I think being an only child can be likened to being left-handed. People think your situation is the weird one, the abnormal. We can’t have conversations about only children without someone reminding us that the child will be lonely, spoilt or bored. One of the things second babies serve is to keep the first baby company. They help first baby grow up seeing that there is another human around. Another baby.
Before I had my second child, I was bent on having only one child. The idea of a second child wasn’t originally mine. I had to compromise at some point. It was a very subconscious decision as when I took out my coil, I was doing a pregnancy test every week. In my mind, I wanted the pregnancy and I didn’t want the pregnancy. Talk about duality.
I believed my wanting to have only one child was weird until I met someone who didn’t want to have children. She says they are lots of children one can adopt and she couldn’t be bothered with having her own biological kids. She said it would be difficult to find a man who thought the same way. I wondered why we are so drunk of having biological children. Aren’t children, children? Why are we so quick to discriminate and insist on certain standards?
When Boobman turned three months I decided I didn’t want to have another baby. I read a lot of articles about the pros of having only one child. One of the reasons I read about having a second baby was for the first baby to have someone to play with. It was nothing short of ridiculous in my mind. Like the lady who didn’t want to have kids, I imagined I’d hear a lot of talk about why I needed to have another baby.
The first time I mentioned this to my partner, he said our son needs a brother. I didn’t bother asking how he came to that conclusion but I could see that he didn’t want to hear the only child story. He had initially planned on having three kids and seeing he was married to someone who was talking about an only child he said he was willing to reduce his expectation to two. It was reasonable to meet him halfway.
Some of the reasons I thought about having only one child were cost, travel, time and attention, moderate blood pressure and desperation to do what Ese wants to do and achieve in life.
Cost – Everybody knows that children are not cheap. A quick calculation of money spent on diaper, food, cloths and toys will show you what I mean. And the way my son’s feet grows is nothing short of magic. He outgrew a shoe without ever wearing it because one day it was too big and the next time I tried on the same shoe, it wouldn’t fit. I figured having only one child will cut down cost. Hehehe.
Travel – I intend to travel the world before I die. I had a tough time travelling with Boobman. I didn’t want to imagine what travelling with two of him might mean. Will I be tempted to leave one of them in the plane? Will I block my ears and let them cry it out when the plane sound gets to them? Will I be able to do any sightseeing in a new town or Country with two babies needing everything from time to hugs even when I don’t have any to give?
Time and attention – Sometimes Boobman doesn’t want anyone else to carry him, not even his dad. He insists that it must be me. Sometimes he’d come to the kitchen dretoward me. Severally I had to carry him while cooking to stop the crying. He already knows pots on the fire are hot. Yeah, go figure. He also knows how to come into the bathroom when I’m having a shower, trying desperately to get in the tub. Until I started locking the door and even when I hear him crying behind the door I have to ignore and get a good scrub. I imagined if there was two of him. Phew.
Moderate blood pressure – I imagine all that crying and tantrums can send one over the edge sometimes. Many times I have had to meditate to get myself centered. The thought of another child freaked me out. I wondered if I would depend on blood pressure medication to be able to cope.
I remember hearing a mother say she sacrificed her life for her children. By that she meant she sacrificed her dreams and ambition to have and train her kids. I do not want to be that mother. I do not want to sacrifice the thing that keeps me going for babies. If I do, I know I will regret it and possibly take it out on the children. I know that if I stopped writing tomorrow because of my children, I will not be a happy bunny. I will be sad and not myself. There is no need to try to ask like my kids can replace my dreams for me.
I now have two of them. I didn’t have another boy; I have a girl who is almost 5 months now. And things are not nearly as terrible and I thought they would be. Deciding to have another child changed my life but it didn’t throw me off to the point where I felt my dreams were suffering. If anything, it made me focus on doing the things I need to do because happy mummy = happy babies.
For anyone planning to have one child though, your thoughts are valid. Do not let “society” decide for you how many children you bring into the world. At the end of the day, all people will do is say “congratulations,” they won’t take responsibility for raising your babies. The work will fall on you and sometimes it isn’t pretty.