't really something you can totally be prepared for. You know how each of us are different and all, well each baby is the same way. One may consume more time than the other did as an infant, one may be more of a troublemaker, one may need more attention to learn things, etc. You don't know what you're getting until they're here. Some people will make a big deal out of the fact that you didn't really plan your child, like one was an accident in there, and say that's horrible and isn't fair for the child, etc. But you know, when it happens and you don't get to plan and debate, I think you learn to adapt quite quickly. I'm sure there are plenty of parents out there who had accidents and they are the greaest joys in they're lives. :-) I'm trying to remember what MIL calls them, it's not an accident but I think more of a surprise. I'd really like to see the percentages on the number of kids who were planned and those who just happened. I bet the just happened onese are higher.

Anyway, Bad_Wife, I wouldn't worry too much now. Give yourself time and watch your baby do more things. There will come that time that you will know if you can handle going through all that again or not. Oh and the good news is that in most cases, labor goes faster with each child! So next time it probably won't be as long and also the dr's have a history to go by to help figure things out better than they would with the first. Also you're body did it before and knows what to do the second time and stuff. Oh, and another thing, as time passes, your memories of the labor will change. You won't remember them quite as you thought you would. If not, who would have more than one child? Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:44AM
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Leslie, for me the ratio is 50/50. The two in the middle were planned, the first and last were more a lack of planning, surprises.

I watched my SIL go through 7 miscarriages before the two children she has now. Meanwhile, DH and I are so fertile we joke we'd conceive by phone sex. As hard as it is for some couples to conceive, I'd be downright ungrateful to be anything but thrilled to have a child whenever it happens. I know better than to be picky about the timing, I say take them when you can get them and enjoy it. It also amazes me that, with all the millions of things that have to go exactly right as two microscopic cells become a human being, my children are all healthy. I am profoundly grateful.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 12:03PM
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I'll try hard to keep this response from becoming too "book-like".

I am the 8th child of 13. We were all born roughly 2 years apart. I absolutely LOVE my siblings. --However, I know some of them better than others. And we get into disagreements, but for the most part some of them are my very close friends. I am much closer to my siblings than I am to my parents. My husband and I plan on having 5 kids. I really hope that my children will be able to have the same close relationship as I do with my siblings.

I plan on having my kids about 2-3 years apart for several reasons. I don't want to have kids after I'm 35 (My mom had her last baby at 47 and and now she is 64 and still has a teenager at home. No thanks!). I had my oldest when I was 25, so if I'm going to have 5 kids, I don't have a lot of time to waste! :) Also, I think that the closer together they are, the less likely they are to feel so uprooted when another baby comes along. My older sister and I were 18 months apart and we were best friends for years and years while growing up. However, I am 3 1/2 years older than my next sister and I HATED her for the longest time. I felt like she came and stole all my glory. So, I'm hoping if my kids are close in age they won't ever get the idea that they are king of the mountain.

As far as planning our babies, we tried to get pg with my daughter for 6 months. However, DS surprised us. We were planning on trying for #2 within a couple months, but definitely weren't planning on conceiving when we did. My husband was in graduate school and I didn't have any insurance at the time. BUT, from the minute I started suspecting I was pregnant I WANTED him. When I took the pregnancy test I was actually afraid that it would be negative. So, yes, sometimes someone else makes the decision for you. :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 6:32PM
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I am an only child and so is my DH. I would be perfectly fine with just our DD (almost 4 months) but my DH has to have 2. I understand why he wants to have more than one. I just never felt like I missed out on anything being an only child. I am close to my cousins (kind of like sisters) BUT because I am an only child I can't imagine raising 2 kids. It scares me a little when I see people at the grocery store with 3 or 4 kids. I don't have that much patience and I worry that I wouldn't be able to cope mentally.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 10:56PM
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I just have to write in again. I responded saying my Mom was an only child and hated it. She had 5 kids and the reason I am writing back is I am sooo surprised that there are so many that aren't close with their siblings.

I am sorry for you. There are five of us (now most are married) and ages range from 29 to 42 and we are sooo close. Talk every week, still vacation together and just enjoy eachother. I forget that not all families grow together and some grow apart.

Best of luck in your decision, but like an above post said - you have time.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2002 at 1:18PM
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I was an only child and loved it for the most part. My childhood was really fun and carefree and I think it freed up my parents finacially. We were able to have a summer house etc. Then my parents got divorced when I was 17! I wanted a sibling so bad during those days!!! Someone to understand my parents along with me.

When I first moved in with a roomate, I had a little trouble sharing! Here I was an adult and I was mortified when my roomate, one of my best friends (who had 4 sisters and 1 brother) would borrow something of mine! I got over it pretty quickly when I started borrowing her stuff.

I am now married with a three year old and I am 12 weeks pregnant with the second. My DH has a younger brother, spaced similarily and they get along great. I wasn't exactly sold on the idea of two at first. I had a tough labor and swore that I was never doing it again (a moment we all seem to have...)but then my MIL died, and she was such a great woman, and I saw how my DH and his brother were there for each other, and well... here I am pregnant again!!!!

So, an only child can have a really great childhood, but I think the transition to adulthood can be tough after years of being taken care of...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 10:01AM
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I'm an only child; DH has a brother and a sister. Our two sons are 22 months apart.
Although it was DH's idea to have children at all, I knew from the beginning that if we had one we would have to have two. Yes, have them close; they'll play together, listen to you read the same stories, beat the beejees out of each other and cling together like orphans in the storm when you're annoyed with them, and have history together that lives in their bones. My two sons are nothing at all alike, couldn't live happily together since they were in junior high, but are now (ages 23 & 25; live in different states) so so very happy to see each other. I've seen behavior that amazes me; just can't understand it. Don't have a sibling.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 11:24PM
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I have to chime into the discussion even if it has been over a year since the last entry.

I am the only child and it doesn't bother me since I guess I was born to be a loner in some ways and be satsfiated (sp?) with a social life at school and Deaf organizations. Both my parents came from large families but my mother had a very serious medical condition that was not safe for childbearing. I was a blessed "opps" child to be born with no medical problems. No, my parents did not spoil me. They were strict but fair even if I didn't think so at times. I did get many things but some were hand downs stuff from my parents (TV, VCR, etc). Both died before I was 30 but I was fortunate to be living in DC where I had a strong support system at work and church. I also think that my father having me doing some character building things to make me a strong person and being born with a mind of my own helped me through many things in my life - good and bad experiences.

Also I cannot really compare since I never had any blood sisters or brothers.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 10:01AM
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My husband has 3 other daughters besides the one we have together.However,they dont live with us,so at times,it is like she's an only child.She can be VERY lonely at times....

But,when her cousin is here for 5 minutes she's ready for him to go home :) And he is two years younger.
Having another child doesnt mean that yours will get along either.They could be rivals.
Or they could be best friends.There is no REAL way to tell.

I love that my husband and my daughter and I make this circle of love.I too cant imagine having another and loving it as much as I love her.
But there are times...if my husband didnt already have so many other kids,I think I'd be wanting another one too.

Enjoy your baby years...people say it goes by fast.They arent kidding! My cute baby is now 9! I yearn for those infant years.
I think you should do whatever makes you and your husband happy.Most kids will adapt to anything as long as they are loved.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 3:12AM
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We were VERY happy with one child. But we decided to have another child so that when they grow up and we are not around any longer that they will have each other to turn to in times of need. My parents died while I was still in school, and I don't know what I would have done without the companionship and love of my younger sister. We helped each other over the years as confidants and advisors.

While my kids have cousins, they are considerably older, live across the country, and we do not know them. I have lived longer than my own parents did, so our kids are grown and out on their own. I am pleased to see how my 3 relate to each other in their 20s and 30s.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 2:29PM
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I am the 7th of 7 children 6 Boys and one sister (She is the middle child - lucky her eh) .

I know a woman here that has one child and cant have another - she said if she had it to do again she would have another - for her child..She regrest not having the second when she could have.

One thing about raising more than one child - parents need to be ever so mindful to TREAT EACH CHILD the same AS HARD AS IT IS.. (This will save you from the infighting alot of siblings can have.)
My parents counted PENNIES - when it came to gifts - I got exactly the same amount spent on me as my siblings Regardless if they had to Wrap a Penny or a pack of gum.
Big ticket items were a gift to all. (I learned this from my parents . they explained the why I received a penny or a pack of gum.)
The one thing for me being the youngest - I was not allowed to do the same things as my brothers like have a job in highschool. [Moms get really protective of their youngest .. dont HANG ON]

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 3:00AM
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There hasn't been a posting on this in nearly 3 years but I just had to respond. DH and I had trouble having children so our son, now 30, is an only child. His wife of 7 years, is also an only child. They have a son, nearly 11 months old, (Of course, he is precious!) but they say he will not be an only child.

In retrospect, I would say we were rather demanding of our son, had high expectations for him and he met them without complaints. His wife was raised with less constraints and was also a good student. However, they both feel that being an only child has its drawbacks - be it too much the center of attention or loneliness. So, I think when they can afford another child, there will be at least one more.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 3:43PM
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