46 answers

I Feel Guilty That My Daughter Is an Only Child

Is there anyone out there that has only one child? Or were you an only child? I came from a large family myself with lots of siblings. I had my daughter at 32 and thought that we would have one more in the future. Well, I have had some fertility issues and some other issues since having my daughter and now may not be able to give her a brother or sister to grow up with. I have a tremendous amount of guilt and worry over this. I have accepted the fact that she may be my only child but I can't help the feelings I have about her being lonely or not having a sibling when she is older to go through life with. Can anyone relate to this. Or were you an only child and maybe have some advice?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I was an only child & I had a very good life. My cousins are my brothers & sisters. My children are 12 yrs apart. I worry what will happen to the baby when his sis leaves for college. That is the main reason we are trying to have another one. He & I are part of 2 playgroups. He has lost of kids to play with. With my daughter, I put her in preschool, so she would have kids to play with.

D. - you have lots of choices from reading all the responses! You could even be a 'big sister' once a week so that there is another child around. Foster parent?

I know exactly what you mean, I also have an only child he is 4 years old going to be 5 in April and I worry all the time wondering if he´s going to grow up to be a secluded person because he didn´t have a sibling. To be honest I don´t know of any real advice for avoiding what we are feeling but , what I do suggest is trying to spend as much time with her as possible, take her to places where she can interact with other children. For example I love to take my little boy to the Zoo, playground, etc. I believe that by doing this you can try to elimate them from feeling alone.

More Answers

Erin is right. I have a bio son and adopted daughter and they are sooo tight. Don't ever think you "can't love an adopted kid the same" as one you carry. I'd take a bullet for either one. And both their lives are infinitely richer for having each other. But my hubby's an only kid and he liked it fine. So don't beat yourself up, but consider adoption.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a similar situation, came from a family of 3 kids and always thought I would have at LEAST 3 myself. Ferility issues arose, too, and after 5 yrs of 'treatments' and a very tough pregnancy, happily delivered a little girl. I felt guilty, too, and we considered jumping thru all the hoops to have another child, but decided against agressively pursuing this, because of the potential for severe physical, financial and emotional challenges if anyoher pregnancy was as difficult as the first. Now, our daughter is 25 - and I ask her if she feels short-changed that she doesn't have siblings. She says 'no', she is very well adjusted socially and has good friends with brothers, sisters, cousins - and this seems to make up for having a sister or brother herself. Personally, I am very close to my own sister and cannot imagine being without a sister, but I am grateful my daughter seems to be content with being an only child. I would have liked to have more children, it's just not the cards I was dealt. It doesn't have to be a negative in your child's life. I encouraged her having friends, being active socially and being a responsible person.

Dear D. P...your now-2-year-old Mamapedia post about guilt and worry about your only child being lonely or not have a sibling to go through life with could have been written by me. My daughter will be 4 in August, and there is no sibling in the cards and I am sick about it. The sadness I feel seems to be getting worse instead of better (an unusual event this afternoon magnified her loneliness). I'm a cheerful person by nature, but this subject leaves me heavy-hearted and is on my mind constantly.

Did you come to a place of acceptance, or is this still a problem for you? Everyone I know either has more than 1 kid, or thinks having an only is the best plan in the world. If you want to email me directly, it's elaine at cuexecs dot com. Best, Elaine

If you haven't done so already, look at the situation and try to imagine your daughter with a sibling. Does she act like she could use a playmate and someone to learn to get along with? We had fertility issues, too, and I have an active little boy who had no one to play with. It was tough. Are you able to adopt, financially? Or you could look into the foster care system (we did that too-went thru' the training and everything). We ended up not adopting thru' that though. We eventually adopted through foreign adoptions. It was a long wait (for us because of different things that came up with us), but we have a very cute little boy for our son. The two of them do everything together. Fight, yes, but that's part of them learning and forming memories together. I grew up with one sibling. We live apart now, but it's still nice to have one. It's like having a comrade as you grow up. I heard my mom say that one reason they had me was so my sister wouldn't have to grow up alone, because my mom did. I wanted the same for my son.
But examine your own situation and think about all that. And if you have any inkling that you might want an adopted sibling, get started on it now, because you might wish you had gotten started on it sooner yet!

I, too, have an only. He wants a sibling in the worst way. Sadly, unless his dad has one, he will be an only. I had no intentions of only having one child, but circumstances are pushing it in that way.

He's now 9 and most days, is happy that he has me all to himself, but he does "adopt" my neighbor's youngest son (4.5) and calls him his brother...in a way, it's nice, he plays with him and usually he has to go home before he becomes "the annoying little brother".

The guilt may never go away, but it does lessen...and our kids are SO good at adapting...maybe your daughter will discover a "neighbor sibling" that she can be a sister to.


Hi D.! Please don't feel guilty about this! I was an only child (just had a half brother & sister that were much older and didn't live with me). I turned out just fine, and still play very well with others :)! And although I stayed home with my mom for the first few years, she had to go back to work when I was aobut 3. So hanging around with other kids at daycare & the sitters I think probably helped. And now I have a 15 month old son and choose for him to be an only child. I'm certainly getting pressure to have another, but I actually just want one (I know a lot of people will find that unusual!). I feel like I enjoy focusing my energy on him. And I work one day a week so he goes to daycare for 1-2 days a week to get interaction with other kids. We just moved here, so over time I plan on getting us involved in other group activites too so he can play with others!

So there are other places that she can interact with other kids - they don't need to be her siblings! And take it from an only child - she has every potential to be as happy as a kid with lots of siblings!

Hi D.,

I can relate completely to your dilemma. I also have an only child, a daughter who is 3-1/2. I have wrestled with the idea of having another child for a long time. I don't have fertility issues, just doubts and questions about having another child. I waited til I was nearly 37 to have her and I was terrified while pregnant! I've nearly made peace with the fact that I'm stopping with her. I do feel bad about not giving her a sibling--someone she can grow up with. But that certainly is not a reason for having another child--just so she's not alone! I have an older brother (4-1/2 years older) and we were very close when we were in our 20's. Before that time and after that time, we grew apart and now only talk during holidays. And he only lives 2 miles from me! So there is no guarantee siblings will be close or even get along and like each other. My daughter does have a 13 yo half sister who's with us every other weekend, but it's not the same as a full time sibling to play with, someone who's closer in age. Now that Kaitlyn's a teenager, she barely acknowledges Nicole's existence. To help socialize her before kindergarten, I have her involved in several activities outside the home where she is around other children her age. She attends dance class, gymnastics, nursery school and Sunday School. Each is only once a week, but she enjoys them all. I found a few other moms thru networks on-line and we have a monthly play date with another little boy we met that way. My daughter is a happy little girl who enjoys things the way they are. She never asks about having a little brother or sister and seems content being the center of our universe. My decision is not written in stone, yet, because it's something I'm still dealing with, but when I really think it thru, I'm happy and content with just my little girl :)
I know I rattled on and on, but if you want to contact me to chat about this some more, please feel free to do so at ____@____.com I was actually going to post something of this nature since I'm still debating the issue, but didn't know how to word it.
Good luck!

I have a 3 year old son and am not having any more children. I do not feel guilty nor do I allow any one else to make me feel guilty. The number of children a couple has is a personal decision and should not be dictated by society. My son interacts with other children from his cousins, friend's kids, and his daycare friends. I am not worried that he will be lonely. If you truly want another child then I would suggest adoption.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.