Singletons vs. siblings
12 years ago
I have a 20m daughter, and right now we’re living with my mother-in-law while I’m finishing my last few terms at university. I’m a returning student, and wanted to wait until I’d graduated, but I’m already 39 now and it seemed unwise, for health reasons, to push it too much longer. The question now is whether to have a second child. The whole process of thinking this through is very different at my age than it would be if I were even five years younger — I know one rises to the occasion, but I definitely don’t have the same physical resources now that I did when I was younger.
I would love to hear from parents of both singles and multiples about what the best things are that you’ve experienced. I was a singleton, effectively (my siblings are 13+ years younger and we never lived together) and my husband is very close to his younger sister, so each of us finds it hard to understand the other experience from the inside. I guess that’s what I’m looking for — those little things that might not be as obvious to somebody who hasn’t experienced it.
Many thanks for anything you can share!12 years agoRpankow @excytin
I guess we’re in that “singleton” group. I’ve was 30 when I had my daughter 4 years ago and my husband is 9 years older than me. My daughter wasn’t the easiest baby, but by all means wasn’t the most difficult either. My husband and I thought long and hard about having another one. We took into consideration, his age (which they say has more bearing on birth defects than what previously thought), the stress one child had on our marraige and ourselves let alone more, her having a sibling not only to play with but to help with decision making when we’re elderly (alot of work for one child), financial impacts, etc.
I grew up with a brother, and so did my husband. My daughter has cousins to play with and loves the kids at daycare. One just ended up being the choice we’ve come to as she’s gotten older. There are days where I long for a little boy, but unless the good Lord plans otherwise, it’s the way it’s going to be. I’m not one of those people either that had the deep urge to have a child, I would’ve been happy without, but I love being a mother to my little girl and wouldn’t want it any other way. (besides, who would I sew for then?)
The one thing we want for our daughter being an only child, is for her to not grow up as a spoiled brat just because we can afford to give her things. We find ourselves holding back at times so we can do our best for that not to happen. I want her to have an appreciation for what she has, not pine for what she doesn’t.
After spending time with friends of ours and their children, we believe we’re doing a good job of raising an appreciative, polite and considerate child. (yet I know I’m biased!) Just because they have a sibling, doesn’t mean they’ll be close. My brother and I aren’t all that close. I love that we can be attentive to my daughter and spend one on one time with her. Best of luck with your decision, it’s a tough one to make!
Rebecca12 years ago
Thank you, Rebecca, I really appreciate your post!12 years agoRpankow @excytin
Not a problem, any time! 🙂 All of you O+Ser’s have been wonderful to me so anytime I can try to give back!12 years agojuliamom2009 @juliamom2009
I just have some input on the age issue – if you decide at any time you want another child you can adopt as well. I have three biological children from my first marriage, ages 22, 21 and 17. As insane as it sounds, at age 51 (yes, I admit it!) my 2nd husband and I now have a 20 month old daughter that we adopted from foster care. It was a crazy system, but I can’t even begin to tell you the joy that she has brought to our lives. To say nothing of the fact that god knows where she could have ended up if it were not with us.
Everyone’s life is just different and you make the best decision for you. My husband is an only child, and I have a brother that I’m really not close to. Maybe that factored into my decision to have a bunch of kids; I don’t know, but I do know that I always knew from childhood that I’d have a bunch of kids. I’d adopt one more, if my husband would go for it!12 years agoTamara @justsewit
Sarvi, what would be easy for some is so difficult for others and I understand your concern. Having siblings comes naturally to me as I have one (but I’m not close to) and my husband is one of three. We didn’t need to discuss whether to have two because it was always going to be the minimum – we know no different. Having two kids is great because you have more than one child to spend the time with. Each of mine have different personalities and different needs and interests but because I had one it was easier to have a second because the path was already paved.
I understand the age question and while waiting isn’t recommended. My half sister was born to a 42 year old woman and she was her first child. I call it absolute luck! Personally, I wouldn’t wait but then I’m not you and you need to weigh up the pros and cons in order to make your decision.
I always wanted four children and I hope I haven’t stopped right here as at nearly 36 I feel the need to finish the family and have those last two that I have always wanted. It would be like having a second family and I really am not ready to close off this part of my life as it brings me so much to live for. Adoption for me is not an option as the laws in Australia are very different but it could be an option for you.
Whatever the decision you make, it will be the right one for you and your family and both you and your hubby need to be settled on the decision.12 years agoNicole @motherof5
I adore babies,but equally enjoy my young adult son.
I had my first three children all under 2 years and I know at the time I loved it-but I cannot remember it-I was too busy!
I knew I wanted more but I had a 4 year gap which was perfect. I got my body back,kept a reasonably clean house and was able to have lots of time with my baby when the older ones were at school.
I did the same with the next baby.
Now I am 37,would like another baby,but don’t feel ready yet.
I am still feeding(nursing),often at night my 2 year old,so I still feel like I have a baby.
40 is my thinking year,so I may be 41 before I have the child. I know the risks and have accepted them.
My husband and I both come from big families that are not close,we hope and encourage our children to be but ultimately it is up to them.
I don’t think a single child is an issue,I considered it after my son was very poorly at birth,fate took care of that decision for me!
I have plenty of friends who were ‘only lonely’ s’ with a lot less baggage then me!12 years ago
Thank you all so much for sharing your stories. Adoption is definitely an option we’re talking about. Having had a biological child, I can say truthfully that while it’s fun to see what she’s gotten from each of us, that’s really just a novelty for me. I love her because she’s an amazing little person and because I wanted her so much. I honestly feel it would make zero difference to me otherwise and I do not especially look forward to a second pregnancy — I am totally in it for the kid. Knock wood, we had an easy time getting pregnant last time, and it eased some of my fears about health issues, but I definitely am looking ahead at the physical demands of being a parent to an infant and then small child (not just being pregnant) throughout my 40s. However another child arrives in our lives, that is just one part of it, and not necessarily the most tiring part 🙂
Lots and lots to think over — again, thank you all so much for sharing your different experiences. Your generosity is very touching.12 years agojanimal @janimal
I’ll be 39 in 3 weeks. I am 6 months pregnant with our 2nd child. They will be 3 years apart.
I’m an IVF mommy. My daughter was an IVF miracle and this baby in my belly was from a frozen embryo. It cost us A LOT of money to get pregnant! Definitely wanted in every way.
I really really really wanted a sibling for my daughter. BUT – if fertility treatment had not worked out for us this time around, I would have been satisfied as my daughter’s mother. We had started the adoption process when we did treatment for my daughter just to be sure we got to be parents somehow, and I was open to the idea of adopting for a sibling.
For me, I was raised by a single mom who passed away when I was 21. Our extended family was/is very small and not close. That left me with siblings. Without them I would have been without any family at all. To me personally, the sibling relationship has great value. As an (ahem) “older” mother, I am aware that my child may have to face her parents departure sooner than we would like. I also want a sibling so that she won’t have to face that alone. It’s funny, I think I want this baby FOR MY DAUGHTER’S sake, more than I personally want another baby myself! There is no guarantee they will be close or even like each other, but I am still glad they will have each other.
All that being said, if another child were not in the cards for us, I believe I would have been able to raise my daughter to learn to share, and to have bonds with others as close as siblings. I don’t think only children are at a disadvantage. Heck, in many ways they are advantaged! It’s just different.
Despite us going through so much crap to get pregnant and the certainty this child is wanted, I still feel a bit crazy sometimes for doing it. We have a wonderful life with our amazing kid and we are SO happy. And infant will bring so much chaos. It feels kind of dumb sometimes. I’ve definitely thought “what are we doing? what were we thinking?!?”
I suppose there is no right answer. Whatever you decide, will be right for you and your family.
(But if you have another kid you have someone else to sew for…..)12 years ago
So nice to see you around, janimal, hope you’re doing great! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, seems like your situation and your decision process is very similar to mine. Having seen what goes into elder care, it is definitely not only about saving enough money to pay your own bills, and I would hate for my daughter to have to shoulder that burden alone.
Also, and this is going to sound ridiculous maybe, but sometimes we’re at a park and a bigger child will be aggressive or unfriendly and I see her little sad face and I think, if there were two of them, at least they would have each other when I wasn’t around… I know that phase of childhood doesn’t last forever, but it still breaks my heart.12 years agoRebecca W @craftalittle
Hi Sarvi- This is a very difficult decision- and I wish you luck with it!
I come from a large family- I have 5 brothers and sisters- so for me, it was always understoodthat there would be more than 1. I am the second oldest and we are all very close. We have all had friends that didn’t stick around or we grew apart from for whatever reason, but we all know that we still have each other. And as we are all getting older, we are all getting a lot closer. This is interesting because both of my parents come from families of 4 (each had 3 siblings) and they are not close at all to any of them. As a matter of fact, my mom isn’t on speaking terms with any of hers (not by her choice) and my dad is just not really very close with his brothers and sister. Anyway, as we see our parent not being close with their siblings, we all are VERY conscious of it and are determined to not have that happen to us.
My husband comes from a smaller family- just him and his brother. But his mom has “adopted” 3 friends of my brother in law’s. So now his side of the family is just as big as mine, but it is non-traditional. My husband always thought that 2 was the right number of kids. He and his brother are very close too- best friends.
My siblings are spread out over 20 years- 35, 33, 29, 27, 23, 13. (I am 33.) My youngest brother is 13 and he is essentially on only child, with really big holiday celebrations. 🙂 My mom has said that she prefers to have siblings for the kids. But since she was 42 when the youngest was born, she wasn’t prepared to have another. 🙂 One example that she gave is that it was better when the kids have a sibling to kind of put them in their place. That doesn’t really sound good- but like when he would say “hey mom- you’ve gotta see this- isn’t it cool?” and he would jump up in the air- and no, it really isn’t all that cool, she can’t tell him that. She is the mom. She needs to be supportive and loving and stuff. But as a sister- I can say- uh, no. not cool. just jumping in the air. (not sure if I am making sense…) Also, as much as my parents try not to spoil him- that kid is spoiled. And they even have the reference point of us older kids saying- Hmmm..you didn’t do that with us!
I LOVE having a lot of siblings- I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I would like to have 3 kids (probably stopping at 2)- but I think that single kids aren’t at an advantage or disadvantage to kids with siblings. It is just different. It is just a choice that you need to make for yourself and your family and your situation.
good luck with your decision!12 years ago
Thank you so much for your thoughtful post — I hadn’t thought of siblings as a useful reality check — it doesn’t sound bad, I know exactly what you mean. I think I got that from my cousins when I was growing up and it stung in a way it might not have coming from a sibling since there wasn’t the same sense that this person is ultimately on your team and will stick up for you.
Everyone has given me a lot to think about. Thank you all so much!12 years agoNicole @motherof5
I love Rebecca’s comment!
I am so pleased to hear that her generation work at getting along! Gives me some hope for my troupe!
She is so right about the ‘squashing’ that goes on,you certainly don’t get big heads with siblings!12 years agomeleliza @meleliza
I have three now, 5 and 3 year old boys and a 9 month old baby girl, but my husband and I are both only children. Neither of us was unhappy as an only child. Many people say you need to have siblings that it’s better for the kids, etc, so i like point out some of the upended of being an only. It’s music easier for the parents! You have more flexibility, more time and money for the one, less stress and a much cleaner, quieter house. I wasnt at all prepared for the noise and mess that came with a large family. Also, siblings fight. All. The. Freakin. Time. No one told me about the fighting!12 years agoRebecca W @craftalittle
I like the phrasing of reality check and keeping egos in check- that is a much more clear way of saying what I was trying to. Glad I made enough sense that you knew what I was saying!
And yes Nicole- we do work at it. We let the little things go because we are DETERMINED to stay close. I think that it helps that we have talked about it. And my mom has specifically talked about it to all of us too. So in being in that next generation- I do recommend talking to your kids about it. Being open with them about your relationships with your siblings and reminding them that relationships are work and that it is worth it. Especially as they continue to grow older. Your group of kids just look like they love each other too much to lose that as they get older.
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