The one-child family debate usually includes your parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, fifth cousins, neighbors, and anyone else who sees you with only one baby.
Accepting only having one child is sometimes harder for them than it is for the parents.
They typically try to persuade you to have another little one by saying only children are arrogant, spoiled, and unfriendly because an only child isn’t given the opportunity to develop sibling relationships like children in larger families.
Perhaps you also dreamt of having a large family before you got married.
You love your parents and have a close relationship with them and you can’t imagine your life without your siblings.
But then you had your first child and your world turned upside down.
Every parent wants only the best for their child and strives to give their child everything they need and want.
And then it happens – your kid expresses the wish for you to have a second baby for them to play with.
But, for you, something just doesn’t feel right and you suddenly realize you’re not ready for a big family.
So how do you accept only having one child?
Am I A Bad Parent?
The first question that might come up after you and your spouse realize you would rather stay parents of an only child is: Am I a bad parent?
It’s natural to feel that way and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
A lot of women go through postpartum depression after having their first child and it leaves lasting consequences on their mental health and well-being.
Not to mention all the physical consequences, including your hair falling out after giving birth.
Some women are ready to go through the same cycle to have a second child because they want a big family – but it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to.
Having another child just to fulfill your little girl’s or little boy’s wish is not the right decision to make.
It’s your own life, body, and health, so don’t sacrifice it just to make someone happy, even if that someone is your kid.
Your kiddo will ask for a sibling one day and a dog the next, and sometimes they’ll ask for a trip around the world or to Disneyland.
Will you be able to fulfill your child’s every whim? Of course, not.
People usually say parents know what’s best for their child and in most cases, that’s true.
So, don’t put your child’s wishes before your own, especially if you know it’s best to not have another little one.
Accepting only having one child starts with realizing that there’s nothing to blame yourself over – once you get over this step, everything else will fall into place.
Is My Child Lonely?
Here’s another really important question that you probably ask yourself quite frequently.
Yes, having siblings is lovely, you create and share memories with them throughout your whole life and when your parents get older, you know you’ll not bear all the responsibilities by yourself.
People often say that the greatest gift you can give to your child is a sibling, which is not true at all.
The greatest gift is your happiness, your health, and the love that you give to your only child.
Also, remember that your child is not the first one to be from a one-child family.
There are many families with two or three members, depending on if you’re a single parent or not.
Most modern families have one or two children only and they’re happy, just as your child is.
Siblings are not a guarantee that your child will never be lonely.
Some people have a lot of family members and still, they feel lonely most of the time.
In fact, friends can sometimes make us happier than our own family and they become a family we choose instead of the family we get.
So, get yourself ready for organizing playdates as often as you can!
Reasons For Having Only One Child
A lot of people, especially our parents’ generation, don’t understand why couples decide to have only one child and they strongly disagree with every argument you give.
One of my close friends asks me quite often about the experience of having two children and I always give her honest answers – it’s tough.
The reason for her frequent questions is her inability to decide whether she should have a second child or remain a full-time mom of one child only.
In fact, she often feels as though she can’t call herself a full-time mom because she only has one child.
She dealt with postpartum depression after her first baby and suffered almost unmanageable anxiety after giving birth.
After asking me tons of times about my children, she finally opened up and said: I can’t go through that again.
It was so sincere, that I knew she meant it.
With time, she became happier and accepted that she’s happy to be a mom to just her six-year-old daughter.
Some people have gone through such emotional rollercoasters after not being able to conceive a child naturally and they spend a lot of time going through different fertility treatments waiting for their little miracle to happen.
Unfortunately, IVF treatments often fail and each failure affects the woman’s mental health.
Also, these treatments are extremely expensive, especially if you have to go through them more than once.
This also causes a lot of stress for future parents and when their little bundle of joy finally arrives, they just can’t bring themselves to go through another round of fertility treatments.
Then there’s the fact that around three million women in the US can’t have a second baby even though they’re ready to expand their families.
The first time, partners conceive their baby without any problems or delays, the due date arrives on time, they welcome their baby and after a while, they want to add to their family.
But, after trying, nothing happens and they go see a doctor just to make sure everything’s okay.
What they sometimes discover is a diagnosis of secondary infertility.
This condition is usually unpredictable and it means you can’t have more children after the first baby.
Of course, this comes as a shock and has a great impact on the mental health and well-being of both partners.
Sometimes, parents just decide that one child is enough, be it for financial reasons or a variety of other reasons.
And some people go through all the situations mentioned above, they dream about large families and peaceful life, but the universe has other plans.
Making Peace With Having Only One Child
The first step is the acknowledgment of the situation and then comes the part of accepting only having one child.
This is the time to realize that the number of children is not a measurement for a happy family and that the ideal family size is the number of current family members.
Surprisingly, social media can be very helpful when it comes to this topic.
Social networks gather people from all around the world with different interests and experiences.
This also includes communities of people who have been through a variety of different situations in their life.
There are many parent-related groups within these social networks, where people exchange their opinions and experiences.
Moms also gather on different groups and pages, encouraging each other, and sharing their worries, from fear of how they’ll recover from a C-section to being unable to have a child.
By engaging in those conversations, you can learn that you’re not alone.
There are a lot of people who went through a really hard time until they had their first child or when they decided to only have one.
Things in life don’t always turn out the way we expect and we just have to make the best of every situation.
After acknowledgment comes peace.
You learn how to enjoy life with your perfect, little family, and being at peace with yourself means peace and happiness for your family regardless of the number of children.
One child can make you as happy as three of them.
Not being able to or not wanting to have another child is just fine.
Trust me, your 3-year-old son or daughter will be okay without a sibling, and may even thrive.
Instead of focusing on gifting your child with siblings, try to focus on being a happy mom and your child will be happy, too.
In fact, having one child does come with certain advantages, as well.
When you accept having one child is okay, it will bring your family even closer.
My friend, who has a seven-year-old son says she feels great about being a parent of one and her son has never felt like something is was missing.
She and her husband can focus on their careers without neglecting the needs of their child.
Also, it’s quite cost-effective to have only one child. Instead of paying childcare for two, she saved those resources for her son’s college.
Having a child is a blessing, be it one or ten, what matters the most is happiness and healthy relationships between family members.
Accepting Only Having One Child – Extended Family Edition
Here comes the hard part – talking to your relatives who constantly ask you: When is that second baby coming?
First of all, you don’t have to answer that question to anyone, especially not those cousins you video chat with a few times a year on Zoom and maybe once a year in person.
It’s kind of understandable when your parents and in-laws ask such questions because they love babies and can never have enough grandchildren.
And to be honest, they probably understand your decision more than they express, sometimes it’s just difficult for them to accept that they’ll only have one grandchild.
Sometimes though, manipulation in families happens and it can be a challenge to deal with, especially if you’re the people-pleasing type.
If you have a hard time telling them your decision or condition, depending on why you’re having only one child, I suggest you use this lockdown period to your advantage.
Instead of face-to-face communication, you can just mention this during a video call.
If you don’t like their reaction, you can always hang up (just kidding)!
Jokes aside, you need to make yourself a priority, so don’t even think about how someone will react.
I know, this is often easier said than done, you may worry about how everyone will react to such news and create different scenarios in your head.
This is natural and we all do it from time to time, but the outcome may surprise you positively.
You don’t even have to share this with anyone if you don’t want to talk about it. It’s your own family and your own life.
After all, accepting only having one child is your personal business!
Remember – Your Child Loves You
You and your partner mean the whole world to your child, and as long as you’re happy, your munchkin will be happy as well.
After accepting only having one child, you’ll be able to connect more with your child and become close friends, since you’re the first friend your kid has in life.
Go outside, play, talk, walk, travel, do whatever makes you and your child happy.
Your little munchkin needs that more than anything or anyone else.
Keep it in mind, always – your child loves you.
The bottom line to accepting only having one child is this – you’re no less of a parent if you raise an only child.
Having a big family has its pros and cons, it’s nice to have someone marching with you through life, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a sibling.
Siblings become our family by birth, but close friends become our family by our own choice.
Therefore, instead of struggling with the despair of not having another child, invest that time into organizing playdates for your kid.
Plus, this way you don’t have to deal with fighting and jealousy between siblings!
Also, there’s no ideal family size and bigger doesn’t always mean better.
A lot of people will try to comfort themselves by meddling in your life and criticizing you for not doing the same thing they did.
Having only one child can be a beautiful thing as well, as you can connect with your child and create a special bond and close relationship for life.
Let your child remember you as a happy parent with a big smile on your face.
Put your well-being and your health first.
If you learn to love yourself, you’ll be able to love your family even more!
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