By RACHAEL BALL
There seems to be a lot of hubble and bubble at the moment about the increase in one child families. A lot of it appears to be the many opinions about parents who choose to stop at one. While there are many reasons why a family have one child, there seems to be a distinction for those who actually make this a conscious choice.
Let me say this straight up. We are not selfish. In fact the opposite is true. I knew in my heart stopping at one was the right choice for us. It is what I am emotionally and energetically capable of. My husband concurs on this point. Knowing what you are capable of is informed, not selfish.
A lot of emphasis is placed put on finances being one of the main contributing factors towards this decision. From my own point of view, this is not a valid reason. Though it may be a consideration, any financial gain that is made through having one child is simply a bonus. Many people plunge on into the deep having those much desired second, third and fourth children, regardless of financial position because that is the key point – they are much desired! Is it really fair to have another child if you simply don’t feel it in your heart and soul?
I have looked deep within, had long conversations with myself and my husband, trawled the internet, accosted unsuspecting women in shopping parking lots when I notice they have two adults and one child as their “my family” stickers on the back of their cars and each and every time the same thing comes back for me. Yes, this is the right thing for us as a family. We are happy with our one child. He is not my only child, he is my special edition. Only implies: there should be more, somehow incomplete. There are only three pieces of pizza, there is only a bit of dishwashing liquid left, we only have enough petrol to get us to the petrol station, we have only painted the living room so far.
While I understand and respect that not all single child experiences are positive and can be lonely, this is also true of people who grow up in other family dynamics, anyone can feel the odd one out at any time, regardless of the family set up. I believe it is the quality of love and the experience within your family environment that makes you who you are. Sharing and caring is not the exclusive domain of siblings, in fact I think that my child is more sharing and caring than many of his peers as he is so willing to extend himself to others. His level of consideration and beautiful manners has been noted in his reports and I am not concerned what so ever about his social skills or level of respect towards others. It is unrealistic to be defined by birth order. It is the way in which we are nurtured that makes us who we are.