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The only child

July 12th, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting

I grew up with a sister. Two kids, two years apart (and some half-siblings to make things complicated and difficult to explain).

I liked having a sister, much as she got on my nerves sometimes. Siblings are a special thing – they agree with you when you’re mad at your parents, they give you hand-me-downs, which I loved, and you have this person you’re connected to in a special way. I never really thought I would have kids of my own, but when I thought that I might have kids, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have two.

And then I had a rather uncomfortable, if wonderfully uneventful pregnancy. I hated being pregnant. And then our little one was born and I fell completely in love with her.

I made friends with other moms and I saw a lot of women talk about how they weren’t finished. They could feel that their family wasn’t quite done after one or two. Or after they had their third or fourth they felt somehow complete.

I feel complete.

We have our family – two parents, one kid, one puppy – and that just feels right to me. I have my Maggie and I want to do everything in my power to focus on her and give her everything in the world. It feels to me that we would be too stretched to provide all the love and care to two children. The house that seems just the right size now would be too small, the little bit of time we have together would be muddled, the cost of daycare would double.

I’ve heard people talking lately about the only child. Only children have issues, they don’t share, they think the world revolves around them. Siblings are so important.

Maybe I am being selfish by deciding to stop here. Maybe she will be bothered as she gets older. Maybe. Maybe not.

—–

I grew up as the youngest of three and most of my friends had siblings. I guess I must’ve had some only children in my circles but off the top of my head I can’t think of any.  Never gave it much thought, really.

And, like Amy, I always sort of figured I’d have two or three kids. Even after we got married and started talking about kids we figured we’d go for two.

Then we had our little monkey. And suddenly I’m leaning towards stopping too.

My reasons are threefold. For one thing, like Amy, I feel like our family is amazing the way it is. Everything feels right.

But the other reason is that I sort of sucked at being a Dad to a new baby. Well, that’s probably not fair. I didn’t suck. But it wasn’t as natural for me as I expected it to be. It was really, really hard and I didn’t handle things well. It made it harder on Amy and I don’t want to put her through that again.

Would the second time around be easier? Maybe. Probably. At least I’d know what to expect. But I still look back on how much harder things were then as compared to now and I just can’t fathom going back.

Lastly? I worry about Amy’s health. We got very lucky with our daughter and given the risks associated with some of the stuff Amy struggles with, I don’t want to roll the dice and put her or a second child at risk.

I don’t have the same concerns about the kid growing up selfish or narrow minded or whatever; I think getting her involved in sports and activities can offset all of that. I just kinda like what we’ve got going here and I’m wary of upsetting the balance.

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