only child stigma

I have Google alerts on a few topics. It helps me find information that I write about on my blog. One alert is “only child”.  I found two articles that evoked strong emotions in me and I had to address them.

First let me begin with…

My decision to raise Dinosaur as an only was based on infertility and financial issues. It took me a long time to terms with this. It wasn’t until I spoke to a cousin on my hubby’s side of the family. She is a single mom who used a donor to become pregnant and have a beautiful daughter. She is confident in her decision to raise an only. She explained that she did not want to spend more money trying to have another child when that money could go towards her daughter. Her words got through to me and helped me come to terms with being a family of three. Before that moment I was not satisfied or was holding out for more and not able to see what I ALREADY had.

We struggled with infertility for six years, there were mornings I wish I hadn’t woken up, because the pain and loss was unbearable. Our marriage was suffering because of it, but then it was put to the test even more with IVF. I kept it a secret form EVERYONE except my two dear friends. They would only give me the most positive and the most positive and diva-like support. Besides too many people knowing would only add more pressure and stress. Mixing hormones, injecting myself, and having hubby inject me was already crazy enough, but having everyone ask about it…NO WAY.

I am very proud of our decision to do IVF and bring our child into the world. I am confident I would not be a happy person nor would our marriage have survived if I couldn’t be a mother. As much as I hated to play God, I knew I would have died inside without my miracle child. I know IVF is often a subject up for moral debate, but I am bringing it up to explain how we were able to become parents. IVF was our only option. I would NOT have survived the adoption process or the money we would need to spend on it. Hubby’s health care paid 90% of the cost for two IVFs.

Even if we had the money to try again (that ten percent and the cost of another baby) I don’t know if I could handle knowing this was our last shot. If this didn’t work we could NEVER try again. If it didn’t work it could break me. Then there is the chance I could develop preeclampsia again and go through another NICU trauma. I couldn’t handle that again.

So when I look at Dinosaur and see what a happy guy he is, it gives me peaces to know it will be okay. He doesn’t need siblings to be happy, he just needs a loving home. Besides for every adult who is unhappy about being an only child, there is another adult that does not talk to their five siblings. While blood connections are important, family is more than just blood, it is community, friends, and faith.
My son is NOT spoiled, well he is spoiled with love and family. I will never spoil him with objects that he won’t remember when he an adult. Movies, expensive toys, name-brand clothes and shoes, or jewelry won’t replace our family’s love. He won’t look back on life and reminiscence about all his cool toys, but he will remember the wonderful moments he shared with us.

We have this “only,” this quaking bias against households with one kid, and I know it comes from deep in our genetic guts as organically fashioned baby-makers, and I understand that people say “Oh, just one?” when they just want to say Children = Joy

In response to the author, I feel for you. I wonder if one day my son will ask why he is an only. I will respond with the truth, that life did not work out the way I had planned it to, but God blessed us with you. There are many families being forced to have only one child for a multitude of reasons. I hope and pray they can find the peace in their child that we have. Though, I do have my emotional moments. When I see a pregnant mom or a newborn, I wish I could enjoy those wonderful moments again. I don’t want to have another child to make others’ happy. I don’t want to have another child for a playmate for my son. I don’t want to have another child just so I don’t have to hear parents make remarks that I have it easier being a parent to an only.  Parents of two plus kids, good for you, your family works for you and that is great. My family works for me and that is okay too. My son will only see being an only child a bad thing IF society tells him it’s bad, I am teaching him tolerance and acceptance of others. This stigma is created by people who have nothing better to do than judge others and probably the same people who conducted the study below.

“Scientists have pinpointed a potential risk factor for overweight and obesity early in life — and it has to do with how many siblings a child has.”  

In response to the article on only children having more obesity…Well my hubby and I each have one sibling and we are chunky. I know MANY adults who are overweight and have more than one sibling. I know MANY only children who are fit and healthy. Being an only has NOTHING to do with it with weight and health. It really is sad when money is wasted on studies like this that only cause parents more worry and grief.

Just to note…the article said that only children come from less educated homes, have TVs in every room, hardly played outside, AND the study was done in Europe. I am a highly educated, professional, my husband is quite smart, and my son is always running around and getting exercise. I know families with more than two kids who have TVs, iPads, iPods, and wii’s in EVERY ROOM, but it’s just the only children that are the overweight ones, right?

I normally ignore articles about this, but my heart wanted me to respond and write and I am glad I did.

How many children do you have? Do you wish you could have more or are you happy with the number? Do you think number of kids really affects obesity?