Thursday, 9 July 2015

What if We Stop at One?

Just this week, the hubby and I were reminiscing about our honeymoon to Florida. Two years ago this summer, we spent two glorious weeks in Orlando, Florida, where we stayed at the 4 star Universal Loews Royal Pacific resort. It was a jam packed, super fun fortnight in which we did everything we'd always wanted to do since being kids, and we did it together. It really was magical.

We got so carried away, we even got the photo album out and started looking back at the places, the people, the food and the memories. In unison, at exactly the same moment, we said "I can't wait to take Jake". A giggle and a pause followed. When could that happen? The thought of being able to take Jake to Florida was suddenly stained by the fact that, realistically, we need to talk about when or if we might have another baby - because let's be frank, we can't afford to do both. Plus - we want to buy a house and we've planned to do this in 3-5 years' time. 

These thoughts begin to escalate. So if we wait to have another child and then wait for them to be old enough to go to Florida too - we're talking about 10 years from now. You start to consider is it ever going to be possible to afford two children who need childcare? And then if you can afford to have two children at all.

What if we stop at one? 

Both Luke and I have siblings. Luke has 3 older brothers, and I have a younger brother and sister who are twins. Jake has 5 cousins - all girls - varying from 18 to 2 years old. Would it be selfish to stop at one and choose not to have any more so that we can offer Jake a comfortable life, rather than run the risk of really struggling to make ends meet and never having the money to do the things we want to do? Both Luke and I come from families without expendable income. My mum was a single parent (although we've always seen Dad) and I remember the struggles she had - never affording to have a holiday abroad for herself until after I was 18. I got free school meals and EMA money to help me get through A levels at sixth form.

Mum was great - she taught us the importance of hard work and motivation - we were always busy and we never went without - but it was a struggle for her. I think a lot of why all three of us have become successful in our education and career is because of the drive mum instilled in us to succeed. I want to instill that drive in Jake - but I also want us to be able to do the things we want. 

Jake is a gorgeous little boy. I know I'm biased - but he is. He is bright and happy and sociable. I honestly love him more than anything. I almost can't imagine loving another child as much - of course I know that you do, when you have another. But I don't think I'd mind if it were just the three of us. 

Single child families are growing in numbers. It is thought that almost half of families across England, Scotland and Wales have only one child now. It is also thought that in the next twenty years this will become a majority, as couples are crippled by financial constraints; economic fluctuations affecting the cost of living, continued rising house prices, astronomical childcare costs and women facing the daunting task of juggling family life with careers (as I, myself, am trying to do) this is only going to have a continued impact on family life.

I have found myself becoming increasingly interested in what this means. So, what if we do stop at one and Jake were to become an only child? Well, research conducted by Dr Toni Falbo revealed that single children - or 'onlies' as they are becoming known - are not disadvantaged. They, in fact, seem to enjoy 'slight advantages in certain areas'. It was indicated that they enjoy higher achievement as adults, with particular focus on education and verbal ability.

Naturally, I worry about the lack of social interaction and relationships. However, it's easy to forget that Jake spends several hours a week at nursery with his peers and key workers. He has cousins and spends time with his grandparents, aunts and uncles. There isn't any part of Jake's week where he isn't interacting - even if it's just with me, his silly mummy, rolling around on the carpet with him.

I'm not saying that I don't want any more children. I'm not saying we won't have any more children! But, I am saying that we need to stop seeing the decision to stop after one child as selfish, and start respecting it as doing what's right for your family, in your circumstances and in your time. Having a child is a blessing in itself; count that blessing and enjoy what you have. There are many couples who can't have a child at all.

I'd love to read your thoughts - especially if you're an only child yourself!
Baby Brain Memoirs

12 comments:

  1. Difficult one hey; to carry on or stop at one has been on my mind a lot recently and I'm planning to write some of my reflections about it sometime. Every child is a blessing and having one is not necessarily an issue of selfishness. You know, it has not even crossed my mind that stopping at one has anything to do with selfishness. Selfishness though, played in a role in the slow match towards have one at all.

    There are so many contributing factors when deciding to have a child at all, or more than one if you don't have natural multiple births. Yeah, we each must decide what works best for our family; all the best as you journey onwards in your consideration. :-) #Twitter

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    1. Thank you very much for the comment NM. I agree that in having one at all there is a degree of selfishness to consider. I expect that now your little one is getting older it is a time to reflect for you too. All the best xxx

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  2. I always thought i would only have one child as i was a single parent until my daughter was eight then all of a sudden i ended up having two more children 14 months apart and now i'm a mum of three. My daughter says she prefered being a only child as she got more attention and we could do more things like visit disneyland etc. I think do what is best for you and your family and follow your heart and everything will be just fine xx

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    1. Aww thank you for the comment - I think you're right - do what's right and follow your heart :) xx

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  3. Hey Hun, such an interesting post and so true! I've always wanted a sibling for Arjun (God permitting) but I also have similar thoughts - Arjun has plenty of buddies and social interaction so I don't think it would be selfish. You gotta do what's right for you. I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love him nor can I imagine coping with two! Let's see what the future holds for us both xx thank you for linking up to #babybrainmonday x

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    1. Aw thank you for the great comment , Harps!! I think you're right - the future is out there waiting for us :)

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  4. Agree so much with this, my wife and I are going through the same process, struggling for money and wondering if and when we should have the next one. We are undecided but I know we would be happy if we remain as three. Glad that the research shows that the only child stigma is a myth as well.

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment - the research certainly is showing that more and more of us are staying as three, rather than having multiple children. It suggests that our children are actually better off in many ways, provided they are getting social interaction too. It's tough isn't it!? X

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  5. Completely agree, especially given the financial burden it can have too. Particularly liked your closing comment that not every couple can have a child too!

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    1. Thank you very much; I do think it's easy to lose sight of the gazillion blessing that come with having a child. We need embrace those and cherish them!x

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  6. We have this conversation a lot! We'd both love another, but thinking realistically with child care & wanting to give Archie the best life possible, I'd be more than happy to stick with one. Steve on the other hand would have another tomorrow & worry about the financial implications after!!! We will see. Scarlet xx

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    1. I am the same as you Scarlet. The financial implications are impossible for us - we don't all have the luxury of not having to work! Plus - I already have enough guilt, do I want even more? Tough. If money was no concern - I'd be pregnant NOW! lol xx

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