I'm no expert but I've recently thought a lot about family composition and expansion. I've always said we're done at three, but who really knows. The factory isn't completely "closed." I've also always said I couldn't have had just one. My husband and I come from large families so naturally we expected to have three or more children. It was in our gut. But this isn't a choice or feeling for everyone.
I recently read a great piece in the newspaper about one family's decision to have only one child and I really appreciated how they considered what having one means to them and how only having one led to so many questions from so many. "Will you have more? Why not? What if they're lonely? Spoiled? Die?" Oh geez. That's a loaded list and I'm sure parents of only one have fielded these inquisitions and many, many more.
First, does having only one child means they'll be spoiled or lonely? Truth be told, any child can be spoiled. It's all in how we raise our children and who we are, so no need to worry about spoiling. Plus, a child isn't really lonely when they have not one but two parents who can give them undivided attention. Beyond that, parents simply set up many, many play dates. With one child these could be easier to navigate and as your child grows up even easier to execute.
Next, what if your lone child wants a sister or brother? Or worse, what if they one day ask for one and you just aren't going to make that happen? As with the story I read, wanting to be someone's brother or sister goes beyond actual siblings. Best friends often fit the role of brother and sister and many times we're actually closer to our friends than our siblings. Focusing on the value of brother/sisterhood and relationship building overall leads any child to build his close community in plenty of circles. A blood sibling isn't the end all, be all.
What about that dreaded consideration: "what if your child dies?" Morbid I know, but also possible. It's nothing parents of single children care to think about but some will ask them for sure. At some point, you do think about it. Here's the thing though: every child is special and unique. No other child could replace any one. The unthinkable could occur and both parents decide to have one and accept that their one is everything. As long as both parents are accepting of the fact that there will only be one and that they can't bubble wrap them for life, the rest will enfold as it's meant to. Every precious moment should be valued regardless of raising one or raising 10 children.
There's even more to consider when deciding to have only one child, but the beauty really remains in the oneness. The idea of giving all of you as a parent to this one person is profound. Giving the best of the best to every moment. There's something so deep about going through each experience only once and for a very unique moment in time!
Are you a parent of one? Considering it?
Or is having more than one your preference? Why?