Should I Have Another Kid?

15th December 2008

The latest Momversation is about knowing when to say when. Is one child enough, or are you planning to collect the set? We conclude by heading out for an impromptu belly dancing lesson, which sounds incongruous, but it ultimately ties everything together.

48 thoughts on “Should I Have Another Kid?

  1. Puanani

    Hee-hee. I was the last of eight. There is no right answer. Last of eight was like being an only child, because everyone ignored me! But I am fine with it, really…fine.

  2. Angela

    At 35, I struggle with when to have the first, much less the second. There never seems to be a good time. I also vacillate between wanting just two or to “collect them all” a la Angelina & Brad. I think I’m naturally more inclined to the latter over the former.

    Another good “mom”-versation – what do you say to the people who comment on your reproductive agenda? If only everyone approached it with the same thoughtful “you know, it’s my biggest regret that….”

  3. the sassy kathy

    your part about the bathroom tiles had me cracking up – as one who canNOT make a decision to save her life, i sympathize. and the outnumbering in a wrestling match? good call :)

    my boyfriend is an only child, and keeps saying how he only wants one kid etc. i have told him – no, no way. i have a sister, and i can’t imagine how lonely it would be by myself… just my 2 cents…

  4. Nancy

    Never thought of the two out numbering one, I did receive the advice that three will always out number you.

    My advice, go hang with a family with more kids than you have for awhile and see what that lifestyle looks like. That’s what stopped us at two.

    Oh, and if the kid you have seems like the type who might put you in an old people’s home the first chance they get, have another…

  5. Kristina

    I don’t have any yet, but it was just me and my brother, moving around and maybe the key is spacing them out because our puberties clashed like titans, but I always wanted another sibling there, to take sides. I think it depends on the kid, and here’s where nature vs. nurture comes into play, but I don’t think I could have survived as an only child. I’d have been far more of a mess than I am now. I really should probably tell my brother this.

  6. denise

    i believe that a child should have a sibling. it’s so valuable later in life to have someone that knows your whole history, to joke about your parents with, to be an aunt or uncle. just knowing that there’s someone that knows what it’s like to be you.

    on the other hand, i believe in adoption or only having one biological child. there are 60,000 children available for adoption in california alone.

  7. Hannah

    I’m the first of two. My OH is the first of two.

    I’m the eldest Grandchild of 4 on my Mum’s side and the eldest of 6 on the other side (I also have step or half cousins but I’m not sure how they fit in at the moment as they possibly don’t count as relations!)

    I have three best friends and two are only children (or have gained step-siblings in their 21ish year lives) the other is a twin and the middle child (if that makes sense!)

    I think it’s good to have siblings. I half agree with Denise – there are so many kids in this world who don’t have a loving caring family – maybe adoption or fostering is an option after baby one.

    There is a lady at church who has three biological children and since they have been grown up and moved out of the nest she’s fostered (both long term and short term)

  8. Samilja

    What’s interesting about this conversation (and all the comments) is that all anyone can add to this is personal perspective. While some might claim otherwise, I don’t really believe there is a science to which we can turn when making these decisions.

    As another commenter pointed out, it depends on the kid…or in this case, on the adults involved in raising the kid(s). I’m an only child and while I was sometimes lonely as a kid, I don’t have a longing as an adult for a sibling. My situation too was one of divorced parents and a F/T working mom with whom I lived most of the time and who did her best but just didn’t have a lot left at the end of the day to give. On the other hand, my daughter is an only with married parents, a very involved dad, and a mom who stays home 60% of the time and really works at making sure the kiddo has plenty of playmates her own age. Her experience is entirely different than my own. I guess my long-winded point is that there is no more personal decision than this and ultimately you have to ask yourself what it is you really want vs. what is the ‘right’ decision based on opinions, fear, guilt, etc.

  9. Leah

    This is a scary thought, but I mention it because it happened to a relative of mine.

    My relative was an only child, and both her parents died at a young age, while she was in her 20s. She desperately wishes she had a sibling to share her grief, support her, and maintain the feeling that she still had an immediate family.

  10. Cee

    I’m nowhere near ready to have kids yet…but I’ve always planned on having just one kid. My family has a long, long history of battling siblings (my grandma and her sisters, my mom and her siblings, my brother and I, etc etc). Growing up with an asshole of a brother certainly didn’t endear me towards the whole multiple child thing. Plus, I’ve worked as a nanny and taking care of one kid was a breeze. You can devote all your attention and time to him or her, and have lots of quality bonding time. With two or more kids, it was a constant struggle.

  11. Susan

    The only thing that worries me is I notice many highly intelligent, high-performing couples only having one child. Within a couple of generations won’t the idiots of the world outnumber the smart kids by about a gazillion?
    Just a thought.

  12. David

    I’m not a Mom, am I still allowed to comment?

    I think parents hope that their children will take care of and be there for one another always, but especially when they’re not able to be. The love and support of my parents is a tremendous influence/support in my life. And the love and support of my siblings is the only thing that comes close to matching it. My siblings are one of the strongest components to the safety net of my life.

  13. Kevin

    (Also, not a mom)

    Because of the way my family was spaced out, I was at times the youngest, an “only”, and the “oldest”. My sisters are 15+ years older than me, and by the time I was 4 I had a niece who I grew up with more as brother and sister. My pre-teens and teenage years were spent more as an only child. I think I would have liked to have had a sibling a little closer to my age. That concept is kind of foreign to me and there are times I feel like I missed out on something my sisters got to have.

    My partner and I plan on having two (I think?) to add to the 12 other grandchildren in the family. But that won’t be for awhile!

  14. bluejeanamy

    tough one.

    super close to my younger brother and really grateful for his company and unique understanding as we’re now adults dealing with our often-crazy parental units. if i didn’t have him to call up after phone calls with my dad i’d probably lose it.

    but being an only could be cool, too. especially if there’s plenty of cousins and friends around.

    also: love your lipstick – what’s the color??

  15. Angela

    I think all of you have good points, but a sibling isn’t necessarily an automatic friend. My sister and I are best friends but 9 times out of 10 when I mention that to someone, they express their dislike/disconnect/apathy for their siblings. So if you are thinking of having another child to be the “best bud”/support system for your current child that is a huge gamble.

  16. ML

    There’s nothing wrong with having one kid. In fact, if I had my way, DH and I would only have one. But DH wants 3, so two is the natural (???) compromise. I spent the first nine years of my life wishing I was an only, since I didn’t (and still don’t, at 35) get along with my one-year younger brother. I love my sister, who is 9 years younger, however. There are no guarantees for loving relationships with siblings when they’re children or when they’re adults.

    And about the argument about being 100% ready with no doubt as the indicator of when it’s time to have a second? I would have never married, had a baby, or made any serious life decisions if I had waited for that moment. 80% ready is good enough.

  17. Mrs. Kennedy

    We’re stopping at one and we just make sure his life is full of playdates and friends and cousins. To echo another commenter, I’m told that the toughest time most only children have is at the death of a parent. But every single adult only-child I know LOVED IT.

  18. justelise

    I think growing up as an only child has made me twice as strong as my friends with siblings that they still lean on as adults. I have no desire for a sibling, but I did go through a short period of time (age 5-9ish) when wanted one, and I’m glad my parents decided against it. I would not have had the same opportunities to excel in school had my parents been splitting their time between me and another child.

    I don’t think that having siblings makes people any more sociable than those that do not have siblings, because they still need to learn to socialize in a healthy manner with people outside of their family. A lot of people who have multiple children use this rationale for it. I just don’t agree.

    In a world that’s grossly overpopulated, I cannot rationalize even having one child when there are so many out there to adopt. I also don’t see any point in adopting a baby. There are children of all ages that need homes and families. I just don’t see why anyone would add to the population and put additional stress on an environment on the brink of collapse when there are so many children waiting to be helped.

  19. chrischris

    I am 18 years old and am the middle child of three. I have a brother two years older and a sister three years younger. We have far from perfect relationships and while I don’t know if my life would be better or worse without them, I wouldn’t change what I have. I am so thankful to have two people so startlingly similar to myself with whom I will share the near entirety of my life. They know where I came from and are the people who can best understand how I came to be who I am. Even if we hadn’t formed the strange, often unexpected bonds, that we have, blood runs thicker than water and I know because they are family they will always be there for me.

  20. Kait

    I grew up as the baby of two kids but my parents adopted my sister (who is three months younger then me) when I was in high school. I love having a sister and a brother, as well as being the middle child.

    My husband is the oldest of three children. We recently adopted a 2 year old and an 11 month, so we obviously skipped right over that whole only child thing. Personally, I like the idea of bigger families or at least two kids so that there is always someone else who can look at your parents and go “Yeah, that really was fucked up, huh?”

    This comment is long enough, but I will say that my parents went back and forth on whether or not to have a second child but they have both said they know their lives would be incomplete had they stopped at just one.

  21. greta

    i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard that it’s “cruel” to have only one child, and i’ve never understood that. i am an only, and have no regrets! the people above are right – it depends so much on your own personality, your parents, the rest of your family… i lived in the city, so was never at a loss for friends/company, and never felt lonely, even though my parents were divorced and worked full time. i got plenty of attention, but was never spoiled. i am also very good at entertaining myself when i need to, and have a large extended family so that i always felt i would be well taken care of if something were to happen to my parents. feeling alone or not being socially adept has to do with so much more than just having siblings. i can understand now as an adult how having a sibling could make some things easier, but there are still so many ‘ifs’ in that scenario – would we get along? would they be capable of helping? there’s no sure answer. you just have to do what’s right for YOU and hope for the best.

    sorry for the being so windy, but this is something that has really bugged me! we have a 20 month old now and almost since day one people have been asking us when we’re going to have another, and seem surprised when i suggest we may not.

  22. greta

    also: for those of you who think that only children won’t have anyone to laugh at their parents with, you’re wrong! my husband and i joke together about our parents all the time. of course we don’t know exactly what it was like growing up with them, but we know what they’re like now, and trust me, there’s plenty to bond over. :)

  23. Lml

    There is a great book called “Maybe One” about a couple’s decision to have one child. It addresses all the only child myths.

  24. jessica

    My husband and I decided for many reasons, one happy healthy child was enough for us. After our girl arrived we just felt complete. Plus, we want so much for our girl, and so much for ourselves. Some people say we’re selfish, but I say we’re doing what we feel is best for our family. And really, when people ask if/when we are having another, I just smile politly and ignore the question. if they persist, I quietly tell them they are being rude :)

  25. margaretpr

    The one thing that no one addressed in these comments is: you will never never never never regret having another child! As pointed out in the video, you may regret not having one or you may not. But, can you imagine ever looking at your beautiful child and wishing that they did not exist. Children are a gift!

    That said… the above should not be your only reason for having another child. But if you’re on the edge, It should be considered along with everything else.

  26. Cee

    #18 Angela – another good point. I very firmly believe that being genetically related to someone does not mean you automatically love or even like one another.

  27. greta

    #28 margaretpr, i have a hard time believing that no one ever regrets having a child! i just don’t think they would ever say so out loud.

  28. Christine

    You don’t know how happy I was to see this momversation. This is a topic that my husband and I do not see eye to eye on. He’s an only child and has always pictured having a large family. I come from a large family and am very VERY content with one child. There are many reasons for this and I know my husband has come to terms with it — although he still remains hopeful.

    The most frustrating part is when I come across other moms who are all “You’ll regret it, I did!” or “You’ll definitely want more than one.” I appreciate your words.. really… but seriously, you do not know me and I don’t like being scolded because of my decision. How rude!! Whether you have no children, one, or many, it’s that family’s/persons decision and it should be respected.

  29. Laurie

    I am an only child of an only child. Neither of us hated being only children or is it only childs However, I know that is my mom’s biggest regret (even though she hasn’t said it to me in those words) is that she only had one child.
    I have 3 and I would have loved to have one more but it never seemed possible. The house seemed crowded and crazy when they were little but now that they are between 13 and 20 there are many times none of them are here.

  30. Tristan

    My dad had a vasectomy shortly after I was born, so initially I was meant to be an only child. Seventeen years later, he went to costly lengths to have another baby with my step-mother. I love my little brothers, but I can’t wrap my head around not being an only child. It’s the best!

    I went through a very brief period of wanting a little sister when I was four, my parents bought me a rottweiler puppy and told me she was my little sister. It worked fine. My parents went through a divorce, and never once did it occur to me to wish for a sibling to share the sadness with. I look at my friends who are also only children, and they are the most level-headed and independent people I know. I can’t imagine having had a sibling.

    I was asked a few weeks ago, by someone my mother and I had just met, what I thought of being an only child. For some reason, my mother thought it was the stupidest question! For the record, she does not regret only having one. I just talked to her and we both think that’s a scenario that is going to be different for everyone! Sheesh!

  31. Ella

    Stick with one. We should have! A perfect oldest daughter and 2 total monsters. she hates us for having more…

  32. Moltomom

    Such an intriguing question…and one that has been on my mind for quite awhile. I’m 6 months pregnant with our second boy (my first is 3) and it took us so long to finally decide to go for #2. We had always planned for 2 but once you get in the comfort zone of the first sleeping through the night and starting to become self-sufficient, it’s so dang hard to put yourself back in the sleep/time-deprived category!

    Now that we’re almost through this pregnancy, I’ve surprised myself with thoughts like…”is this our family? are there any more?” Because now that it’s determined – we’ll have two boys – it seems so final. And I’m not sure I want it to be. Never expected to feel this way! But that’s the question…how do you know when your family is complete?

  33. jackie

    i am in the midst of making this same decision, so i watched this with great interest. it would have been nice if a couple of the moms who have decided to go for it had been included–heather for one. i would love to hear the other side of the reasoning. :-/

  34. Meg

    Alice is funny in person too, huh? I love the idea of the question of looking around the table and saying “Are we all here yet?” We have no kids (we’re just getting married for goodness sake) but I have a feeling that question will stick with me for years. For us that won’t be after one (not an option!) but after two I think…

  35. Heather

    I do not have children and do not know if I am going to have children. My husband does not want any and I have no leaning one way or the other. I’ve never imagined myself as a mom. But telling people that you are a married couple and are NOT planning on having children is the end of days. I’ve had people scream at me or tell me I’m being ridiculous or even that I’m lying! Then people accuse me/us of being selfish. I’ve also been told that having only ONE child is the most selfish thing you could do in life and having no children is less selfish than having only one child.

    I don’t get it.

  36. Adrienne

    The decision of how many kids to have is so subjective, and we really, in the end, base it on where we ourselves came from. I am an only child, and I really didn’t mind. I was bored occasionally, and as I’ve gotten older and my parents have aged, it’s been stressful to have to shoulder that burden by myself. But do either of those things diminish how happy my only child upbringing was? Not a bit. I don’t understand where this “Having only one child is cruel” thing comes from. On the other hand, I know people where having a sibling mitigated an otherwise unhappy homelife, so maybe it’s the parenting that makes a bigger difference than the siblings…

  37. Steph

    I’m 39 and I was totally, TOTALLY okay with Luke, my three-year-old, being an only child. And then I accidentally got pregnant. (We’d struggled and struggled — literally and figuratively — to conceive and carry Luke and for this pregnancy, well, we basically passed in the hall once three months ago. Whoops.) Anyway, I have to say that we’ll cope with baby number two and I know we’ll love it (uh, him or her) but I still think I would have been completely satisfied with just one.

  38. Stephanie

    I have a 4.5 year old miracle. I got pregnant with her pretty easily and carried her until the doctor took her out. A year or so later, we tried to have another with lack of success. Fast forward 3.5 years and three failed infertility treatments and you have us with our beautiful only child. With my perspective as someone who would love to have another child but who is confined to only having one, I am so grateful that we have her. The idea that we are missing out on something still hasn’t left us, and if you feel that way, maybe you should have another kid. Just remember, just because you make the decision to have another kid, doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. I hate to put that out there, but someone needs to be realistic.

  39. latenac

    We stopped at one. We always thought we’d have 2 but we like our little family the way it is. We like double teaming rather than man to man or zone defense.

    I really hate it when people claim she’ll be lonely or what happens when we die and she has no siblings. Well my fil had a younger brother who died 6 months before his father did so he had to go through the deaths of his parents “by himself”. My aunt refuses to admit her parents were/are sick in need of help so my mother has/is going through her parents’ ends “by herself”.

    You have to decide what is right for your family and for the sake of any future children try not to feel that you need to have more so you have playmates for your first or so you have an extra person to take care of you in your old age. I’m sure when people tell me that it’s not really what they mean but it always ends up sounding like you need extra kids like spare tires or something. But at least it’s not worse than my MIL’s comment that my sil has more of a family now that she has 2 children.

  40. lorrie

    For me, it was never an option to stop at one. Having added an Asian child to our white family, I felt it only fair that she have another Asian face to look at.

    My mom is dying a slow and torturous death from Alzheimer’s. Without the support of my sister and the family memories that only she shares, I would be bereft.

  41. kim

    this is pretty simple for me. I know, no matter what that i have a person out there that is my family more so than any other member of my family. he is a part of me that is somewhere else. it could be argued that some ppl never get along with their sibling(s) even into adulthood, but i think the chance that you have that good relationship far out weighs the risk of that bad relationship.

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