87 answers

Will I Regret Having Only One Child?

my son will be 3 in April and everyone around us is asking when #2 is coming. my husband is pretty much leave it up to me to make the decision (so unfair). i need to act quickly because my biological clock is ticking!
1) will i regret later in life not having a sibling for him? when he starts asking for a brother or sister...what do i tell him?
2) am i being selfish for not wanting all the responsibilities that comes with another child?
3) financial impact on our lives?
4) i am 38 and my husband is 48. are we too old to be parents? my husband will be in his 60s when the child graduates from high school!
5) risks involved as having a child when both parents are older. down syndrome? or slow development or disability?
any advice you may give to help me make THIS LIFE CHANGING DECISION will be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?™

A BIG THANK YOU!!!!i got so many responses on my request and wanted to let everyone know how much i appreciated your advise. many of you shed some light of situations i have not even thought of and lots of encouragement to make my own decision versus being pressure to do what others think. At this time, we are putting a hold on our decision to have baby #2. my husband and i said we are not ruling it out, but mostly on my part i will not want to. thank you again. p.s. my father is recovering very well.

Featured Answers

Hi G.-

I am an only child and a mother of 2 boys, 7 and 9 1/2. I can't speak for everyone, but all I know is I loved being an only child when I was kid, but as an adult it is very difficult. As I see my friends' parents passing away, I realize that when my parents are gone there will be no one left to talk to about my childhood or family history. I would give anything to have siblings.
Having the experience of being an only child, I, personally, would not do it to my child. It is a difficult lace to be as an adult.

Hope this helps-

I found that 2 was easier because was not my childs only playmate. I wasn't that much different from having one, except I had more time to get things done because I didn't have to entertain my child all the time.
I usually advise those who ask, to have at least two, just for that reason.

Yes, you will regret it, but that is not a reason to go ahead and have a child you don't want. Only have a child if you truly want it!

More Answers

My only child, daughter is now 18 and leaving for college. Do I regret only having 1, no. I had her when I was 28 and my circumstances are different from yours. I divorced when she was 4 and would have loved to have had other children, but there was alot to consider. My decision came at 35. I was in a relationship and getting ready to marry, my daughter now 7, involved in extracurricular activities, our travelling, East Coast to West Coast and then just the Mommy and me events, which we still do now. I look back at it now and tell her when she asks about not having siblings, we take out the scrapbooks and realize, she would not have wanted the attention shared and I wonder with all we did, would I have had the energy to do every one of those things with more children. No.

She is well balanced, has had chores from day one, great grades, decided on her own to get a job at 16, that wasn't necessary, in ASB, and other high school activities. Just stay involved in their lives. I could have had it go the other way, because she and I truly don't need to worry about finances etc. She knows what a dollar is and gto the mommy gene of what a real bargain is.

1 mom found this helpful

As far as being too old, I wouldn't worry about that part. I had my only child, my daughter, less than a month before turning 42. I think it's more an issue of whether you will have regrets, whatever your decision is. One thing I try to do is live with no regrets. Personally, we have tried for a second as I always wanted at least 2 kids, but so far it has not worked. All I can do is try and the rest is up to God, so at least I won't regret not trying. I suggest just thinking (and praying if that's your thing) about your decision and make whatever decision will bring you peace and happiness. Don't worry about what others think as you will be the one raising the second child along with your husband, so you and your hubby are the ones who need to feel good about whatever you do, regardless of what anyone else has to say. And you still have time to make that decision, so don't put pressure on yourself. God bless.

My opinion is that having at least one sibling is better than not. As a generalization (this is not always the case), single children have trouble sharing and sometimes have trouble with socialization, and most often are lonely a lot and wish they had a sibling. HOWEVER, with that said, you have to decide for yourself if having another child will make you feel resentful.
As far as financial impact, don't let that deter you from having a second child. Yes, kids cost money, but that is where the family has to make sacrifices in other areas (get a cheaper car, don't go out to eat quite as much, buy Target diapers instead of Huggies, things like that). And I think those sacrifices are SO worth it!
About the age issue, again, that's something you'd have to decide for yourself. But I do know that a lot of moms have kids at that age, and they don't regret it. Yes, the risks of down syndrome, etc are greater with age, but I wouldn't let that keep me from trying.
I'm sure you can tell from my response, but I'm one of those people who is totally open to life and children and family. I love big families and want to have a lot of kids myself. However, that's me. But, even if you are the kind of mom who feels "done" after one child, do consider your 3 yr old and his social needs. Take care and good luck!

I am 44 and have a 19 y/o son and 4 y/o dtr. My husband is almost 39 and he desperately wants a sibling for our dtr. (my son is obviously from a prior marriage). It is great that my son has a sibling after all these years and he adores her and visa versa, but my dtr. would benefit from having a younger sibling. I have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years, and although it scares me because of my age and our lifestyle (very busy, ect.) I think I would be happy to have another. It is a decision that only you can make.

Dear G.,
To be honest with you, I'm not sure if my advise will help. But I'm in a similiar situation myself. Our daughter will be 3 in April. She is our only child and we are both 42. I am an only child and always felt very strongly about having more then 1 child (husband grew up with 5 siblings) For the past year we have been trying and are still trying. We both have strong feelings about this being in God's hands and if its meant to be it will happen.... with a happy, heathly,(no down-syndrome or austism) baby boy or girl! Have faith that what ever happens, it will be okay.

I think that unless you have an overwhelming desire to have another kid, there is NO other good reason to do it! I was an only child and turned out great (if I do say so), as were some of my friends. We are no better or worse off than my friends who have siblings, as all people are complicated and wonderful with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Having another baby for the sake of giving your child a sibling is ridiculous unless it is also something YOU really want. As a child I sometimes wanted a sibling but I also wanted a pony, to live in a castle, to have parents that would let me eat candy, etc. etc... Children with siblings sometimes wish they were an only child, children with strict parents wish they had more playful parents, etc! Kids grow up in all kinds of situations, and most turn out FINE and happy! The important thing is loving attentive parents, ideally as non-stressed-out as possible, and plenty of opportunities for socializing, like going to school and other activities, even playing in the park or with neighbors. Part of being a child and a human is learning to make the most of he family you are born into. It is not up to children's desires for playmates or playthings to make major, major life decisions in their parents lives.
You can tell your son that families look all different ways, and that variety is one of the wonderful things about this world. Ask him if he knows any children with single parents, with one, two, three, or no siblings, or kids who live with their grandparents. Or couples with no kids. Ask him what other arrangements he has seen. Say isn't that so interesting! You can talk with him about all the other facts of our lives that it's not usually up to us to change, like who our families are, what color is our skin or eyes, whether we are rich or poor. Ask him what things each of us CAN change about our lives? You can talk with him about all the wonderful advantages only children have, like much, much, more of their parents attention (and how lucky he is to have 2 parents!), and the wonderful ability of imagination to make up games for himself, and the greedy pleasure of not having to share his toys or his dessert at home unless he chooses to have a friend come over!
It sounds like you have a lot going on in your life, and that while you enjoy motherhood it is not particularly something you LOVE to do for its own sake. If you are on meds for panic attacks, I definitely see that as a sign that the additional stress of another child is not something you should be taking on (again, unless you strongly desire to have another child in your life.) If you don't want the additional responsibilities of another child, it would not be selfish AT ALL to not have one. In fact, it is selfish for people to have children they are ambivalent about. If you see it as a stressful thing you "ought" to do, then I think it is your obligation to yourself, your husband, your first child, and the world to be happy with your son and give him all you've got a a parent!
My husband and I have decided to have a second child, but only because we both want one so much, and have both always wanted 2 kids, and have decided that the additional stress, work, lack of sleep, and financial hardship are overwhelmingly worth it to us, and we are both in a psychological place right now where we can handle that and look forward to the challenge. Otherwise, I think it would be an irresponsible decision, and unfair to both kids.
Good luck to you and I hope you can find some peace of mind once you've made your decision!

I have a four year old daughter, and I don't think we'll have any more kids. I try to just accept the fact that people are nosy. So what? That's their problem, not mine. I grew up as an only child, and I didn't hold it against my mom. Maybe he'll be glad that he doesn't have to share you with anyone else. There are positives to being an only child, you can focus on those with him.
Whether or not you regret it later, is up to you. I personally don't think that its good to regret anything, because that changes nothing. I think things happen for a reason and they are the way they're supposed to be. Follow your heart and don't look back. I don't think its selfish to not want the responsibilities of another child, its being realistic and honest with yourself. It's better to not have kids if you don't want the responsibilities of taking care of them, rather than, having them and not taking care of them or not being happy about it. You can give your all to thet family you have now. I'm only 26 so I can not really relate to the age issue, but I wouldn't worry about being a senior when they graduate, or see that as a bad thing. That's just the cycle of life. As for risks, I sort of see it as a balance between, there are risks with any pregnancy, and there may or may not be an increased risk due to age. To me with all your concerns it sounds like you're leaning more towards not wanting one. But maybe having a little bit of trouble saying it. and wow, you are dealing with panic attacks and an aging father? That seems like quite enough.

Dear G.,

I don't know if you will regret having only one child but I will tell you this: I'm an only child and I'm FINE. I don't miss having siblings because I never had any so how can I compare? Do what's right for you and your family. Your son will be fine either way.


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