“Middle children are about to become extinct, please help us.”

By the time you have finished reading this, my people and I may have already been erased from this planet completely.

You see, my kind is in grave peril, and not from the usual suspects. There is no meteor plummeting towards the Earth-threatening to demolish us all, neither is there an alien race about to touch down on our shores and probe us out of existence entirely.

The reality is in fact so much worse than that.

The sad truth is that middle children, those poor little bastards who had the misfortune to be birthed in between the treasured older children and the coddled baby children, are on the verge of utter extinction.

According to a recent article by Adam Sternbergh in The Cutparents are now mostly capping out their families at two children, with the article stating that “In the ’70s, four kids (or more) was the most common family unit.

Back then, 40 percent of mothers between 40 and 44 had four or more children. Twenty-five percent had three kids; 24 percent had two; and 11 percent had one. Today, those numbers have essentially reversed. Nearly two-thirds of women with children now have two or one — i.e., an oldest, a youngest, but no middle.

This is, of course, devastating news for the entire planet, and not just for those of us who happen to be middle children and are directly in the firing line.

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Because, while our existence may not be pretty, it is actually vital to the survival of the human race, all thanks to a unique set of skills we bring to society.

Also, just to be clear, middle child syndrome is not something that only affects those people who have a single sibling on either side of them.

The truth is (and this is backed up by Sternbergh in his piece and by the experts he spoke with) middle child syndrome can hit anyone who is neither the youngest nor the oldest in their family sibset.

For example, I am one of four children and my middle child syndrome is off the charts.

I try valiantly to soldier on through it, but there is no doubt in my mind that is has impacted and infected every ounce of my being and my personality. Sometimes for the better and also for the much, much worse.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment in my childhood where the negative impact of my birth order began to damage my very soul… but I’d wager a guess that it was around the time my siblings informed me that there was nothing special about my existence in our family.

Ha, kids say the darnedest things.

They used to tell me fondly, as we all played together in our backyard that “Kate is special because she is the oldest, Andrew is special because he is the only boy and Lucy is special because she is the youngest”.

A sentiment which of course left me, Laura “chopped-liver” Brodnik, to struggle through life knowing that my presence in my own family was akin to that of a spare tyre.

I was good to have on hand, but I wasn’t at all necessary when it came to enjoying a safe and comfortable drive through life.

The Brodnik kids. Laura in the middle, so she knows her place. Source: Supplied.

It's a plight that many middle children face, the idea that nothing you do will ever be groundbreaking, that you will rarely be the one to conquer the "firsts" and make it across that mythical finish-line ahead of any of your siblings.

On the flip-side, you'll also never be the able to tap into the nostalgia and emotion that comes with being the last person in your family to conquer a milestone.

You'll never understand what it's like to go through life knowing that as the youngest person in the family, you have the ability to whip out your get out of jail free "cute card" at a moment's notice.

Case in point, my little sister Lucy is a successful doctor in her mid-twenties who, to the outside world, exudes a very high level of adult confidence.

But in our family, however, she could drive a car through my mother's living room and then set it on fire and we would all just give her a cuddle and call her "baby".

"For example, I am one of four children and my middle child syndrome is off the charts."Source: Supplied.

Also, just to give you an idea of my pain, this is how my siblings choose to show me love.

Since they know that my middle child syndrome causes me to crave affection from them like the Kardashians crave new Instagram filters, my brother once gifted me for my birthday a tiny homemade booklet of vouchers that entitled me to one singular hug on the presentation of each voucher.

Except, he'd backdated all the vouchers so I could no longer use them but...it's the thought that counts, right?

However, it is because of all these hardships endured by middle children across the world that society needs us in order to function.

Can you imagine living in a society steered only by people who are used to always being the boss and always coming first?

Or by people who used to being coddled and cuddled beyond all measure and spoiled to the core by all around them?

Believe me, if that was your everyday reality, Donald Trump and his childish psychopathic tendencies would be the very least of your problems.

Not to be dramatic, but middle children are the glue that hold the very fabric of our society together.

"I am loud and proud about my middle child syndrome." Source: Laura Brodnik Instagram.

They are the ones happy to sit in the background and to pick-up the grunt work, they are the peacemakers and the ones who learn to be bendable reeds that weave their way around the unmovable iron rods of those you were lucky enough to be born first or last.

Middle children, you see, possess a very specific set of skills, because they understand what it's like to walk through life knowing that there is nothing special or unique about them, and they are happy to get on with their lives.

Every-time an obstacle is thrown my way, I know I have the grit and gumption to survive it, and I don't expect any kind of reward or recognition to come from that.

Just the other day, thanks to a faulty lock and door, I became entrapped within my own kitchen.

Instead of panicking, I calmly thought to myself "I have survived being called 'Jan' my entire life (for those of you not familiar with The Brady Bunch she is the middle sister and my spirit animal) and I lived through childhood  knowing I was the most likely one to be left behind when we visited a community pool."

And so I took a deep breath, squeezed through a precarious window situation and then once free, got on with my day.

That's just how middle children roll.

Now, members of my family may disagree with some versions of the life events I have presented in this story, but I am not fearful of their wrath.

Being the middle child means they won't read it anyway.

For more stories like this, you can follow writer Laura Brodnik on Facebook. 

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