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Will My Son Be OK If He's an Only Child?

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Guest blogger mom-on-the-edge: My clock was ticking. I heard it ticking. Seemed like the world heard it too. Freezing eggs, sperm donors, in vitro fertilization... These weren't everyday topics of conversation ten years ago, but now you turn on the TV and there are the ladies of "The View" with a super-sized vagina and a guest doctor.

woman and clock

I heard that ticking. I felt the panic. I dreaded each passing birthday. But the alarm never sounded. No drastic measures needed. I got married and I had a baby. The ticking stopped.

And, it was all better than I expected. Getting engaged felt great. The wedding was beautiful and I enjoyed my pregnancy more than I ever imagined. No morning sickness. Buying jeans became easy -- didn't think that was possible. I even miss my pull-on pants! And everyone at work embraced me and my growing belly, even though I nervously started the job at the beginning of my second trimester.

It was a wonderful experience. I did it. I was a wife AND a mother!

Tuesday, a friend whose son was born a day after mine, announced that she was pregnant again. Then, yesterday, an old co-worker with a four-month-old revealed that she and her husband are trying for a second.

tick. Tick. TICK. TICK!

I've been on the verge of divorce for the past six months. Having another child is not in my near future. And, I'm 40 so it may never happen.

I know I'm blessed to have my beautiful child, but I can't help but feel a little sad for him. Who's he going to complain to about his kooky parents? No one will understand his mom's strange love of pasta with ketchup and butter or his dad's funny habit of answering the phone like Lenny from Laverne & Shirley -- HellllOH! -- except a sibling. Those are things you laugh about with your brother or sister.

Is my son going to be okay if he's an only child? And, how long will I hear the ticking this time?

next: Rape is Not a Dirty Word
22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kate November 3, 2008, 9:10 AM

If I was you, I would be more worried about my child being a child of a divorce rather than a child with no siblings. Maybe if you work on the marriage there won’t be a divorce and you will feel more comfortable with having another child. I’m sure that you’ve already condiered this, but I just wanted to point that out.

geen November 3, 2008, 11:03 AM

Is it just me, or does it seem like after you have your first one that people start asking, “When is the next one coming?” My daughter is two and most people seem to be asking that.

Steph November 3, 2008, 11:30 AM

I have an 11 month old little boy. And I am considering him being my only child. I struggle with this EVERY day. But my husband has a severe back issue including a device implanted in his back. He cannot help with our child as much as he would much of the work falls on me.There are additional reasons like my career and the lack of childcare for a second child. This is one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

Jennifer November 3, 2008, 11:39 AM

The only problem I have with parents with an only child is the spoiling. Ie My husband eas an only child and his mother spoiled the heck out of him and I wound up having to re raise him. As long as you dont treat them like that and teach them all the things they need to learn like sharing and not being selfish and basic responsibilities than there is no problem having only 1 child. Raise him as if you have 2 and he will grow up great!

birdsfly November 3, 2008, 11:40 AM

I know! All I ever heard from my mother-in-law after my first was “when are you having another one?” Keep in mind my son was her 6th grandchild and shortly thereafter the number went up to 8 and now 9 total. (8 between my husbands 3 older brothers with everyone holding down multiple jobs.) Watching that I wasn’t exactly in a hurry. Now that I am pregnant with my second, a girl, all I hear is “So is this it for you guys?” Lol.

Anonymous November 3, 2008, 11:46 AM

IMO it sounds like the blogger only got married to have a baby.

ELSA November 3, 2008, 1:33 PM


Lindy November 3, 2008, 1:38 PM

My daughter is an only child and I have no regrets.

chrissie November 3, 2008, 2:47 PM

I have read all of your blogs and No it okay if your son is an only child. Your husband is a really bad husband and I think the best thing you could do for your son is to walk away and start new.

Pat Kaufman November 3, 2008, 5:06 PM

I am an only child. I wasn’t spoiled with behavior, but perhaps with material things. I never missed a sibling, because I didn’t know what it was like to have one. Studies show that only children are more successful. As a child I was more than ready to share my toys and I learned how to entertain myself. I’d say the only disadvantage is that life is pretty fair when you’re an only so it takes you a bit to understand that while Mom and Dad are fair, others aren’t. Also, since you’re used to being the center of attention, you have to learn not to be. I’d say, if you’re having an only, just make sure that they have lots of play groups and friends around to help them with the rules of socializing.

anne November 3, 2008, 5:08 PM

I have 3 girls 10, 8, and 5 and they are best friends. They will (hopefully) be lifelong Friends. Siblings are the only people who will know you your entire life beyond your parents. They are your future aunts. uncles, godparents to your children, your best men, maid of honor, your Christmas morning your thanksgiving home. Anyone who chooses to have just one is selfish, you should do everything in your power to give them a sibling (natural or otherwise).

michele November 3, 2008, 10:30 PM

Hey anne, what happens if your little girls grow up hating eachother, or more than likely hating you? Never thought of that while you were busy telling others how selfish they would be to have only one…

Linda November 4, 2008, 8:01 AM

I have a 22 year old son who is an only child. We lost his dad when he was 15 years old. He is the best child a person could have. He says he likes being an only child. He has a successful career, lots of friends and we get along very well together. Can’t ask for more than that.

kelly detrick November 6, 2008, 9:23 PM

I was thirty three when i had my son and knew i could never have another. i thought he would be so lonley and mad about it. he is 11 now he has so many friends. he is so funny and has a great personality. always telling storys being creative. the best advice i can give you is alway be honest cause he has no brothers or sisters to ask questions just you

Scattered Mom November 13, 2008, 11:02 PM

How many children one chooses to have should be based on what works best for the entire family. To use blanket statements such as “anyone who chooses to have one is selfish” is ignorant. Unless you’ve walked in that person’s shoes, you have no idea. Could the marriage be falling apart? What if one parent has had cancer? What if one child is special needs? What if the mom realizes that she can only handle one? It is better to be a good parent to ONE, then take on more and be a not so great parent to BOTH.

Having a sibling doesn’t guarantee a close relationship-or that they will even like each other.

I believe that people need to go with what works for them, but to have another child only to give the 1st one a playmate is not a good enough reason. Get a puppy.

Jennifer November 14, 2008, 12:55 PM

Everyone is different. You are the only one that knows what is best for your family. Go with your instinct and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.

How absurd to say it is selfish to have only one child. I love big families but it isn’t the right choice for everyone.

Ju February 27, 2009, 2:51 AM


I was an only child and was spoiled within in an inch of my life with love, but my parents never allowed me to ascend to spoiled brat.
And Pat, you’re right on with playgroups and friends. I’m a military brat, I was shy, I didn’t speak English very well. I had some friends at school, but no one to hang around. So, for me, being an only child was lonely. My mother had two etopic pregnancies after me, she couldn’t have any more.
It depends on your child’s personality, if you move around alot, if there are a steady group of children they play with. I ‘adopted’ brothers and sisters as I grew older. I have a “twin” that’s a year younger than me and an older “sister” that still lives in the same town in Korea. I have two “brothers” I graduated HS with.
Being an only child doesn’t mean you’ll always be alone, never knowing what it’s like to have someone like a sibling. That is simple ignorance talking. Yes, I’m looking at you anne.

Silvana June 16, 2009, 2:27 AM

Anne, you are ignorant!!!!! I have one 6 year ld
Daughter who will remain my only
One and she’s fine. I grew upwith a brother
And sister who I was very close to and now we are
Grown up we HATE each other!!!!! We don’t even
See each other or talk to each other!!!!!!!!! I wish
I had been an only child!!!!! So stop being so ignorant as you know nothing about only children.

Silvana June 16, 2009, 2:36 AM

ANNE I have just posted forgot to say my mum
Has 3 children who don’t speak to her or each other
At Christmas she’s alone and none of her children
Speak to her we blame her and we hate her. Nice
Having 3 children isn’t it Anne? I also have many friends who have brothers and sisters and wished
They had never had any. Also my daughter has the
Most important thing in life a private school education. So Anne just don’t talk about things you
Know nothing about

Silvana June 16, 2009, 2:41 AM

I also agree more than likely annes daughters will end
Up hating her! My mum has first experience of 3 children hating her. Not nice Anne.

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