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Having An Only Child

Having An Only Child

Over the course of the year and a half that I’ve been blogging, I have noticed a couple recurring themes within my posts. One of the most common, is that my life has taken me on a completely different path than I ever could have expected. In many ways, it’s been incredibly difficult. And in just as many, maybe even more ways, it’s been absolutely beautiful. For us, family building falls squarely in the middle of both of those categories. Adopting D was hands down, the best thing we’ve ever done. He fills us in ways we didn’t realize we were empty. He challenges us to become the kind of people and parents we want to be. And he is growing into this person who has his own thoughts and attitudes, his own personality. I love it. It’s such a joy to witness and be a part of. And yet, there’s a sadness in knowing how difficult it will be to grow our family.

I talked a lot about our family building journey previously, and I had a big response to that post. You, my awesome readers, are always so supportive. Today, I’d like to continue in that topic because lately, it seems to be constantly on my mind.

There are 2 things that I always wanted:

  1. I wanted to be a young parent. I’m not talking high school young or anything… but I had young parents, and even as a child, I felt lucky. They were always playing with us, and taking us to do awesome, outdoorsy things. My friends all loved them, because they were “the cool parents.” But most of all, they remembered what it was like to be my age. I didn’t quite realize then, but I know now, how much that helped my parents relate to me when I would feel like everything was a huge deal (like you do when you’re a teenager). Instead of telling me I’m being silly or blowing me off, my parents were awesome at remembering what its like to be that age and responding accordingly. It created such great communication between us and laid the foundation for a beautiful relationship.
  2. I wanted to have lots of kids. Growing up, I knew several families with lots of kids and I always thought it looked like so much fun! Having a big family didn’t have to mean 7 or 8 kids… but I always thought 4 seemed like a good number. My two sisters are my favorite people. Friends come and go, they move away, you move away… But my sisters are eternal. They aren’t going anywhere. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Neither of these 2 things that I always wanted, went the way I thought they would. And that’s okay. Life has offered me so many things that I never thought to ask for. I am so blessed to be D’s mom and I genuinely feel fulfilled. So here’s where we get to the current debate in our house.

Having An Only Child: Are we done? Or do we want another?

Oh, how I envy those who get to just decide the answer to this question. I’m lucky in so many ways, but having control over when and how we build our family just doesn’t seem to be one of them. Thus the reason it’s even a question or debate in our house. I’ll just skip ahead and tell you the answer. YES. We want another. Adopting and loving D has been the best experience of our lives. Why wouldn’t we want to do it again? Well, I’ll tell you…

1. The financial burden. I’m not talking about the financial burden of raising a child. Though this can be huge as well, these costs are spread out and come slowly over time. That we can handle. No, I’m referring to the cost of IVF, Adoption, or Surrogacy. Those are our choices for family building as we see them right now. None of them are very inexpensive. And it’s not that we don’t think it’s worth it… we’re parents, we know it’s worth it. But that doesn’t mean we have it laying around, you know what I’m saying? We could try to come up with it, and maybe even succeed (eventually) but at what cost to our financial stability?

2. The age thing. Age plays into this decision in a couple of ways. First, our ages. We’re no spring chickens. (yeah, I just said that.) We adopted D when we were 30 and already sometimes, I feel like I’m an old woman watching him on the playground. I know it’s not true, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m older than I wanted to be. Second, the age gap between him and our prospective second. At this rate, already he’d be pushing 5, if we started right now. I know that’s not the end of the world… and some might even say it’s awesome. I have a sister who is less than 2 years younger than me, and a sister who is almost 11 years younger than me… And I can tell you, that age means nothing in the grand scheme of things, when you get past childhood. But I always imagined I’d have kids close together and that gap is rapidly widening.

3. I am completely fulfilled by my little family. We are happy together and D is getting to the age where we’re getting a little more freedom to do things we love to do. Travel, play outside… It’s awesome. We’re in a great place in our life and I love the time we spend together.

So, why even debate having an only child?

Because when I look into the future, I can’t imagine a world where D doesn’t have any brothers or sisters to love, support and raise cousins with. Someday we’ll be gone, and my heart aches to imagine him alone in this world. One thought of how my sisters have enriched my life and I’m positive I want him to have the same.

No matter the reasons not to, I still want another baby. I’ve tried to convince myself of all the reasons why having an only child would be awesome, and I genuinely believe them. It’s not because I feel incomplete, and there are lots of benefits to just moving forward from where we are right now. We could give him anything, take him anywhere… But none of that means anything, if we’re longing for another child. Sometimes, reason loses to the heart. And my heart wants another baby.

What do you think? Are you an only child? Do you wish you had siblings? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Should I pursue a second child at all costs? Or stop stressing about D being an only child?

Leah Sannar

 

For other awesome articles, be sure to check out these link parties where I love to share:

The Adventures of Mel, Place Of My Taste, Dandelion Patina

39 comments
39 comments… add one
  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter August 17, 2015, 8:57 am

    I know you will make the choices that are right for you and your family. Whatever they are, you will find incredible support from me!
    Cynthia @craftoflaughter recently posted…Is it a Keeper? One-pot Tomato Basil PastaMy Profile

  • Alanna @ Alanna & Company August 17, 2015, 9:09 am

    I am an only child. There are huge perks to it but also downfalls. As a child and sometimes still now, I wish I had at least one sibling to share experiences with, be able to grow with, and have that bond. However, as an only child I have an extremely close bond to my parents and have learned how to be very independent and be happy about it. I wouldn’t stress about him being an only child. Everything will work out just fine!
    Alanna @ Alanna & Company recently posted…Weekending IVMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 9:49 am

      Thanks Alanna! It always helps ease my mind so much when I hear from people who are an only child. I can’t relate to it, since I have sisters and I just feel like I would be so sad without them. But I know there are lots of people who love being an only child! I appreciate your sharing your experience!

  • Trisha @ The Ham & Cheese Of It August 17, 2015, 9:19 am

    What a great explanation. I wish people would mind their own business. Personally having a second child is between you and your husband (maybe even D) but besides that, if having only one is what you end up doing everyone should support you. I am constantly feeling conflicted about having a second child. What if it’s awful? Will it take away from my already small time I have with my daughter? Will she resent me? There are so many if’s and but’s to it. But in the end it all works out for the best. You never know, D may marry and have 9 children. Or his wife might come from a crazy large family. He may still get that feeling of brother and sister hood from other places!

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 9:52 am

      Yes! That is my hope for him! Knowing that even if we have another, we’ll never have a big family… I have hopes that he’ll marry into a big family so he can experience that. I think he would really enjoy that. And actually, we’ve just started asking him (which he may or may not fully understand right now) whether he wants a brother or sister. He seems to love the idea, or at least what he understands of it. :) And I know exactly what you mean about worrying what a new child could bring. We feel incredibly lucky with D, and sometimes, asking for another feels like pressing our luck!

  • Rachel August 17, 2015, 9:25 am

    That’s a tough decision to make, but only you and your husband will know what’s the right thing for you! I was an only child for a long time (never thought about having siblings) and all was good, and now I have siblings and all is good.
    Rachel recently posted…What’s in My Bag: Modalu Pippa CrossbodyMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 9:52 am

      Thanks Rachel! Oh, you guys are all so great to reach out and share your experiences! You have no idea how much it helps me!

  • Amie August 17, 2015, 9:31 am

    This is something that my husband and I have been struggling with. We have a six year old son but have been trying for about a year and a half for another child. It doesn’t seem to be in our cards. We are meeting with an adoption advocate to discuss some options but in my mind I say maybe one is enough. Then I flop back to will he resent us because he had no siblings. I have to trust that no matter what happens he will be fine. Thanks for sharing your story and struggles!
    Amie recently posted…It’s Game Day! | 10+ Football Party IdeasMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 9:54 am

      Hi Amie! I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. I know how you feel. But it really does help to know that there are other families in our same position who have the same thoughts. Makes me feel like maybe I’m not crazy! So thanks for sharing, and I wish you the best of luck!

  • Liz Jo August 17, 2015, 9:31 am

    I feel like you and I had the same thought process! But for different reasons. I wanted to be a young parent because my mom wasn’t really a young one (36 when she had me) and all of my cousins had a young mother (19-22, that was the thing back in our family) and I always wanted to have more kids because I was an only child. But when Sophie came into the picture, I had to question if I could handle another a few years down the line. Kyle is all for it. But we both know that we’re not ready just yet for another financially or emotionally. But I would hate for Sophie to grow up as an only child like I did. It’s nice being able to spoil her thought

    liz jo @ sundays with sophie

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 9:55 am

      Yes! See, I can tell you are doing the same thing we’re doing! It feels like a constant flip-flop back and forth. Some days, I can’t bear the idea of not having another… and other days, I’m totally fine and dandy with just my little family. I don’t know how anyone ever makes a decision!

  • Yanique August 17, 2015, 10:33 am

    I always wanted a big family too and I am blessed with three kids. I can’t imagine them not having siblings. My sister is my best friend even though I’m 10 years older than she is! I also wanted my kids to be close in age and for the most part they are. But you know what… the age gap really doesn’t matter. My two sons are almost four years apart and can’t stand each other and my oldest son is 7 years older than his sister and they are BFF’s…go figure! At the end of the day, go with your gut. You don’t want to live with regrets. Good luck to you and your family!
    Yanique recently posted…Responses To Microaggressions On Campus Are Hurting StudentsMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 11:48 am

      Thanks Yanique!! I appreciate that. That’s how I feel about it too… I love having sisters. :o)

  • Donna August 17, 2015, 11:32 am

    Oh, this is such a hard decision to make! I wish you all the luck in the world with making it, and given either way has its pros and cons, I am sure you will make the right decision for your little family! I have two little ones, and it is so lovely watching them play together, but I also feel guilty that neither gets much one on one time :) I feel like theres always a ‘what if’ no matter what decision you make!
    Donna recently posted…Raw Coconut Matcha FudgeMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 11:49 am

      So true! No matter which way I start to lean, there’s always doubt! What am I supposed to do with that, you know??

  • Haley August 17, 2015, 11:45 am

    I know you will make the best decision for your family. I know of families that have 1 kid to 6 kids, and each one seems happy.
    Haley recently posted…Some of My Favorite DIY Projects for August~ Part 4!My Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 11:50 am

      Thanks Haley! Yes, I have to believe that our family will be what it’s meant to be and that we’ll be happy no matter what. :o)

  • Liz August 17, 2015, 11:59 am

    I’m so glad you wrote this! I’m an only child and I’ve been debating on posting a blog about my experience. I’m 22 and have a lot of friends starting families. Some have mentioned they only want 1 child and from my personal experience I’ve told them to have at least one more or really consider if they want an only child. I’ll be honest, it gets lonely. I’m super close with my parents and yes I do get a lot of what I want since I have no one to compete with, but I’d give up a lot of that to have a sibling. I see my friends having a great time with theirs and bonding and it’s something I’ve always wanted. I will say though I have learned to be EXTREMELY independent. I have learned to entertain myself and figure things out on my own. I can say from living with other’s that have siblings and having friends with siblings that they have not learned these things as quickly and I guess as well as I have because I was forced to learn them from the start rather than when I ventured off to college. It’s definitely something to think about. My parents couldn’t have anymore and were older so I understand where they were coming from. Your son will do great either way :)

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 2:53 pm

      Wow, Liz thanks so much for sharing. I hate to sound like I’m looking at people who are an only child with sorrow, because that sounds terrible! And that’s not the case, I just can’t help but feel like he would be exactly as you describe. I never want him to wish he had siblings, if there’s anything I can do about it. 😊

  • Karissa @ OCD Kitchen August 17, 2015, 1:07 pm

    Hey Leah, I will say I’m an only child. While there are moments were I do wish I had a sibling there are many more where I’m happy to be an only child. You will make the right choice for you but I’ll leave you with the thought that family can sometimes be more than blood. There are friends who I consider my family and know they will be there no matter what. Even if i second child isn’t in the cards for your family it doesn’t mean your son will never have another sibling!
    Karissa @ OCD Kitchen recently posted…Egg Free Mini Coconut MacaroonsMy Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 2:54 pm

      Yes! I have friends who feel like family so I know that absolutely possible. And he does have cousins! So there’s that too. I guess we’ll just have to see what’s in store for us.

  • Rae August 17, 2015, 1:53 pm

    As an only child, I grew up not wanting a sibling. I had cousin’s that lived near by, most of which had siblings and I remembered watching them fight and bicker and just being so thankful that when I went home, I didn’t have to put up with that. As I’ve gotten older, I still feel the same way. Most of the activities I was involved in as a child and teenager were very expensive; there’s no way my parents could have afforded a year-round travel swim team, horses, private school if there was more than one child in the household. I was around adults the majority of the time and I think because of that, I didn’t get into nearly the amount of trouble my friends did who followed their older siblings footsteps. You’ll do what’s best for you and your family, no doubt. :)

  • Sabrina August 17, 2015, 2:51 pm

    I am an only child. I didn’t start out that way, but an accident took my older sister. Life as an only child was lonely for me. Altho, my parents divorced and married others. My dads wife had 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl. The youngest boy was only 1 yr older than me and when I would visit on the weekends or during the summer we were the best of friends. For that reason, I didn’t want my first born to be an only child, so we had another. At this point at 19 and 17 they do not get along at all. But I have hope that they will love each other later. My husband and his sibling do.

    http://www.keystothegenuinelife.com

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 2:56 pm

      Oh I bet they will! My sister and I struggled thru childhood too, but now we are the best of friends. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Very Erin August 17, 2015, 8:40 pm

    I’m not an only child. I grew up with a brother about a year and a half younger than me and I wouldn’t have asked for anything different! I got to grow up with my best friend and now, as adults, I know he’d be there at the drop of a hat if I ever needed anything.
    Very Erin recently posted…How to Fill Your Makeup Bag for Under $50My Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 11:32 pm

      That’s so awesome Erin! I totally want that for my son. I know he’d make such a great big brother! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Brooke August 17, 2015, 9:39 pm

    I am an only child and always wanted siblings. I love my sisters in law now, and another thing I’ve noticed is that I have very close friendships and always have. I think part of that has to do with always longing for that sibling relationship. I have 3 step siblings, much older and was never close with any of them (they were in college when I started middle school) and the two step sisters are also not close AT all. I always thought that was such a wasted relationship, but it’s true, having a sibling doesn’t mean you’ll love having a sibling. Have you guys considered foster care at all? Just a thought that came to me as I was reading your thoughts.

    You are growing your family either way, whether you add more children or not. Your son is beautiful and you all look so happy together. There’s also something to be said for being the family that always has room for other people, the place other kids want to be, feel comfortable and cared for. :)
    Brooke recently posted…Perfectly Posh Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  • Jen @ Living in His Way August 17, 2015, 11:26 pm

    I was like you and always wanted to be a young mom and have a lot of children. For us, it happened to work out and at 27 I had two children. It’s very busy and now looking back I sometimes wonder if we should have waited longer and occasionally feel sad that my first baby no longer gets the attention that she used to get.
    However, then I realize I’m being silly and our family is perfect! Your family definitely is too. I think it’s human nature to question things but everything always works out the way it should.
    If you want a second child I think you should pursue it, but there is nothing wrong with having an only child. Families are all different and wonderful!

    • Leah Sannar August 17, 2015, 11:37 pm

      You’re totally right Jen, I know that there are pros and cons to both sides. I love my family just as it is! But I also know how much joy we would get out of a second child. :o)

  • Melissa August 18, 2015, 10:16 am

    I love this article. I only have one child as well. We have this debate at our house a lot. And I go back and forth. I would love to share this article on my website. If you are intrested if you would shoot me an email I’ll send you the details.
    Melissa

    • Leah Sannar August 18, 2015, 8:37 pm

      Thanks Melissa! I’d be honored to have my article featured on your site. :) I’ll email you now.

  • Lisa Diane Tummers August 19, 2015, 1:42 pm

    I’m an only child who was adopted. My parents were in their mid-30s when they finally were able to adopt, so I was the adopted, only child of “older” parents. I know that age is perfectly normal, but for right around 1970. it was still considered older.

    I can honestly tell you that I loved being an only child! I could have friends over when I wanted to, but I also had time to myself without having to fight for it lol. My parents did a fantastic job of raising me without a sense of entitlement. I certainly was not spoiled, but that was an intentional decision on their part, and I’m thankful for it.

    I did go on to have 6 children myself (4 are living), but that wasn’t a response to being an only child. My husband and I just decided that we were open to having more if they happened to come along. If we had an only child, we both would’ve been thrilled with that too.

    I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for your family. You sound like wonderful people and parents!
    Lisa Diane Tummers recently posted…How to Write To Do Lists (That Get Done)My Profile

    • Leah Sannar August 21, 2015, 2:33 pm

      Wow, Lisa thanks for sharing your story. That’s so great to know! There are times when I wonder, maybe D will love being an only child. In my head, I worry that I’m just stressing over it because I can’t relate. Why do these kinds of decisions have to be so hard?? You know?!

      • Lisa Diane Tummers August 21, 2015, 3:16 pm

        i do know what you mean! Things like this are very hard! But I think, no matter what, we find ways to question our parenting decisions. We can only be true to our values and parent with grace, mercy, kindness and the kind of love that is ever patient and never fails (for me, it includes a lot of prayer, too). Your family is perfect as is and would be perfect with other children too. I don’t think the size of the family determines things…it’s the size of the love. Your family seems to have lots of that, so I think you’re doing great!
        Lisa Diane Tummers recently posted…4 Helpful Tips for Back to School and BeyondMy Profile

  • Leslie September 4, 2015, 4:38 pm

    I was an only child, and I always wanted siblings. I wasn’t unhappy, but I always felt like something was missing. I now have four children and love that they will have each other. If you are able to expand your family, I think it would be wonderful for your son. If not, he will be just fine. There are perks to being an only child.

    • Leah Sannar September 10, 2015, 6:51 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing Leslie! I appreciate your input. :)

  • Tasha April 7, 2016, 9:43 pm

    Hey my dear friend. Funny I have that same debate in my head all the time. I always wanted two, but my husband didn’t. I had to compromise and stick with one. Some days I feel super guilty about it because when we are gone he has no one to go through that with. Since I can’t have another one I have to just try to feel the best I can about it. I have siblings but we didn’t grow up together and we were not super close so I know what that feels like to feel like you are on your own. Thankfully I had amazing friends with families that adopted me as their own and loved me I just hope and pray that he marries an amazing woman and has a little family of his own to go through life with.

    • Leah Sannar April 8, 2016, 7:27 pm

      We were very blessed to be one of the families who took you in. I know we all feel that way! I didn’t realize you wanted more, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I hope D has amazing people in his life and that he always stays close to his cousins. :o) Miss you girl! xoxo

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