For six years I was mum to an ‘only child’ and I felt very defensive of my family’s right to privacy around why this was. In truth there were a number of reasons why we didn’t simply ‘pop out’ two children in three years. The main one was because we tried and failed for years to conceive successfully; each miscarriage hurting and challenging us, making it harder to keep trying.
As we got older and my first child Toby’s baby stage stretched further into the past, I also began to see that while I still wanted a sibling for him, having one child had many benefits. We had one last try for an elusive second child and low and behold, the pregnancy stuck and we now have two-year-old Leo.
While I wouldn’t change our family for the world, I still relate to parents with one child who feel as if their small family needs constant justification and explanation.
I spoke to two mums-of-one about their journeys to parenthood and some of the reasons why having a smaller family can be a wonderful thing:
Peta, Justin and Rosie
Peta and Justin were about to start IVF when they found out they were pregnant with Rosie.
“We had just come back from a holiday in Bali when I began feeling quite sick. I put it down to Bali belly but was overjoyed to discover I was pregnant at 41-years-old.”
The pregnancy and birth were uncomplicated and while the early weeks and months of new motherhood were tough, Peta was ready to try for baby number two quite soon after Rosie was born.
“As we are older parents and Rosie’s cousins are all much older, I wanted to go back for one or two more so that she would not have to go through life’s challenges on her own. Justin was much less convinced until she was about four-years-old and by then it was too late.
“It took me a while to come to terms with this, but now that Rosie is in year one at school I look at other mums around me and think that I got out of the intense cleaning, feeding and washing stage early – which is good as I am way too old for all that!”