Only children. Is one really the loneliest number?

When you’re a kid, you plan how many kids you’re going to have (or was that just me?). Then life comes along and gets in the way and your intentions suddenly seem naive and out-dated. Sometimes. Other times, choices are taken away from you.

But the issue of Only Children is always an interesting one. Are they more selfish? Are they lucky to have the full attention of their parents?

H wrote the following, looking for some Group Therapy input….

I have one child – a boy who is 4 years old. I would love to see a group therapy session on Only Children.

I was 37 when my son was born, got pregnant immediately, easy pregnancy and no horrible birth story (elective c-section). He was an easy baby – slept through from 6 weeks. I still struggled as a first time mum despite this (lack of sleep, loss of freedom, shift in our marital roles) and I have hesitated to have anymore children.

Now I am almost 42 and have spent the last 4 years thinking daily about whether we should have any more, my husband and I have discussed it but he is non committal and would go with whatever I think. I constantly weigh up the pro’s and con’s but can’t commit. I did fall pregnant at the beginning of the year (not planned) but miscarried at 10 weeks – so am not even sure it is an option given my age but I just can’t stop thinking about it: My son has always been adamant that he doesn’t want any siblings – but he is 4.

My internal monologue goes round in these circles:

-Is it harder to raise him as an only child – will he be lonely, a loner? (Ok we should just do this – it will be much easier second time around)

-He is the only grandchild on my husbands side and it is possible that won’t change as my husbands brother and wife have been trying for 10 yrs (often feel guilty about that one). (again OK just do it)

-Will he always wish he had a sibling – I only know a couple of only children and they all seem to wish they had brothers and sisters. (OK then do it)

-How will I cope again – he’s easier to manage now, pretty self sufficient, we are getting our life back (OK I won’t do it…)

-I’m too old for this now….

-Is the age gap too big now anyway – they would be at least 5 years apart. (Oh OK I won’t do it then)…..

Round and round I go…..

I know there are worse things that could happen to him and that I know firsthand that I am fortunate to have even just one when some cannot conceive, I would love to hear from others with only children, or who are only children or with lots of children….

If you are an only child (or have close experience of one), how do you think that affected you? Had it made you a particular way as an adult? If you’re a parent, how did you make the choices around how many kids to have?




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