Parenting, Parenting: Pregnancy

“Don’t have an only child!”

I read this earlier and it got me thinking.

I’m an only child. My husband is one of three.

I have to admit, I always thought I’d have a big family. At least three or four children. Well, going back a longer way, I thought about more like six, seven, eight. Then we started to talk about actual children, and think about finances.

Financially, we do okay. We live in a town with low house prices and a fairly low cost of living. We only earn average salaries, but due to the town we moved to, we have enough for a nice life, really. I like the idea of being able to give this baby a lot of opportunities. If we only have one, we can give a lot more. I know that I got a lot of support from my parents, and I’m so grateful to them; it’s set us up well.

When we got married, we bought a four-bedroom house for our imaginary children. We filled one bedroom with ourselves. One became a study. Three rabbits moved into the third. That leaves one for our baby. (As an only child, I have a horror of sharing a room. It’s bad enough I have to share with my husband!)

Me as a very small only child
Being an only child never did me any harm!

But, right now, the main reason for considering stopping at one is pregnancy.

Physically, pregnancy has been great for me. Yes, I had four horrific months of nausea and losing weight. Okay, right now baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve and my whole bottom and leg are numb and painfully tingly. I admit I’m sort of waddling and in pain a fair amount at nearly 32 weeks over here. But in general, my body seems to know what it’s doing over here. My blood pressure is always great, my blood and urine tests come back nicely, baby’s growth seems to be on track despite my shocking diet, etc.

But pregnancy has been emotionally more difficult than I expected. I’ve written about it before. I’m not myself when I’m pregnant, it turns out. I’m this sad, irritable, tired, weepy lady. I don’t like her very much. Then again, I don’t like anything right now. I am constantly angry.

It feels like I’m not so good at my job, my marriage or keeping my home going when I’m pregnant. Right now, that’s just an annoying inconvenience, but when I already have a child, I feel like it wouldn’t be fair on them to put them through what I’m like when I’m pregnant. And it wouldn’t be fair on me.

So maybe I’m letting go of the dream of having more than one baby. Maybe we’ll have a wonderful, lovely, beautiful only child.

It’s sad to say goodbye to the dream, but then again, there are lots of dreams that I’ve not been able to fulfill.

I love taking ballet class but I’ll never be a professional dancer, for example. But that doesn’t mean my experience of taking class isn’t wonderful in its own right. I can love pliés as much as any other dancer, and I can love my one baby as much as any mother who has more than one loves them all.

So I am making my peace with the idea that this one may be an only child. (I’m not saying never, because of course the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans!) But what I’m not thrilled about is the sheer amount of people who are already asking me “When are you having the next one?” No. I haven’t even had the first yet!

If I admit that this may be our only, they often follow up with, “Oh, don’t have an only child! They’re so spoilt/they find it hard to make friends/you’ll just love the first so much you’ll want to give it a sibling!” So then I get to out myself as being an only child. No, I don’t think I’m spoilt. I’m average at making friends. My parents love me an awful lot and I certainly don’t object that they never “gave me” a sibling. I had a great childhood.

And unless you want me to unload all of my pregnancy anger on you, it might be a good idea to stop asking!


12 thoughts on ““Don’t have an only child!”

  1. Oh, women who have children feel the need to give advice to women who already have children blows my mind. Be supportive, but no need to criticize. I don’t have any children, but I wouldn’t dare to give advice to someone who has children. I will say you are doing the best you can 🙂 Being a mom I can imagine is a very rewarding, but challenging full-time responsibility and moms should cut other mom’s some slack.

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