At Peace With Just The One

My son was never meant to be an only child.

As the youngest of four children, my childhood home was always full of hustle and bustle with a multitude of playmates. Of course it also meant that there wasn't a moment's peace and quiet, but I wouldn't have traded that for the world. Which is why I was going to have two children.

Was going to.

But it just hasn't happened and at the grand old age of 40, I'm ok with that.

I can recognise now that I'm fairly certain I had such significant birth trauma after my son was born that it may have been borderline PTSD; it certainly triggered anxiety and panic attacks. It's taken a good few years with various counselling interventions to make peace with the mistakes that were made during his birth, but I can now let it go.

He's here, he's healthy, he's happy.

That is the most important thing.

However, by the time I'd adjusted and entertained the thought of childbirth again, I was on the slippery slope towards 40. Having a baby at 32 was hard enough, but this many years later? I dread to think how I'd cope with the feeding dilemma and subsequent guilt combined with the sleepless nights, let alone the physical toll on my body. Pre-pregnancy weight is a distant dream eluding me and I'm nowhere near as fit. Would my body actually hold up through the pregnancy? It is a realistic concern and in order to be physically in a place where I should become pregnant would take at least a year. Then there's the falling pregnant and the actual three-quarters of a year before the baby arrives.

I'd be looking at 43 and my son would be 11. That's a heck of an age gap and one that I know only too well can be very difficult to overcome; luckily I've got two siblings in the gap of twelve years between my eldest brother and I, and it makes it easier. I'm just not sure that it would be very fair on The Boy.

Did I want my son to have a sibling?

Of course I did, it's one of the most amazing bonds and the longest one a person can have. Never have I known three people that I can absolutely adore whilst also wanting to pull their hair out. And I'm not talking about when we were children; my brothers both currently need their heads banging together for many reasons. But I still love them.

There's a saving grace to assuage my guilt; my sister's children. They're incredibly close to my son (my niece is 14 and my nephew 11) and the three of them together are like the Three Musketeers. It fills my heart with joy to see him cuddling my niece like a big sister, learning how to tie his shoelaces from her and the way that she always visually checks he's managing at dinner, or automatically holds his hand near a road. Likewise I'm filled with glee when I see the two boys down in the mud kitchen concocting all mnaner of delicacies for their restaurant; Food and Doogan. Or when they go on a space mission through the garden to the climbing frame rocket with football helmets under their arms.

The bond that they have is similar to that of a sibling, but the best thing about cousins is that you have more of your own space and can have a more effective timeout.

I'm lucky. I have a son. He's funny and kind and amazing and fills my heart with joy. I can't imagine my life without enjoying his company.

And that's why I've accepted that I just have one child.

Now does anyone want to buy a pram?

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  1. says

    The Boy is a delight and has lots of friends and close cousins, he will be fine whatever, what's important is that you and Mr TBAM are happy too, if you are at peace with one then one is perfect, end of and time to move on. Enjoy The boy as he grows and matures, trust me you never stop worrying, being proud, and concerned and all other parenting emotions as they grow up. We were up your way checking on Ally today after he did a mad get a way to France on his own!

  2. says

    Please try not to feel guilty for The Boy, I was an only child, and also had no cousins or children in the family (youngest was my Aunt but she is about 20 years older than me) I was fine although I did used to moan a bit at my Mum , as did my friends who moaned about having siblings, and I'm fine now – in my opinion anyway!

  3. says

    Such a bittersweet post lovely. I love the fact you’re ok with this now. I know how much you wanted another child. I know what it’s like to be an only child & things are far different now to what they were. You have one of the happiest, smartest & sweetest little boys. You hear the sheer pride & delight that comes through on your words & photos. Enjoy it. Lots of love susan xx

  4. Lauren Jewhurst says

    Much love to you. I was an only child, until my mum remarried when I was 10 and I gained an older step sister and brother. I do not in any way feel my childhood was impacted negatively by not having siblings. When I got older and gained my sister especially, it was nice to have someone so close in age (15 months between us) to share things with, which is why I wanted Phoebe to have a sibling and I'm very grateful we will (all being well) be able to give her that. But as you say your Boy has his cousins to share and grow up with and he will thrive on that. He is a credit to you and you are a credit to him too 🙂 Thank you for being honest and sharing this with us xxxxxxx

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