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  • Family question.. ‘One and done’ ?
  • PrinceJohn
    Full Member

    you get the single child ‘issue'(?)

    What is the single child ‘issue’??

    Honestly (speaking as an only child who never reproduced so obviously a totally qualified expert), I think you’re overthinking this. Either you both want another child, or you don’t. Anything else is whataboutery, if you’re reaching for excuses to have another or excuses not to have another then you’re probably leaning towards the wrong decision.

    As another only child who’s also not reproduced (to my knowledge) it seems way less stressful as people I know who get on with their siblings as mates are very much in the minority.

    Plus when my parents die it’ll be me vs the dogs home for their ‘estate’

    Full Member

    We have 3. If effort of 1 = x, effort of 2 = 2.5x, effort of 3 = 3.5x. It’s definitely a shock to the system getting the second as you’re all settled with the routine of the first.

    We also have semi-useless support network as my parents, sister and her family have retreated to Ireland. My wife’s family are maxed out dealing with my FiL’s dementia, so babysitters are next to non-existent. As a result my wife took redundancy and a 9 year break from work. Without this we would have been stuffed.

    My dad is an only child and for a long time we put his neediness/oddness/selfishness down to that. Having had my son be diagnosed as autistic and subsequently, for curiosity’s sake run self-assessment tests in the family we can categorically say only child syndrome was actually his undiagnosed autism (he returns off the scale positive results).

    Full Member

    What is the single child ‘issue’??

    I guess most people are referring to a combination of:-

    Parents possibly missing the perspective you sometimes get from being able to make comparison or just being too busy bringing up multiple sprogs to ‘care’ about every little thing (in a good way). Parents of only children often catastrophise more imo.
    Parents overdoing it a bit and making their children spoilt
    Kids not having another child to play with in the house
    Kids not having another child to fight with in the house! Learning the life skills of negotiation, compromise, sharing or taking turns.

    Obviously these are huge generalisations – everyone’s experiences are different and for some these will be totally non problems.

    Free Member

    My experience was that the second child was way easier – the having two kids to juggle was outweighed by the experience of it being the second time around. That said Teapot2 is definitely an easy going personality. Plus I wouldn’t say we found the first one particularly difficult or that there was any chance of one of us breaking by having a second. Like you we have very little help from family.

    My two are 30 months apart. They play together really well and have done since the second reached about 2yo, in fact a bit too well if anything as the ceaseless noise does my head in. I’m quite a buttoned up sort of person, not the most amazing at getting really into playing with kids so think it’s great in our house for them to have each other.

    I would say go for it if you’re on the fence. You’re more likely to regret not having a second than having one (*not read the rest of the replies which may disagree!)

    Full Member

    Only middle children are perfect.

    depends- if the middle child is the same sex as the first & different from the third they’re clearly unwanted!

    Full Member

    if your wife doesn’t want another child i wouldn’t force the issue. she’s the one who has to do the gestation and birthing. pretty big responsibilities and physically demanding. and i suspect that she’ll have the vast majority of the responsibility of caring for the new child, no matter how much effort you put in.

    we have one. he’s 6 and has only just started going to his friends houses. we live a long way from our families and have been out/alone together twice in that time.

    edit: you have my sympathy with the situation, it’s not easy when what you want with regards to children are different to your partner’s

    Full Member

    My experience was that the second child was way easier

    We found that two was much more than twice as hard as one and the 3rd is only an incremental increase in difficulty, and I’m told that you hardly notice the 5th.

    Full Member

    Not sure what the ‘issues’ are with one child? Is it not just issues that come with having a family? We have 2 boys with a 3 year age gap who do there own thing and do very little together, they are totally different in likes and personality. Things may change over the years, they are 15 and 18 now. My sister moved away when I was 15 and I can probably count on my fingers how many times we have seen each other since (weddings and funerals mainly) as we live in different countries. So what I am trying to say is more kids doesn’t always mean this happy friendly buddy stuff. My wife has 3 brothers and sees one of them most weeks, but boy does she moan about them.

    if you are happy with one, great. If you want another then that’s just as great. I wouldn’t over think the science.

    Full Member

    Having 4 kids meant that lockdown wasn’t as isolating as for kids we know in 1 child families

    I’m not sure that a once in a century pandemic should influence your thinking too much!

    That said its great seeing how well they play together

    Having 2 is obviously more work, but with the second you’re just better at parenting because you’ve learnt from

    Regards your wife’s health that’s a tough call and I suppose that’s a decision only you 2 can make

    All I can say is don’t have twins, it’s mind melting 😁

    Full Member

    second kid is definitely easier than the first, you know what you’re doing and care a lot less. Ours are 3 and 6 now, and play with each other enough to keep themselves occupied for up to an hour at a time. Much easier than trying to occupy a 6 year old by yourself 🙂

    Full Member

    Have 2 kids, I come from a two child family as does their mother. My wife (their step mum) coincidently also has a sibling.  For us it seemed natural to have two kids, although we didn’t have the health worries that your wife has. I don’t think having two adds much to the stress of family life and my two are very close, even as adults.

    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here, everyone’s just mostly making the best decision they can at the time.

    Full Member

    1 daughter here.
    We’re both happy with that.
    She’s half way through a nursing degree now. How time flies.

    We’ve a small cottage so a 2nd would have been sleeping in the garage – and that’s too full of bikes and boats to get a bed in for him/her.

    We have a dawgie labrador tho (in fact had a big dawgie well before our daughter came along).

    For the points about what they do on hols etc as a single child – either they make friends quickly with others at the pool / beach etc, oe I’d go behave like a 6 year old in the pool or sea wirh them. (My wide foes say I’m often childish 🙄)

    Full Member

    There’s a big thread on here somewhere started by me about five and a half years ago. Had our son when I was 37, he’s ace. Then we got pregnant again and I was worried about being older and coping with a second child. Five years down the line I have the most wonderful, demented, funny and beautiful daughter who lights up my life. Honestly don’t know why I was worried

    Free Member

    I thought that the trick is to have a kid, then wait about 8 years to have a load more kids.
    Then the eldest kid gets lumbered with all the childcare duties.

    Free Member

    I’m 52 and have one older brother. 10 years older than me. We’ve never been close. I see him maybe twice a year even though he lives about 10 mins away. We chat maybe once every two months for 5 mins. I little interest in him and he feels the same.

    Our mutual friends don’t understand it. He’s your brother crap is constant.

    When he was 25 I was 15. We don’t have anything in common.

    Do I wish it was different? Yes. I’d love to have a close relationship with him. But that’s just not going to happen. From both sides.

    I have a 19 year old daughter, only child. My Mrs had complications during childbirth and it was suggested having more could be risky. We never gave it a second thought and took what we had been blessed with.

    Being an only child can be an issue. But as parents you can easily take care of them.

    Love what you have. It’ll be repaid in buckets!

    Full Member

    I’m an only child – hated it when I was a kid, hate it now. I look on enviously when friends and colleagues have family days, lunches, go on holiday together with brothers etc

    As an only child I don’t understand that at all. I do all of those things with friends who I can actually chose rather than just someone I’m related to but might not actually like. It was much the same as a child, I’m perfectly happy to entertain myself but my parents tended to be happy if I wanted to invite a friend on day trips etc which is much easier than if you’re stuck with a sibling.

    Full Member

    We have only one, not by choice but that’s the hand we were dealt. It’s hard especially for my wife when people bring up single-child issues as if it was a choice we made. We know it would have been nice for him to have a sibling but never a guarantee they’d have got on.

    He demands more of our attention that I probably expected from my parents but that’s time we are more than happy to give. I’m also aware he is probably considered spoiled as we have more money to spend on him, but I think that’s other people’s perceptions more than our own.

    I have no point to make here, but happiness exists whatever the size of your family.

    Full Member

    Got one child and we are older parents, he’s 3.5 and I’m 45. No way could I cope with a second. I hope he won’t feel like he’s missing out due to being an only child, we can only try and give him new experiences and chances to socialise.

    Full Member

    Same circumstances as @mrpottatohead. We wanted two but have one, but you make it work. Pluses are being able to do more stuff cos we don’t have to worry about a younger sibling not being able to keep up and it feels like money isn’t as much an issue for us as those with more kids. Also if she’s at a sleepover or whatever we can actually do stuff as a couple which is pretty cool.

    Minuses are the “what if” feelings at the back of our minds, and people’s assumption that we have two – even the question “how old are your kids?” hurts sometimes.

    Full Member

    We chose to have one, a daughter who is now nine, and it really was the perfect decision for us, one she is very happy with too! The dynamic works, we have a very close relationship, it’s also financially easy, so no scrimping and it will be easy to support her when she wants a house. And I can justify getting her bikes without worrying about multiples 🙂

    She is brilliant at making friends and we have families we are quite close to, but she also really appreciates her own company and peace!

    Full Member

    We have 2 boys, 4 1/2 and 2. They play and fight and miss each other when apart.
    They’re both infuriating in their own way but both brilliant.

    OP do what feels right don’t wish for what could have been.

    Full Member

    We have 4 ….. 2 boys and 2 girls and its a lot of work although now they are 10-16 its far easier than when they were small. I’m an only child (my mum and me almost didnt make it so that was my dads mind made up on having more) and the other half is the eldest of 3 and i would agree with some of the comments above as id liked to have had a brother or sister when i see her and her brothers together and also like above my parents are slowing down especially my dad and it would be nice to have someone to help out with this but thats probably just being selfish.
    I do think having a second was easier than having your first as you kind of know what youre getting into but that could also be that our second was the poster child for babies, she slept, ate and was very easy to look after unlike our first. Once you get to 3 and youre outnumbered its another level and at 4 its **** it!

    To be honest only you and youre Mrs can decide this, if she has health issues and shes finding one hard then id be very careful as having another could lead to other things and beleive me thats no fun at all

    Full Member

    An interesting thread that I also now have first hand experience of!

    Short answer no, I don’t know how anyone would want to go through it again after having ine. We will not be having another 😂 , but for so many reasons. She had a hard pregnancy, the birth was tbh horrible which gave her mental health issues she’s still fighting now and I think because it was been such a transformation of our lives we’re both just looking forward to him being a child and being able to do things with him.

    Don’t get me wrong he is our absolute world and only tonight did I coax full on giggles out of him and not even being biased he’s a much better looking baby than either of us two !

    Full Member

    Similar position to the OP.
    It’s awkward that it’s almost a 3 way decision with the doctors and difficult when seeing friends with multiples.
    But on the plus side we get to live more comfortably and experience more than we would otherwise.

    Free Member

    Only child here and parents split at 7 so lot’s of traveling between 2 homes. Can’t say I ever wished for a sibling but I did have a best friend from a young age who had 2 siblings and his mum was my child minder so I spent lot’s of time after school with their family. I was very upset when they all moved to Kenya but quite quickly found a new best friend who I ended up living a few doors away from.

    She had a brother and we all used to play together after school and had walkie talkies to call each other and would sometimes run across the bottoms of neighbours gardens to the others house. We stayed as best friends right up to uni days but now as adults we’re really different and I consider her more like a sister as we have such long history together. We both moved from our home town to the same city.

    I was quite shy when I was younger and really enjoyed interacting with either a small group of close friends and also adult company but I gradually gained confidence from uni onwards.

    My rambling, nostalgic point is that children are adaptable and as long as you can facilitate them having lots of time with friends I’m sure they will be fine. Like anything there will be plus and minuses for each choice. I have benefited greatly from having the financial support of my separate parents.

    My only minor concern as an adult now is when my 2 sets of parents and step parents start to develop age related issues it could be a lot to deal with. Though thankfully I have a supportive partner and they are all well off so care costs will not be an issue.

    Full Member

    I have two, two years apart. My recollection is that my ex husband wanted 3 and then somehow that seemed to change part way through the second pregnancy. It took a bit to adapt to the idea that this was the last time I’d be pregnant. By and large, I liked being pregnant, and I do love tiny babies. However, after the tiny baby/maternity leave phase I found having 2 was incredibly hard. Logistically it meant I ended up burnt out and giving up work (they are NEVER both ill and off nursery/school at the same time!). Physically and mentally I found that 4+ years of my body not being my own, and not having the time or energy to do the things that would help me feel like I was still an individual in my own right – that was really hard. And that’s despite 2 long maternity leaves and a two year career break. Once they were both at school, I started work again, but on a part time and flexible basis.

    I don’t see a problem with having just one child, my two play together, but they have plenty of friends whose siblings just bicker. I don’t think a sibling means parenting styles or child behaviour gets magically better!

    Having kids is demanding, and I think it’s often underestimated how physically demanding it is on women. It’s not just during the pregnancy – my kids are 12 and 14 now and I’m still affected by the physical effects of carrying a child! In some ways, I’m finding now that I have more time to do the stuff I love (and getting older), those issues are more of a problem than they were when the kids were younger.

    I don’t think I have a point here, other than love whatever you’ve got, and whatever you end up with!

    Full Member

    I don’t think I have a point here, other than love whatever you’ve got, and whatever you end up with!

    As a father of 3 boys, only one of which was planned and step dad to 2 more children, very much this, they’re in their 20’s & 30’s now so we’ll have 4 grandchildren by the end of this year, family get togethers usually involve 14+ and it chaos but I was a single father to the three boys for 15yrs so I’m / we’re used to it 😃

    Full Member

    I haven’t read most of the stuff in between here and the OP but…

    We really enjoy having 2 children and it was an easy decision for us despite my wife at risk of complications. My 2nd – our daughter – was a harder birth and the reality of the lack of sleep etc hits harder the second time. But, you are practised and have experience so IMO a second child is only 1.5 times harder than the first.

    Having a son and a daughter we and they have such a mixed set of experiences and circles of friends for the kids and us as we get to know parents its quite joy watching them grow up.

    Just now going through the “I want to go an meet this girl…” with my 14yo son and pleased to learn that her mum also wants to drop her off and remain in McD’s/Starbucks car park for safety so its not us being paranoid. Bit of a laugh really, the kids’ll have their first experience of try to woo each other whilst the parents will likely have an intro outside 😀

    Free Member

    Glad I went down the ‘none and fun’ route 😉

    Full Member

    I would totally agree to that Hannah, my Charlotte had a hard pregnancy and then after a forceps delivery seeing her barely able to walk or even sit was so hard! But she still had to express and was woken up every 3-4 hours. Those days were so hard for me to watch, luckily I can help with feeds as she’s expressed from day 1 to about 6 months and work from home and genuinely don’t know how for example even single mums do it. It’s incredibly demanding! Rewarding as they grow up but yes, we’re only having one! I just look forward to when Weeride make a bracket that makes sense for a mountain bike and for when he’s old enough for a Shotgun!

    Free Member

    I’ve got 2, they fight like crazy, the elder girl is the easiest to deal with and actually quite a charm, the younger boy is frankly an enigma to me.

    Most of my friends are single/don’t have kids, I often feel they made the right choice. #selfishbastard

    Free Member

    I have two – about 23 months apart, one of each variety. The first one was a major shock to the system. When she now goes to her grandma and we’re left with only one, it’s like we’ve only got none it’s so easy! I’d say 2 kids is 1.8x the effort of one. After that I think each one is only going to be like an extra .2 of effort, just because you can’t give them so much attention so you don’t.

    We are lucky to have my mother in law very close buy who enjoys child care! Some of my friends don’t have any support network and it’s clearly a lot harder and a lot more expensive.

    My BIL and SIL have three – logistically this seems like a PITA, a lot of things are set up for two parents, two kids. It’s difficult to fit three child seats in most cars, so you end up with a people carrier (I mean i’m in the market for one so I can cart bikes and stuff around in due, course, but it only gets worse!).

    We’re sticking with two. I’m glad I’ve got two and not one tho. It’s certainly changed our lives tho (I kind of view this as the second chapter as it were), and we don’t do what we used to do (camper van round europe rock climbing every summer for example!). Lots of other things to enjoy though, esp as they get older than 1 (up to about 3 months they’re pretty boring, once they can smile it gets better).

    Bottom line is I wouldn’t have had two if my wife wasn’t 100% onboard. If someone has to be persuaded then that’s not a recipe for success (that said if the missus became pregnant again by accident i’m fairly certain we’d keep it, I’d just bitch about it every time I tried to get three car seats in my car).

    Full Member

    We have two, and while I love them both dearly, we’d always gone into it all saying that if we had to stop at one, then we would stop at one.

    MCTD has identified a lot of the issues; as someone once said to me everyone imagines it’s just another
    place at dinner, when it’s at least the square of the number of kids as hard. A lot of it is deciding which child’s weekend activities take priority when one of us is working

    Full Member

    We have one child, now 13. My wife (one of four) wanted more but nature said no.

    It’s been a joy. Would she be different if she had siblings? Of course. We would too. But I don’t believe any of us would be happier, or more content, or better adjusted were our family to be bigger. Neither do I think we’d be worse off. Just different.

    I sometimes worry about extended family relationships. My wife catches up with her siblings and parents every week for a two hour zoom. That possibility won’t exist for our daughter, but then again my contact with my family (one sibling) is far more sporadic than that and we’re okay with it.

    nicko74 wrote above of the importance of close friends and their families. We go on most holidays with other families. The family we mostly travel with (and have done for the entirety of our daughters life) have three children, aged from six months younger to three years older than ours. It’s a joy. Mostly. Sometimes it involves interchild tears, shouting, sulking, but that seems okay too. Every year or two we go ‘gravelesque’ cycle touring (King Alfred’s Way, Pembrokshire, etc) with another family with an only son the same age as our daughter. It’s lovely too, and they are/were in the same position – had figured life would involve a couple kids and then only one happened – and their lives too are going well. They, like us, don’t know what they’re missing, but are having good lives with what they’ve got.

    I reread this and don’t think I’ve added much to the conversation, but maybe they’ll be something you can take from it. All the best.

    Free Member

    As you already have a 3 year old there will be a minimum of 4 years age gap between your 2 children. In my mind this is too larger gap and makes it a little bit more like having 2 single kids. My experience is that over 3 years gap and they wont play much. This might make the decision to stick with 1 slightly easier.

    Full Member

    @bugsurfer – that reflects my experience. My brother is 5 years older than me. We were mostly at different stages of development, be that play, schooling or friends. We never had much in common and still don’t.

    Full Member

    We’ve two, 6 & 3.

    First was sleeping through by 12 weeks, easy going etc.

    Number two child was sent to test us, still not sleeping through, throws the odd wobbler.

    They get along except for the odd squabble. Lovely watching them play together.

    I don’t think I could manage a third but that’s me, I want the family to start enjoying time together more and another baby resets everything IMO.

    Seeing my two play and the love they have for each other I do wish I’d of had a sibling but I wasn’t lonely growing up, plenty of kids nearby to play with.

    Full Member

    another one and done here.

    108 days in NICU changes your perspective a little. we/he got lucky with very few residual side effects. wasn’t the plan but as others have stated you adapt and enjoy what you have.

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