Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Only Child

Sometimes I find myself choosing the name I would give to DD's little sister - because it would be another girl. That's the great thing about fantasies, you can control every detail. And if I'm honest, I have actually spent (read: wasted) a lot of time on this. Then I jolt myself back into the real world and fantasize about something that has more chance of happening - like winning millions in the lottery for which I never buy a ticket.

Why are these little sister thoughts intruding on my usually fulfilled, satisfied, content and extremely grateful mummy-psyche? My theory is that DD is two-years old. Two years is when families start bringing home the next child. Among DD's friends at nursery, two have just had new additions to their families and another is due in a couple of weeks (all girls coincidentally - but not helpfully).

They say that when God wants to punish you he answers your prayers. It's true that I always loved children and wanted to have a big family. But that was then, when I was also going to be an executive wife and possibly a famous actress. In real life I grew up into a different person. What does the person I am now, in my current life, really want?

Around the time of DD's birthday I had a dream that someone handed me the next baby - as if they automatically arrive at two-year intervals. In my dream I panicked: Oh no! I can't go through all that again. It was wonderful the first time, but now I'm ready to move on to the next stage. I'm looking forward to spending time with my little girl. I don't want another baby now!

It's not just my age (late 40s). As a single mother I feel I can create a good life for two of us. I would cope with three - because I am a coper, but who wants to cope? I want DD and I to have a good life that we can enjoy rather than it passing by in a whirl of logistics, piles of ironing and unmade beds. If I were independently wealthy it might be another story, but I'm not. Therefore, through necessity, I am a totally hands-on mother. This includes hands-on cleaning, shopping, laundry, childcare, bringing home the bacon [except no bacon], and looking after myself. I only have two hands.

Then there is the issue of my health. Thank God, my health is good (pht, pht, pht). However, pregnancy at my age was a strain even two years ago. It would not be fair on DD to risk my health going through another  pregnancy. As much as I would love to give her a sister, a healthy mother is more important for her at this stage in her life.

There is a saying in Hebrew: lo haser li klum. Literally it means: I'm not missing anything. However, the connotation is: There is nothing missing in my life. When I look at DD and play with her, talk with her and do her hair, cuddle with her and share a private joke, I honestly think to myself lo haser li klum.

I hope that DD will continue to build deep relationships with her cousins and our close friends. I promise her a home that will always be open to her friends for play-dates, sleep-overs, weekends, holidays. And I will try to give her an exciting and fun-filled life with a relaxed mummy who has all the time in the world for her (and the housework, earning a salary, etc...).

P.S. For those of you who are wondering, a pregnancy at my age would entail donated eggs. This would not be an issue for me if I were set on having another child. And if he were a boy I would not send him back ;).

14 comments:

  1. I have been round in circles for the last 2 years on this subject in my mind, at first after I became single with a 1yo I assumed I would meet someone new, have another child, open the front door to my cottage and look at the roses.

    But 2 years on, I have no made peace with myself and my hopes as they were, that it is very unlikely I will have another partner in the next few years, and 95% of the time I am fine with this. I could not do the pregnancy + toddler alone, I wasn't great for my last pregnancy and i physically couldn't cope alone. and when I really started thinking and removing the 'I want I want I want' part of having antoher child I stopped and realised that I am not really sure I do want to do that. Yes the biological clock/hormones poke me every now and again, but I can say happily my heart AND head are happy with having 1 child.
    and as you say there are many opportunities for an only child to have wonderful relationships apart from siblings, we have cats ;)

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  2. Thanks Twostarsandaswirl. I wrote the post today but it has been a long process (starting from straight after DD was born)to get my head around the only child situation. For a long time I wished it could have been different but I now just feel totally blessed with what (who) I have.

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  3. In my case, I like having an only child, but he'd better grow up to live near me and give me multiple grandkids--just kidding. Don't like the insensitive remarks that he needs a younger brother or sister though. Sigh, lo haser li klum, gam. (JS)

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  4. Penguin-lovin' TrollmammaMarch 8, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I love your writing, and I completely understand and appreciate your reasoning. DD is a very lucky little girl.

    :-)

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  5. Thanks Trollmamma for your kind words.

    JS - I know - I also joke that I won't mind if DD gets married at 16 and has lots of children ;)

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  6. i can so identify with you. my DD is 3. i didn't have my DD with IVF, but I also decided that one was enough, and I didn't think I could manage physically or financially another one. it took me over a year to come to that and accept it (during which time I stored all her baby things - then after I decided i gave them all away and was at peace with my decision)

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  7. Thanks Nicole - we used to have a prayer in school assembly in which one line was: Lord, help me to accept that which I cannot change. It's liberating when you finally can do it.

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    1. thanks for letting me remember this line. x
      E

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  8. How come above you say "donated eggs"??? When you just said that they successfully got 16 out of 22 of yours?

    Trying to understand the process.

    You are awesome.

    Liska x

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  9. Those eggs and eggs from three more IVFs were used up. I'll try and write the journey faster so you know what happened.

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  10. I hadn't seen this before, but it really hit a chord with me. I have no more plans for more children for a very long list of mainly practical reasons. It does sadden me at times, especially when I see how loving and affectionate my little girl is: she'd be a wonderful big sister. But we as mothers/parents know our limits and I think it is very sensible, and ultimately the most loving thing to weigh it up as you say: why struggle and cope when you can enjoy?

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    Replies
    1. So many people say - How can you not give her a brother or sister? How sad that she'll be an only child. They don't stop to factor in all the other considerations that are specific to our family and our life. Ultimately I feel I have made the best decision for DD.

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  11. my son is nearly three and i am very aware that he is an only child, and whilst i dont like the thought of going through some of those stages again, i also want to enjoy them as a baby which i didnt get a chance to do with my son!
    Thanks for linking to #singleparentlinky

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  12. I don't see any problem with being an only child personally. I grew up with a brother and I'm sure I often wished to be an only child at times! ;)

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