“How old is she?”
She’s three and a half.
“Does she have any siblings?”
No, she’s an only child.
“Ohhh! It must be time for another one then!”
*insert fake fuck off laugh here* No, no- she is and will be an only child.
“Don’t be so silly, she needs a sibling. She’ll be unhappy otherwise. Why would you not have another child when you make them so beautiful”
Because that’s what we’ve chosen.
“One day, you’ll change your mind.” (our mind was made up 3 years ago thanks)
We actually physically cannot have any more children, so as I said, she is and will be an only child.
*insert a fuck ton of awkwardness here*
Does this look like an unhappy only child to you?
When it comes to having kids, everybody’s situation is different. Some people choose not to have children. Some people choose to have one child, while others choose lots and some people just can’t. No-one should be judged. We thought we were going to be the ones that couldn’t have children because we struggled and struggled to get her. There were problems at the start, problems at the end and to this day, there are still problems- just of a different kind.
But why is that my answer is not good enough? Apparently it makes us selfish to not provide a sibling for Miss I but that was a personal sacrifice we chose to make to protect us all. No one is selfish for not having kids or only having one. No one is selfish for giving a child multiple siblings because they love having kids and no one is a failure at being a human if they cannot have a baby or lose a child/children for whatever reason after she or he is born.
Personally, labour was horrifically damaging for me both mentally and physically. Not only was it long and hard (it’s certainly not called labour because it’s fucking easy) but Miss I had to be manually turned then was ripped from me via vacuum extraction, I tore- bad, lost close to 3l of blood and had stitches and blood transfusions galore. That’s not something I want to experience again and I don’t think N wants to either.
I remember the frightened look on his face when everyone rushed in and bowls of blood soaked gauze where being whipped away and weighed. They say you forget after a while what it was like…. I can still tell you EXACTLY what everything felt like! For the first week of her being in this world, N pretty much had to do all of the work. I’d lost too much blood and was constantly dizzy. He fed her, changed her, bathed her and put her to sleep while I sat back and watched, trying not to pass out.
When we started to discover the whole high needs and gifted side of Miss I, we knew that bringing another child into the world (not that we probably could) would be unfair to him or her. I know people say that you find a way to juggle both but it’s not that simple when you’re dealing with a child who has some form of special needs. This kid has the brain of a 6yo and for most of her day, requires some form of intense stimulation not to mention all of the eye specialist appointments we have to attend and soon paediatric/specialist appointments to help us manage the high needs and gifted thing.
Managing a child with any sort of special needs is not a walk in the fucking park. While its amazing moments are amazing, its hard, intense, emotionally and physically draining and can put a huge strain on any relationship no matter how solid it may seem from the outside world. I already have a massive responsibility to raise a child with different needs to most and that I know would take away much needed time from a sibling. Why would I want to put another child through what we experience on a daily basis? Why would I want to put Miss I through the whole thing when I know it would severely impact her? It’s simple- I don’t.
Just before Miss I turned 1, N had the snip. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision and it certainly wasn’t an easy one either but it was something that needed to be done. He took one for the team. I held his hand, iced his balls and made sure there was a constant supply of frozen peas in the freezer. The only regret I have about the whole thing was watching them perform the procedure. It put me off spaghetti for a really fucking long time. Upside is, we can ditch the “if you don’t got the rubber, there will be no hubba hubba” rule and it save ourselves some money!
Our only child is not unhappy. In fact, she’s the complete opposite. She’s ecstatic. She’s thriving. She has her moments, but what kid doesn’t? Because Miss I is an only child, she gets the attention she requires and has two parents that provide the absolute best they can to cater to her needs. If she had a sibling, she wouldn’t have this. She would have to have shared time and wouldn’t have been able to flourish as much as she has. I’d rather a happy child than two unhappy ones.
Support the people who can’t have children.
Support the people who choose to have only one.
Support the people who choose to have many.
Support the people who have children via adoption, surrogacy etc.
Support the people who choose not to have any at all.
Whatever your situation, I support you.