Many women declare to their partners that they would be satisfied with having a single child from early on. While some regret it, some stay happy with their decision. Are you a parent of a single child? Do you want one more kid? Do you think having a single child is the best decision in life you ever made?
When it comes to taking a dive into parenthood, a whole range of “what ifs” take over, your conviction weakens, and you are no longer 100 percent sure of what you want. A 2010 American Sociological Association study found that parents were more likely to be depressed than their child-free counterparts; and that people without kids were happier than any other group.
And what If you ask your child if they want another sibling? There is a 50:50 chance they would say yes! There might be about a 50% chance your child wouldn’t want to share you with another sibling and divide the attention from them.
Why parents choose to have an only child
Having one child is enough for a lot of parents out there. Even when our society usually looks down on parents being comfortable with just one child, our society isn’t. So they criticize or usually push them into having a second child.
But from parents’ perspective who are happy with their one child, what does usually makes them arrive at such a decision? Why do parents opt for having an only child when most of them can have another one?
When deciding to have one child, there are various factors for different parents why they choose to do so. Be it a career, not enough financial stability, inability to conceive due to either parent’s medical issue, or just because they are happy with a family of three.
For such parents, they are happy with having a small family of three rather than pushing themselves into a decision they might not be happy about later. For them, having one child means complete fulfilment that gives them a great source of happiness.
The stigma of an only child
There’s a lot of stigmas attached around preferring to have an only child. Let strangers alone, even the family members of a couple, pester them a lot to have more children.
There are still people out there who would say a family isn’t complete unless you have two children, which is just an absurd thought process. Due to such people forcing couples to have more children, many do succumb to it and then regret the decision they took under such social pressure.
This is why a lot of couples out there start to tell a little white lie about why they won’t have a second child.
How money matters in raising a child
Raising a child has become costly! Even though parents with a single child don’t admit it blatantly in front of people around them, but they are secretly happy with just raising a single child.
Gone are the days when raising children wasn’t that big of a deal and didn’t use to cost much. Being a 21st-century parent, both you and your partner need to have decent stable jobs for you to be able to send off your kid to a good college.
While that is just a faraway dream, a lot of money needs to be spent on a child’s upbringing in today’s world. From their basketball practises to their karate lessons, it takes a toll on parents raising their children.
So, many couples consider money an important factor before diving into parenthood, thinking long-term, for both their child’s and their own future self to live comfortably.
How motherhood is viewed as sacred
The fact that our society views motherhood as a one size fit all pressures a lot of women into having children. The belief that motherhood and having a maternal instinct is innate and unconditional is engraved so deeply that it doesn’t let women have complete control over their wombs. This makes them feel guilty if they don’t fulfil their role of motherhood.
Bringing a child into this world is viewed as sacred. This is a big reason why a lot of mothers can’t even accept the issue of going through postpartum depression. Instead of putting women and motherhood on a pedestal and viewing them as sacred, we should support their choice to being a parent of an only child.
Parents who regret having an only child
I had to shed some light on this issue, too, even though this is something most people support and encourage other parents with an only child to have more children.
While many parents who have regrets about not having more than one child suffer from medical issues like a miscarriage. Other parents regret not having more children as they usually turn 40. As they turn 40, there comes this wave of having another child. Around this age, women are bound to have more complications in their pregnancy, resulting in regret.
Many parents who were decisive about having an only child focusing solely on them felt a strong urge as they turn 40 to have more children. Call it the mid-life crisis or having this urge to crave for something more, but if you think your regret is even 1% less than what you’d feel if you’d gone the other way, then you made the right choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is an only child lonely child?
There’s this syndrome called “only child syndrome,” where the only child is believed to be spoiled, bossy, antisocial, or overly dependent. But an only child is no different from having two children. It all comes down to your parenting and how you raise your child to be.
What percentage of families only have one child?
From 11 percent in 1976 to 22 percent in 2015, the number of parents having one child has increased significantly. This census data by Pew Research Centre shows one-child families are growing rapidly in the United States.
Is divorce harder on an only child?
Divorce can be a very sensitive issue for many families, while other families deal with them like a pro. If divorce left you and your partner on bad terms, then it can be truly difficult for your only child to cope up with the changed circumstances. On the other hand, even after the divorce, you and your partner are on friendly terms, then you can both healthily raise your child. Be it a single child or 2 children, divorce is hard on all of them, but having your sibling can help two children deal with it better.
Does being an only child affect relationships?
Being an only child, they tend to be a close-knitted family. As the child grows up, they value their parents’ approval and decision more and seek their opinion on important matters of their life too. So, it does affect their relationship in that respect, but it’s not as if they can’t take any decision without their seeking their parent’s opinion.
When talking about families, there are small families, big families, blended families, childless families, and families with a single or no parent too. The size of a family doesn’t matter as long as they are happy and find fulfilment amongst themselves.
There’s a lot of stigmas attached to having an only child, where parents are criticized for not having more kids by their family and friends. While a lot of couples might be truly happy among their family of three, there are parents who regret later on in their lives not having more children a second thought.
What matters, in the end, is to think about how fulfilled you feel after having an only child. If you feel you should still have more to be able to feel content, then do so! Having one or more children is a choice every couple should be left alone with and not pressured into making decisions they would regret later. Do what you think can make you happy!