A recent tweet from someone I follow on Twitter got me started on the subject of having more children. My son is 5, he will be 6 in a couple of weeks, so the subject of only children comes up frequently in my life. The woman who mentioned it has a baby who is maybe 6 months old - and people are already asking her when she will have another - ridiculous! But let's start from the beginning. When you are young and dating, people constantly ask you when you are getting married. Or worse, when you are not dating and are a constant bridesmaid, suffering through the barrage of questions "So, when are you getting married?" My response was usually. "Well, I don't have a crystal ball, but if you find out be sure to let me know." So, you get married. Before the bouquet has been thrown, it begins again - "So, when are you going to have kids?" It never ends. When you do have a child, and said child is in the nursery, it develops into "So when are you going to have another one?"
This is unless you are super lucky and have a Mother In Law like mine
who flat out told me that I am not a "Real Mom" unless I have more than
She probably doesn't even remember saying it, but I do. It stung like a
knife to the heart. I am a real mom, a loving mom, and in my son's
eyes I am his hero. It didn't stop with her, though. My husband wanted
another child, because in his eyes that was how it was supposed to be.
But I wasn't ready. We were living in a dump town in West Texas, I was
busy enough with my son who at the time was 2, and I was not about to
have another child "just because he needed a sibling". What good is a
mom who is already at her wit's end with one in a terrible place trying
to take care of a newborn? I would never EVER have a child just so my
son could have someone to play with. Each child that comes into this
earth deserves a mom who is present, doing her best, and is able to
devote her time and energy.
I'm fine with one. I like knowing that I will never change another
diaper. At the same time, I know that if I ever decide to have another
child (doubtful), it will be because I was ready, and I decided that I
would love to welcome another child into the world. Not because
somebody told me I needed to.
A couple of years ago I read this article
in Time, a magazine I don't normally read. And in that article I found concrete validation. You see, my
son has no dilution of resources, a phrase I have come to use often.
He has a mom who stays home, goes to private school, which is important
in Las Vegas, as we have the worst schools in the nation, and my full
attention. I'm not sure I could say that if I had several children.
My favorite part of the article was this: "olit conducted a
meta-analysis of 115 studies of only children from 1925 onward that
considered developmental outcomes of adjustment, character, sociability,
achievement and intelligence. The studies, mainly from the U.S., cut
across class and race.
Generally, those studies showed that singletons aren't measurably
different from other kids — except that they, along with firstborns and
people who have only one sibling, score higher in of
intelligence and achievement."
One day at work, (yes, I have been both a stay at home mom and a working mom)
a co-worker was telling me how a friend was in town and that she could tell he was an only child because he was self centered, particular, and basically not so fun to be around. "Everything has to be his way" she said. The funny thing is that she was basically describing herself, yet despite my urge to say "So, you are an only child?" I refrained. She was in the middle of planning a wedding, and my first thought was not anger, as she said those words to me, someone she knew had an only child, it was pity. Pity for the fact that she may one day only have one child. How sad is that to have a mother who thinks that only children are destined to live self centered, horrific lives?
I know better. I know that my son is well adjusted and happy. Here is the difference between women with one child and women and men who think that you have to have more to justify your child's existence. I don't care how many children you have!! It does not affect me. So please don't concern yourself with how many children I have. If you have the balls to say to a woman "when are you going to have more?", why don't you think before you speak. The woman you say that to may have spent years trying to conceive the one precious child she has. She may have lost her husband. She may be just like me, a woman who had a stillborn daughter and is scared to death every time she is pregnant that it might end in a funeral. When you say "every child needs a sibling" to a woman who may not be able to have more children, you might just be breaking her heart.