Monday, February 11, 2013

Having an Only Child

A dear friend of mine and I were talking last week.  She asked if we were going to try to have anymore kids.  I told her I wasn't sure and that maybe God only wants me to have one.  She said, "but you're such a good mom!"  I looked at her and thought about it and replied, "I don't think being a good mom has anything to do with how many children you have." 

I know my friend loves me and cares deeply about me and she was truly only trying to encourage me.  So please know, this is in no way an attack toward her.  I just feel like I need to speak out. 

I'm not here to judge anyone because children are true blessings from God.  However, I have seen a number of people who have more than one child and could honestly careless about any of their children.  Thankfully, I know more people personally who are wonderful parents with one or more children.  My main point is I don't believe good parenting skills equals a bounty of children.  I know my friend meant well and her comment was meant as a compliment, which I appreciate.  I just want to speak out for those of us who would love more children but for one reason or another it may not be possible.

I have been pregnant 5 times.  I have one beautiful and precious son.  The other four babies I miscarried.  God created me in his image and with several health situations I cannot control. I was born with these things and if you follow my blog, you will have read about these.  I'm still waiting on God's timing to post about my last miscarriage in December.

What about adoption or fostering?  My husband and I have talked for years about adopting and/or fostering a child.  Early on in our marriage we had said if we were unable to have any kids then we'd adopt.  I still love the idea of adopting and taking in a child who doesn't have anyone to be my own.  However, adoption in American is incredibly expensive.  We are a one income family.  I love my job, staying home and raising my child.  We are unable to afford to adopt an infant at this time.  Also, recently, I've been praying and reflecting on what a friend cautioned me about a few weeks ago.  What about fostering?  I admire people who foster children and am still considering it.

My question for others, why do so many people see having only one child as a problem?  I have been guilty of this in the past.  So again, no judgements made to anyone else.  Recently, I spoke with some friends who gave birth to one child and adopted two kids.  The wife told me if my main goal of adopting was so that my son would have siblings, don't do it.  Ouch!  What would my main reason for adopting be?  A big part of it would be so that my son would have a sibling.  Why would this not be a good idea?  She said because there is no guarantee that they will bond as siblings.  Her natural born child, for example, never felt like he really had siblings.  It was like raising two families under one roof.  Think about how many step-siblings relate to one another.  They are "siblings" but many lack the sibling connection. Of course I also wonder if the same thing happens among blood-related siblings.  I've seen it happen where siblings don't get along and grow up not talking to each other.

I'll ask again, why do so many feel that having one child is not enough?  There are actually a number of benefits to having only one.  I've only been able to recently be okay with the possibility of having only one child.  Therefore, I've been looking for the positives, which are many.  There are numerous blessings to having more than one as well.  Hopefully this will encourage other parents who have one child by choice or that's all they've been blessed with, appreciate having just one.

- It's easier to do things and go places.  I won't lie, when I need to go somewhere I only have one to get ready and out the door.  Not saying I'm immune to the melt-downs or protests of getting out the door.

- Having one child is less expensive.  I only have to feed one, cloth one, and educate one. 

- There's more one-on-one time.  There are many days when I wished my son had a sibling to play.  Then I remember, life passes quickly and I should treasure these moments.  I can spend more time with my one child than I could if I have to split my time between several.

- Only children are just as outgoing or shy as children with siblings.  Ask any mother of multiples and she's sure to have at least one shy or outgoing child.

- When a virus hits our house, we don't have to worry about other children catching it.

- Only child tend to be ahead academically in school. I think the main reason behind this is because of all the one-on-one adult time only children get.  This is not to say that children with siblings are not as bright as only children, this was just a study I read.

There are many other wonderful benefits of having only one child.  These are just some that really stuck out to me as a mother of one.  If you're a parent of only one child, what are some positives that you see?
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